Boundless roots, give a bounty of Buds, so a healthy root system is critical to any high yield gardener. As most old school cultivators know, dank yields of sticky chronic aren’t possible minus a healthy root systems, and just about any indoor gardener will be more than happy to tell you… that their favorite method is the best for growing bushy carpets of vigorous white roots. That being said — some growers like myself have taken to combining a couple of different techniques to reap the profits of altered styles of hydro gardening.
As life and different experiences have taught me, sometimes your comfort zone needs to grow. The hybrid hydroponic system was an offshoot from that need. I have been utilizing my homemade hybrid hydroponic system with some decent success… for quite some time. The following is a list of required components and a quick lay out of the system.
A 4’ x 4’ grow tray with top… easily purchased at any Hydroponics store. Once you have your top — cut sixteen 5” inch holes. After placing the 16 plants into screen cups, then put them into the prepared holes.
The plants that you have just placed in these holes, will have been cuttings that were started in1” inch rock wool starter cubes. Then placed into the 5 inch mesh cups and filled with clay grow rocks, or rock wool which can easily be found at any of your local hydroponic stores.
Set up the drip system with the drippers removed, leaving the quarter inch line to supply a steady flow. Now that you have eliminated the problem of potentially clogged drippers… Its time to drop in a duel diaphragm air pump. This air pump pushes air through four 8”inch air stones. The air stones are set in a diamond formation in relation to the shape of the 4 x 4 rectangle tray.
A high-volume water pump is placed in the 4 x 4 tray/reservoir combination and serves both purposes of circulating a vigorous current providing even more oxygenation for your roots, as well as keeping your nutrient solutions suspended in the water.
I’ve incorporated several methods of growing into this one hybrid system. Your typical top and bottom systems require a large volume of nutrient solutions. With this system only taking a fraction of the nutes; 7 1/2 to 9 gallons to feed 16 plants. Some of your typical bucket systems can require almost double that amount for the same number of plants… and that’s not including the water in your tray or the reservoir below.
The savings in time and water is huge. I can usually add anywhere from 1 to 3 gallons more during the week depending on how much the plants are drinking based on the duration of light cycle.
As I mentioned earlier, having participated in many Deep water aquaculture grows in the past years, as well as one or two “aeroponics,”as well as a few soil gigs. I have come to realize that each have their own distinct advantages. What I was attempting to achieve was the convenience of a drip system, minus the pesky issues associated with clogged drippers. I wanted 24 – 7 watering, just like deep water aquaculture or aeroponics while also having the flow/current.