Growing plants without soil might seem like a radical concept, but it’s nothing new.
You’ve probably already heard of hydroponics, where typical soil is replaced with a solution of water and nutrients. But how about aeroponics?
Aeroponics takes things a step further. Instead of keeping the plants in a watery nutrient solution, aeroponics removes the growing medium entirely.
The plant’s roots are allowed to grow freely in the air and are kept moist with near-constant misting.
This misting provides the plants with the water and nutrients they need to thrive.
It allows for absolute precision in nutrient and water delivery, letting growers provide their plants with everything they need — and nothing they don’t.
Aeroponics is surprisingly effective
The concept of aeroponics might seem a bit counter-intuitive for most people. After all, plants have evolved for millions of years to grow in soil.
Soil is undoubtedly a simpler solution. You won’t need a complex system of pumps or a precisely calibrated nutrient solution. So why would you bother to ditch the dirt?
It all comes down to efficiency. With aeroponics, you can grow your plants with far less water and in smaller spaces.
They’ll also receive the nutrients they need most delivered directly to where they need them most.
Letting the roots hang freely in the air gives the plants a huge boost in their oxygen uptake, which encourages them to grow faster and stronger.
Because the nutrients and water are sprayed directly onto the root system, the plant doesn’t need to expend extra energy stretching its roots to seek nutrients and moisture in its growth medium.
Instead, the plant can focus all of its energy on growing tall, healthy, and potent.
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Not only is aeroponic growing efficient for the plants themselves, it’s also marvelously useful for the grower.
An aeroponics system uses up to 95% less water than required for irrigating soil.
Since the water and nutrients are misted onto the root system, almost all of it is absorbed by the plants — and anything that isn’t absorbed can be captured and recycled.
This also means its a marvelously eco-friendly solution. Growing with aeroponics doesn’t create runoff and pollution from fertilizer.
It also doesn’t require digging up plots of land and can be managed as a completely self-contained system.
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The drawbacks of aeroponic systems
As impressive as aeroponic systems are, they are not without their downsides.
The first drawback is how challenging this system can be to set up. Growing aeroponically is not for beginners.
It requires a lot of care, attention, and specialized equipment. You need to know how to correctly design your system and mix a precisely calculated nutrient solution to get the best results from your aeroponic grow.
While you could put together a cheap aeroponic system to experiment with for a few hundred bucks, most serious aeroponic systems require thousands of dollars in investment.
At the heart of every aeroponics system is a good pump. Without a pump to provide the pressure necessary for misting the roots, the plants will rapidly dry out and die.
The roots must be misted every few minutes — sometimes even more frequently than that.
An aeroponic setup requires a fair bit of electricity to keep things going, but it also means that an interruption in power can be fatal.
A good aeroponic system needs to be backed up with some redundancies, like battery power or backup generators, which can take over in case of a power outage.
One or more backup pumps should also be readily accessible, as a pump failure can quickly spell disaster.
Does aeroponics produce better marijuana?
Cannabis responds well to a finely tuned aeroponic system. This method can help increase yields and stimulate the production of the trichomes, resins, and oils, which give cannabis its potency and flavor.
Plenty of professional growers have successfully demonstrated that aeroponics can yield some truly marvelous marijuana.
If you know what you’re doing, an aeroponics system can provide plants with everything they need to optimize their growth and potency.
The right setup can grow more weed in less space using fewer nutrients and substantially less water than conventional or hydroponic methods.
However, all of these benefits are largely up to the skill and attentiveness of the grower.
Unlike growing in soil, where a “plant it and forget it” approach can work, reaping the benefits of aeroponics relies on a ton of skill and know-how on the part of the grower.
With aeroponics, you become one hundred percent responsible for the plant’s nutrition and hydration – instead of having the ‘safety net’ of soil in a traditional grow.
If you’re already comfortable with growing marijuana, you may be ready to make the move to aeroponics. Do your research, then get ready to grow the most efficient way possible.