If you’re a medical or recreational user, growing your own plants might seem like a great way to cut costs. It’s also very convenient when compared with having your plants delivered or going to a dispensary every time you run out. But, on the other hand, growing isn’t as simple as many think, especially if you want a good product. Hydroponic cultivation is the only way to go if you want the highest grade possible with consistent results. In this article, we’re going to simplify the process for you and give you a few tips for growing plants hydroponically from home.
What is Hydroponic Growing Exactly?
With hydroponic growing, the plant’s roots are soaked directly in water that is enriched with nutrients. Instead of soil, the plans are often anchored into a solid medium that allows the roots to soak while supporting the plant, such as perlite, coconut fibers or rockwool. Others will allow the roots to soak straight into the water.
Most hydroponic growing will be done indoor or under covers to prevent rain from diluting the nutrient base. Hydroponic growing can extend over hundreds of anchors or hundreds of inches, depending on your needs. A hydroponic system can be installed pretty much anywhere, and you won’t have to worry about soil fertility issues or soil-borne diseases either.
Make Sure that your Equipment is Sterile
If you can afford to buy brand new equipment, good on you, but those who don’t will need to make sure that all pipes, reservoirs, filters, tanks and all equipment that is in contact directly or indirectly with the roots are thoroughly sterilized to avoid pathogens. You can sterilize your equipment with either hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol. Also, make sure that you do it regularly.
Start with Neutral Water
Make sure that the water you use is as close to a 7.0 pH as possible. You should also make sure that the water is as pure as possible. Use can use a reverse osmosis filter or distilled water, but distilled water should only be a temporary solution until you can get an RO system.
Keep an Eye on Temperatures
Controlling the water temperature and ambient temperature in your grow room will be essential if you want to get the best results. You should keep your water’s temperature at around 65 F if you want to minimize algae build-up and maximize nutrient absorption. The ambient temperature should be higher and hover around the 75 F mark.
Watch Humidity Levels
In addition to temperature, you have to make sure that humidity levels in your grow room are optimal as well. But you have to adjust the humidity depending on the development stage. Baby plants will need a 60% to 70% humidity to thrive and around 40% when they are nearer to maturity. You can do this by using a dehumidifier and humidifier.
Get the Right Lighting
Light is essential for proper growth and there are a few things you have to consider when picking lights. First is the size of your grow room. For small rooms, low capacity lights will do, but if the room is larger, then you’ll need wide spectrum lights. And you might need to install more lights as the room grows.
Another thing you have to consider is energy consumption since your lights will need to be on around 12 to 14 hours per day. Color is also very important. While people might think that color is simply for aesthetics, different lights will favor growth depending on the stage. Younger plants will need blue light to grow and red light will facilitate flowering, for instance.
Two other things you’ll have to watch for is heat output and warranty. You don’t want lights that emit too much heat since it could cause direct damage to the plants and elevate your grow room’s temperature. And you want a warranty to make sure you’re covered in case anything goes wrong. The typical warranty is one year, but some manufacturers will offer longer ones.
Understand PH Levels
Maintaining proper water pH is one of the most important things when growing hydroponically. The pH should always be around the 6.0 mark. Anything straying too much from that will destroy your plants. So, make sure that you constantly monitor your water regularly using a pH meter.
Understand EC Ratings
If you want your plants to grow optimally, you also have to constantly monitor nutrients in their water. EC stands for electrical conductivity and calculating the water’s electrical conductivity will allow you to find out the total concentration of dissolved solids in it. There are also tons of EC meters on the market that will allow you to do that easily.
You have to make sure that the EC is not too low, or your plants might not get the nutrients they need. You also have to make sure that it isn’t too high either or else you run the risk of saturating your plants, which will eventually kill them.
EC should also be adjusted depending on the growth stage. Clones and seedlings should start with an EC of about 1.3 or less for seedlings and can go as low as 0.5 for clones. Once the plants start growing, you can gradually climb until you reach the 2.0 mark. And once they enter the flowering stage, you can ramp up the EC to around 2.5, depending on the particular strain.
Find the Right Seed Supplier
No matter what equipment you have and the level of skill and experience you have as a grower, there is nothing you can do to turn seeds with poor genetics into a potent strain. Cannabis seeds can only produce what their genetic profile allows them to. Sure, doing as much as you can to provide the plant with the best environment will help it reach its full potential, but you can’t push it over its limits. If you’re looking for high-quality marijuana seeds, you can find them at seedsupreme.com who have a selection of thousands of marijuana seed strains.
Growing marijuana hydroponically at home needs patience, practice, and experience. But now that you know some of the basics, you’ll be able to increase your chances of growing your first successful crops and get better with time.