A Guide to Growing Hydroponic Weed
Hydroponic weed is typically viewed as a higher quality product, as the environment and conditions that this method provides can significantly improve the health of a marijuana plant. The trickle-down effect of a healthy environment means bigger, more potent buds, and generally, a much more enjoyable experience, but is it one that is worth the investment?
Here, we will cover the hydroponics basics in an easy to read and follow step by step style that is perfect for both experienced cultivators and beginners. Those with years of exposure to growing in soil might think that they know all that there is, but if you haven't tried to set up your own hydroponic garden, you will quickly learn that the process is not only complicated but also well worth the risk if you are dedicated to the project.
What is hydroponic weed?
Hydroponics uses a water base with some methods requiring various organic materials that are different than soil. This way always requires various liquid nutrients and fertilizers that are entirely safe for the average user as long as the plants are put through a cleansing, which is essentially one to two weeks that nutrients are not added right before harvest.
Hydro grow operations have much higher production rates that average almost double that of their organically grown counterparts. They are much more demanding and allow for the ideal environment to be created, which results in a larger and often more potent bud.
How much does it cost to set up a hydroponics grow box?
To set up a hydroponic grow box will depend on where you will get all your supplies from, as much of what is needed can be salvaged from off-cut bins at lumber mills for a reduced cost. If you don’t have the patience for that, then you will probably head to your nearest Home Hardware or Home Depot. Below, you will find a breakdown of the cost that should be expected to complete your outdoor grow box.
- 1 8ft long x 2ft wide x 1inch thick wood plank = $20
- 2 PVC caps = $3
- 1 8ft long x 1inch thick PVC pipe = $20
- 5 cement blocks = $20
- 1 Rubbermaid container (reservoir) = $10
- 1 Rubbermaid container (dry tote) = $10
- 4 3gallon plant pots = $8
- 1 water filter = $50
- 1 hose adapter (1inch-1inch) = $1
- 1 piece of 1inch rubber tubing (that will reach the grow box from the water barrel) = $5
- 1 water barrel (with tap) = $50
- 1 small water pump = $20
Total estimated cost: $222
How to start a hydroponic garden
You will need
- All the items mentioned above
- 1 drill
- 1 cutting tool
- Seedling (or cannabis seeds)
- Cannabis growing medium (coco coir)
Spread the cement blocks out evenly across an area that is 8 feet long and place the large wood plank on top of them.
Place the rain barrel somewhere out of the sun if possible, as colder temperatures will help to keep the ph. levels in the water, down.
Use a cutting tool to remove the bottom corner from each pot that measures 2 inches x 2 inches.
Set the pots on the wooden plank evenly spaced.
Put one end cap onto one end of the PVC pipe, then place it against the containers to measure where the holes will need to be in the next step.
Take a drill and make 3-4 small holes located where the pots rest in the PVC pipe to spray water onto the roots of the cannabis plants.
Now you can set up the filtration system by plugging in the filter and placing it into one of the totes that will act as the reservoir for clean water.
The next step is to connect the rain barrel, filtration chamber and PVC pipe together using the black rubber tubing and adapter.
Once the watering system is in place, it’s time to prepare the pots by filling them with a growing medium and seedlings, clones or seeds.
You may have to fill the rain barrel the first time, but nature will help to replenish the system on its own for most of the growing season.
Turn the tap, filter and pumps on, and you now have fully functional hydroponics grow box that is ready to use.
Finally, you will want to use the last remaining tote to house all your electric components, including the timer for your pump, which should be set to an hourly schedule.
How long does it take to grow hydroponic weed?
Hydroponics allows for one of the most effective methods of growing, but it doesn’t come without its drawbacks, and one of them is that the process takes time to complete. A hydroponic garden will provide your plants with the best care possible in the right hands, but it will not speed up the growing cycle, so you can expect to see the average of 90-120 day turn around that would be seen from other methods.
How to make homemade nutrients for hydroponics
This homemade nutrient solution makes a 250 concentrate mixture, that can be used to feed 250 gallons of water. Once you mix a shot of the solution with water, it makes enough nutrients to last most small-scale growers an entire season.
- 1 gallon of distilled water (room temperature)
- 600g master blend 51838 tomato special water-soluble fertilizer
- 300g Epsom salt
- 1.5g sodium benzoate
- Protective gloves
- Dust mask
- Large bucket with lid
- Paint stick
If the water isn’t room temperature, the powder will not mix nearly as well, so it’s always best to take a moment to heat it up if necessary. Once you have warm water, you can now pour it into the bucket.
Now add in the other listed ingredients and stir everything together until the powder is completely dissolved.
The homemade nutrients are now ready to be stored for up to 8 months in a cool dark space so that it is available as needed.
Indoors vs. outdoor
Hydroponics is often shown in the media as an indoor operation that is expensive and high tech, but the system mentioned above is a much cheaper alternative that can be placed outdoors. The main difference between the two is in how they function.
Pros and cons of Hydro vs. organic growing
- · Space-saving
- · Efficient nutrient delivery
- · Optimal environment control
- · Expensive to start and maintain
- · Uses vast amounts of utilities like hydro
- Affordable to start and maintain
- No harmful chemicals
- Requires more space
- Difficult to control PH
- Open to the elements of nature
Which one is better?
The only real differences between the two are:
The method used to grow, which can slightly affect the overall product quality of the plant, however, a high THC producing strain will likely still have a high THC content when grown either way.
The total yield from a hydro grown plant is mind-blowing when compared to an organically grown plant. They produce 2-3 times more but also require additional expense and diligent work with light and nutrient schedules, whereas naturally produced pot takes the least toll on the environment, doesn't need any cost outside of the seeds and is the safest to ingest without having to go through a well-timed cleansing period.
In the end, the most significant contributor to which you feel is better is personal preference.