Using Hydroponics to Cultivate Cannabis
Everyone seeks to grow the best possible cannabis whether it’s indoors or out and hydroponics is a very popular method that involves cultivating plants statically in a medium that introduces the plant’s roots to nutrients, air, and water. While it seems counter-intuitive, plants don’t require soil. They just need minerals, water, and nutrients.
Soilless mixes may look like soil since they’re made of organic materials such as peat, wood chips, perlite, gravel, or coco. Mediums can be polymer bound plugs or loose mixes. Hydroponic mediums, however, don’t include the constituents known to be in the soil, like clay, sand, and silt which is why they are considered “soilless”. Nutrient solutions are introduced to the plant when they are mixed with water.
Types of Hydroponic Grow Systems
There are a variety of systems to choose from such as flood-and-drain, top-feed, or deep-water culture systems that provide a consistent dispersion of water and nutrients. Flood-and-drain systems use porous containers to store the plants on flood tables. Once the water floods the table, nutrients, and water soak the growing medium. Drain systems are used to recycle the water or drain the waste depending on the nutrients and medium used.
Top-feed hydroponic systems supply nutrients and water to each individual plant by emitters that are placed directly in the growing medium. The water is dispersed by dripping or spraying. Flood tables are also used here, and while drain systems can be recirculating, they are usually drained to waste.
Deep-water culture cultivation systems are popular solutions for many cultivators because they offer scalability. Large buckets are used to contain each plant, which is set in a netted container within an opening in the lid of the bucket. Water lines connect the base of each bucket together, and a pump-and-reservoir system fills each bucket with water allowing the roots to drop into the water to soak up nutrients.
Hydroponically vs. Soil Grown Cannabis
Hydroponic plants grown indoors can be grown all year-round in climate-controlled conditions. They work well where space is limited and allow growers to control every element of the growing process. Therefore, they can maximize the chemovars genetic potential. When cultivators are in control, they can correct any issues that arise easier.
Also, the yields are often larger, and the plants grow faster. Cannabis plants favor rich soil that drains well. Growing in soil is usually easier than hydroponic growing, depending on the system used. Some people feel that cannabis has a better flavor when grown in soil. However, plants grown in soil can be expensive and require more space.
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Article by: GreenCulturED