Top Marijuana Grow Boxes and Indoor Hydroponic Systems Reviewed
A hydroponic growing system, simply put, is a system that doesn’t make use of soil but instead nutrient-filled water in order to make plants grow, which is particularly perfect when it comes to growing weed, also known as marijuana or cannabis. If you lack the soil, pots, planter’s box, or lawn space to make weed grow (and you might wish to grow them out of sight even if you have a medical prescription for them because it’s such a lot of trouble dealing with suspicious authorities in regards to whether they’re medicinal or not—out of sight, out of mind, as they say), then go the hydroponic route.
What Are Grow Boxes?
Marijuana grow boxes are the types of boxes or container techniques you use to grow marijuana. As far as hydroponic systems go, you have quite a lot of them to choose from. They’re available everywhere if you know where to look and you’re an avid growing of pot. Each of the different hydroponic systems and grow boxes outlined below have their own pros and cons, so it all boils down to personal preference which method of hydroponic growing you want to use on your special marijuana strains.
Advice for New Marijuana Growers:
The kits themselves come complete with instructions, so you’re never really lost when dealing with this brave new method of growing most anything, especially weed.Most shops will even offer advice and recommendations for neophytes along with their complete hydroponic kits, if you’re lucky (since it’s in their best interest to train people in the art of hydroponic growing). It’s actually more ideal budget-wise to grow weed hydroponically since water and extra you don’t need at first until you get the hang of everything.
Following Basic Principles:
It’s actually quite easy to make your own hydroponics as long as you follow basic principles. The container should be watertight and lightweight while you should have the marijuana plant’s roots dangling inside of it for regular renewable sustenance. Also, instead of watering it, the water is placed where the marijuana grows, like a rose in a vase full of water. You should also install small emitters that produce a fine mist regularly for aeration purposes. Nutrients sprinkled into it will always be cheaper than getting good-quality soil and space on your lawn or planter’s box for that dirt.
Advantages of Growing in Hydroponics
Hydroponics is quite advantageous compared to normal soil growing. The benefits depend on what type of hydroponic system you’re using, but in general, you won’t have to use soil, you won’t have to water your marijuana plants manually, everything is automated, and sometimes you can even force the plant to flower earlier, resulting in immediate yields depending on what system you’re using.
– Top Feed System: Also known as the Continuous Flow System, it produces a continuous feed of nutrients atop the growth medium rather than intermittent spritz from a sprinkler. It’s similar to the NFT System and the Ebb and Flow System. The nutrients flow then ebb away back to the reservoir in a cycle, requiring low maintenance.
– Drip Irrigation System: This system conserves the most water than any other system out there. This watering system is able to do this by delivery of nutrient feed solutions directly to the base of the cannabis plant through a series of small water lines with a 0.25 to 2 GPH per container flow rate. It can be used with Hydroton, Rockwool, Soil, and a Soilless Mix.
– Ebb and Flow System: As discussed above, these techniques are reminiscent of the Top Feed System or Continuous Flow System. Ebb and Flow is a basic but usable method wherein your pots are placed in a tray above your reservoir, which in turn pumps nutrient solution up into the pan that flows past the pot and in turn feeds it.
– The Wick System: The simplest and most basic system of all different hydroponic system types for marijuana growing is the wick system. It’s another beginner-friendly neophyte method because there’s no need for aeration systems, timers, or pumps to make it work. Instead, you should just connect your pots with thick “wick” that’s dipped into the reservoir. From there, the capillary action of your plant will handle the rest of the job.
– DWC System: As for the Deep Water Culture or DWC System, which is also known as Bubbleponics Hydroponic System or the Recirculating Direct Water Culture or RDWC System, it involves the root system swimming within the nutrients solution rather than intermittently adding nutrients to the water. It’s a similar system you’d see in aquariums; an aeration stone blasts air on the roots of your cannabis to help provide oxygen to it. The grow box for this method is a plastic watertight drum, usually.
– Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) System: As for the NFT System, it deals with efficient aeration of the roots of the cannabis plant in an orderly fashion. The flora is kept in aggregate above a tray that’s slightly tilted. The film part comes from a thin film of nutrients that flow gradually from top to bottom past your marijuana’s roots.
Disadvantages in Growing in Hydroponics
With that said, you might end up buying loads of equipment when growing with hydroponics. Actually, that’s the least of your worries when it comes to hydroponics.
Time and Commitment: Even the simplest and most self-maintaining of hydroponic techniques require loads of research and setting up before they could be considered fully operational. Let’s take the hydroponic versions of Sea of Green (SOG) and Screen of Green (SCROG), for example. It essentially forces the plants into flowering stage even when they’re still young rather than being passive with the growth like with the wick system.
Innovated by the Dutch, the Sea of Green method of hydroponics (that can be utilized with soil as well) involves producing a whole plot of pot kolas or heads in a single grow box, whether you use dirt or home hydro systems to make it work. As for the Screen of Green, it’s the more “hardcore” version of SOG that’s quite exciting to execute and involves a SOG setup but this time with the addition of a screen atop the growing kolas.
Labor-Intensive Work: To make SOG work (which can also be done with soil or a greenhouse), you should have diligence, responsibility, and perseverance to not put up the whole thing, but also to maintain the setup after the fact. To make SCROG work, it’s all about suspending the screens as close to the lights as possible. This might involve checking pH levels of your nutrient feed and choosing the right hydroponic system to intermittently put your solution into the plants to make them grow in a controlled environment.
It’s all about increasing the marijuana bud numbers that have light accessibility by proper placement of the screen in question, which means you should keep them between your favorite cannabis plants and the growing medium for maximum results every time. Even though hydroponics was devised to reduce labor for about five to ten minutes every day, you should be careful how you spend those minutes.
Loads of Attention, Meticulousness, and Care: Other than the occasional absence due to vacations, your hydroponic system will require some regular maintenance to work. You should have a meter for EC measurement, a meter for pH measurement, and hydroponic nutrients for marijuana’s vegetative and flowering stages. The concentration of your nutrient solution will also be determined by an EC meter.
What’s more, the most commercially available solutions will make it a requirement for you to check for your nutrient feed’s concentration, pH levels, and so forth. Even though there are safeguards against flooding and nutrient wastage as well as methods of aeration, you still should have the right mix in your solution feed to make the whole setup work. It might also be wise to invest in an extra reservoir or standing area for water because faucet water might have the wrong pH.
Why Grow Hydroponically?
Going the hydroponics route is cost-effective. For example, with aeroponics, you get a combination of nutrient-filled water on the roots and a sprinkler or spritzer system on the stems and trichomes that allow the cannabis to propagate effectively under this humid environment where everything is more controlled, including the light source in case you’re using a photoperiod regular strain instead of an autoflowering one that doesn’t have strict regulations in light feeding.
It also helps that you have a wide array of options when it comes to hydroponic growing. For example, the most basic of hydroponic systems, the Wick System (with additional aeration features), offers the following benefits:
Low Maintenance:It doesn’t have any moving parts, it doesn’t need electricity, and it’s a very Do-It-Yourself kind of hydroponics you can try out at home by buying materials and putting them together using an Internet-downloaded guide. Consider it your starter kit when it comes to growing marijuana. You can even add an optional air pump in the reservoir to help the feeding of your plant along if you wish.
Aeration Benefits: Aeroponics is the art of putting small emitters that produce fine mist on a regular basis that creates a humid but “aerated” environment for your marijuana that’s also nutrient-filled. Something that’s aerated means something that’s fizzy, sparkling, bubbly or bubbling, well-ventilated, aired, exposed, freshened, or otherwise put in a position that lets the marijuana plant breathe altogether.
Passive Method of Growing Marijuana: This is a passive method of making your plants grow. What this means is that no pumps are actively moving the water and the capillaries and the roots themselves will be seeking the nutrients fed to them out instead of the other way around. You might need at least one pump for aeration purposes, but that’s it. The wick used for the Wick System is an acrylic cord.
Capillary Action: The nutrient solution pulled up to the plant by the force of capillary action of the wick, wherein it absorbs the solution then sends it to the plant’s growing medium. Meanwhile the bottom end of the wick is hanging in your nutrient solution’s reservoir. It’s easier to avoid overwatering your plants or flooding your reservoir with this system.
Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the most commonly used hydroponic systems.
More about Top Feed Systems: The individual plant’s base is fed by the Top Feed System using an emitter, which is attached to a multi-valve unit that’s pump-fed from the reservoir. Any of the run-off solution from the plants are recycled and fed back into the reservoir by drainage hole so that it can be used again until all nutrients from the reservoir are taken and a refill of the nutrient solution is called for.
Systems like this require adjustments to get the quantities right, admittedly. However, like the Ebb and Flow System, all it really takes is putting up a 15 minutes feed three times to four times daily as your starting point or rule of thumb.
More about Ebb and Flow Systems: Ebb and Flow is a low-maintenance system that’s perfect for growing within Rockwool. Many beginners and neophytes depend on this particular cannabis hydroponic growth method. That’s because it places plants in pots with a tray that can contain around 15 centimeters or 6 inches of nutrient feed solution.
The economical part of such grow systems is that there’s a timed pump that flood the tray’s base from a reservoir for four times daily for as long as it needs to pump enough of the feed right into the plant stem’s base, nourishing it in a regular and automated fashion. After the switch off of the pump, the solution is trained back into the same tube with what’s left staying behind
More about Drip Irrigation Systems: It involves growing marijuana with small emitters that drip feed into your plants from up top, near the trunk of the plant. It’s one of the more economical methods towards growing your marijuana plant out there for sure. It’s a drip-down irrigation method that feeds the plants in a gradual manner, like an IV or feeding tube would.
It maximizes your usage of nutrients in a sense, thus promoting better maximization of your investment and available resources. As a plus, you’ll get low evaporation issues and water efficiency to boot. If you want the plant to be able to survive with regular sustenance using a gravity-assisted dripping method, then this is the hydroponic method for you.
Whether you wish to use the Wick System, Top Feed System, Aeroponics, DWC System, Deep Irrigation, Ebb and Flow System, NFT System, SOG, or SCROG for your grow box, always remember to weigh in on the pros and cons of any of the systems mentioned above.