Hydroponics amazing harvests
When plants are grown indoors the time is precious since the cost of recreating a natural environment is high. This leads indoor growers to wonder how to optimize the space, shorten the growth and flower cycles and increase the harvest. There is only one answer to these questions: hydroponic cultivation. For those of you who do not know what it is, it simply consists of cultivating plants without soil, in an inert substrate or in water.
Hydroponics amazing harvests in the quickest possible time.
Laboratories around the world exclusively use hydroponic technologies for their researchers for a single reason. It is the fastest and most effective way of growing plants anywhere; With light, in a greenhouse or in an outdoor field. The senseless repression of cannabis cultivation has forced us cannabis growers to be creative, and many of the technologies used on large farms have been refined and adapted To fit in a grow closet.
Cannabis varieties have been specially adapted to this indoor environment have been developed. At the same time, specific nutrients have been designed to suit this type of crop. Today, indoor hydroponic crops can utilize a fully developed technology that benefits from the most recent discoveries in botany. This technology together with (systems, nutrients, and fertilizers) is the most powerful tool we have for any crop.
From my own experience, Improvements ranged from slightly faster and healthier growth to lush and much faster growth. Cannabis is a plant that loves hydroponic cultivation. You can almost see it grow, it’s amazing! In this short article, I will explain the reasons why hydroponic cultivation works so well and how it applies specifically to cannabis cultivation with light.
The environment of the root zone to which the plant is exposed to the hydroponic culture is totally different from that of the earth. None of the physical, chemical or physiological parameters is the same. However, in the words of William F. Gericke, founder of modern hydroponics, ” Hydroponics is an artificial (not unnatural) cultivation method based on the same principles as nature has Established as a model for life. “
First, let’s take a closer look at the factors that affect crop production.
Leaving aside water, which has very specific properties, a physical difference that occurs all substrates is the pore space (the space between the particles), which is much greater in any inert substrate than in The best-aerated soil. This translates into an environment that retains much more water than the earth and plays a key role in the oxygenation of the root zone, a key factor for a healthy root mat.
In this porous space that offers little resistance to root penetration, the growth of new roots requires less energy from the plant, so that energy can be used for other metabolic processes. This is due, in part, to increased growth. On earth, adventitious roots can die after a brief period of drought. Of course, this never occurs in hydroponic crops and represents another source of energy savings for the plant.
The morphology of the root mat is totally different in hydroponic cultivation. Plants develop what is sometimes called “water roots”. Often, they are thinner and more compact than the crops with soil. When they are healthy, they have a clean and bright white color, but their most remarkable feature is the space they occupy: ten times smaller than on earth! The roots are bathed in a healthy broth of water, nutrients, and oxygen. They have no competition from other plant species, so they do not need to create a very large root mat to look for potential sources of food or water.
As long as the nutrient solution of your system is well oxygenated (aerated), it will be a paradise for roots, perfect conditions. This is why you can put so many plants in a small space, maximizing the use of it. In fact, artificial light has difficulty moving and loses intensity at short distances (by the square of distance), so when grown with light, it is better to have a large number of small plants than a few large plants. Any part of the plant that is not exposed directly to the light will be useless, the maximum that will produce small furry shoots that are not worth preserving.
The root zone of hydroponic crops is also characterized by a low microbiological presence. In fact, it is not that there is no life: bacteria, fungi, and other organisms will colonize the nutrient solution little by little, but even at its peak, the presence of life in hydroponic crops will be only a fraction of the existing one on earth, To the extent that it may be useful to introduce some beneficial organisms such as the Trichoderma harzianum .
They occur, obviously, under the ground. The chemical and electrical phenomena that occur between the roots and their surroundings are totally different in the cultures on land and hydroponics. The same is true of the way in which nutrients are absorbed. These interactions are too complex to describe in this article, but we can see the obvious consequences of this new environment.
There are many phenomena on the earth that interfere with the absorption of nutrients. Often, the presence of one element in large quantities blocks the absorption of another. Any imbalance in pH has the same effect. In many areas, microelements are scarce or blocked in larger molecules, resulting in a deficit of this element.
In hydroponic crops, this can be easily avoided: simply check the pH and give the plants a balanced nutrition. When in doubt, you can always discard the nutrient solution and use a new one, something that is advisable to do anyway every two weeks. In this way, you can always provide your plants with optimal nutrition. An element of special importance is nitrogen. For us to understand, nitrogen is what makes the plants look green and healthy. In hydroponic crops, it is easy to supply abundant nitrogen to the plant, which translates into a fantastic growth.
In this way, you can always provide your plants with optimal nutrition. An element of special importance is nitrogen. For us to understand, nitrogen is what makes the plants look green and healthy. In hydroponic crops, it is easy to supply abundant nitrogen to the plant, which translates into a fantastic growth.
The most notable difference is not only the speed of growth but also the good health that plants can achieve in hydroponic crops. At the same time, thanks to the abundant supply of mineral elements, plants can synthesize a large number of secondary metabolites of all kinds (compounds not directly involved in plant physiology). These are, among other things, the weapons used by the defense system. Due to these two factors (rapid growth and a strong defense system), the fight against insects and diseases is much easier. The plants are strong and help to fight against their invaders.
Hydroponic plants rapidly produce a large amount of green mass, sometimes too much, so it becomes necessary to prune them. Playing with conductivity, a measurement of a number of salts it gives to your plants can control to some extent their internodal distance. It is simple: a slight excess of salts at the opportune moment of the life of the plant, when it is developing its main structure, can produce great changes in the morphology. You can achieve the same target with low conductivity simply by modifying the salt balance in the solutions. Of course, these two techniques are not suitable for beginners.
Specific advantages for the cultivation of indoor cannabis
Hydroponics has its place whenever it is desired to obtain the maximum harvest in the smallest possible space and time. Isn’t speed and efficiency what you want for your growing room? Cannabis goes hand in hand with hydroponic cultivation. This type of crop not only allows plants to finish two weeks earlier than in crops in soil but also reduces the time they usually spend in the vegetative state.
As you will know, when cultivating cannabis, two very different phases are used for plant nutrition: a vegetative phase when the plant is young and gains in size and structure, and a flowering phase in which Plants mature (in fact, there is also a pre-flowering phase of which I will speak later).
Changing the composition of the nutrient solution becomes a child’s play. It’s as simple as emptying the hydroponic system and refilling the system with fresh nutrient. Of course, this can also be done in soil, but the process is slower: if grown in containers, we must add enough fresh water to remove the remains of vegetative nutrition.
The keys to hydroponic cultivation
Hydroponic cannabis plants grow really fast, growing from seeds can be difficult for the new to hydroponics grower due to the fact that by the time the seedling has matured enough to flower it has become a monster. To help keep them under control you can try pruning them or reduce the light to 12 hours to induce an early flowering when they are at the height you require.
A better way is to keep a mother plant and keep it (for example in an AquaFarm) and use clones from this for your flower room. Autoflowering cannabis is an exception, it not only allows you to start the seeds in their hydroponic system directly but I have found the results in size and harvest weight is much higher than those auto flowering plants with soil only. Hydroponics it seems is the natural tool for auto-flowering.
As I mentioned before, Indoor artificial light does not travel well. For the largest yields in the quickest time, you want small plants eg Sea Of Green (SOG), and this is the main difference with soil cultivation, where larger plants are usually grown. In hydroponic crops, they should not exceed 12-14 inch. Many beginners make the mistake of letting the plants become too tall, so they end up having an unnecessarily long stalk where they can not grow anything profitable because it is too far from the light.
The ideal situation is a dense foliage formed by small plants, each with a central stem and a maximum of four lateral branches. Ideally, the density should be from 36 to 48 plants per square meter, depending on the variety, I know this is a lot of small plants and SOG can work with larger spacing so you don’t have to stick to the spacing too rigorously.
The weight per individual plant is nothing to write home about, ranging from 15 to 28 grams (again, depending on the variety), but the total harvest per square meter is difficult to beat, especially if we also consider the time: in many varieties of cannabis, a harvest requires two months in hydroponic cultivation. If you have a separate space where you can keep the clones ready for transplanting, you can get up to six harvests a year in the same space!
How do we get this? Very easy: Start with rooted clones, since they already have a well-developed root mat. Expose them to 18 hours of light for one or two days (or none for some species), and then reduce to 12 hours of light to initiate flowering. The plants enter a phase of pre-flower. It is at this point when the plant develops a structure that the flowers will cover to form the buds. This phase lasts about two to three weeks, after which you should see the first flowers.
During these two or three weeks, plants that were small and did not fill the space will continue to grow and form dense foliage. To help them in the process, provide them with vegetative nutrients. Yes, 12 hours of light, but vegetative nutrition. I know it’s a new concept for most growers, but it’s the way to avoid too high plants. ( you start with plants that look too small, but after the pre-flower phase, they’ll be perfect).
After this, growth will stop. This is the time when you start flowering nutrients, as well as pruning the branches that grow under the foliage, too far from the light. This also helps to create a space under the buds by which fresh air can circulate freely. This done, sit down and wait for the flowers to develop until the time of harvest, which is roughly when about half of the pistils on the buds turn brown. nutrient solutions should be should be changed every two weeks during the flowering cycle…