This post is an overview of the six popular hydroponic techniques that are used to grow marijuana. These techniques can be broadly divided into two groups, namely techniques that involve either active or passive systems. Active systems include the flood and drain system and the drip system. They are grouped under active systems because they move or transfer the water using a pump or a similar mechanical device in order to supply it to the marijuana plant. The remaining are passive systems.
1. Wick Technique.
The wick technique is the least complicated of all systems. In this system, there is a wick that is placed and positioned downwards. It reaches the reservoir and absorbs the nutrients via capillary action as they are needed. There are no moving parts in this system and only requires a tray and water reservoir.
Strictly speaking, aeroponics would not qualify under hydroponics. For purposes of convenience, it’s considered by experts under hydroponics. In this technique, the plants and their roots are suspended in the air rather than in the medium. A nutrient solution that is highly oxygenated is sprayed as a fine mist on to the roots of the marijuana plant. This method is relatively new and requires close attention from the grower.
3. Ebb and Flow Technique (also called flood and drain).
Simply put, an ebb and flow system uses a timer activated pump which floods the marijuana plants medium with nutrient solution. The solution is subsequently drained out. This system avoids flooding by using two plastic trays or tubs. The two tubs are positioned on top of each other. The tub where the plants and medium are placed is termed planting tub. This tub is periodically flooded with water that contains the essential nutrients. The medium absorbs the water and nutrients while the excess drains (ebbs) down into the reservoir tub. Because of its simple and effective design, it’s perhaps the most commonly used technique of growing marijuana using hydroponics.
4. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT).
The marijuana plants are potted and their roots are allowed to hang freely into a very thin film of nutrient solution. The solution passes over the roots where the nutrients are absorbed out of the water. This method is often used commercially.
5. Deep Water Culture.
This system uses two buckets wherein one is fitted into the other. Limewood or porous stone is placed in the bucket at the bottom and holes are drilled at the bucket placed at the top. The roots are fully submerged in the water where the nutrients are dissolved while the limewood provides oxygen. This method is easy to setup but requires a lot of pots if you intend to grow many plants.
6. Continuous Drip Technique. There is a reservoir (usually a large garbage can will do) where a pump is attached and is used to feed water with the nutrients into a hose. The hose has holes situated at the base of each marijuana plant to bring water to the roots.
In hydroponic techniques, marijuana plants react very fast if there is any failure in the delivery of water and nutrients. This is why close observation is warranted when using hydroponic methods. The pH is another factor that should be maintained at 5.8. The roots of each plant should not intertwine because they need ample space to grow. Lastly, to absolutely prevent rotting of the roots constantly provide high oxygen levels.