Confessions of Beginner Hydroponic Marijuana Grower: Questions about Hydroponics Nutrients & Marijuana Feeding
Posted by Gary Anderson | September 04 2012 | 7691 views | Comments ↓
Are you feeding your marijuana girls the food they really want?
(Click to enlarge)
It took me a long time to understand how marijuana plants intake nutrition, and what that means for how I do things as a marijuana grower.
My early mistake was to believe that the only things marijuana plants “eat” are water and the nutritional elements you see on fertilizer labels.
I had forgotten light and CO2. I also forgot oxygen.
Oxygen? Yes, your marijuana plants absorb oxygen through their roots. If you overwater your root zone, the water drives oxygen out of the root zone, and harms the roots.
Or if you have a very dense, poorly-aerated root zone material that lacks enough pore space to hold oxygen, your roots can die from oxygen depletion. They suffocate or drown.
When I first started growing, I didn’t want to invest in hydroponics nutrients or any other kind of fertilizer.
I was broke, and all I wanted was some “free weed.” I’d heard people say marijuana is easy to grow…just throw a plant in some dirt, and a few months later, harvest that sticky bud.
Wish it had been that easy!
When I told the hydroponics store guy I just wanted to throw a plant in a container and not have to do any serious gardening work, he told me Fox Farm Ocean Forest has enough nutrients to last through grow phase and the first couple of weeks of bloom phase:
“After that, you’ll see calcium and magnesium deficiencies. Then you’ll see potassium and phosphorus deficiencies. If you don’t add bloom phase nutrients, your bloom phase is going to fail. You can’t just throw your plant in a pot and forget it.”
The way he explained it is that a marijuana plant growing in a regular-size container with even the richest commercial potting soil such as Fox Farm is like a hungry man locked in a room with a specific amount of food.
After the food is gone, if you don’t put more food into the room, the man starts to starve.
The same happens with a marijuana plant growing in a container with regular soil—the available nutrients are sucked into the plant, and then there aren’t any more.
The soil is depleted…empty of nutrition.
I didn’t totally accept what the hydro store guy said. I still believed I could get away with adding a powdered 2-2-2 soil amendment to my Fox Farm. If my plant began to starve, I would scrape together some coin and get the minimum fertilizers necessary.
My main goal was to see how little money and time I could spend and still grow some decent buds.
That was then and this is now. I caught marijuana growing fever, and became obsessed with growing.
As I’ve gained experience growing marijuana, I now know there are various marijuana cultivation methods that deal with the need to feed marijuana:
- Make your own “supersoil” that has more nutrition, and different ratios and types of nutrition, than Fox Farm and similar types of soil. If you do supersoil right, you can grow tasty buds, adding only water.
- Grow in water. Use deep water culture (DWC), aeroponics, nutrients film technique (NFT) or other water systems. You absolutely must infuse the water with hydroponics nutrients. As long as you add the right amounts and kinds of quality nutrients, with the correct water pH, and reliable electricity supply and water quality, you’ll have good results.
- Grow in Fox Farm, Roots Organic or a similar “soil mix,” wait until on-board nutrients are used up, then provide hydroponics synthetic nutrients or organic/natural nutrients.
- Grow in rockwool, coco coir, or a semi-sterile peat-based mix such as Pro-Mix, and add hydroponics or organic/natural nutrients.
In my first-ever grow, about two weeks into bloom phase, the plant started showing signs of nutrient deficiencies.
In the next article, I’ll explain what I did about those problems. One thing I knew for sure after a few weeks of growing my first marijuana plant: feeding your plants is one of the most important ways you influence how healthy your marijuana plants are, how much THC you grow, and how heavy your yields are.
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Tuesday, 04 September 2012
Photography by Copyright, Gary Anderson, 2012
Article by Gary Anderson, on Sep. 4th 2012