Hydroponics is one of the most popular ways to grow marijuana. What is hydroponics, though? Basically it is the growth of a plant in a nutrient-enriched soluble, rather than in soil. This allows the grower control of the nutrients, minerals, and products going into the marijuana plant.
There are multiple ways to get a hydroponic system set up. Kits are sold all over the place online. Besides that, there are three main ways that hydroponic systems are setup: in a hand-watered bucket, a water culture system, or an ebb and flow system. The first is the most well-known and easiest to build by yourself.
Hydroponic System Assembly
To assemble, you’ll need a bucket (or a water-tight plastic container) for each plant, plus another bucket or water-tight tray to act as a water reservoir, and some growing medium (like rockwool, coconut coir, coconut bricks, or hydroton).
Step 1: Drill about 6 to 10 holes in the plastic bucket, approximately 1.5 inches above the bottom. If holes are too small, they will plug up easily, but large holes will allow the growing medium to dry out quickly. You can use a screen or net to cover the inside of the bucket so that the growing medium does not float out.
Step 2: Add the growing medium to the bucket (after pre-soaking or washing the medium). Plant the seedling, rooted clone, or seed into the medium. (If using rockwool starter cubes, simply plant that in a larger rockwool cube and then into the bucket.)
Step 3: In the water reservoir, add the water and nutrient solution per the instructions (I recommend Fox Farm’s Trio). Make sure to check the pH of the water and adjust it as necessary.
Step 4: Insert the submersible pump into the reservoir with an attached drip-line. Drop the drip line into the top of the planted bucket. Plug the pump into a timer to keep your hydroponic setup regulated (for one plant, about a minute twice a day is good). An air pump outside the reservoir and going into the reservoir is a good idea to keep the water from getting stagnant.
Water Culture Hydroponic System Assembly
The water culture system is good for multiple plants (although all systems can be rigged for multiple). You can use an aquarium or a large, long bucket as the base. You’ll also need Styrofoam that is 1.5 – 2 inches thick, plastic cups or slotted pots, growing medium, air pump and air stone, and nutrients.
Step 1: Cut the Styrofoam until it is smaller than the interior of the aquarium. It will be floating on the water and needs to be able to move when water level changes. Then cut holes the size of the bottom of the slotted pots (so that the bottom sits below the Styrofoam but it is balanced on top).
Step 2: Put growing medium into the pots, followed by the rooted plants.
Step 3: Fill the aquarium/water reservoir with water and nutrient solution. Connect the air pump to an airline, and the airline to the air stone; then the stone goes into the bottom of the water reservoir.
Step 4: Put the Styrofoam onto the top of the water. Put the slotted pots into place.
Step 5: When half of the nutrient solution is gone, only add water to bring the level back up (otherwise, you can have nutrient build up). The second time the water is half-way down, you need to drain the reservoir and mix a fresh batch.
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