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© 2019 Missouri Marijuana Card

Feeding Schedules and Hydroponic Grows

Soilless Cannabis Grows; The Benefits of Hydroponics

  • How hydroponic systems improve performance over growing in soil and how to set up a proper feeding schedule.

There’s more than one way to grow cannabis. Indoor or outdoor, in soil or without it?

Let’s discuss the reasons you should be growing your cannabis in a hydroponic system and how to set up an effective feeding schedule.

Hydroponic Cannabis Grows Versus Soil

Perhaps the first major difference you’ll notice between indoor cannabis grows that use hydroponics or soil is their level of cleanliness. Regardless of how pristine cultivators are, hydroponic systems avoid soil which means an immediately cleaner environment.

Of course, not needing soil is a benefit in itself for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s much easier to control the nutrient levels in a hydroponic system than it is in soil.

Second, soil, when not in immediate use, requires either storage or disposal. Conversely, hydroponic systems can easily recycle their water-based medium.

How to Set Up a Proper Feeding Schedule in a Hydroponic Cannabis Grow

Most often, feeding schedules are broken down into grids that make it easy to quickly know where you’re at in the process. 

Week-by-week formats are often best since cannabis plants grow rather quickly and need frequent changes in their diet. 

That’s why, before you germinate your seeds, it’s important to schedule the proper amount of nitrogen needed during the vegetative state to build leaves and stems. 

During the flowering stage, your nutrient schedule should round out with calcium and phosphorus, for example.

A properly set up feeding schedule pre-determines nutrient feeding levels during the seedling and vegetative growth stages then moderates the nutrients for the early, mid, and late-bloom stages of the plant’s development. In the final two weeks, additional nutrients may be needed during the ripening and flushing stages.

Be sure to use a PPM reader to determine that your nutrient levels are correct upon application.

General Hydroponic Overview

Hydroponics purpose is to provide a favorable environment that will optimize yields despite removing the soil from your grow. Above the roots, everything mimics a soil grow. You still want to control the plant's relative humidity, temperature levels, and light schedules just as you would for a soil grow. Some of the new things you will need to control with a hydroponic grow are the nutrients, a pH buffer, and a plant anchor. When done correctly, this can significantly increase your yields. 

Roots are unable to protect themselves from rapid temperature changes, so you'll want to aim for a water temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The widest range you will want to introduce to your plants is about 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but room temperature is the optimal temperature for a hydroponic grow. Roots need a constant supply of three things; Oxygen, Water, and Nutrients. Your nutrients should be mixed in with the water at the correct ratios for the growth stage that your plants are in. This is where first-time growers can make mistakes because being off by a little bit may be enough to decrease overall yield or even kill your crop. Be sure to triple check your measurements when providing nutrients to your hydroponic grow. Your water will need to have a pH balance between 5.5 and 6.5, analyzing and adjusting will be a major factor in determining your plant's yields. 

How to Get Water and Oxygen to Your Roots with a Hydroponic Grow

There are many ways you can provide oxygen and water to your roots via your hydroponic system. One way would be to submerge the roots in water and add water stone to provide oxygen to the roots. Another way would be to take the aeroponics route and provide oxygen and water to the roots with a mist. Applying a drip system is another valuable way to provide your plant with its basic necessities. 

Despite being able to suspend the roots in air, or submerge them in water, you'll likely want to add a grow medium to your set up. The reason being, is that it provides some of the benefits that soil provides. Adding a grow medium will help with water and nutrient retention, aeration, and it will act as a temperature buffer as well. 

Grow Your Own Medical Marijuana in Missouri