To be fair, hydroponics sounds like a pretty impressive technique. The word itself comes from the Greek concepts of ‘hydros’ and ‘ponos’ (‘water-work’; the ancient Greeks worshiped Hydros as an old god of water, and Ponos as the god of hard work). Ironically though, hydroponics done right isn’t hard work at all. Of course, it’s a matter of preference in the end, but most growers agree that hydro grows are easy once you get you get the hang of it.
How Does Hydroponics Work For Cannabis Growers?
Most growers using hydroponics for their cannabis choose to do so indoors. That makes sense from the perspective of optimal control over equipment, lighting, and a bunch of other factors. Such control is slightly trickier to achieve with outdoor grows, but theoretically, hydroponics works perfectly well out in the sunshine. In fact, there are serious plans for using hydroponics as a technique for tackling global hunger issues. Of course, outdoor hydroponics calls for some extra attention to typical open-air factors like the weather, disease, and fungi, but it is certainly an option. A little greenhouse can be a big help, but you don’t strictly need one. What’s more, technology keeps improving all the time, so who knows? You could be running your own water theme park in your back garden come next grow season. At any rate, though, it’s good to know we’ll solve the world’s food problems by the efforts of weed growers such as yourself!
Outdoor Cannabis Grows Using Hydroponics
In an ebb and flow setup, the roots are not constantly submerged. A pump regularly fills the container with oxygenated and nutrient-rich water. When the container is full, the pump stops working, allowing the water to flow back into the reservoir. It’s a bit like running your own little mangrove at home. You set the ebb and flow intervals according to what your plants need.
This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.
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LEDs or well-cooled HPS systems are ideal for this, as it can get downright steamy in an enclosed hydroponic set up if the temperature is off. Other than that, the general rules of 18 hours on and 6 hours off apply throughout both seedling and vegetative stages, with the 12 hours on and 12 hours off kicking in once it’s time to flower.
This is kept on a timer and can be adjusted to suit the needs of the plant.
Photo by BiW99 on Pixabay
Unlike the previous two methods, both which are variations of a liquid nutrient bath, this one uses a spray to get nutrients to the roots. Triggered by a timer, the nutrient aerosol is sprayed a few times a day onto the dangling roots of the plant. The roots grow quite long because of this and it allows for a lot of oxygen to penetrate them easily.
Once every two weeks, the whole system should be cleaned out to avoid gunking and other nasties that may have built up, which is when you should add more nutrients to the mix.
pH is the measure of acidity in a medium. Certain plants like different levels of acidity to survive with cannabis enjoying a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Before adding plants to the nutrient bath ensure that the pH level is between these numbers.
Lighting systems for hydroponics are pretty similar to any other grow. The only thing to consider is the amount of humidity within the room will probably increase due to water evaporation.
Ebb and Flow
Make sure to check the water pH levels at least a few times a week, as you add more water to the system this will change over time. Nutrients as well can have a significant impact on the balance of the water and should be counteracted to ensure healthy plants.
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