This system is great at providing nutrients to your plants. If set up efficiently, it also saves water and power. One potential problem is clogged tubing due to roots blocking the flow. That gives bacteria a chance to grow, which of course will negatively impact your plants. Stay sharp while trying NFT!
RDWC System without plants.
This is a slightly more complex system to use. NFT stands for Nutrient Film Technique. Here, plants grow with their roots in a wide tube, usually made of PVC. The oxygen-rich water carrying nutrients is pumped from the reservoir to the tubes and back. Tubes should be installed at an angle to ensure ample water flow back into the reservoir. The ‘Film’ in NFT represents the ideal situation in which just a thin filmy layer of water and nutrients flows over and along the roots.
Basically, any plant can be grown using hydroponics. Cannabis thrives on it, but these days, you’ll find entire farms growing lettuce and leeks on water alone. Fun fact: the increasing popularity of growing cannabis at home has been one of the driving forces behind the development of new hydroponics systems used in regular agriculture!
RDWC is the easiest system to manage, making it a great option for beginners. You put your germinated plants into individual containers, which you then place into a water container. All you add is some hydro pellets to give the roots some added grip. An air pump ensures a constant air supply into the water. Nutrients are added to the water, which the plants can then absorb through their roots. That means roots are constantly exposed to water throughout the growth cycle. The R in RDWC stands for Recirculating, because the water is constantly pumped around the system in a closed loop.
Ebb And Flow System
The diagram below shows the basic components of a simple hydroponics setup for cannabis growers.
In an ebb and flow setup, the roots are not constantly submerged. A pump regularly fills the container with oxygenated and nutrient-rich water. When the container is full, the pump stops working, allowing the water to flow back into the reservoir. It’s a bit like running your own little mangrove at home. You set the ebb and flow intervals according to what your plants need.
Using hydroponics to grow cannabis is not as complicated as it seems, but all the new terminology and techniques can be a bit overwhelming for beginners. For those who take the time to learn the system, the benefits are profound.
Finding a Good System
This is kept on a timer and can be adjusted to suit the needs of the plant.
After all of this is done then the plants can finally be added to the set up without issue.
This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.
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