HOW TO ASSEMBLE HYDROPONIC SYSTEM FOR WEED, COMPLETE GUIDE STEP BY STEP
Marijuana can be grown variously, but one of the most advanced systems is hydroponic grow of marijuana. The following article is based on a tutorial which synthesizes every necessary step to perform a perfect hydroponic crop. It’s one of the most productive systems with the best quality results. This happens because of its root system, superior to soil crop, so it provides better vegetative growing and kind of unbeatable final production.
- 1 How does it work?
- 2 What are its origins?
- 3 How does it work? Guide for marijuana hydroponic grow. Which soil is needed?
- 4 What do we need?
- 5 What are the necessary steps?
- 6 How to assemble the automatic irrigation system?
- 7 Micro tube assembling
- 8 How to assemble the sewage system?
- 9 Results
- 10 Growing/Flowering chart: EC, PH, Temperature and Humidity
- 10.1 Parámetros
- 10.2 Crecimiento
- 10.3 Flowering
- 10.4 Semanas
- 10.5 EC
- 10.6 pH
- 10.7 Tª mín -máx
- 10.8 Humidity % mín máx
- 11 Nutrients for marijuana hydroponic grow
- 12 PH
- 13 How to assemble home-made hydroponic marijuana system (video)
- 14 Conclusion
How does it work?
This system’s used for plant growing, by means of mineral dissolutions instead of agricultural soil. Etymologically, the word surges from Greek words ὕδωρ [hýdōr] = ‘water’, and πόνος [ponos] = ‘work’. Summing up, the roots receive a stabilized, nourished solution, dissolved in water and with all the chemical products which are essential for the proper functioning of the vital cycles of the plant. Regarding the solution in which the plants will grow, it can be a sole mineral solution, or an inert mean, like washed sand, gravel, coir or perlite.
What are its origins?
The origins of hydroponic grow date back to 382 B.C. This cropping technique was firstly used by the Aztecs. It was successfully performed by means of a chinampa, and it occupied the whole extension of Texcoco lake. The Romans also used this technique; precisely, the emperor Tiberius introduced cucumber hydroponic crop in I c. B.C.
Since the first human civilizations, hydroponic crop was used, and it had been constantly evolving. The first known piece of written information dates back to 1600, when the Belgian Jan van Helmont started to document his experiences on how the plants obtain their nutrients through water. In XVII c., the first public research on ground plants without soil appeared, the famous Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum.
origins of hydroponic cultivation
Since then, from XVII to XIX c., a great amount of related research appeared. In XX c., William Frederick Gericke, professor of California University in Berkeley, published the first project where hydroponic crops for vegetal agricultural production were suggested. Their experiments with tomatoes showed that it was a proper solution to improve production and satisfy the high food orderings of the new demographic situation. Lastly, William F. Gericke’s the founder of modern hydroponics.
How does it work? Guide for marijuana hydroponic grow. Which soil is needed?
Modern hydroponics is an artificial cropping system, although not anti-natural, since it’s based on the same principles nature has established as life pattern. That is to say, when cropping with a hydroponic system, we’re just using a resource nature usually uses.
In order to start with your hydroponic crop, you have to take into account that your plants will live in an inert soil, like arlite, rock wool and coir. Another similar system is aeroponics, based on vaporizing the roots with a thin foil of nutrient solution where they hang over. Among the previously mentioned soil options, the ones including gravel and sand are easily obtained, but they’re not reusable, and they are difficult to clean. Other options are rock wool, coir and oasis cubes, lava rocks and, most popularly, pop rocks or expanded clay; here you have a brief guide/hydroponic grow handout:
What do we need?
First of all, we have to choose an inert soil. Following up, we’ll explain how to deal with hydroponic crop on rock wool soil or coir slabs. Secondly, we must have:
- Base wear, like a metal structure or plastic structure, or a wooden table.
- 5 coir or rock wool slabs.
- Approximately 20-25 rock wool blocks with 7.5cm diameter.
- Duct tape.
These are the basic cropping elements, but the most important thing in a hydro crop is irrigation system, providing everything to the plants, regarding a proper development of their vital functions. In order to arrange the automatic irrigation system in a one-square-meter cupboard, we will need:
- Water pump of 12001/h with flow reduction.
- Crop tray 1.00 x 1.10m.
- 90 l deposit.
- 20mm hose, 1 meter approx.
- A pair of elbows.
- A pair of Ts.
- 20 mm dripping irrigation tube, 5 m approx.
- Water metal flanges, 14 units.
- Microtubes, 25 units.
- Droppers, 25 units.
- Taps for branch end, 3 units.
- Digital timer for water pump.
- 40l deposit for sewage.
This is what we need, although there’s a wide range of crop kits providing all the necessary equipment. On our website, we recommend to get the elements independently, or by means of more individual kits, adjusting to our needs and saving some money.
What are the necessary steps?
When having the whole material, next step looks less important, but it’s vital for the correct functioning of hydroponic crop. We are referring to cleansing and disinfection of the zone where we’re going to establish the crop. Disinfecting the space for the crop table becomes necessary; otherwise, we could obtain infection problems which could finish our crop.
When totally cleaning the space, we’ll assemble the automatic irrigation system for five slabs with five cuttings, that is, our hydro crop will have 25 cuttings.
How to assemble the automatic irrigation system?
The first step’s taking the 20-cm dripping irrigation tube and cutting it into four one-meter-long pieces. One of them will be used to create the main water branch that will conduct the liquid and the nutrients to the three secondary tubes. Following up, we cut the main branch into three pieces: the first one, 20 cm; the second one, 40 cm; and the third one, 20 cm. Once these cuttings are made, we’ll place a T in them, and, at the end of the last one, we’ll place an elbow. All these connections have to be fixed and sealed by means of metal flanges. This will avoid leaks in the irrigation system, so you’ll take profit of every drop of water.
Once we have fixed the main branch with metal brides, we’ll place the 3 tubes of 20mm diameter and one meter long, sideways. These 3 tubes, functioning as secondary branches, need to be finally sealed with 3 taps.
Micro tube assembling
Next, we’ll deal with the assembling of the micro tubes, directly inserted in the 20mm tubes functioning as secondary branches. Then, we’ll have to make a little hole in order to insert the micro tubes. The hole can be made with a punch, and it has to be a tiny hole, for the micro tubes to forcedly enter; otherwise, when the water pump makes pressure, they’ll be ejected and we’ll waste our work.
Once this is clear, we’ll make 10 holes to insert 10 micro tubes in the first branch; in the second branch, we’ll make 10 more holes; and, thirdly and lastly, we’ll make 5. For every hole, we’ll place a micro tube and, on the edges, we’ll place a threaded dropper of 41/h. These droppers will let us control the liters/hour we provide to the crop.
Lastly, a hose has to be connected to the main branch, and, on the opposite edge, we’ll have to connect the water pump previously placed in the interior of a 90l deposit, placed under the crop table.
When dealing with these procedures, we’ll have completed the first step: assembling the automatic irrigation system.
How to assemble the sewage system?
When assembling the automatic irrigation system, the next step’s assembling the sewage system. It’s very important, because it will help us to recover the exceeding irrigation water.
The first step’s placing the crop tray on the holder, and we’ll place the rock wool or coir slabs, depending on the soil we had chosen. The slabs have to be distributed so that the first one coincides with the first branch, and so on till the fourth branch. Following up, just under the sewage, we’ll place the 40l recovering deposit, for us to profit the tray draining.
Once these steps are dealt with, the system’s totally assembled, and it just needs to be connected to the digital timer and to the automatic irrigation pump. From now on, we already have the whole hydroponic system, ready to function and obtain the best crop in our life. There are hydroponic systems consisting of a sole pot with an underneath deposit, much easier and cheaper, although, obviously, they’re just available for one pot, so we’re just able to crop one plant.
how to prepare a hydroponic crop
When we start to see the results we obtain by means of hydroponic cropping, we wouldn’t want to switch to a different system. If we provide the necessary nutrients to the plants, with its precise amount, the plants will grow fast and will flourish fast, abundantly and producing improved buds.
In order to obtain these results, even though the irrigation system is set and automatic, we have to keep the track on the plants every day, providing the necessary nutrient amount. For that, we can follow some online charts. Next, we show you some charts, interesting for basic growers. Besides, when getting to run it properly, you can improve and adapt these plants to your personal needs and queries. We have to pay attention to the nutrients we provide, and to PH water level or to sterilization of the cropping zone.
Marijuana can be grown variously, but one of the most advanced systems is hydroponic grow. The following article is based on a tutorial which synthesizes every necessary step to perform a perfect hydroponic crop. It’s one of the most productive systems with the best quality results. This happens because of its root …
The Essential Guide to Hydroponic Systems For Marijuana (& Other Plants)
While growing in soil is an easy and straightforward process…
Growing hydroponically is a cultivation method that is bound to fail without the right knowledge and preparation.
But once you have the knowledge and take the right preparation steps, there are some amazing benefits:
- Quicker harvest cycles
- Increased yields
- Easier to get higher quality or more potent yields
- Higher density planting leading to increased yields per square foot
- An easier time controlling the whole growing process
Which is why in today’s post we’ll look at the different hydroponic grow systems that you can use and give examples of some amazing complete hydroponic grow system kits which you can essentially just ‘plug and play’.
But first a quick explanation on what hydroponic growing exactly is…
What Is Hydroponic Growing?
For your plants to grow they need nutrients, water and light.
In nature, these nutrients are provided by the soil in which the plant is rooted.
But for the plant it doesn’t really matter where it gets its nutrients from…
It might as well get them through a different source like…water.
And that’s exactly what hydroponic growing is:
Hydroponic growing is the cultivation of plants in nutrient-enriched and oxygenated water, usually mechanically supported by an inert medium like pebbles, rockwool or coco coir.
Cultivating your plants in this way does bring some challenges with it…and if you’re a beginning grower, you have to realize starting with soil probably is a better idea.
Because growing a hydroponic system is less forgiving for beginning growers.
Especially mistakes like:
- Getting the wrong mix of nutrients
- Unbalancing the temperature, pH or strength of your nutrient solution
- Growing in too high or too low humidity-levels…
…can mess up your crop in a very short period of time.
Soil is also quite a bit cheaper to start with…although hydroponic growing can earn its high initial captial cost back over time through increased yields and an increase in harvest cycles.
But even though it’s a harder growing process than soil…
Once you get through its learning curve…
Hydroponic growing is an extremely rewarding way to grow your plants…and you’ll probably fall in love with it once you’ve got the basics down.
The Different Hydroponic Growing Systems
Although ‘hydroponic growing’ is the general term used for growing in water instead of soil…
There are different types of hydroponic growing systems all with their own pros and cons.
It’s important you really understand the differences well, so you can make the right choice for your space, specific setup and personal requirements (do you have the time to be on top of your grow project daily, or do you only have time to check up on your project every few days for example).
Deep Water Culture (aka DWC or the Bubbler): Cheap & Easy
This is the cheapest, yet simplest to set-up hydroponic system for a beginner to grow on a small scale.
Here’s how it works:
- You have bucket(s) full of nutrient-rich and oxygenated water;
- Your plants are seated at the top of the bucket and held in place with an inert medium like clay pebbles;
- The roots of your plants hang in the nutrient-rich and oxygenated water for 24/7.
Your plants having access to nutrient-rich and oxygenated water for 24/7 obviously means your plants are going to grow extremely quick.
They’ll grow faster than in most other hydroponic system because it’s a continues flow system.
A continues flow system means that the roots of your plants are constantly exposed to nutrients, which sets the stage for a powerful growth curve.
Getting bigger plants is also easier because of this growth acceleration.
It’s not all roses though…
The main downside of DWC is temperature regulation.
In any hydroponic system, it’s important to keep your nutrient solution cool (70°F), this is to keep oxygen levels at an optimal level…
But in a DWC system this is ESPECIALLY important, since your plants are exposed to the nutrient solution 24/7…and this can be a problem if you’re living in a warmer climate.
Another downside is that maintenance can be a bitch:
- The water must be changed periodically to provide fresh nutrients and water for your plants and you need to do this manually.
- To prevent malnutrition of your plants, it’s also important to check pH value of the water often…and if you really want to put all the odds in your favor, to check the nutrient strength/profile with a PPM meter…and more importantly adjust the pH and/or nutrient strength profile when things are out of balance.
But even with these downsides, DWC probably is the best hydroponic system to start with if you’re a beginner and you’re just going to grow 2-6 plants.
Great, I want to grow with a DWC system…where to start?
Although you can build your own DWC system…
There are some high quality and ready-made ‘plug and play’ DWC systems available which will save you a good amount of time and which I highly recommend:
If you want to save yourself some time maintaining your system I recommend checking out a Recirculating Deep Water Culture System like this one:
In a system like this you don’t have to check each individual bucket for pH or ppm values, because there’s a single control bucket from which the nutrient solution flows. And this will definitely save you some time.
Each bucket can hold a single plant. So get as many buckets as the number of plants you’re going to grow.
Next up we have another hydroponic system which is well suited towards beginners…
Ebb and Flow (aka Flood and Drain): Simple but Effective
Ebb and Flow is another GREAT hydroponic system for beginners.
It’s easier to maintain and a bit more forgiving than a DWC system in case you mess up the temperature, pH or nutrient profile.
The downside is that it’s a bit more expensive to start with and if you’re into ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY), it’s a bit harder to setup than a simple DWC system.
Here’s how it works:
- Your plants are sitting in a pot, supported by an inert medium like rockwool or pebbles.
- There’s a nutrient reservoir from which nutrient-rich water gets pumped to your plants roots and then back into the nutrient reservoir, at set interval periods.
This means an Ebb and Flow system is not a continues flow system like DWC where your plants are submerged in the nutrient-rich and oxygenated water 24/7.
Your plants only get exposed to the nutrient-rich water during the ‘flow’ period, which is a few times a day. The rest of the time they’re left to ‘air out’…and this is exactly what makes Ebb and Flow a much more forgiving system than DWC.
Even if the temperature, pH or strength of your nutrient solution is too high/out of balance, a few of these ‘out of balance’ flows to the roots of your plants won’t completely destroy your crop.
If you interfere on time and restore the temperature or balance of your nutrient solution, your grow will be fine.
Great, I want to grow with an Ebb and Flow system…where to start?
Just like with a DWC system it’s doable to build a ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) Ebb and Flow system…
But if you want to save yourself the hassle check out these pre-made systems:
Next up we have one of the more sophisticated hydroponic systems…
Drip Irrigation (aka Drip, Dripper, Top Feed Drip System or Recirculating Top Feed)
Although drip irrigation systems are still relatively simple in how they work…
If you’re a complete beginner to hydroponics, the sophistication of this system makes its setup and maintenance less simple than the previous systems. But more on that later.
Here’s how it works:
- Your plants are sitting in a pot, supported by an inert medium like rockwool or pebbles.
- Nutrient-rich water gets pumped from the nutrient reservoir to the top of your growing medium.
- Then slowly the nutrient-rich water drips from a network of pipes/tubes and emitters to the roots of your plants
A drip irrigation system is a continues flow system, which means it’s easier to get your plants growing FAST.
But if you’re a beginner, you really need to understand the things that can go wrong in a system like this…and prepare carefully.
For starters, if you’re into DIY, setting up a drip irrigation system takes more time and care to setup than the previous systems (Ebb and Flow or DWC).
Then there’s the danger of emitters clogging up and potentially ruining your grow…if you don’t keep your water and/or emitters free of nutrient build-up.
You also need to find the perfect balance on how much you expose the roots of your plants to the drip/flow. Dripping too much can easily lead to root rot or fungus…while too little can result in stunted growth.
Lastly, if your power goes off for whatever reason and your pump stops dripping, you basically have only a few hours to notice or else…you’re screwed.
OK, so why would I want to go for a drip system then…?
Drip irrigation systems are way more efficient than the previous systems (Ebb and Flow and DWC). A properly setup drip system will need less water and less nutrients than Ebb and Flow or DWC…
But this benefit only really starts showing when you grow on a larger scale.
If you want to grow on a larger scale (10+ plants), and efficiency is important to you…by all means go for a drip system.
I wouldn’t recommend setting up a drip irrigation system yourself (DIY) if you’re new to hydroponics.
Instead, check out one of these pre-made systems:
Next up we have the most sophisticated hydroponic system in our list…
Aeroponic System: Highest Risk, Highest Reward
If you’re a complete beginner…
Skip aeroponics and choose one of the earlier ones.
If you have some practical experience, let’s continue.
Aeroponic systems are the most sophisticated hydroponic systems.
If you get everything right, it’s also the system with will give the largest rewards in terms of yields and is the most efficient in terms of water- and nutrient-use.
Here’s how it works:
- Your plant’s roots are sitting in a closed dark chamber (pot)
- Tiny drops of atomized nutrient solution get periodically sprayed over your plant’s roots while they sit in this closed and dark chamber
Just like the drip irrigation and DWC systems, this also is a continues flow system. And because the oxygen levels are so high in an aeroponic system…
It has to potential to outgrow and out-yield any other hydroponic system.
But this potential comes with a price…literally:
Aeroponic systems are the most expensive hydroponic systems, they’re harder to maintain and unforgiving in case of mistakes.
Just like with the drip irrigation system, with an aeroponic system, it’s extremely important that you keep the sprayers from clogging up.
A few hours of blocked sprayers can completely kill your crop.
How to keep an aeroponic system clean?
Just keep EVERYTHING through which your nutrient solution passes clean: filters, tubes, pumps, etc.
PLUS get some high quality nutrients like those from General Hydroponics. Low quality nutrients can leave a lot of undissolved salt residue behind, which is bad news for your sprayers.
It’s also extremely important that you keep the temperature of your nutrient solution and humidity in the root-chamber at optimal levels:
- Nutrient solution: 64°F
- Humidity in the root zone: 100%
- Humidity in the growth zone during veg stage : 60-70%
- Humidity in the growth zone during flower stage : 30-40%
If you don’t keep your temperature and humidity levels in check, you risk things as root rot, algae and stunting the growth of your plants in general.
As you can see an aeroponic system is one of the harder hydroponic systems to maintain properly, you really need to be on top of your grow and constantly check your system.
But once you get through the learning curve and don’t mind the constant maintenance…
It’s the most rewarding hydroponic system there is.
The bottom line is:
Even though an aeroponic system is the riskiest and least suited hydroponic system for beginners in our list…
It’s also the highest yielding system with the quickest harvest cycles.
If you do decide to go for an aeroponic system, I would really advice to start with a pre-made system like the:
There are just so many things that can go wrong with building one yourself. But hey, if you like a challenge…go for it.
One Last Word…
Even though you’ve learned the basics of each hydroponic system in this list…
There are some general principles you need to keep in mind when growing hydroponically
First of all, always keep a close eye on the growth of your plants. Specifically check whether there’s any slowdown in their growth or whether they look like they’re suffering in any way.
And when it looks like they’re losing strength or suffering in any other way…
Always first check your growing environment:
- Nutrients-strength (ppm)
- pH values of your nutrient solution
Then check for diseases like root rot and/or pests. But always start with the growing environment. Because that’s usually the cause.
Secondly, if you’re serious about growing hydroponically, I would really recommend investing in a quality PPM + pH meter so you can actually objectively check your growing environment.
High quality PPM + pH meters can get pricey, but they’ll last you a long time, are easy to use (calibrate) and extremely reliable in measuring values.
This is the one I recommend:
The Bluelab Guardian Monitor will last you a LONG time and is easy to calibrate…which means you’ll have an easier time keeping your plants happy and increase yields.
For a cheap back-up meter I would recommend this one:
Get to know 4 hydroponic systems that will maximize the potency, quality and yield of your plants. Get started with growing hydroponically today.