Hydroponics is a way of growing cannabis without soil. When trying to grow cannabis in a hydroponic system the plants may be grown in a bucket or basket with a full tank/container of nutrients for the roots to grow in.
What is hydroponic grown cannabis?
Cannabis roots grow around the clay pebbles, absorbing nutrient solution as well as atmospheric oxygen. In e.g. a DWC system, the roots eventually reach down into the bucket of nutrients. Until the roots have grow long enough to reach down through the mesh holes to the nutrients, the small plant is often watered from above.
Indoor vs outdoor hydroponic growing
This high-tech hydroponics system creates a fine mist of nutrient solution around the root zone of the plant. Growth rates are very high with roots supplied with both oxygen and nutrients. Aeroponic is regarded as a technically demanding even by experienced hydroponic cannabis growers.
Developed more than 50 years ago, NFT systems can quickly produce large yields of produce with minimum water usage. However, these systems can present problems — for both home and commercial growers — if they aren’t monitored properly.
The Principals of NFT
The main disadvantage of NFT is that power outages, which halt the continual flow of nutrient, can quickly result in crop death, particularly under warm growing conditions.
Flexibility of NFT systems
NFT systems may seem more complex than substrate-based types of hydroponics, however, they are extremely flexible with regards to size, design, and equipment. A small basic system can comprise a single growing channel for production of a few plants, a plastic bucket or bin for a nutrient reservoir, and a small aquarium pump to circulate the nutrient solution. NFT growing channels with a flat base profile can be purchased, however, over the decades, many innovative materials have been used where these are not available. These include rainwater downpipes, large diameter bamboo, channels formed from timber, metal, or concrete and lined with plastic and long rolls of plastic film itself folded into channels. These types of basic NFT systems require manual checking and adjustment of the electrical conductivity (EC) and pH of the nutrient solution, and regular water level adjustments.
While the NFT system provides a lot of benefits, there are a few disadvantages of applying it while growing cannabis. The main disadvantage is since the roots have no medium to grow in, then moisture cannot be stored anywhere. Therefore, if the water pump burns out at any time, the cannabis plants won’t receive any nutrients at all. For this reason, the cannabis plants will definitely dry out and subsequently die. This is especially true, if you use powerful grow lights in your hydroponic lab operation. To prevent this, it is best to check your filters and pumps on a regular basis. In addition, you should consider the installation of a water sensor so you can be notified when the water is drying out.
There are several benefits to utilizing the NFT system. It conserves energy and water, which is the most essential and important benefit you should consider when growing cannabis. In the process of using this method, the water is recycled, which means that no water is lost expect when the leaves transpire. This is a small amount of water. You don’t need any high powered water pumps to use the nutrient film technique. The recycled water is kept as cold as it is needed in the reservoir. The fact that you can grow cannabis without having to use a water chiller and a large water pump will mean that you will save time, money and energy.
The water pump supplies pre-fertilized water to the grow tray so that the roots can be saturated. The grow tray is positioned at an angle where gravity allows the water to flow continuously over the roots and then drains into the pipe and returns to the reservoir. It is at this time that the pump pulls the water out again and the process is repeated. The NFT system is an amazing way for growing cannabis so that the grower enjoys a higher yield during harvesting. Since the process allows the roots to be directly watered, then no medium is necessary; making it easier for the grower to harvest the plants once they are ready.
The nutrient film technique is adaptable to the indoor growth system, which is done in a hydroponic lab. The NFT method is the same as the ebb and flow method; at least in a structural sense. This method has been used traditionally with growing cannabis plants quickly and has proven to be effective. Let us look more closely at the method and steps to carrying it out.
Growing cannabis continues to progress and growers seem to be looking at different ways to sustain growth techniques. Rather than stick to soil, growers are investigating and trying new systems. The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) has become quite popular when it comes to growing cannabis effectively.
The nutrient film technique is easy and simple to carry out because it consists of the process of using shallow streams of water filled with nutrient, which is consistently re-circulated throughout the root system of the plant. Both the ebb and flow method and nutrient film technique utilize water pumps that help to provide your cannabis garden with nutrients. The ebb and flow method floods your cannabis plants; after which the water drains repeatedly. In the NFT method, water flows in small stream-like action. The flow rate is good when it is around a liter of rich nutrient water applied every minute. The NFT method was first discovered in the early 1960s by Doctor Allen Cooper. This method is now the preferred and standard method being used in many hydroponic labs. It is quite an effective technique compared to methods like “Kratky” and “Wicking.” Moreover, it is a healthier and eco-friendly method for growing cannabis.
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