Hydroponics Light System Guide

Hydroponics gardening is a popular method for growing cannabis and hydroponic gardening requires that you use  LED and other grow light technology.   However, especially for newbies and traditional gardeners, hydroponics gardening can be quite intimidating. So, I’ve decided to provide this guide/overview of hydroponic gardening.  

Elsewhere, I have included the advantages of LED lighting.  So, I won't go in depth into that in this article. 

Hydroponic Light System Guide

What Is Hydroponic Gardening?

 Hydroponic gardening occurs  is when plants are grown, without soil, in different substances or mediums (sand, liquid, gravel )using additional nutrients.   Hydroponically  grown cannabis using grow  lights to start photosynthesis, which are combined with the roots of the plants being exposed to air, which result a plant's roots capturing oxygen.

What Are The Pros and Cons Of Using A Hydroponic Lighting System?

PROS

Their are several reasons for choosing to use hydroponics, some of which, are the following:

  • Higher Yields: Cannabis plants grown hydroponically will have a greater yield because hydroponics allows you to place your plants closer than if you were planting outside.
  • Water Conservation: At first this doesn’t make sense. But, with hydroponics, you will use up to ten times less water than if you were to plant your cannabis outdoors. The reason for this is because hydroponic systems recycle the water, while the same water would be wasted when cannabis is grown outdoors.
  • All Year Growing, Anywhere: An indoor hydroponic system allows you to grow cannabis all year and in any environment.
  • Space Saver: As stated above, a hydroponic growing system allows you to place your marijuana plants closer together.

CONS

There are, however, a few disadvantages to growing cannabis hydroponically:

Learning Curve: Hydroponic gardening requires you to be familiar with complicated hydroponic equipment, grow lights and other complicated equipment. So, whether you are an experienced, traditional, cannabis farmer or a newbie grower, there is a big learning curve for hydroponic gardening. And if you make mistakes, you could easily ruin your harvest.
Energy Use: Growing hydroponically via grow lights obviously requires more energy that if you were to plant marijuana outdoors.

Costs Money: With hydroponics gardening system, you may need to purchase all of the following: grow lights, fertilizer, irrigation systems and much more. This means that a decent sized hydroponic garden could cost you upwards of $1,000 or more, while a traditional garden could cost less than $200.

Disease: Soil acts as a barrier for disease and Cannabis plants grown in soil are separated from one another. As a result, because of the separation and the soil, plants planted hydroponically will not be able to spread their disease to another plant usually. However, hydroponically grown plants share the same water, which means that disease in more able to be quickly spread.

Disease: Soil acts as a barrier for disease and Cannabis plants grown in soil are separated from one another. As a result, because of the separation and the soil, plants planted hydroponically will not be able to spread their disease to another plant usually. However, hydroponically grown plants share the same water, which means that disease in more able to be quickly spread.

Installation: Setting up your hydroponic growing system requires more time and technical knowledge than traditional gardening.

Popular Hydroponic  Gardening Systems

The most commonly used hydroponic systems are the following:

Wick

As the cannabis plants grow downward, a wick moves nutrient-enriched water upward to the lower plants roots.

Wick Hydroponic Gardening System

Raft

 Plants are placed on a floating platform with the plant roots being submerged in nutrient-enriched water where a pump provides oxygen to water, which in turn your fertilizes a cannabis plants roots.

Ebb and Flow

Plants grow through a medium or substance while nutrient-enriched water is pumped to its roots, while the water circulates back into your water source. Some of the most popular mediums are clay, peat moss, sand, gravel, Rockwood,coco coir, perlite, and vermiculite.

Ebb and Flow Hydroponic Gardening System

Aeroponics

 The plant roots are placed in a closed area and are sprayed with nutrient-enriched water via a fine mist. Aeroponics is among the most expensive type of hydroponic gardening.

Aeroponic gardening system

Air-Gap

Cannabis plant roots are placed partially in nutrient-enriched water while oxygen hits the upper parts of the plant's roots.

Nutrient Film Technique

 Cannabis plants are hung in a floating, slightly tilted, trough with the bottom of the plant’s roots being supplied with nutrient-enriched water, which is driven to the trough at the upper end of the hydroponic system.

Nutrient Film Hydroponic Gardening System

Hydroponic Nutrient Requirement

Nutrient-enriched water is used in hydroponic gardening of cannabis, and the specific nutrients are classified as being either Major, Secondary, or Micro-Nutrients. The difference between the different nutrients categories is the number of nutrients needed, with Major Nutrients needing the most nutrients and Micro-Nutrients needing the least amount of the particular nutrient.

MAJOR

  • Nitrogen: Is the number one nutrient that is needed for hydroponic gardening as it produces chlorophyll (makes plants green) and helps the various proteins blend together. Low Nitrogen will result in your plants having yellowish leaves, and the plant's growth will be stunted.
  • Potassium: Potassium is the second most needed nutrient needed in hydroponics. Potassium helps regulate plants water levels and forms a plants shape, color, and many other essential functions.
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorus provides energy to numerous, vital, plant functions.

SECONDARY NUTRIENTS

  • Magnesium: Magnesium helps with developing chlorophyll, and it also helps with the cannabis plant growth.  Magnesium deficiencies result in lower photosynthesis, which will, in turn, result in your cannabis yields being reduced.Calcium: Calcium helps reduce cellular walls, which results in reduced bruising and crop diseases. If you don't have enough calcium, your cannabis plants growth may be stunted.
  • Calcium: Calcium helps reduce cellular walls, which results in reduced bruising and crop diseases. If you don't have enough calcium, your cannabis plants growth may be stunted.
  • SULFUR: Sulfur: Sulfur helps with the growth and proper coloring of plants. Sulfur deficiency retards plants growth and also can result in plants turning a pale yellow.

MICRO-NUTRIENTS

  • Iron: An Iron deficiency leads to reduced chlorophyll, which results in the discoloration of cannabis leaves.
  • Boron: Boron is necessary for developing marijuana plants roots and shoots. A sufficient amount of Boron is also needed during the flowering growth stage.
  • Zinc: Zinc helps a plant produce essential hormones, which are used for preventing defects in cannabis plants and other vital parts of your cannabis plant.
  • Molybdenum: Molybdenum helps control the metabolism of nitrogen  in plants.

CONCLUSION

Growing Marijuana outdoors can be very rewarding as it has many advantages over, traditional, indoor and outdoor gardening systems. However, hydroponic gardening can be unforgiving if you make inevitable mistakes. So, if you want to take on the challenge of learning hydroponic gardening, I recommend that you start small, and keep a hydroponic lighting system on the side along with a traditional garden and then when you feel confident expand your hydroponic cannabis garden. And, if you desire, you can gradually convert to using a 100% hydroponic light system.

Click, Best LED Grow Lights for  information and reviews of the best grow lights. 

And, GO HERE, for more info on the benefits of Hydroponics