The hydroponic drip system is one of many hydroponics techniques. The drip irrigation is one of the most successful cannabis cultivation methods which relies on a regulated flow of nutrients, top fed to the plants. It’s not just for hydro though. Some soil-based grows also use drip irrigation to feed plants.
Drip irrigation is efficient but also has very little excess. This system releases the adequate amount of nutrient solution per plant which, when given in excess, can be recycled on the other plants. When done correctly, there’s no need to always empty tanks of solution only to replace them with fresh ones.
Other benefits of a drip irrigation include:
- Easy to set up even on a tight budget
- Can be used by both advanced and newbie marijuana growers
- Drip irrigation is more productive and more effective than soil-only systems
The following were used in this grow:
- Buckets – 5 gallons
- Reservoir – Separate container with 4 gallon solution
- Pump – 160 GPH, continuous top drip, no air stone
- Medium – Rapid Rooters placed in hydroton
- Lights – 1 x 400W MH and HPS
- Nutrients – FloraNova Bloom start to finish
- Strain – 1 x Pineapple Express
- Grow space – 2’ x 2’ x 6’
- Ventilation – inline fan, 6” with heat and cooling temperature controller
The environment inside the tent is as follows:
- Humidity – 50% (average)
- Temperature – 70 degrees F
- pH of reservoir – 5.8
- Tap water TDS – 100PPM, pH 6.4
Here are some photos of the set up:
The seed was soaked, and the softened seed was stuck into Rapid Rooter with plug over hole, placed in pot, and put under the CFL. Three days later, she popped out of the medium.
A day after that, she has put on some height.
However, she looks a little stretchy so the CFL was removed and replaced with the 400W metal halide positioned 34 inches above the seedling.
Just a quick update.
The MH light is 28 inches away from the top of the seedling. The growth rate seems to be on par with previous seedlings.
Inside the cabinet, the temperature is, on average, 73 degrees F and average humidity is 43%. These figures are average because every time the inline fan kicks in to control high temperature, all the humid air created by the humidifier gets sucked right out.
Even a week after popping from the soil, the little girl has yet to receive any nutes. The plan is to start with 250PPM in a couple of days.
If you have any questions about the setup, keep in mind it’s based on a water farm. It consists of a top, 5 gallon bucket with a 9-inch net put filled with hydroton and a bottom tote holding 4 gallons of solution. The solution is pumped up to the drip ring by a 160 GPH pump. The solution drains out the bottom of the upper bucket into the reservoir and recirculates. The pump runs 24/7.
The temperature controller energizes an electrical receptacle. One plug is for cooling, the other is for heating. When the temperature inside the cabinet is raised to a pre-determined level, the inline fan kicks in and the temperature is drawn back down and shuts off at the set temperature.
When the light goes off after 18 hours, it starts to get too cold in the cab. When the temperature drops to a certain level, the personal space heater kicks on and brings the temperature back up.
The humidity controller does a similar job. When the room humidity of the air inside the cabinet drops below a certain level, a humidifier inside kicks in. Then it shuts off after the room humidity of the air reaches the set level. The humidifier is absolutely necessary because the basement is so dry these days.
Here’s an updated photo 15 days after sprout!
Nutes were added on Day 11. She received 290 PPM of Flora Nova and adjusted the pH to 5.7. Two weeks in and the plant seems to be growing as it should. Things should get greener in a week or so.
Good growth this week! PPM is at 410, kept pH at 5.8 until 3 days ago when whitish markings appeared on some leaves. Then the pH was left along to slowly rise to 6.3.
It’s Day 29 and some whitish markings continue to show. Thought it was light burn so tried raising the light but to no effect. She’s still growing well but at this point, it’s best to keep an eye out for any abnormalities.
For now, decided to keep the pH in the lower levels to better absorb calcium and magnesium in case deficiencies are the cause of the white spots.
Changed the reservoir too. Nutrients (Flora Nova Bloom) are at 850 PPM and pH 5.1 this morning. LST was started today to get her ready for SCROG.
She showed good growth this week. The plant is 4.5 inches tall with 7 internodes.
LST can’t get enough light to the lower nodes so she underwent some serious defoliation. This young lady is still short and have a good bit of height. Check out some before and after photos!
Overnight, she recovered and looked robust again. So she underwent even more defoliation! The main stem split but the foliage above the split is still healthy and green. Onward and upward!
She has even more excellent growth this week!
Even better news: the whitish spots and streaks on some of the leaves have disappeared. At this point, evidence points to them having been caused by light burn – not from heat, but from intensity. The brand new 400MH is now 34 inches above the canopy.
Decided to let her veg another week. The defoliation last week is responsible for some robust branching. She was defoliated again. Here are a couple of before and after shots.
It didn’t seem possible but she got even bushier since last week’s defoliation. There are a lot of branches to manage and it’s difficult to consistently tie them down because of the decreasing number of anchor points.
As promised, the lights were flipped to the 12/12 schedule and put in the SCROG which should help manage the branches and the lighting resources.
As it warms up with springtime, the basement’s humidity and temperatures have changed. Had to make some changes to the ventilation, humidifying, and temperature inside the closet.
Humidifier has been turned off but the closet is around 65% because of the leaf transpiration. The basement outside the closet is in the mid-50s.
Not much to see here other than a couple of photos to show her progress on the 9th day of flower.
The bush is filling in the SCROG. Hopefully, the SCROG won’t be overwhelmed.
The 400W HPS is running much cooler than the MH so don’t need the exhaust fan controlled by the temperature switch anymore. The exhaust fan is controlled with the humidistat and comes on for about 30 seconds every 10 to 15 minutes. The resulting humidity is around 45% and the temperature is consistently at 73 degrees.
You may see the beginning of flowers in this picture.
Did a major defoliation on Day 21 of flower. It’s amazing how much light is now getting to all the bud sites! The third photo on the left showed how the plant recovered two days after the extensive defoliation.
The flowers are coming along. The defoliation has brought good light to all colas.
You can’t see it in the photos but the canopy is not very even. There’s not much that can be done about it other than re-designing the setup to a certain extent.
The photos show there’s been good flower growth over the last week.
The canopy is still rather uneven since there’s no more room to spread the plant out. There are colas under colas. She has turned stickier over the past week.
On a side note, took clones at Day 21 of flower. All three were planted in Rapid Rooters and already have roots coming out the sides.
Did the final defoliation today. It’s surprising to see how much vegetation have been removed and the plant is still very leafy. Here are some “before” photos:
And this is how she looks like after the defol.
Been two weeks since the last update. Today is Day 55 in flower. Most Pineapple Express growers need at least 65 days.
Not seeing many darkening pistils. So far, she’s been showing modest growth. The roots look great – nice, white, and smelling delicious.
Haven’t had the chance to update in two weeks. Here’s how the plant looked like a few days before harvest:
Harvest was done on July 4th.
As you can see, she’s a bit on the paltry side.
Cut up the dried material and put it in mason jars for curing. Ended up with 136 grams of bud and 42 grams of trim.
Can you cultivate cannabis using the hydroponic drip system?