Hydroponics refers to the art of growing plants without the use of a soil medium. This method of cultivation is adopted by many weed cultivators due to its numerous advantages. However, people who grow weed using hydroponics argue that:
- Hydroponics reduces the likeliness of pests due by eliminating soil from the equation and having a sterile environment.
- With hydroponics, the much-needed nutrients are delivered straight to the roots of the plant — with the conventional method of growing weed, the roots have to find the nutrients in the soil and thus may fail to extract all of them.
- It grows 3-5 times faster than a soil plant
These are just some of the advantages, we will briefly discuss the disadvantages before the end of the article.
Types of hydroponics
There are six types of hydroponic systems, namely:
- Deep water culture
- Wick system
- Drip hydroponics
- Wick hydroponics
- Ebb and Flow
All of these systems can be used to grow the cannabis plant. It is important to do a research prior to purchasing any of these systems — to determine their weakness and strengths and more so to know which is best suitable for the type of plant you want to grow.
That being said, we will only focus on the first type of hydroponic system (DWC) for the sake of this article.
Deep Water Culture (DWC) hydroponic system
The prospect of growing cannabis plants without the use of soil may seem impossible, especially if you are not well versed in botany. The truth is, there are several ways to grow hydroponics but the easiest and, most commonly used is is the Deep Water Culture (DWC).
Things to consider
In DWC, you suspend your plants in a nutrient-rich solution from which the roots of the plant derive the nutrients.
You need a large container (you can create yours or buy a grow kit) that can accommodate the solution and the plants whose roots you will immerse in it.
Also needed is an air supply system that will ensure that the plants get the much-needed air that is significant to their growth.
Avoid the crowding of plants in the container that has the nutrient-rich solution, as this will induce a form of competition for the nutrients.
It is also important to note that this step is only suitable for seedlings. Seeds are not suitable for growing in a DWC hydroponics system.
Growing weed at home with DWC grow kits
In order to grow hydroponic weed at home, you need a DWC in which the nutrient-rich solution will be placed in. These can be obtained at most hydroponic stores or on the internet. Typically they sell the entire kit which could cost a few hundred dollars.
Once you have secured your gear. You will need to place the container in a place where the plant gets enough exposure to light, although this can be achieved through artificial lighting. If you’re doing indoor farming, you’ll want to create a grow room which will allow you to control all the variables of a successful grow.
What you’ll typically need in a hydroponic system are the following;
- Irrigation System
- Lights (reaching at least 6000 lumens)
- Water Ph Checker
This is technically all you need, however, if you’re shopping at a store…you can ask for a beginner kit that should provide you with all the essentials.
The setup of the gear is not complicated but it is definitely laborious. You also need to carefully check every component of the system. Unlike soil grown methods, hydroponics are less forgiving when there is a system failure. Your plants can die in a matter of hours whereas soil is less punishing of rookie mistakes.
Step by step guide for setting up DWC hydroponic grow kit
If you need a visual presentation of the setup, please see the video below
Why growing weed with a hydroponic system?
Growing cannabis in hydroponics is now a common practice amongst growers — this is due to the fact that the marijuana plant is exposed to the most suitable conditions that facilitate its maximum growth.
The cannabis plant goes through a critical stage known as the vegging period where it develops the vegetative part of the plant right after germination. This stage is usually in preparation for the flowering stage where the plant will start developing the much-needed buds.
During the vegging stage of the plant cycle, you’ll be exposing the crops to roughly 18 hours of light per day. Some growers provide 24-hour light for faster growth, however, in our experience we find giving the plant some rest pays off at harvest time.
You do have the possibility of giving it 24 hours of light a week prior to switching the light cycles to 12-12 hour cycles. The change of light cycles with the help of flowering fertilizer will trick the plant into thinking that there is a change in season. The 12 hour light cycles mimic the Fall-Winter light cycles prompting the plant to produce resin and bud.
Once the flowering stage is completed, you’ll “starve” your plants for a day or two and dry them within the containers. This will increase the resin production significantly.
Once harvested, you’ll trim the excess leaf and let it dry for a few days. After that, all you need to do is cure it and you’ve harvested your first hydroponic cycle.
The wonderful thing about hydroponic systems is that it’s adaptable to any space.
Growing hydroponic weed in a closet
You may be wondering how this can be done considering the limited space that is available in closets. This method of growing hydroponics is specifically suited for people who would like to grow hydroponic weed, but have limited space in their homes.
A hydroponic system can be set up and then safely put into a closet. You will, however, need to use other artificial means of providing enough air to the cannabis plant — meaning, you need to invest in such a system before thinking of setting up a hydroponic system in your closet.
This method of hydroponics is quite advantageous due to the space-saving aspect, especially for people living in urban areas where space is very limited. It also ensures that the cannabis plant is put away from people and thus minimal disruptions to it.
The disadvantage of using the hydroponics system is that if there is a power failure, this will tamper with the air supply system and with that your cannabis plant will fail too. It also proves to be a difficult task to operate from a closet due to how small the compartments are.
How to build a homemade DIY (DWC)
In this article, we have explored various methods on how to grow hydroponic weed which serves to be a suitable method of growing cannabis solely because it saves on space. As we have also seen, before embarking on the cultivation of hydroponic weed, it is important to source for all the pieces of equipment that are required to ensure that the hydroponic system function optimally.