As a weed grower you may be looking for ways to accelerate cannabis growth along with its root development. I have always been a fan of hydroponics and would suggest the same to you. I know there’s nothing wrong with growing your cannabis on soil, but hydroponics is the right option when in need of fast-track speed growth.
You can always control your grow room, so it’s time to control your plant’s roots.
Several new amateur growers consider soil for growing their cannabis as it’s inexpensive, easy to start with, and easily accessible. However, the drawback this growing style includes is taking soil into a clean grow surrounding, inviting the bugs and molds and other things.
No matter if you buy cannabis seeds from top suppliers like Homegrown Cannabis Co, the growing medium will determine the result of your yield.
In my experience, the soil medium obstructs the speed of your root development, resulting in a slow cannabis yield turnover time. The reason for this restriction comes down to the resistance pushed through by the roots. The lesser the resistance pushed through by the roots, the faster it will grow and develop.
This is why I choose to grow my cannabis plants hydroponically, as it gives me more control over the growth while ensuring it’s happening faster and cleaner. I advise you to do it too.
You will face minimal or no area for nutrients to build up and start causing issues, but it depends on the hydroponic system. Hydroponic growth enables you to flush and clean the system in a much easier way, giving you healthy plants with no sign of toxicities if you maintain the proper low-feeding program.
According to the reports, the Global Hydroponic Systems Market is estimated to be USD 9.5 Billion in 2020 and is Projected to hit USD 17.9 Billion by 2026.
You may ask what hydroponic exactly is! Well, it is a method to grow your cannabis plants in anything other than soil.
This leaves you with a variety of systems, including mainstream and custom, to choose from, which can make you consider the process of picking a system as a challenging task at times. No worries, as I have shed some light on the best hydroponic methods that will fit your budget, production style, and skill level.
Need complete control over your cannabis plant’s root system? It’s time to go hydroponic as it offers the largest, boutique-quality, and healthiest yields. I have mentioned the five steps or hydroponic methods to boost your cannabis growth most efficiently.
So, let’s start!
Step 1: Stonewool Drain-To-Waste Method (DTW)
Here, your cannabis plants will either sit on benches or grow tables in Rockwool/stonewool slabs and cubes, which come in different sizes. The runoff drains away while the nutrient solution is supplied to every plant.
If you’re switching from the soil, I recommend this as the best hydroponic system. This is because, unlike the recirculating hydroponics system, it is more of a drain-to-waste approach growing system that acts similar to soil, making things easier.
According to your tank, check and adjust the pH and PPM levels for feeding the plants. Unlike the advanced hydroponic systems where the pH level fluctuates, DTW helps to avoid such an issue. The reason is simple: the nutrients do not recirculate in the hydroponic system.
If you’re a licensed producer, ACMPR license holder, or a micro-cultivator, this hydropic method is best for you as it requires a higher plant count at around 32 plants for every 4×8-foot grow table.
I have seen many high plant count ACMPR license holders implement the stonewool drain-to-waste systems as a way to automate things. Not to forget, several large-scale growing operations adopt the method too!
If the cannabis plants grow two to three feet in height with the support of lighting focus on top flowers, then I would say this hydroponic method would be ideal for you. You can enjoy compact vegetative grow rooms for the best yield.
Step 2: Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
In this method, I have experienced some unique things about cannabis growth. The plants grow in a sealed bucket or a pipe while the nutrient solution pours over the root base. Within timed intervals, or mainly in a 24-hour cycle, the nutrient solution returns to the primary controller bucket.
You need to adjust the nutrient solution’s pH level more than once or twice a day to maintain their desired range due to the growing recirculating system. Compared to stonewool, you will notice faster root growth, making it ideal for low-plant counts.
This is ideal for the ACMPR license holders who need to set up a recirculating hydroponic method at a low cost. NFT is an excellent step towards recirculating hydroponics, with high versatility on how the system builts in.
Step 3: Tree-Tech Method
The tree-tech method is a combination of all the best four mainstream growing styles and is considered a hybrid hydroponic technique.
Here, a sealed high-flow container system is used to recirculate the nutrient solution. Moreover, it’s recirculated with intense air being supplied via a much lesser water volume than the deep water culture. The nutrients lather up into the root zone like a beer and give explosive root growth results.
Compared to aeroponics, which I shall discuss below, this method allows plants to grow extremely fast, with low maintenance requirements. If you plan to grow large cannabis plants, this method is ideal for you as they can survive a much higher power outage!
In this method, the nutrient and water consumption reduces by 95% compared to stonewool, soil, or coconut-husking growth. Even if it becomes a bit costly, the system ensures higher dissolved oxygen levels to your cannabis roots than any other hydroponic system.
Step 4: Deep Water Culture Method (DWC)
The Deep Water Culture method or DWC is a hydroponic system that involves containers or buckets with high-flow nutrient recirculation and aeration in all tanks. Your cannabis roots adapt to grow into the oxygenated nutrient solution. You will witness high-speed plant growth in this system.
If you have licenses with low plant counts and are looking for ways to maximize production by growing larger plants, then DWC is all you need for boosting your profit margin.
This system requires regular pH adjustment and cleaning, but other than that, it involves minimal hassle for maintenance. Compared to the soil, stone wool, or coco, this method reduces water consumption by 90%.
In my experience, this method is nothing but a classic water-culture hydroponic step that maximizes the plant counts by filling a larger area with a lower number of plants.
Step 5: Aeroponics Method
Aeroponics dwells the root system inside a pipe or sealed container by delivering the nutrient solution to the roots 24/7 or in a specific time period throughout the day. I always experienced that this method enables the need for the least amount of water consumption than any other hydroponic system. The method also allows the lack of any sort of resistance on roots, resulting in substantial yields.
However, I must warn you before! You can lose all your cannabis plants at a rapid speed if there’s a power outage and no power backup supply as the roots are being suspended in the air. Moreover, the method calls for the most maintenance requirement but uses the least amount of nutrients than other systems or methods.
If you are looking for a vertical farming method, then considering aeroponics systems will be ideal if constructed in piping systems. This system is the best alternative to the closely stacked stone wool vertical farms and enables more canopy space.
I hope this guide has given all the insight you needed on hydroponic cannabis growth. With the steps mentioned above, you can easily jump into the hydroponic system of cannabis growth and achieve great success.
It’s my suggestion to keep the water temperatures low to get a high level of dissolved oxygen. Also, use a low dosage of clean nutrient solution, avoid any bacterial growth, and keep the grow room clean and hygienic.
It’s time to automate your system and enjoy a clean, growing system and environment. Spend more time with your cannabis plants and less time working with hydroponics!