Too Much Tech?
Back to the Basics
Over the years, the cannabis industry, largescale and at home, has been consumed by new inventions and adaptations. The claims of the product being more potent now than it was in the ‘70s isn’t inaccurate. We’ve just gotten substantially better at growing this plant! All the progress we’ve made in developing these advancements has certainly changed the mindset or even the culture of the grower, for the better and worse.
Back in the day, a grower was truly a gardener in the respect that it was done very organically, typically outside seasonally and realistically on a small budget. Nowadays growers have had to become hybrid beasts of microenvironment specialist alongside nutrient blenders and horticultural experts. This is not an easy task, and because most of us don’t spend years studying before we design and attempt our first grow, we cut a few corners by trusting the grow shop, friends and misleading online threads. This unfortunately has become the ‘horcrux’ of many of our pocket books and led many growers to never grow again. But this is avoidable.
The claims of the product being more potent now than it was in the ‘70s isn’t inaccurate. We’ve just gotten substantially better at growing this plant!
You don’t have to go all out on the first go. In fact, you don’t have to go all out at all and can still grow phenomenal cup-winning product. When you get into the early parts of almost any grow instruction, you begin to understand the science behind nutrient uptake and all the ideal environmental components. Who doesn’t want to have a science lab of a grow room in their house? The problem is that most of these tutorials are funded, branded or even made by the producers of these products. The same could be said for many grow books. So then how do you know what to get?
Hydroponics, including aeroponics, is not a new science, and it certainly isn’t specific to cannabis. While there are definitely advantages to buying some products specifically made for cannabis, like autotrimmers and structural adaptations, most grow products are cheap rebrands of already existing horticultural goods. The best way to not get sold is to look at what commercial hydroponic food producers do. Many of our foods in the grocery store are actually grown hydroponically in greenhouses using the exact methods we see replicated in grow shops. Knowing how cheap your lettuce and tomatoes are, imagine if you could grow cannabis at the same cost!
Ebb and Flow hydroponics, also known as flood and drain, and Nutrient Film Technique or NFT, have been the cornerstone of hydroponic production worldwide for over 40 years. Why? With simple sturdy designs, they provide consistent results with minimal mechanical upkeep or potential for failure. This is key because unlike soil, your plant is completely at the will of its environment. Forget to water one day with soil and you’ll have a wilted plant; if an airline disconnects or a pump fails in hydroponics, the plants are dead within hours.
Flood and drain systems do exactly what their names suggest, flood the basin or container with nutrient rich oxygenated water while pushing stale air out and subsequently draining back into the reservoir leaving behind nutrient solution and pulling fresh air back into the rootzone. NFT, on the other hand, constantly circulates nutrient-rich oxygenated water through the root zone while maintaining active airflow through the other portion of the rootzone. The easiest way to think of these systems is the way we do plumbing, using gravity and simple design. Both systems operate needing only an air pump and a water pump and have simple design to prevent flooding, leaking or overall failure.
If you work full-time, live with anyone including your pets and want to have a home hydroponic garden, don’t overcomplicate things. Managing life is enough to keep busy, so don’t let a home garden turn into a second job. Select a design that’s easy to manage so you can have fun growing at home and instead put your energy into your nutrients and plant health and master engineering another day. Happy growing.