Hydroponics supplies can seem overwhelming at first glance. There are different methods of hydroponic growing. But there are certain hydroponic supplies that remain relatively universal similar regardless of your method because they're based on the same principles of soil-free growing.
I hope you had a chance to check out my page on cannabis hydroponics or the science and art of growing plants without soil. Growing hydroponic marijuana can be a bit more challenging than traditional methods at initially But as with anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. If done properly, hydroponic growing can result in up to 30% more yield, faster maturation in a smaller space and easy to conceal, if that's your thing.
But what about hydroponics supplies? If you're intrigued by the idea of hydroponic growing, considering a business as a grower, or just want to grow your own medicine (or vegetables!) in a very precise, controlled environment, this section will give you a quick rundown on some of the main elements to hydroponics supplies.
With regards to hydroponics supplies, a reservoir is simply a container where your fluids reside. The idea of hydroponic growing is keeping your plant root system awash in water, nutrients and air so your reservoir is where your liquids are housed.
Deep Water Culture (DWC): In DWC, the reservoir is simply a container for your water and nutrients. Plants can be fed directly in the reservoir. DWC is relatively simple, cost effective and productive.
Nutrient Film Technique (NTF): This aeroponic system will bathe the roots with oxygen/nutrient-rich mist at regular intervals. The mist pumped from the reservoir to the plant roots.
Ebb And Flow: The reservoir for an ebb and flow system pumps the water and nutrients to the plant containers and then pumps the fluids back again until the next scheduled feeding.
Keep in mind that your hydroponics supplies can be as elaborate or simple as you'd like. If you're a MacGyver-DIY type, reservoirs can be made from heavy duty 5-12 gallon buckets or Tupperware bins. Bigger is better for reservoirs and lids or some kind of covering is essential to reduce evaporation.
Irrigation is necessary for any type of growing. If you're going to use an active hydroponic marijuana growing system like ebb and flow, you'll need a water pump to feed and water your plants. A timer will shut off the pump allowing the nutrient solution to drain back into the reservoir until time for the next feeding.
Water pumps are measured by gallons per minute (GPM) or more commonly, gallons per hour (GPH). Small output pumps can be as small as 40 GPH and cost about $8.50. Large pumps can move up to 1250 GPH of fluids and can run about $183. Of course shop around as prices will vary. Water pumps have a foam filter which can be easily and cheaply replaced.
Depending on your choice of hydroponic system, your irrigation needs will differ. Large, round, smooth substrate (growing medium) drain rapidly and may need more frequent watering cycles. Four to 12 times daily for anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes per watering is not unusual. Fibrous mediums like coconut fiber or vermiculite will require less frequent watering. Once a day may be sufficient. Recommended irrigation cycle for top feed systems is three times per day for five minutes or longer. Like the name implies, top feed systems meter specific amounts of nutrients to the base of individual plants. It's delivered via spaghetti tubing or emitter dedicated to each plant. The fluids are cycled and drained similar to an ebb and flow hydroponic system.
All plants need oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2). Don't believe the hype of anyone who says CO2 is bad. Seriously. Get educated on the globalists who want to tax people for breathing. But I digress.
This is an example of a DWC systems, also known as a "bubbler."
Net pots rest in holes cut into the lid of the DWC hydroponic system reservoir.
As seedling or clone roots develop, they dangle down into the hydroponics nutrients. A submersible pump lift hydroponic nutrients to the top of a discharge tube which splashes within the reservoir feeding the roots. The constant "bubbling" of nutrients keep your plants. The output of air pumps is measured by liters per minute.
By circulating the hydroponic nutrients in this manner, oxygen content is increased which is nothing but awesomeness for plants!
An air stone is placed in the bottom of the reservoir which creates the bubbles. These can commonly be found aquarium supply stores. But now there are also perforated tubes that can conform to any shape needed. New innovations in hydroponics supplies create improved products and more effective yields.
Another critical item on the hydroponics supplies shopping list are your nutrients. Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are absorbed from the air and water. The nutrients - or food - is absorbed from your growing medium and hydroponics solution. Your choice of hydroponics nutrients is critical for a robust, potent harvest. Don't be intimidated by need for precise ratios when using hydroponics nutrients. Baking requires precise measurements and ratios. Think of your hydroponics nutrients as a recipe.
Your primary nutrient plant food is measured as:
- N = Nitrogen
- P = Phosphorus
- K = Potassium
A 15-15-15 solution means it contains 15% Nitrogen, 15% Phosphorus, and 15% Potassium. 20-10-5 means 20% Nitrogen, 10% Phosphorous, 15% Potassium. When selecting your hydroponics nutrients, be sure it supplies adequate amounts of Nitrogen during the early growth stages. Early stage hydroponic nutrients commonly have ratios of 9-5-10 or 18-6-16. Hydroponic fertilizers used in later growth stages should have lower ratios of N.
Fortunately, hydroponic marijuana growing continues to grow in popularity so there are more premixed hydroponic nutrients taking out a lot of the guess work and need to mix your own fertilizers.
Look for hydroponics nutrients that also provide secondary and micro-nutrients. These will be listed on the label. It's not uncommon for hydroponics nutrients to be deficient in magnesium. You can use Epsom salts or purchase an iron-zinc-manganese combination. Your local grow shop professional would be able to recommend the best course of action if necessary.
Because plants go through two stages
vegetative and flowering), some preeminent growing expert Ryan Riley recommends changing plant foods often to avoid deficiencies in your plants. If you see the pH going down quickly (acidic), change to solution more often. Make sure you have a pH meter in your hydroponics supplies toolkit. This will make pH monitoring easy as you will need to do this regularly.
If you find your pH levels too high or low, pH Up and pH Down are a series of mixtures that will adjust your pH levels as necessary. Commercial mixes such as this is tested, safe and proven effective. You'll have plenty to do mixing your hydroponics nutrients. you can make your horticulture life a little easier if you can "outsource" this component to the experts.
Hydroponics Nutrients Note: When it comes to hydroponics nutrients, resist the temptation to over feed your plants. If you over feed your plants, you will kill them. Under feeding plants only means it will take longer to grow. Talk to your hydroponics supplies expert, read the directions (recipe) and when in doubt, always err on the side of caution and stick with the "less is more" rule. Your plants will thank you later!
Finding a reputable, knowledgeable hydroponics supplies retailer - locally and online - will serve you well. I'm a huge proponent of supporting small, local business owners. And yes, that includes online retailers as well.
A good hydroponics suppliers is The Big Tomato They're located here in Aurora, CO.
I love the fact that they carry everything needed for hydroponic marijuana growing. Their site is very robust with good information about their products. I hate to shop around different sites to find what I need. One stop shopping rules!
But I have two local shops I go to as well. Its nice if I need something quickly - like when I needed grow light bulbs.
So find a good hydroponics supplies connection brick 'n mortar and online. Redundancies are good and convenient depending on what you need, how fast you need it and how much you want to spend. This is where you'll find the subject matter experts who can give you in detail 411 about hydroponics supplies and growing techniques. This is what they do every day. Hopefully this page give you a good basic foundation of what is needed for hydroponic marijuana growing. So when you're ready to start investing in equipment you'll be armed with enough basic knowledge to ask good questions.
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