Aquaponic Chronic: An Exciting Challenge For Marijuana Growers
Posted by Lee G. Leissett | 16370 views
By Lee G. Leissett
High-nitrate fish waste is great for feeding vegetative plants.
(Click to enlarge)
Aquaponic systems use fish waste to feed the plants within a hydroponic system. These systems are booming in popularity, as evident by the large crowds that gather at trade show to see the latest major advancements that have come to aquaponics in the past few years. Astute growers must be asking themselves, how practical are aquaponic systems for the medical marijuana grower? Can a medical marijuana grower achieve top-quality results using an aquaponic system? The answer is mixed.
Fish waste works particularly well in the vegetative growth stage of a medical marijuana plant’s life cycle. This stage requires abundant nitrogen, which is prevalent in a fish waste solution. Aquaponics can develop strong root systems and sturdy plants structure, both of which are key goals in the veg phase.
The blooming stage is a different story. The nutrient composition of fish waste water hardly comes close to the high level of nutrition needed for your plants to grow exceptional buds. This leaves essentially two options. First, the plants could be grown in an aquaponic system and then transplanted to a separate hydroponic system for blooming, where nutrients specific to that stage of growth are provided. This set-up has the added value of creating a perpetual harvest cycle, where new plants can be put into veg, while the more mature plants are moved to the bloom system.
Second, the grower could supplement nutrients that are compatible with the fish in the aquaponic system or have the ability to be foliar fed, even in later stages of bloom. This could be difficult to achieve, and should only be done by experienced growers who don’t mind taking risks with their crop in exchange for tackling a new challenge.
Growers at the expert level or below who are interested in experimenting with aquaponics for medical marijuana should stick with the first option and create two hydroponic systems; one aquaponic system for vegetative growth and a similar re-circulating hydroponic system for blooming. This would allow the grower to utilize the high nitrate fish waste throughout the vegetative stage. Fish waste could be used exclusively, or a mild root stimulator like Sensizym could be supplemented.
Upon transplanting to the bloom system, the grower could use his or her favorite nutrient line-up in the blooming stage. pH Perfect® Sensi Bloom Two-part by Advanced Nutrients is a great option for a base nutrient in the bloom stage and would be a good nutrient to use if transitioning from an aquaponic system. If the grower wanted to maximize the potency and quality of their medicine, pH Perfect® Ultra-premium Connoisseur by Advanced Nutrients could be used as the blooming base nutrient. Whatever blooming nutrient you decide, I would recommend starting at 3/4 strength until the plants seem well acclimated. Once the plants are acclimated it would be safe to bump up the nutrients to full strength and start adding all the desired amendments.
In conclusion. medical marijuana can be grown in aquaponic systems. Many people who have done this successfully. It does present some unique obstacles, but growers looking for a challenge shouldn’t be afraid to start trying something new.
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Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Article by Lee G. Leissett, on Nov. 14th 2012