The hydroponics is a technique that despite of futuristic look, it has been practiced for over 2000 years in Egypt and China regions.
In the world of medicinal and recreational cannabis, more and more growers are interested in this cultivation technique. The reason is that it is an ideal system, with which we can keep control of all the parameters of the crop, at all times. In hydroponic growing systems, the use of nutrients is optimized, maximizing the yield of our crops.
In today’s article we will show you everything you need to set up your own hydroponic growing system at home.
Basic principles of hydroponic cultivation
Hydroponics is often confused with “growing plants in water”, when in fact it refers to “cultivation without using soil” or without using organic substrates. There are various materials that can be used to grow vegetables in hydroponic systems, such as perlite, rock wool, coconut fiber, expanded polystyrene, rice husks, shavings, expanded clay, vermiculite, etc.
These inert substrates do not have any assimilable nutrients for the plants, in their composition, for which all of them must be administered in the irrigation solution. Plants absorb all the components they need to develop, an ideal nutrient solution for each stage of development. This allows us to maintain much stricter control of our crop’s fertilization program than when we cultivate on land.
In hydroponic growing systems, water circulates continuously, or in irrigation cycles, soaking the roots, so that plants directly absorb nutrients. For this, submersible water pumps are used to drive the water, making it circulate throughout the irrigation system. It is very important to always use quality water, always controlling the pH and electrical conductivity to obtain the best results.
What are the most popular hydroponic cultivation techniques?
Today there are numerous hydroponic growing systems on the market, already prepared and ready to mount. Some of them are:
- Horti Pot pots, which consist of a bucket full of nutrient solution, with a grid on which the plants are placed. The roots grow directly in the water, and oxygen is supplied to it using an air pump, like those used in aquariums.
- Flood and drainage systems (Ebb & Flow), in which the plants are placed on an inert substrate such as rock wool, on irrigation trays that are flooded and drained with each irrigation.
- Drip systems, similar to the previous one, but irrigation is carried out by means of a drip system, instead of flooding.
- Another of the hydroponic systems most used by marijuana growers is the NTF (Nutrien Film Technic) systems. In this case, interconnected PVC pipe systems are used, through which the nutrient solution driven by a submersible water pump circulates.
These ready-made kits or systems offer the advantage that they are designed by professionals to be very easy to install and maintain. However, they can have a high cost for some pockets, or not be very accessible in the area where you live.
Do not worry, because in this article we are going to teach you how to build your own hydroponic cultivation at home, very easily, with materials available to everyone, and at a very low cost.
Building your own hydroponic cultivation system at home
As we have seen, there are many different methods to set up your own hydroponic cannabis cultivation system. On this occasion we are going to show one of the most widely used for its simplicity and efficiency, using pvc pipes cut to size, based on the NTF system.
- PVC pipe between 100 and 150 mm in diameter. The length will depend on the size of your design.
- 4 PVC elbows of the same diameter.
- 16 mm irrigation rubber. With two or three meters we will have enough.
- Metal legs or table to support the installation. Those used for screw-on metal shelves are ideal, because they can be adapted to all sizes. And they are very cheap to buy.
- Saw to cut the pipe. Or, you can ask to have it cut to size in the establishment where you buy it.
- PVC and Teflon glue.
- Plastic planters with grid, special for hydroponics.
- Cylindrical drill bit to make the holes where we will put the flowerpots.
- A tank of about 100 liters, with a lid for the irrigation solution.
- Another tank of between 50 and 100 liters for drainage.
- Water pump, submersible of about 25w.
- Air pump. Like those used in aquariums.
- Arlite (expanded clay)
- Digital timer.
- Flanges to fasten the system to the cultivation table.