Aeroponics vs Ebb & Flow vs Other Hydroponic Systems
Hydroponics is essentially soilless gardening. Instead of growing plants in soil, hydroponics utilizes solutions or medium filled with minerals to nourish the plants. The plants’ roots could be submerged in a water-mineral solution or through utilizing a non-moving medium such as gravel, coconut husk or mineral wool.
The use of hydroponics started in the 18th century when researchers discovered that plants take in essential nutrients from the water. Soil is not exactly vital to plant growth since the plants need the nutrients rather than the soil. Introducing the nutrients to the plants through artificial means would eliminate the need for soil, hence the discovery of hydroponics. Any plants grown in soil can make use of hydroponics technology.
There are basically two kinds of hydroponic systems used. First is the use of a mineral solution called solution culture, and the second is the use of an inert medium called medium culture. The main difference between the two is that solution culture does not use any solids in cultivating the plants.
Under the solution culture, there are three primary kinds of method used: static solution culture, continuous flow solution culture and aeroponics.
Other systems that fall under solution culture are: passive sub-irrigation, ebb and flow or flood and drain sub-irrigation, run to waste, deep water culture and Bubbleponics.
Hydroponics can be used to grow organic herbs. The nutrients required by the herb will depend largely on the plant. Growing a number of herbs with one solution is possible, but the grower must ensure that the Marijuana Strains get sufficient nutrients since several plants are sharing the mineral solutions. The herbs grown in hydroponic systems can be for culinary, ornamental or medicinal purposes, the latter being the category under which growing medical marijuana falls.
The three primary types of simple hydroponic systems used to grow medicinal marijuana are: ebb and flow, aeroponic and nutrient film technique. Medicinal Marijuana is a useful component for drugs used in treating cancer and AIDS. It is also found to be helpful in combating glaucoma, an eye ailment that can lead to blindness and chronic pain.
In order to successfully grow medicinal Marijuana Strains through a hydroponic system, it is important to consider the pH requirements of the herb, water needs, nutrient needs and ways to prevent pest diseases from attacking it.
Aeroponic method of growing marijuana makes use of vaporized nutrients. This method of gardening does not use soil, medium or water to grow the medicinal plant. Instead it makes use of air. The roots must be suspended in the air in an enclosed environment. The air is constantly filled with fine drops of the nutrients. The particles of the nutrients sprayed onto the roots must be between 0-30 microns. Any nutrient smaller or bigger than that will not be absorbed by the roots.
The advantage of aeroponics is that any plant can be grown through aeroponics. This method actually addresses the limitations of hydroponics. Hydroponics is limited due to the fact that certain species cannot survive being submerged in water for a very long time. With aeroponics, the medicinal marijuana will be able to thrive for a quite a while.
Another advantage of aeroponics is that the medicinal marijuana grows faster because the nutrients are made available quickly. Also, the medicinal plant is able to absorb 100 percent of carbon dioxide and oxygen. A drawback of aeroponics is it is quite expensive to operate and maintain.
Ebb and flow, on the other hand, is also a form of a hydroponics system. The system is very simple and highly cost effective since it does not cost much to put up. This is why it is very popular among medicinal marijuana growers. To grow medicinal marijuana through the ebb and flow method, all you need to do is to place the herb in a pot or a tray filled with an inert medium such as clay granules or gravel. The purpose of the medium is to hold the plant steady. It does not provide essential nutrients like soil.
The tray or pot is placed on top of a reservoir filled with solution containing nutrients. Once the plant is safely in place, essential nutrients are then pumped into the tray or pot. This occurs at certain intervals with the aid of a timer. The nutrient solution then goes back to the reservoir. The inert medium gets regular flushing of essential nutrients and oxygen needed by medicinal marijuana to grow.
This method is very advantageous to the plants because nutrients are regularly provided, and the roots get large amounts of oxygen too. The pumping of the nutrient solution usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. The constant flooding of nutrients allows the medicinal plant to grow healthy and thrive well. Consequently, medicinal marijuana will grow faster than usual.
A drawback of the ebb and flow method is that the continuous flooding of water may lower the pH of the solution. The change in pH balance may affect the health of the plants. If the drainage does not function well, stagnant water may rot the roots of medical Marijuana Strains.