In the recent years we have witnessed the rise of cannabis industry. The plant species has finally received full recognition for its amazing qualities, and the research is still ongoing to find out more about its traits. As well as that, cannabis production is being seriously studied, and hydroponics seems to be one of the best ways for growing cannabis.
As the name suggests, hydroponics is all about water. The roots of the plants aren’t in the soil, but they rather take all the nutrients they need from the water. If you have limited space, hydroponics is extremely practical, as you can have more plants in this way. In case you haven’t got a green thumb, this method will provide you with big yields anyway. Cannabis grows faster with hydroponics, and some of the reasons are the absence of weeds (apart from the one you’re growing, of course), and less pests and disease. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Therefore, let’s see how it’s done.
There are several types of hydroponics systems: DWC (Deep Water Culture), Wicking, Drip, Ebb and Flow, Aeroponic and NFT (Nutrient Film Technique). The most recommendable for beginners is the DWC (Deep Water Culture), as it is the easiest for maintenance, i.e. it requires the minimum level of expertise and the least supply of materials.
For starters, you will need to fill up a reservoir with the nutrient solution, and then lower the pots with plants into it (roots should be in the liquid). The water also needs to have a constant air supply, which can be provided by a simple air pump and airstone for pumping bubbles (just like the one you use in aquariums). In this way, your plants’ roots won’t rot, as they will be getting the oxygen from water. But remember, your cannabis will also be getting nutrients from the air, too. As for the plants, it’s best if you “clone” them since you are just starting. That means you should get yourself some live plants instead of seeds in order for them to thrive.
To make sure everything runs smoothly, you will have to supervise the balance of nutrients and react promptly to any odd situations. For this purpose, use pH and PPM meters. The ideal pH value is 6.00, whereas the level of nutrients is measured by a PPM-EC or a PPM-TDS meter. If you have too many nutrients, that can destroy the plants. Too few, however, will result in them dying. There are plenty of really good nutrients out there, and you can expect for more cannabis hydroponics products to emerge bearing in mind the current situation. Globally, cannabis market is expanding and the industry is simply blooming as we speak. For example, it is estimated to be worth over $30 billion by 2021.
Your cannabis cannot grow without some proper lighting, too. Professionals are more and more turning to full spectrum LED lights as they use less electricity. In addition, they give away less heat. You have to be very wary about the timing, though. Make sure you strictly follow the instructions for the light cycles. Depending on the growth phase, you will have to adjust the lights accordingly. For instance, simply by switching to a different light cycle (12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness), you will entice the flowering phase.
With hydroponics or not, you still have to pay special attention to harvesting. Doing it at the right moment will enable you to gain the maximum amount of active substances. Therefore, monitor your plants and wait for those big, fat buds to appear. For the biggest level of THC, wait till the trichomes start to cover the bud in the last week of the flowering phase. Fully developed look like small crystals, and they are a sure sign it’s harvest time.
Finally, get ready for drying and curing.
As for the equipment required for hydroponic growing of cannabis, apart from the reservoir, air pump, meters and light we have already mentioned, you are going to need a lot of other things, too, but they can be easily found: ventilation and oscillating fans, timers, temperature gauge, odor control filters, dry nets, dehumidifier, scissors and a magnifying glass. Once you start growing cannabis with hydroponics, it is most probable you will never go back to the old-fashioned way. It’s easy, and it guarantees bigger crops. Some effort is needed, of course, but much less in comparison to the traditional method.