Hydro weed

Hydroponic weed refers to any cannabis that is grown without the use of soil. Instead of the natural nutrients found in soil, growers will apply their own nutrients throughout the grow process using a variety of growing methods.

While hydro grows are usually less likely to attract pests, hydroponic systems can expose the roots to damage if there is a pump failure or you run out of water. Hydroponic grows also require more maintenance than soil grows because more things can go wrong, a lack of water for a little while or a slight change in pH levels can set back the crop or destroy it. This is why it’s important to start with one of the simpler processes as a beginner.

Despite the extra care required, hydro grows offer growers far more control over the nutrients that go into the plants and allow the water that is not absorbed by the plants’ roots to be recycled back into the system.

What are the Different Kinds of Hydroponic Grow Systems?

hydro weed

There are many different kinds of hydroponic grow systems that vary in complexity and offer their own benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, these systems are nutrient delivery methods which work as a substitute for the natural plant food found in soil. Overall, nutrients can be applied to hydroponic systems through something known as active and passive methods.

Passive methods make use of something known as a medium, which is a substitute for soil, which can hold the nutrients, water and oxygen required for the roots to flourish.

Active methods of growing involve more attention on the part of the grower as they require actively applying the nutrients and allowing them to be recycled. You can also have a non-recycled system that uses the nutrients once, also called run-to-waste systems, but it’s best to avoid these methods since—as the name implies—they are wasteful and could pollute the environment with unwanted compounds that could be recycled as food for your plant.

Drip System or Top Feed

Difficulty: Intermediate

The drip system is the most common option for hydro grows and one of the quickest since each plant can receive the same amount of nutrients. The nutrients in this system are delivered through a spaghetti tube or mechanism built to ‘drip’ into the top of the pot. The roots receive timer-controlled nutrients from this submerged pump and excess nutrients that are not absorbed by the cannabis leaves, root, etcetera. Can be reused. A drip system needs to be checked frequently due to significant shifts in pH and nutrient strength levels.

Nutrient Film Technique

Difficulty: Advanced

The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) setup isone in which cannabis is planted within netpots with a medium like rockwool. The pots sit on top on an angled channel, usually made of PVC pipe, for the nutrients to flow in a single direction. The roots flow down through the rockwool and pots and into the angled channel where the nutrient solution is poured over them while the excess flows into a reservoir to be recycled.

NFT offers the plants a constant flow of nutrients pumping directly into the grow tray, over the plant roots, and back into the reservoir. No timer is needed for the submersible pump. However, the growing medium, which is mostly air, can be extremely susceptible to pump failures and power outages, which can cause plant roots to dry out fast.

hydro weed

It’s also extremely important to protect the exposed roots from light. This is why master grower Jorge Cervantes suggests that growers avoid using white four-inch PVC pipe. The walls of this piping are thin enough to allow light through which will damage or even destroy the roots.

According to Cervantes’ Cannabis Encyclopedia, this method may need a filter “to prevent debris from blocking the gullies and pump.”

Cervantes suggests that only experienced growers opt for an NFT grow since it is difficult to maintain and requires extreme fine tuning to operate properly. For those who do choose NFT, it is recommended for plants with short grow cycles since the roots could fill the pipes and block the flow of nutrient solution.

The grow tray must be kept humid at all times to protect the roots from drying out and it is also ideal to keep them covered so as not to expose the roots to light. Some growers also paint the outside white to reflect light and the inside black to keep the roots in total darkness.

It’s recommended to check the temperature inside the tubes and ensure that it doesn’t go above 70 degrees Fahrenheit while the oxygen should be at around 8 ppm.

Is Hydroponics Good for Growing Cannabis?

Have you seen cannabis plants growing with their roots just floating in a reservoir of water? This type of hydroponics is known as Deep Water Culture (DWC), and has been around for over a 100 years! As more growers gain experience with this medium, DWC has become increasingly popular for growing cannabis. Hydroponic setups are really neat and offer some big benefits over growing in soil!

Benefits of Hydro Over Soil

  • Plants grown in a hydroponic reservoir tend to grow faster in the vegetative stage, resulting in bigger yields and faster harvests
  • Hydroponic buds tend to be more potent and often cost more at dispensaries
  • Once a hydroponic reservoir is set up, it does not take a lot of work or time to maintain. Instead of regularly watering plants and removing runoff, a hydro reservoir only requires you dip a PH Pen and top off with more water or adjust as needed.

Cons of Hydro

  • Takes more time and effort to set up than soil or coco
  • Buds grown in soil without added nutrients tend to have a stronger smell than buds grown with liquid nutrients like in a hydroponic setup (though if you’re trying to keep things low odor this might be a benefit).
  • Unless you protect your roots by using the right supplements and equipment, your plants may struggle with root rot. Luckily if you follow the steps in this tutorial you don’t need to worry about root rot killing your plants!

Hydro is a no-brainer for me. Whenever I go back to a hand-watered grow like coco coir, I am always surprised by how much extra time it takes to water plants and remove the runoff. The most intimidating part of hydro is just getting started – after that it’s actually really easy to take care of your plants. In my opinion, hydro is far easier and less time consuming than growing in soil or coco coir once you’re set up. If you are interested in hydro, go for it! If you follow this tutorial you will succeed!

Today I’ll teach you how to set up your hydroponic reservoir for growing cannabis, and I’ll show you what you need to do each day for optimum growth.

5 thoughts on “Hydro weed”

  1. I’m sure its more about preference, but I have been looking into 4 bucket Deep Water hydro for my next grow to see the difference in efficiency. With soil watering seems to be a problem and with hydro I have been reading that over/under watering is not a worry and you get a faster,less tedious grow with a way better yield as opposed to soil.
    What are your opinions?

    1. Normal DWC is actually more work than with soil. You have to check each individual buckets’ ppm and pH daily, as well as water temps. You have to top off each bucket daily, once the plants are established. You have to clean and sanitize each bucket when you do res changes.
      But if you are willing to work a bit harder, hydro can’t be beat for growth and yield.

    2. You could always try coco coir. Its like a hybrid between soil and hydro. Overwatering is less of an issue because it holds more air than soil does. So even when wet the plant still has air.

    3. I was always hydro…but the sound of the pump is such an issue, I tried huge pots and bat guano mix…getting better results!

      1. Ocean forest? I use that in my soil mix and yes, as long as its bug free, it is working out well. As far as noise I don’t care about that as it’d be in a spare bedroom. You can barely hear the exhaust fan. Wifey is very cool about everything and lets me do my thing.

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