Looking into Cannabis and stumbled upon the Hydroponic Cannabis System term but didn’t really understand what it means? Relax, you’re not alone. Let’s dive in and understand how it works.
Hydroponics is defined as a method of growing plants by submerging immersed plant roots in a water-based system. Basically, it is an effective way to grow plants and provide them with the required minerals and nutrients without involving any soil in the process.
The solution consists of a large abundance of minerals and nutrients. The hydroponics system of gardening would not need soil as the plant roots are underwater.
In hydroponic gardening, you can grow plants that would naturally grow on land but are submerged in water. A medium that can sustain the roots replaces the soil; this can range from rock wool and gravel to clay pellets, perlites, vermiculite, or peat moss. These mediums will replace the soil, eliminating the need for soil in the system.
The purpose of hydroponic planting is to directly provide plant roots with the nutrients and minerals they need. They don’t have to absorb it from the soil and they find it in the medium.
Since it makes immediate interaction with roots, the solution mixture aids in nutrient absorption. Other essential conditions for the growth of plants, such as oxygen and light, are not hampered by the hydroponic method.
Hydroponic systems that are based indoors require a variety of minerals and nutrients, which can be obtained from a variety of sources. They include compounds obtained from fish duck manure, chemical fertilizers, and fish waste, among others.
In this article, we will go through five of the most popular hydroponic cannabis growing techniques in the sections below. We will go through the mechanism, pros, and cons of all the systems.
1. Deep Water Culture
Deep Water Culture (DWC) is among the most common hydro methods for growing cannabis because it is simple and reliable. In DWC, plants in plastic buckets or containers rest over a reservoir. Any type of container can work, but buckets and totes are the most cost-effective.
Gardeners drill holes that allow the basket to pass easily without slipping through into the lids of these containers. They then place the seeds in the buckets and add clay beads around their root balls for protection. The roots of the plants find their way into the reservoir below as they grow. To meet the nutritional needs of their seeds, gardeners have to add mineral nutrients to the water.
In a DWC system, you also have to add airstones in the reservoirs. The airstones provide the water with oxygen and keep the roots breathing even while underwater. The availability of oxygen often prevents anaerobic bacteria from spreading and damaging the roots.
- Set up is easy
- Relatively inexpensive
- Plants grow quickly
- You can automate the process
- pH fluctuations are possible
- Automated setups may be costly because of excess power consumption
- Roots can die if pumps malfunction
2. Ebb and Flow
In Ebb and Flow systems, gardeners place plants above a container much as in a DWC system, only the vessel is occasionally empty. The container is suspended over a nutrient solution-filled reservoir of water. The two chambers are bound by a pump that pumps water into the plant container on a regular basis. The roots are flooded and submerged in the fertilizer solution, where they drink water and absorb the nutrients.
The pump then stops working, and the solvent flows out into the external reservoir, giving the roots time to dry out and breathe.
- Plants get enough time to breathe and feed
- There are no loud pumps
- You can save space by stacking up the system
- It can be fully automated
- Automation will increase utility bills
- Plants can be damaged if the machine fails
- Root disease prevention necessitates regular cleaning.
Wick methods are considered the simplest hydroponic cannabis system. The system restores hydroponics to its roots. Wicking does not involve any airstones or pumps. Instead, the technique uses capillary force, which acts against gravity and uses simple items including nylon rope and fabrics to drag water upwards.
Plants are placed in a bucket or any other container on top of a nutrient solution-filled tub. The roots penetrate the container but do not come into touch with the water. Instead, a wick creates a passive mechanism by bridging the distance between the solution and the plant roots. The plants can drink it from the wick system whenever they want to.
- Overwatering is impossible
- The roots will be able to breathe easily
- It’s low-tech and quiet
- It’s perfect for beginners
- Not suitable for huge, thirsty plants
- Susceptible to mold
4. Drip Method
A drip system uses a method of cultivation that drips the nutrient-rich solution through the root structure gradually. Plants are placed in an inert solvent in a growth tray. There is an external water tank right above the tray containing airstones and the nutrient solution. The solution is forced into a drip irrigation system, which provides a steady yet sluggish stream of water and nutrients.
Gravity draws the water through the expanding medium, over the roots of the plants, then back into the outer water tank via a pipe.
- Extremely cost-effective and water-saving
- Simple to automate
- Suitable for dry and arid environments
- The irrigation system may get blocked
- Automation may be costly
- The air stone and pump produce noise
Instead of having a flow or tank of vapor, aeroponic systems use a fine aerosolized mist to water and feed the roots. An aeroponics system usually involves a water tank and a planter. Plants are placed in buckets above the planter, and gardeners put a collar on top of each bucket to prevent the vaporization of the fine mist.
A collection of nozzles are attached to the planter bed’s ends. A nutrient solution is distributed from the tank by a series of pipes to the nozzles, which pump it towards the root system in the form of mist. Extra water drips down the sides of the planter and back in the water tank.
- Strong aeration
- Water conservation
- Rapid absorption of nutrients
- Needs close attention
- Advanced procedure
- Automation is needed for smooth operation