Growing your cannabis in a solution of water and nutrient can be an exciting and great experience. But how do you do this to achieve better yield and profit from the system? While so many growers are used to the traditional method of cultivation, trying something new such as hydroponic growing could bring mix feeling, especially if you know next to nothing about how you can do it.
From the knowledge of Hydroponic Growing, you need to note that this system requires learning and also be ready to provide the resources it needs for a successful planting. This discussion aims at educating you on best practice of growing cannabis using the hydroponic system. As you must know, there are different types of hydroponic farming, but we will discuss one of the methods known to produce better cannabis cultivation experience.
What is hydroponics?
Hydroponic Growing is a system of planting without the use of soil. It uses water and nutrient solution through an inert medium such as gravel, rock, Rockwood to feed the root of the plant in an environment of artificial light and air system to simulate the perfect conditions necessary to cause the plant to grow.
Hydroponic farming involves putting together various elements that provide the artificial replica of natural planting resources needed by the plant to germinate growth and produce under favorable environmental condition. The coming together of these elements/components form the variety of systems identified in hydroponic such as Wicks system, Drip System, NFT system, Aeroponic, Ebb and Flow system, and Water Culture.
The coming together of the component units that make up the eco hydroponics system simulate the traditional natural resources which cause the plant to respond to the growing process. But the hydroponic system does more than the soil system, and that is one of the advantages of the system. In a hydroponic planting system, the plant does respond better in term of quality of production than in the traditional method. In order words, the plant turns out to be bigger, fresher, greener and of high quality than in conventional planting. Therefore, cannabis planted using hydroponic system promises better leafy plant than the outcome with the traditional soil method of cultivation.
How to grow your cannabis hydroponically
You need to choose whether to use the active or inactive system to plant your marijuana. In the hydroponic systems, there is passive and active materials supporting system to decide. Therefore, your choice of the type of material would determine what method to use.
- Passive systems: it relies on the capillary action of the plant to supply nutrient solution from reservoir to the growing medium. Example of the passive system is the wick system where a wick absorbed the nutrient solution and transported to the root.
- Active systems: This means the system is configured to move the nutrient solution to the roots by flood and drain action and top feed systems.
The table below shows list available hydroponic systems and their activity type.
|Hydroponic systems||Wicks system||Drip System||NFT system||Aeroponic||Ebb and Flow system||Water Culture|
As presented in the table above, out of the six hydroponic systems, only one is inert; all the five others are inactive state meaning they need the help of pump to move water and nutrient around the plant root to get the resources required to grow.
Regardless the type of hydroponic system you choose, it is essential to understand how eco hydroponics system works and the nutrients you need for a successful harvest. Thus, pick a system that you can provide the resources necessary for implementation. You can refer to our article “What you should know about Hydroponic farming” to learn about the six hydroponic systems.
Growing bigger hydroponic cannabis
Having bigger marijuana depends on so many eco hydroponics factors such as the nutrients you fed the plant, how you train the plant, the pruning method used, and the amount of light received and a host of other inputs. Hydroponic cannabis growers have a better chance at growing bigger cannabis because they have the opportunity of directly feeding their plant with the right nutrients, unlike soil planters who can only hope the soil will be merciful in sending more of proper nutrients to their plant.
For you to get bigger cannabis, the following tips will be helpful:
- Control your nutrients. If you read our article titled: “Essential Components for a successful Hydroponics farming,” you will learn more about nutrient and other elements needed to have successful hydroponic cannabis farming. The hydroponic system allows you to feed your plant like you are giving them steroid which will boost the quality of their growth and performance. As you supply the right nutrients, the plant will respond appropriately. Note that nitrogen helps plant’s vegetative growth, while phosphorus helps it to develop flowering. If you want a leafy plant, feed your plant more of nitrogen; it will grow, rapidly, with more yields.
- Supply the right amount of lighting. The plant needs a mix of lighting, air, and water to process its food and grow. To have big cannabis buds, you need to supply more light. Don’t starve the plants the light it needs; happily too, hydroponic gives you the control of the light source, use it sufficiently to provide you with better and bigger quality weed!
- Prune correctly. As your cannabis grows, it’s almost certain the plant will branch out at most of its nodes. And the larger it becomes, the more nodes there would be. As more nodes develop, those under the canopy will start flowering, and because they are under the canopy, the flowers will not grow to maturity due to inadequate light. Flowering to a plant is like a pregnant woman who needs to share its resources to develop the upcoming baby. To improve the growth of your cannabis, you need to prune the extension that isn’t receiving adequate light, and you will free up more energy for the canopy to develop better and bigger!
- Training. Naturally, the plant grows vertically with the center candle reaching for the top. As the center candle reaches for height, it dictates the part to receive more lights. Of course, other nodes would branch out and develop but at a lower rate because of inadequate light reaching them. You can train the center candle by tying it down to give way to other parts to receive light; this causes the cannabis to develop into the canopy and grows bigger and leafy!
You don’t need soil to grow your cannabis hydroponically. Instead, there is equipment designed for each system you chose. There are six types of hydroponic methods you can use for cannabis growing and regardless of your choice among the six, the following equipment cover all the equipment you will need to build your hydroponic system. Note that you will only need a few essential parts from the list below.
- Growing tray. This is the tray where the plant roots will grow; it is the growing chamber for the roots.
- Reservoir. It holds the nutrient solution you feed your plant. Depending on whether it’s an inert or active system, the nutrient solution will be pumped to the growing chamber either in an active system or the root will hang down into the reservoir to collect nutrient permanently in a passive system.
- Submersible pump. This pump is used in an active system to pump the nutrient solution to the growing tray from the reservoir.
- Delivery system. It serves the same purpose as a submersible pump to deliver the nutrient solution to the plant growing tray and back to the reservoir. This includes the PVC pipe, the connecting pieces that form a standard garden irrigation system. It could be a drip emitter or sprayer to deliver the nutrient solution.
- Simple timer. This controls repetitive action in the hydroponic system such as artificial lighting, the flood and mist system to deliver nutrient solution intermittently. This equipment saves you the workforce to manually control this action.
- Air pump. Used in water culture hydroponic system only to supply the required amount of air into the system. Its action helps to prevent the plant root from suffocating in nutrient solution where they are submerged 24/7.
- Grow lights. It provides artificial lighting needed by the plant. This is especially required where you locate your system in an enclosure without natural lighting.
Construction of the hydroponic system
The setup of a typical active hydroponic system for you cannabis growing can be structured as follows:
- Lighting systems provide the lighting needed by the plant to process its food for growth
- Air system: The air supplying system which aerates the hydroponic system for the plant roots to find necessary breathing energy.
- Growing tray. It houses the plant to keep it in place to tap its nutrients from the system.
- Growing medium. This connects the plant root and the nutrient solution, e.g., the flood and drains chamber.
- Water/solution supply. It supplies nutrient solution from the reservoir to the flood and drains chamber to give the roots steady supply of nutrient solution.
- Water reservoir. This keeps the clean water needed to run the system.
- Submersible pump. The pump sits inside the reservoir to pump available water through the system to power the irrigation system.
- Nutrients. This is a collection of different nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen and other essential nutrients used in the system.
The construction of the actual system depends on what you got from your gear supplier. However, the above construction description captures the essential parts a hydroponic system is designed for your cannabis growing.