Posts tagged hydroponics
Some of you may be familiar with the AeroGarden and other aeroponic products. But, what makes them aeroponics? What the hell is aeroponics?
Hydroponics is growing plants without soil, and technically aeroponics is a type of hydroponics. The benefits of using such a system over growing in soil is that you can have much more control over the nutrients that you feed your babies. In a soil grow, the soil provides the nutrients and a support structure for the roots to grow. In hydroponics you must provide your plant with all the nutrients, and support the roots with something like rockwool or hydroton. In aeroponics, you essentially allow the roots to grow freely as they please, supported by nothing other than themselves and air. And, you spray the roots with nutrients so that they don’t dry out.
This sounds crazy, but you will be surprised at how much you can increase your yield and efficiency by using an aeroponic system.
You are going to need to purchase a 5 gallon bucket and a lid. And, you want to spray paint the outside of the bucket and top of the lid black. This will provide the optimal growing conditions for the roots which will die if exposed to light.
Once you do this, you will need to purchase a mesh pot typically used for aquatic plants and cut a hole in the lid to fit the pot. Make sure you don’t cut the hole too big or the pot will fall through. You will also need enough hydrton or rockwool cubes to fill the pot, or a large rockwool cube that fits snuggly inside. If you use a large rockwool cube, cut it into a circle so it fits in the pot.
The easiest way to start a seedling for such an operation is in a small rockwool starter cube.
Now, in order to provide the roots with nutrients you need to spray them some how. And, there are two ways to do this.
One is to create a deep water culture, and this is by far the easiest method. You simply fill the bucket with dechlorinated water and nutrients. Then, you place an air stone, one of the things that makes bubbles in a fish tank, at the bottom of the bucket. The roots absorb the nutrients and water and get oxygen form the bubbles. At first the roots won’t be submerged in the water but over time they will grow, and eventually fill the whole bucket.
The other method which is slightly more complicated to construct works more like a sprinkler system. You still use the bucket itself as the reservoir for the water and nutrients, but instead of having the roots submerged in the water, you spray the water through little sprinkler heads. This method requires a water pump, and therefore, is slightly more expensive. However, you could adapt your same aeroponics bucket into an effective clone incubator by using this type of set up.
That pretty much covers everything. Sorry for the long delay since the last post. We’ve been working 12 hour days at our “real jobs”. And, to Nicholas Davis, don’t worry sir we haven’t forgotten about you. We just haven’t had time to hit up the head shop.
As always, Jah bless. And, thank you for your continued patronage of MJMB.
(at work now, need to get at it, pictures to be added soon)
In an effort to optimize our site we have been noticing that many first time viewers have reached us by searching for “purple marijuana stems” or some related term through search engines. If you are one of these people, we highly recommend that you keep reading.
Essentially, plants need light, water, and nutrients to grow. In a growing set up where you use soil, the majority of the nutrients can be absorbed by the plants root system from the soil. In hydroponics, it is necessary to add any nutrients to the water. A deficiency of any nutrient can arise in a soil grow, however it is more likely that a deficiency will occur in a hydroponic setup.
Different deficiencies manifest themselves in different ways, and if you notice that the stalk or stem, whatever you might refer to it, of your plant is turning purple it is likely that you are experiencing a phosphorus deficiency. This problem can be corrected by feeding your plant a fertilizer which is high in phosphorus. Water down the fertilizer and flush the soil or growing medium with the nutrient rich solution. If you are using a hydroponic setup then just add the phosphorus laden fertilizer the next time you fill the resevoir.
Hope this helped.
Now, what is cloning? For those of you who have never heard of the term it is actually a fairly common practice in all horticultural fields. Essentially it means to take a cutting from an existing plant and to force that cutting to grow roots. The good thing is that for every plant you have, you get many more than just one cutting. The downside is you will have to continue to keep the clones in a vegetative life cycle to get them to a large enough size where it would be beneficial to start flowering the plants, and making them grow buds. If you are on a short time schedule you shouldn’t make clones because it will delay the process. But, if you plan on growing for more than just one harvest, we definitely recommend making clones. In that case it saves you time. Instead of having to start from seeds on your second grow you will have a whole batch of clones to start with. You can take clones from several different plants and after you figure out which one you like the best once the first batch is done flowering you only have to grow the clones from the best plant for your second harvest.
In terms of the process of actually making clones. Its pretty much as simple as cutting off a branch from any marijuana plant. You want to get at least two nodes in each clone to insure that the clone will be strong enough. Two nodes means two sets of leaves, in case you were wondering. Make sure the cut you make is made diagonally on the branch and that immediately afterwards you place the cutting in specially formulated rooting gel or into water. Once you do this put the cutting in a rockwool cube or in a pot of dirt. You don’t want oxygen to get into the plants veins, its lethal just like it is for a person, so this is why you want to get it planted as soon as possible. Another option is to put the cutting immediately in water and then put it in a bubble bucket which is a type of hydroponic setup.
Relating back to the questions one of you asked, clones won’t directly increase your yield. If you grow four plants and take four clones from each plant before you start flowering them, then you can take the four clones form the highest yielding plant and grow them into four plants. This would likely increase your total yield since the clones will carry the genetic traits of that high yielding mother plant. If you only plan on growing for one harvest, just buy seeds and grow them into plants, don’t bother making clones. Its a good idea to take clones the first time you grow, even if they die you get the experience. If you have any other questions about making clones, comment on this post.
*Quick Tip: Make sure you mark each clone so you know which mother plant it came from. This way it will be easy to select the clones you want to use later. Seems simple enough, but if you don’t mark your clones you’ll have to guess…which could mean the difference between buds and duds.
If you have never grown marijuana indoors you should probably use regular old dirt for your first grow. With hydroponics and modified hydroponics systems you can achieve better results, including higher yield and better quality pot, but it is also much easier to mess everything up. We don’t recommend using dirt from your backyard, but you can find something at your local hardware store or gardening supply center. Now, in the spring, is the time to stock up on dirt if you are planning on growing plants indoors; it looks kind of sketchy buying potting soil when everyone else is buying snow shovels. If you buy Miracle Grow brand soil it already contains some fertilizers and using regular water with no additional fertilizers or nutrients will allow you to grow a marijuana plant that will produce buds that you can then dry, smoke, and get high from. We highly recommend this method for first time growers. On your second grow, you can start experimenting with liquid fertilizers.
If you follow our instructions for your first grow, you can start using Coco Coir on your second grow. It is made from coconut fibers and while the material itself has little nutritional value for your plants, it is much more efficient at holding water than soil is. This allows you to go longer periods without having to water your plants, and since it has no nutrients of its own allows you to have greater control over what nutrients you are giving your plant. But, the downside is that you have to give your plant the nutrients it needs to survive. If you give it too much or in too high of a concentration your plant will die, or be shocked and could become a male or hermaphrodite plant. You want females, those sexy ladies, voluptuous with all them curves and big lady lumps. If you choose to grow this route, you can purchase your coco at a garden supply store, hydroponics supply store, or pet shop ( its used as a substrate for reptiles, but is most expensive at the pet store). This method is also true for using rockwool.
Now once you have some experience, you can get into full on hydroponics. We at MJMB consider using coco a modified hydroponics system because you need to add the nutrients in, you can’t use straight water and expect your plant to live and thrive if you’re growing in coco. Hydroponics requires a few things your water resevoir, nutrients, and air. You need to make sure the roots don’t get dry, that they receive nutrients and that they also get oxygen. You can make a simple hydroponics set up with a five gallon bucket, a lid for a bucket and a netted pot typically used for aquatic plants. The water and the nutrients and the water go in the bucket. You can get a regular aquarium air pump at a pet store with an air stone, and put this at the bottom of the bucket to allow the roots to get oxygen. Cut a hole in the lid to fit the netted pot hydroton, which are specially designed clay balls for hydroponics growing. This method requires making clones or seedlings which we will get into at a later date.
We hope you found this post informative and we will get into a more detailed, step by step approach to how to go about growing under each method. As time goes on we will get into what type of lights to use, which nutrients you need, setting up your grow room, and any other questions you may have for us. So, if you have any questions feel free to post them as a comment to this post.