Hydroponic Medical Marijuana Basics: Growing Mediums (Ebb & Flow)
Posted by Thomas Valentine | December 05 2011 | 12483 views | Comments ↓
Click to enlarge
We’ve all heard of hydroponics and the amazing medical marijuana that can be grown with it. However, choosing which hydroponic medium and method to utilize is something of a gray area. Your hydroponic setup can be as complicated or as simple as you like—it’s up to you. You can incorporate pumps, aerators, valves and switches, or you can fill a bucket with nutrient and simply pour the stuff on. The flexibility of hydroponics is one of the main reasons it’s so effective and popular.
For the second article in this series, we'll discuss probably the most popular method for growing hydroponic medical marijuana—Ebb & Flow.
Ebb & Flood
This is the method that I used to cut my teeth in hydroponics. The Ebb & Flood method uses a growing medium of pea gravel, sand, or something like the two. There’s a lot of flexibility here, the idea is to allow room for the roots to grow through the medium unimpeded. I’ve heard of people using everything from their childhood marble collection to aquarium gravel. Even rocks dug up from the driveway work if you clean them well enough.
This method can be complex if you want to go that far, though it doesn’t have to be. The most basic setups have a growing tray filled with the medium you’ve chosen. Connect to the bottom of that a hose, with the other end of the hose connected to the bottom of a bucket, which will be the nutrient reservoir. Fill the reservoir with the nutrient solution, and then lift the reservoir higher than the top of the growing medium. The nutrient solution flows from the reservoir into the growing tray, flooding the growing medium with nutrient. Put the reservoir on the floor and the nutrient flows from the growing tray back into the reservoir. Simple.
Check out the simplest Ebb & Flow system ever.
The major advantage to this method is that the roots are constantly moist and highly oxygenated. The solid, heavy growing medium – I recommend pea gravel – holds the roots better than the peat and perlite method. There’s also a large amount of room between the grains of the growing medium, so the roots will grow almost entirely unimpeded. They’ll waste less energy trying to plow through the medium, making an extensive early root system. This lends itself to spectacular results later on.
One drawback to this method is that the tray has to be flooded three to four times daily, religiously. If you have a day job, then your plants will suffer because you wont be able to feed them often enough. This is a good reason to explore automating your Ebb & Flood setup. Use a pump to fill the growing tray, a float switch to tell when the growing tray is full, and an electric valve that opens to allow the nutrient to flow back into the reservoir. An electric timer is also a must for this system.
You might be scratching your head, trying to figure out how to implement this. Don’t worry, there’s a clever solution to this problem that we'll explain in the next article.
To create link towards this article on your website,
copy and paste the text below in your page.
Monday, 05 December 2011
Article by Thomas Valentine, on Dec. 5th 2011