Interested in growing some of your cannabis hydroponically? There are three distinct techniques that are popular with experienced growers: deep water culture, ebb and flow, and the nutrient film technique. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. But they are proven systems fully capable of producing high quality crops with high yields. Choose a method based on your personal preferences and the materials you have available to construct your system or those you can purchase from a hydroponics dealer.
Deep water culture
With deep water culture (DWC), roots hang in a nutrient-rich, oxygenated water solution. There are three common methods:
Ebb and flow
Another method, very similar to RDWC, is ebb and flow. A large reservoir holds the hydroponic nutrient solution, and a small submersible pump sends the solution to a small distribution reservoir where it is then distributed to two or more buckets via small hoses. An electronic timer controls both the incoming and the outgoing pumps:
Ebb and flow requires less nutrient solution, due to the presence of the expanded clay pellets. But it has one major disadvantage: The entire root system permeates the pellets. Removing them from the roots after harvest can be difficult and time-consuming.
Nutrient film technique
The third hydroponic method is the nutrient film technique (NFT), in which holes are cut along the length of one side of a large-diameter tube. Both ends are capped, and the tube is positioned at an incline using a support system. The plants are germinated in rockwool pellets and placed in small plastic baskets, which are filled with expanded clay pellets and then suspended in the holes. Then, a constant stream of hydroponic nutrient solution is fed into the elevated end of the tube. It runs downhill to the lower end, where it then drains through a hose into a reservoir so that it can be pumped back to the top of the tube for recirculation.
However, the tube should have a sufficient incline to prevent the water from pooling, but not so much that it runs any faster than necessary. In addition, only enough solution is pumped to the top of the tube to create a thin film downward, so that the plant’s root system will spread out along the bottom of the tube and expose the upper sections to air where they can readily absorb oxygen. NFT can be a very productive method of cannabis cultivation when it’s constructed, operated and managed correctly.
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