Cannabis is grown under different climates and conditions. However, growing cannabis in Hydroponics for beginners is pretty simple. Since other methods of growth often require long hours of work, you can use hydroponics as a handy alternative.
How do you grow hydroponics cannabis? Hydroponics cannabis is grown using an inert growing medium and a nutrient water solution rather than nutrient-rich soil. The hydroponic growth method lets you control the amount of nutrients the plant receives and the pH levels. As a result, cannabis buds tend to be more potent, healthier, and bigger.
The hydroponic cannabis growth process is especially easy for beginners as you can produce cannabis in any size space without feeling overwhelmed. However, it is not without its skills and mastery.
Considerations before growing cannabis in hydroponics
There are different ways to grow cannabis in hydroponics, so you can experiment with different methods to know what works for you. Each method and medium have its advantages and some works better than some.
Select your medium
The medium is what you want to grow the cannabis instead of the soil. The popular ones include:
- Clay pebbles
- Coco Coir
Choose the garden system
There are also different types of gardening systems you can try.
- Aeroponics: This method lets you grow cannabis without using a medium. To do this, the plant roots are suspended mid-air in a chamber and fed with a fine spray nutrient solution. Do note, though, that the chamber and plant roots are kept at 100% humidity. The mid-air feeding process lets the root absorb oxygen to increase growth rate and metabolism. Besides, it ensures no water loss from evaporation.
- Top feed or continuous flow system: This method involves using PVC tubes with holes of regular intervals at the top where plants can sit in a pot. The PVC pipes are used to feed nutrients to the root system.
- Drip irrigation: small droppers are placed close to the roots or stem of the cannabis pots within the medium. As small drops of the system drip out continuously, it feeds the plant. This method is handy as it helps to save water and is great for stealth.
Select a strain
You need to carefully select appropriate strains because plants grown with the hydroponic system grow rapidly since they absorb nutrients readily. Due to this fast and explosive growth process, you need to select the best strains. Compact and smaller strains are best for indoor hydroponic systems. Hence, a large and towering variety won’t work indoors.
Gather your supplies
Apart from the functions above, you need to gather the following supplies:
- Gallon buckets for each plant
- Grow table
- Clay pellets to fill each bucket
- Reservoir tank
- Rockwool cubes
- Water pump
- Air stone and air pump
- Plastic tubing
- Drip lines and drip line emitters
How to grow Cannabis in Hydroponics for Beginners?
- The first step is to set up the reservoir where the nutrient solution is held. You can make a reservoir of any shape and size to match how much cannabis you want to grow. The reservoir should also hold the air stone and water pump. Connect a line in from the air pump to the air stone and another drainage line from the grow table. There should also be another line out to the drip line from the water pump.
- Create a grow table to return and contain excess water from the plants to the reservoir. The table should have low points where excess water will travel to. To do this, install the drain that will return water to the reservoir through a plastic tubing.
- Soak the clay pellets overnight to allow them to be saturated with water. Then, take your gallon buckets filled with clay pellets and add them to the table. Drill holes at the bucket base so that excess water can drain onto the grow table. However, be careful to keep the holes small so that the pellets don’t fall through or clog the holes.
- Use the plastic tubing from the water pump to run a line to the grow table. You can puncture holes in the plastic tubing if you want. Attach drip line emitters to the drip line ends.
- Run the system without the plants to spot defects. The system’s design should be such that there is no standing water anywhere. The grow table and the gallon buckets should drain excess water to the reservoir, and the air pump should always be functional to keep the reservoir water moving and oxygenated.
- If the system functions well, you can proceed to create your nutrient water solution in the reservoir. After this, add the plants. Some of the nutrients include Nitrogen, Phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. You should also add iron, chlorine, manganese, zinc, boron, copper, and molybdenum, all optimized for your yield.
An alternative way to grow Cannabis in Hydroponics for Beginners
Prepare the basics
- Obtain the necessary items to begin the process. They include marijuana seeds, white paint, hydroponic nutrients, pots, and potting mediums. You also need a timer, a pH soil test, and compact fluorescent lights.
- Paint your walls with glossy white paint or mylar to reflect light and distribute heat efficiently. Set up grow lights a little higher than the pots with enough room for the plants to grow tall. You can either hang the fluorescent lights or clamp them to something. The light should produce up to 3,000 lumens per square foot depending on the distance between the light source and the reflective surfaces.
Germinate and plant your seeds
- Wet a paper towel and lightly wrap your seeds between the towel and cover the towel with another plate to prevent it from drying out. You can also place the damp paper towel in a sealable plastic bag as an alternative. Let it rest in a warm and dark spot for 24 hours.
- When the seeds start to germinate, transfer them to a rock wool block, coco coir, or any other growth medium.
- Feed the plants with filtered water mixed with nutrients. Adjust the water pH between 5.5-6.0 for effective results. Start with quarter strength nutrients and increase it to full strength after one or two weeks. Adjust the pH of the solution after adding the nutrients to about 5.5-6.0 for easy absorption.
- Water your plants with the nutrient-filled water when the top of the medium starts feeling dry. Let run-off water exist from the container base to prevent the build-up of unused nutrients.
- Keep the plants in this stage until they reach half their final desired height. When your plants start flowering, sex the plants to get rid of the males. Male plants will start growing grape-like balls that will transform into pollen sacs, while female plants grow white hairs.
- Wait until the plants mature in the flowering stage. This takes between 6-12 weeks. Then, start feeding the plants plain pH’ed water one or two weeks before harvest.
Advantages of growing cannabis in hydroponics for beginners?
Hydroponic cannabis plant setups grow faster in this state than other soil-grown plants. Apart from this, it is less likely to get bugs and the buds are much more potent. If you grow the plants in a reservoir, you don’t need to worry about watering since they won’t ever run out of water supply. Other advantages include:
Fast growth in large quantities
Since cannabis comes in direct contact with nutrients, they absorb the nutrients more; hence, grows 20% faster than using the traditional method. Besides, you can harvest in very large quantities with more yield than you can with the soil growth method without using up much planting space.
No weeds and fewer pests
Overgrown weeds are a constant pain for gardeners as they grow anywhere on the soil. However, it is not the same as hydroponic growing since there is no soil. If there, the quantity is so small that weeds won’t overgrow. Not just weeds, but the plants are not exposed to soil-borne diseases and pests.
Growing Cannabis in Hydroponics for Beginners is considerably easy if you put in the work required. Unlike conventional growing techniques, cannabis grown in hydroponic conditions grows faster for bigger yields and faster harvest. They are also more potent and often cost more at dispensaries. Once you set up the necessary growth conditions, it does not take a lot of time and effort to maintain.