The grower and the growing medium
by Greg Green
As the grower begins to experiment with soil types and mixing them they may begin to look at alternative growing mediums such as rockwool or Clay pebbles. These are mostly artificial grow mediums designed to contain all the plants mineral needs and allow air to get the roots to promote good growth.
In the early days of experimenting with artificial grow mediums inventors found that plants just needed a suitable material that holds minerals, performs some form of drainage and allows air to get to the roots. If they could invent a non-toxic medium then the plant would surely grow as well as it would in soil. During most investigations they found that the roots did not respond too well to the mediums, but that the plant was receiving nutrition in every aspect when the nutrients were added to the artificial medium by hand. To solve this problem the inventors looked back into the history of growing. They found that many Ancient Civilizations where growing their plants directly in running streams. A light reed or bush was used to keep the plants stems above the rushing water. Of course the inventors knew that only certain types of plants could be grown this way. Then someone had the bright idea of creating a small unit that held water and had the medium and plant set-up in such away that the medium would support the plant above the tank that would feed water to the roots once they grew out of the medium.
The method is called hydroponics and is a very successful way of growing marijuana if you are looking for large bud quantities, or bud all year long.
Hydroponics is the technique of growing plants without soil, but rather in beds of sand, gravel, or artificial mediums that are flooded with a nutrient soultion.
Basically a simple hydroponics system consists of a pot, a reservoir, a grow medium, a pump and a set of growth nutrients. The system itself has a top layer and a lower layer, The top layer holds the grow medium and the bottom layer holds the water with added nutrients. The plant is grown in the medium where it will develop a stem and a set of roots. The roots will grow through the medium and down into the nutrient solution. Water and nutrients are pumped into the lower portion of the tank through a reservoir at certain timed intervals. The plants drink the solution down and thus exposes their roots to the air more. If this it timed correctly and the growing solution is maintained the plants will flourish! This is because the plant can devote more of its energy into upper-body growth rather than putting that energy into roots searching for water and air. Now having said this, hydroponically grown plants produce massive root clusters and I mean a big mass of roots.
One can easily pick up a 2-gallon bucket full of root growth from a single plant! This is because roots thrive in hydroponics systems. Hydroponics has become a fast growing trend in cannabis cultivation. It does require a certain degree of maintenance, but the results are sometimes incredible. On the other hand if a hydroponics system is not well maintained the whole unit may fail and kill your plants very quickly. This is the biggest problem that the hydroponics grower has to contend with.
Hydroponics, when done correctly, can produce a flowering plant up to 3/4 the normal time that it would take with a soil grow. That is right! Hydroponics can grow bigger and better buds in 3/4 the time it takes to grow the same strain in soil.