What does it take to be a hydroponic grower? This grow journal chronicles a grower who bravely cultivated cannabis for the first time using the Deep Water Culture method, most commonly known as DWC.
To successfully grow cannabis in DWC, there are certain guidelines one should adhere to.
Water temperature should never be higher than 70 degrees F and never lower than 60 degrees F. The risk of root rot increases and oxygen becomes depleted at higher temperatures. In colder temperatures, roots become shocked. An air pump and air stones will help oxygenate the nutrient solution.
Air temperature should never go higher than 90 degrees F. It should be maintained below 80 degrees F to encourage plant growth.
Hydroponically-grown plants deplete CO2 faster. Make sure plants have access to CO2. You may use a CO2 gas tank and regulator.
pH levels should be between 5.5 and 6.8. Otherwise, the plants will have a harder time obtaining nutrients. The amount of nutrient solution should also be monitored using a TDS meter.
Even if the plants are immersed in res, remember to foliar feed the plants with water or mild nutrient solution to help feed them and rinse off dust or residue which block photosynthesis.
Humidity should be maintained between 40% and 60%. Anything higher than that will encourage molds and any lower will attract pests. Cover the reservoir to prevent algae growth as well. Any wet surface exposed to light will provide molds the perfect environment to flourish.
The reservoir should be completely drained and replaced every two weeks. For the final week of growth, plain pH-balanced water should be used to flush roots and plant cells of excess salts. This will help the buds achieve a smoother burn and taste.
After getting the basics of DWC out of the way, keep scrolling to read the DWC grow journal.
The supplies and equipment used for this grow are the following:
- Seeds – MedGom autoflowers
- 16L flower bucket
- Medium – clay pebbles
- Grow tent – Homebox Ambient Q60 Tent ( 60cm x 60cm x 120cm); total grow area: 0.36 square meters
- Ventilation: Phresh Intake Filter (150mm x 200mm)
- Nutrients – CYCO Platinum series
- Lights – Mars Hydro LED
Started this grow by soaking a Rockwool cube in a mixture of 1L water mixed with 1mL Root Booster for 2 hours. The seed was then placed straight into the Rockwool which was then placed inside the little propagation dome. The air holes were closed for 100% humidity.
The kit in question is currently sitting inside the grow tent under the LED light. The LED isn’t set up well but it’s only temporary.
After 6 anxious days, the girl has finally sprouted. The LED is currently 33 inches above the seedling. Will leave the lights at this distance to prevent burning.
Only a day has passed but she seems to have grown twice the length.
Definitely see the first set of true leaves on her now! The propagation vents should be opened to 75-80% humidity. If she stands strong, she should be transplanted into the pot. LED light is still at the same distance.
She’s been transplanted into her DWC system a bit over a week ago on July 15th. Finally see a root coming out from under the bottom of the mesh bucket.
She’s looking pretty happy at the moment. Her bottom leaves are yellowing but nothing else has happened. pH is currently at 5.8, PPM is between 500 and 530 which may be a little high for this stage of her life cycle. Water/nutrient solution temperatures are 70 degrees F.
Checked the water temperature and it’s too high – 78.8 degrees F! Turned off the water heater, reset it to a lower temperature.
On another note, there’s now about 5 visible roots that have reached the reservoir. Watching her grow is both anxiety-inducing and exciting!
Managed to get the water temperature down after taking the water heater out of the equation but it’s still not low enough. The temperature is still around 71.6 degrees F. A cheap alternative to a water cooler is putting a frozen bottle in there. Unfortunately, this requires daily replacement.
And here’s a photo of her today. She produced even more leaves since the last update.
Just a small update for the grow journal. Bought a product called Humiboosta to increase nutrient availability. Added it to plain water, pH-ed it to 6.1, and left the plant sitting there for 2 days. Nutes were added afterwards.
She’s doing well overall but she should be showing more growth at this stage.
It’s been a while and the girl is in flower. Everything is going pretty well, no big issues at all… which is good! Watching her buds grow bigger every day is a delight!
Keeping an eye on her trichomes for now. They all still appear cloudy so it will be a long wait before harvest. The ideal amount of amber trichomes would be around 50%.
This grow is an amazing, rewarding process! Any pain relief from her will just be a huge bonus at this point.
The first part of this grow journal highlighted the best practices when growing hydroponically. As you can see, the grower followed most of the guidelines especially those concerning temperature control.
However, is it really more beneficial to grow hydroponically instead of soil?
DWC is one of the easiest hydroponic methods. It results in more uniform buds because nutrient distribution is more even. Crops grow faster in hydroponics too. If a uniform, quick yield is what you’re looking for, then don’t hesitate and try the hydroponic method as soon as possible!
Are you brave enough to use DWC as a method for your first ever grow?