Hydroponic Growing Systems

Hydroponic Growing Systems

There are a variety of hydroponic systems for you to choose from. Each has its own advantages and which one you choose is down to personal preference. Most hydroponic shops will offer complete kits with good advice. If your budget stretches to this then they are ideal. However you will ultimately end up buying equipment that you don’t really need. It is relatively easy to construct your own systems following the basic principles.

Some pieces of kit are essential: Hydroponic nutrients for vegetative and marijuana flowering stages, a meter for measuring pH, and a meter for measuring EC. An EC meter will tell you the concentration of your nutrient solution and most commercially available solutions will require you to check this.

 

Wick Grow Systems

 

A wick system works passively. That is to say that there are no pumps needed to move the water but usually one to keep the solution aerated. The nutrient solution is pulled up to the plant via a wick (you can use thick acrylic cord) by the force of capillary action. This way the plant will take only the amount of liquid that it needs. Simply have the top end of the wick buried in the plant’s growing medium and the bottom end hanging in a reservoir of your nutrient solution.  Wick grow systems are ideal for beginners as there is no way to overwater the plants and no chance of leaks or floods as the main reservoir sits below the plants.

Ebb and Flow Grow Systems

 

These low maintenance systems are ideal for growing in Rockwool and are the system of choice for many amateur growers. Plants are placed in their pots, in a tray that can hold up to around 6” (15cm) of nutrient solution. A timed pump periodically floods the base of the tray from a reservoir, start with 4 times per day for as long as it takes to pump enough solution the base of the plant stem. When the pump switches off, the solution drains back down the same tube with the remainder staying behind in the medium which the plants then utilize. To avoid flooding, an overflow pipe is fitted in the tray at the required level (just lower than the base of the plant stem) which feeds solution back into the reservoir. Remember to always keep your growing area higher than the reservoir. This way, when pumps are off or they are accidently left on the solution will still drain back down into the reservoir and you should eliminate the chance of flooding.

Timings for watering vary according to the size and strain of your plants. A good starting point would be to flood the growing tray for 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times during the plant’s daylight cycle.

Top Feed Grow Systems

 

Top feed systems use an emitter to feed each individual plant at its base. These emitters are attached to a single, multi-valve unit which in turn is pump-fed from the reservoir. Any run-off from the plants is fed back into the reservoir via a drainage hole. Top feed systems will require some adjusting to get the quantities right, but as with the ebb and flow system above, 15 minutes feed 3 to 4 times a day is a good starting point.

The Reservoir

Nutrient solution reservoirs should be as large as possible. These are the vessels that hold the water and nutrients which are usually pumped through to your plants. Really you should consider having a reservoir that can supply at least one if not two weeks of nutrients. Plants inhale the nutrients and you will also get some evaporation if you don’t have a lid. Think about where you will locate the reservoir? The reservoir should be located as close to a source of water as possible, like the garden hose or if you are carrying buckets of water to it then it should be easily accessible like at the front of the room. Often growers have another reservoir or standing area for water as water straight from the faucet can have the wrong pH level while water that has been left to stand over night will often let chlorine dissipate.

Use a sturdy, clean plastic container fitted with a lid to prevent evaporation. Top up with clean water when necessary and completely change the solution and clean the reservoir once per week. You must consider the temperature learn about reverse osmosis and pH.

The best way to insulate a reservoir is to raise it off the ground with brick or polythene so air can flow under it. You could also consider wrapping the sides of the reservoir using Styrofoam, foam rubber or even newspaper.

24 responses to “Hydroponic Growing Systems

  1. why not just buy a tent and grow them in soil i have done it twice up to now an d the weed was pucka i i couldnt keep up with the buyers i am just in the proces of doing a fresh grow just got to get the cuttings and im away

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    • Soil makes for better tasting weed and lots of people prefer it because it is more natural. But hydro produces bigger yields and thats a fact. Hydro is a great system for those who want complete control over their plants, and of course, bigger buds.

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      • “But hydro produces bigger yields and thats a fact”

        You are confusing fact and myth my friend. Fact is, you get higher yields with more experience, and usually, there is only a correlative connection between growing on hydro and higher yields. Many people have learned this, when they made the full cirlcle, returning from hydro to soil, only to find, they have the same result. Only benefit is a (much) shorter veg time.

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  2. What system and lights grow the best bud? I need to be able to grow bud with red hairs and rich greenery. Plus how much does a set up smell? Thanks

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    • It depends on what you want – quality or quantity? Hydro will grow bigger yields but most people think that soil grows better quality. Although you can grow excellent quality either way so its kinda splitting hairs.
      You should take time reading through reviews of the different strains available to you. This site has some lots under the Seeds button. The amount of smell generated is all about the strain you choose. SOme are really stinky and will alert the whole street. Others are subtle and mellow and should not cause a problem. Read up about odor control. Again, this site has a good section, just put odor control into the search bar.

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  3. How do u know what a good female seed or plant look like

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    • You can’t really tell from the seeds. To find out if your plant is a female, check out the sexing marijuana section of this site.

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  4. where can i get the equipment for the ebb and flow and what kind of money am i talking about. THX STEV

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    • The system itself can be fairly inexpensive, by simply using a plastic tote, and going off of that. not including nutrients it would run you maybe around 80-120.

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  5. wow im new to this sounds very worth it

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  6. I would like to know where to find the prices of all growing systems and single “Do it yourself” parts etc. Thanx

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  7. Im growing hydroponics for the first time and im interest by the ebb and flow system but… Do the pots in the tray have to be net pots or just normal plastic pots?? And if I dont have some rockwool can I just put the pots free in the tray? Please help

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  8. Hi Retaxes
    What you need is to have the plants in pots and then put the pots in the tray.
    Alternately, if you only have one or two plants, you can put the wicks in the bottom of the pots and just put these pots above a reservoir individually.
    The tray idea is for if you have a few plants.

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  9. I’m growing for the first time and I’m a bit confused setting up the growing system. If I want to do the Wick system, should I use pots or a growing tray? Both?

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  10. Tino : sounds like they are not getting enough light, so they grow fast at first, reaching…stretching toward the light, but that causes them to have thin stems & they become top-heavy & fall over. It’s happened to me a few times when seeds sprouted sooner than I expected. If you catch it in time & adjust the lighting, sometimes they can recover and go on to lead a full, healthy & happy life. :)

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  11. Try taking the plant and trans_plant it and put more of the tree in the pot if u can without buring the leaves in it. just as far as u can go. if your plants did what mine did it should work.

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  12. In a hydro system how would you cover the unused net pods?

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  13. just wondering how many plants can i grow using 2 fluorecent tubes, and 1 HIP lamp for my flowering room?! Please help! Thank you

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  14. hey why do my plants grow about 5 to 6 inches and then fall over to the side whats wrong?

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  15. For the love of God, keep writing these atircels.

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  16. Maybe Timmy lives in cali…i dnt know which one i would use though, so many choices, and i know nothin…except I wanna grow my own weed!

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  17. Is Timmy Evitts retarded? ^^

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  18. the grow tray seems ideal for small plants but what is required for large plants to grow in ?

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  19. Wow i can not acaully believe i can now grow my own buds legally! The one good thing you from Hypatidis c. trying to put the money together to start.I appreciate all your info

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