What is a Hydronic System?
Hydroponic grow systems are excellent for growing high quality marijuana, but these systems are active grow systems, means that they have working parts and require some effort from those who use hydro systems to grow marijuana. There are turnkey systems that are a bit more expensive, but that are ready to plant and grow for novices who want to try growing with a hydroponic system.
Technically speaking, any system that doesn’t use actual soil to grow the marijuana in is a hydroponic system. With advances in soilless grow mixes, most of which consist of peat and synthetics, most people who grow marijuana indoors don’t use soil. When most people refer to hydroponic grow systems, however, they are referring to weed growing systems where the pot is grown largely in liquids or water.
Types of Hydroponic Grow Systems
There are a number of different types of hydroponic marijuana grow systems. Let’s examine a few of the more popular and more successful hydroponic weed growing systems in use today:
- Deep Water Culture (DWC): This is a simple irrigation system that utilizes buckets or containers that are linked together. The marijuana plants are suspended in the containers and water and nutrient rich solutions are then pumped through and irrigated so that the plant gets nutrition and grows. These systems can be small or large, and simple to use or quite complex.
- Ebb & Flow; Also Called Flood & Drain or Pump & Dump Systems: These are easy to use systems that are most popular with more novice growers as they take less time and care. These systems use tables with compartments called flood tables, and then large amounts of liquids and nutrients are pumped in and quickly drained. Think of the grocery section in a big grocery store when they shower the produce and then quickly drain it, or how landscapers turn a hose full blast on a transplanted plant when exposed to air. That is the principle, overwhelming liquid and nutrients followed by lots of oxygen.
- Top Feeds: There are several different types of top feed systems, the drip, the spray emitter and the timed flow. As evidenced in the name, unlike most hydroponic systems the top feed feeds the marijuana plant from the top, not from the bottom. The difference is in how this process is accomplished. In the drip the plants are in individual containers and a constant drip is fed through a pump, then it is either drained or recycled. The timed slow is like the drip, the only difference being that the nutrients are delivered at timed intervals. The spray emitter, again like the grocery produce system, sprays at intervals from above, and is an extremely popular system as it delivers the nutrients to the marijuana more evenly, though if not careful over-saturation is a distinct possibility.
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT): This is the most complex system and really is only for expert or advanced indoor marijuana growers. In this system the pot plant is again suspended, but the roots must be identified so that they can grow down, usually through a net or mesh, where the pot plant can then be fed nutrients in a thin film in a reservoir. The NFT system can produce excellent weed plants and excellent weed yields, but it is not easy and takes serious care and a skilled and practiced hand.
What You Need to Know About Indoor Growing and Hydroponics
Nutrients matter, aeration matters, the equipment you use and the system you use, all of these things matter. If you skimp on equipment or pumps or aerators, you are likely to yield sub-par marijuana plants and they are likely to yield less weed of any quality.
You can save time and money growing marijuana at home, and indoor hydroponic systems are likely the best way to go, but simply don’t cut corners. Like making a gourmet meal at home, you still need to use the best ingredients, time, care and effort to make the meal taste great. Make sure the plants have ample light, and that your grow lights emit heat, and pay attention to the plant, too much liquid or too much light can ruin a great crop as well. There can always be too much of a good thing, even with the right equipment and the right system!
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