Hydroponics gardening is the method of growing plants in water only and without the use of soil. This is a great method of growing almost any plant, from flowers and herbs to edible vegetables and fruits. Hydroponics is being seen as the perfect method for mass production of edible plants in the future, as our precious resources such as water and minerals continue to be depleted, and the population continues to grow substantially. Hydroponics and its cost benefits along with its availability are of great benefit to us.
There are many forms of hydroponics gardening. Ebb and flow, aeroponics, continuous-flow solution culture, and deep water culture are just to name a few of the more common systems used to today.
Ebb and flow, is just as its name implies, the simple ebb and flow of a nutrient mix water solution onto a tray holding plants and filled with some form of grow medium (such as Hydroton or clay granules). The flood tray is connected to a pump submerged in a reservoir usually below the tray. The pump is then turned on at regular intervals so that it fills the tray with the nutrient solution, and thus allowing your plants access to the nutrients. Once the pump is turned off, the nutrient solution is drained back into the reservoir below. This all happens at regular intervals with the pump being on timer usually set to 15 minutes. Except for the need to add more nutrients and water after a period of time, the nutrients mix is reused over and over again.
Aeroponics is the method of growing plants with their roots suspended in the air within a chamber, and watering them with a fine mist or aerosol nutrient solution environment.
Continuous-flow solution culture, is where the roots of plants are continuously exposed to a shallow flow of nutrient solution. The nutrient film technique, or NFT, is a popular form of hydroponic gardening. This is a great way to have high yields, as plants are constantly exposed to water that is rich in Nutrients and Oxygen.
Deep water culture is a method of suspending roots in a nutrient-rich water solution. The plants are held in a net pot, where the roots are exposed to the solution using a wicking method. Oxygen is provided by the use of an air pump and common air stones found at the local Aquarium Store.
All of these Hydroponic methods have been used successfully for years. Hydroponics growing can go bad quickly and constant monitoring of PH and PPM’s are a must. A grower needs to provide fresh nutrients, a clean reservoir and pay close attention to pests and any signs of disease, and with any of the these grow techniques, a higher yield can be expected over more traditional methods of growing cannabis plants.
Other very important requirements are a clean electrical set up, lighting selection, pest control, humidity control, passive vs sealed rooms, these are all items that need to be addressed in proper indoor garden operations.