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Growing Marijuana with Hydroponics

Jul 30, 2020
How Should you Grow?

Growing Marijuana With Hydroponics

When growing marijuana with hydroponics, the plants are grown in a solution of water and nutrients and this can always be done with or without the presence of other inert medium, such as grow wood, soil, rocks, or sand. In its simplest definition, growing marijuana with hydroponics implies growing it without soil.

Growing Hydroponic Cannabis at Home

Growing hydroponic cannabis at home can help medicinal and recreational users save a significant amount of money. It doesn’t take much of an investment to start a home grow, and if things go right, the first crop can cover the startup cost.

In a time when most companies prioritize profits over product quality and customer health, growing at home helps you control what goes into the product. And, for those who already have a green thumb, adding cannabis to a hydroponic garden will only build a bigger skillset. In this guide, you’ll learn the advantages of home hydroponics and how to get started.

Grow at Home and Help the Environment

In America, about 80% of the water we use goes toward large-scale farming. Recent droughts have had severe effects on communities in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and a few other states. As the legal marijuana cultivation industry grows, so will the amount of water it uses. However, home hydroponics can mitigate some of these effects.

The Benefits of Home Hydroponics

Other than its eco-friendliness, there are a few other compelling reasons to make the switch to hydroponic cannabis cultivation. Hydroponic setups use water up to 90% more efficiently than similarly sized soil gardens. You’ll be able to grow more weed in the same amount of space, and because the plants are grown indoors, there’s no need for harmful pesticides and herbicides.

By comparison, outdoor gardens often put plants near one another. When marijuana plants are grown in clusters, the risk of crop failure increases. Because hydroponic gardens are such clean environments, you’re guaranteed to get potent, healthy cannabis.

A crop that’s grown in a home hydroponic garden can typically be managed faster and more efficiently than a soil-grown crop, which helps save money and time. Because hydroponic setups are easier to control, it’s easier to boost the value of a crop by increasing its potency.

What are the Benefits of Using Hydroponics For Cannabis Seed Germination & Flowering?

Marijuana plants will grow happy and healthy when they are supplied with exactly what they need, at the correct amounts and at the precise moments they need it. With soil, achieving this is not always easy because the soil ecosystem comes with changing soil pH, bacteria as well as the quantities of nutrients, of which growers have no control over.

Soil does not provide you with a way to vary all these components hence you have very little control on the growth of the marijuana. With hydroponics, however, there is a greater control over the variable, and it becomes easy to grow the marijuana Just as you want to.

What You Need to Grow Hydroponic Cannabis at Home

If you’re just starting, it’s best to choose automated grow units. With these, all that’s needed is water, nutrients, and monitoring. All hydroponic systems use similar components and work in much the same way, as described below.

Water quality can have a substantial effect on crop health. Chloramine and chlorine found in tap water may harm the delicate roots of hydroponically grown plants, so it’s best to use bottled or filtered water. It’s a bit tricky to maximize potency and yield, and water plays a crucial part in plant health. The water must be oxygen-rich, or else the roots may suffocate. For circulation a simple water pump, like those used in aquariums, will do the job.

Nutrients will support your grow op by giving your Mochalope or Lemon Garlic OG plants the nourishment they need. Because cannabis plants’ roots absorb water which then moves upward, it’s important to feed the plants the right stuff. If you’re starting a home hydroponic garden, consider making it as natural and organic as possible.

Temperature regulation is important in at-home gardens, and hydroponic setups are no exception. Cannabis plants do best in temperatures between 68- and 72-degrees Fahrenheit. Use oscillating fans to move air and keep plants cool when it gets hot indoors. Extractor fans will remove hot air from the grow room, especially when using high powered LED grow lights.

Safe pest control keeps crops happy and healthy. When cannabis is grown in the home environment, it’s important to practice cleanliness before entering the grow room. For additional protection from pests, use organic insect sprays on your CBD Shiskaberry and Gorilla Glue x Zkittlez plants.

With these crucial components and the tips in the sections below, you’ll be well on your way to an abundant cannabis crop.

Choosing a medium for your Marijuana Seeds, Clones & Plants

The first consideration when thinking about growing weed with hydroponics should be whether or not to use an inert material. Should you choose to use one, then you should also consider choosing and procuring the specific type you desire. For instance, there are several forms of inert materials you could use on your hydroponics and these include but not limited to sand and gravel.

These are the most basic and commonly used mediums and though they are easy to procure, they are very difficult to clean and you cannot reuse them. The other medium available for your consideration include coco, cubes, oasis, and rockwool. Whether you are growing high THC seeds, CBD seeds, or dwarf cannabis seeds, any of these mediums can be a good choice, it just depends what works best for you or what is more accessible.

If you decide to go without any medium, then you may consider the nutrient film technique for hydroponics. Also known as NFT, it is whereby the plant’s roots will be in constant direct contact with a moving film of water enriched with vitamins. In such a case, a landscaping fabric or other medium may be used to cover the roots so as to block direct contact with light.

How to prepare the materials

Irrespective of the set up chosen, the initial preparation of the set up will be the same. For instance, all the materials must be sterilized to kill bacteria. This is normally done using a mixture of peroxide, water, and alcohol. Once the materials are sterilized, you can follow the instruction of the particular system to prep accordingly. Once the system is prepped, the plants can then be placed to start the growth process.


Getting Started at Home—The Hydroponic Way

Growing cannabis at home will help you save money, but that’s just one of the things that makes it so exciting. Here are a few steps to follow for a sustainable, natural homegrown crop.

Build a grow node. A grow tent with a white interior will reflect the light your plants need while keeping them enclosed and pest-free. A dedicated grow tent makes temperature monitoring simpler, and it helps to prevent the pungent aroma of cannabis from filling the room.

Select the containers in which the plants will take root. Put the seedlings in Rockwool to start. A dark bin will keep light from seeping in. An 18-gallon bin will hold six plants. Make six evenly spaced holes in the netting so the roots can grow through.

Set up the fan and light system. We suggest using LEDs as they create little heat and are relatively inexpensive to operate. There is a wide range of options from which to choose, and the decision will likely depend on your budget and performance requirements.

Fill the container with water and create a nutrient blend. It’s important to monitor the amount of oxygen going to the plants’ roots, and an air stone/water pump combo makes it easy to do. You’ll also need to monitor nutrient and pH levels, to ensure the plants’ health and vibrancy.

Use clones for the best results. It’s best to start with clones, which are seeds that have already sprouted and then multiple cuttings are taken off the plant while still in vegetative phase. However, it’s essential to ensure that these clones are pest- and pesticide-free. Clones are highly susceptible to pests that can quickly destroy an entire crop, so be sure to check the source before buying.

Hit the lights. Your clones should have strong roots and leaves that are ready for the light. Set the grow room’s lights to remain on for 18 hours per day for the first 28 days. The length of the vegetative state and the amount of light needed depends on the plants’ strain and growth pattern. Cannabis plants are very good communicators; if there’s something wrong, they’ll tell you right away!

Trim the plants carefully. By supporting outward growth, you’ll use the limited space to its fullest potential.

Get ready for the flowering stage. This typically takes place about four weeks into the grow, but again, it’s strain dependent. Set the lights to stay on for 12 hours per day; this diverts energy from height and leaf production into bud growth. It’s usually a good idea to give the plants more nutrients during the flowering stage, but it’s possible to give them too much of a good thing. Nutrient burn may cause the plants’ leaves to turn brown or yellow at the tips. When the buds have grown big enough, give the plants three weeks to flush out any remaining nutrients. Feed them only pH-balanced water for the perfect balance of taste and potency.

Pick, trim, and dry the buds. When you’re planning a home hydroponic grow op, it’s important to set aside enough space for harvesting, trimming, drying, and curing the buds. A slow, steady drying process gives the flower the smell and taste for which it is known. To prevent mold from infecting the crop, dry the buds in a well ventilated, dark area. Trim the plants with sharp scissors, taking care to remove the leaves closest to the buds. Then, remove the buds from the plant stems.

Cure the buds. To cure cannabis, put it inside glass jars with airtight lids. Every day, for approximately 10 minutes, open each container to let fresh air in and to let moisture out.

By following these steps, it’s possible to produce a healthy, great-tasting product that you’ll be proud to call your own.

Home Growing Mistakes to Avoid

Now that you’ve bought all the equipment and watched some tutorial videos, you may think it’s easy to grow hydroponic weed. While YouTube videos may make it seem simple, there are a few mistakes to avoid.

Temperature. It’s best to avoid temperatures that are too high or too low. Keep the water flowing through the system at about 65°F to prevent algae buildup and facilitate the absorption of nutrients.

Humidity. Depending on the growth stage they’re in, cannabis plants have varying humidity requirements. For instance, seedlings need 60-70% humidity. Once they’ve entered the flowering stage, however, they’ll only need about 40%.

Lighting. The type of grow room lighting you choose depends on how much space you’ve set aside and the distance between the lights and the plants. LEDs are best for small grow rooms, while larger ops will benefit from HID (high-intensity discharge) lights.

pH levels. A plant that’s not grown in the right pH range will fail to thrive. Aim for a pH range of 5.5-6.5 for the best results. If the pH level is too high, use white vinegar to bring it down.

Ventilation. Don’t try to grow hydroponic cannabis in a room without proper airflow and ventilation. Protect the plants’ health by placing fans to cover the entire growing area. With proper ventilation, it’s easy to maintain the proper room temperature and ensure adequate air exchange.

Electrical conductivity. EC is a measure of the level of dissolved solids in the water. A reading that’s too high may result in plant damage due to an excess of nutrients, while a reading that’s too low means the plants aren’t getting enough nourishment.

Choosing the right set up for your hydroponic

When considering growing weed in hydroponic, you should be very specific on the set up and choose only the one that meets your unique needs. Though you may have the luxury of purchasing a kit with everything you need, this will always be the expensive route. An alternative approach would be to determine your needs then create a customized kit by choosing only the components, equipment, and the specific material you need.

System Maintenance

The real work with growing weed with hydroponics begins after the system is set up and the plants are placed on it to grow. There are certain sets of actions which must be conducted in a daily and weekly basis to ensure the happy growth of the weed. These include testing the pH, inspecting the plants and the equipment, sterilizing the equipment, and checking for diseases amongst others.

In Closing

When growing hydroponic cannabis at home, it’s all about attention to detail. Once you’ve mastered humidity, temperature, pH, and EC levels, and are giving the plants the light, nutrients, and air, they need, you’ll be rewarded with a happy, healthy crop.

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