Aeroponics and Growing Cannabis: Things to Know

There are many ways to cultivate marijuana in the modern era, with some systems significantly more efficient and effective than others. Aeroponics is one method that is capturing the attention of marijuana growers since it requires no growing medium and can produce enormous yields.

If you want to cultivate huge amounts of cannabis, use far less water and get rid of the need for soil, read on!

Get Bigger Buds with Homegrown Cannabis

Whether you’re a first-time aeroponics grower or a veteran, taking a trip to Homegrown Cannabis Co. can help you achieve your dream of cultivating potent weed with sparkling trichomes at home. You have access to the world’s most extensive range of in-house genetics at your fingertips and can also buy nutrients and mix packs, not to mention benefitting from a host of great deals.

What Is an Aeroponics Growing System?

Aeroponics is a unique method of plant cultivation where you suspend the roots in the air and spray them with water. It is a form of hydroponic gardening that’s older than many people would think. Indeed, in 1911, V.M. Artsikhovski wrote about spraying different substances in the surrounding air while discussing physiological studies of root systems. He created the first aeroponics system and showed its suitability for growing a variety of plant species.

However, the term “aeroponics” wasn’t used until 1957. A Dutch biologist, Frits Warmolt Went, coined the phrase. He grew tomatoes and coffee plants with the roots suspended in the air and applied a nutrient mist to these roots.

aeroponics

Fast forward to 1983, and Richard Stoner filed his first aeroponic patent. His company, Genesis Technology Inc (GTi), manufactured and marketed the first commercially available aeroponic apparatus, the Genesis Machine. The system utilized an oxygenation process that took it ahead of existing hydroponic systems.

In 1985, GTi introduced the “Genesis Growing System,” a new generation of aeroponics hardware. It was a closed-loop system that used recycled effluent, which was controlled by a microprocessor. At a stroke, GTi had created the first plant and harvest aeroponic system ever. Even today, many of these old aeroponic systems are in use.

In the modern era, companies are finding more uses for aeroponic growing systems, including the cultivation of marijuana.

How Do Aeroponics Growing Systems Work?

Aeroponics is one of the main types of hydroponic plant growing methods. Others include:

  • Ebb and Flow
  • Wick system
  • Continuous flow
  • Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
  • Screen of Green (SCROG)
  • Sea of Green (SOG)

It is a means of growing weed without needing a growing medium such as soil. Since there isn’t a growing medium to weigh down the plants, you need a support system to keep them in place.

With the roots suspended in the air, the water and nutrients are provided via misting. These nutrients and the water combine with CO2 (carbon dioxide), sunlight, and oxygen to ensure your weed is healthy. As long as the roots receive moisture, that is.

An aeroponics system is comprised of the following:

  • Planter Bed: This is where you grow your marijuana plants. Typically, it includes three systems: Drainage, misting, and a system that supports and separates the roots from the cannabis plant.
  • Reservoir: This is where the water supply is stored. You need to check it for nutrient levels and quality regularly.
  • Pumps: These connect the planter bed to the reservoir and continuously exchange the water.

To begin with, you must place a seedling grown in a non-soil growing medium (such as coco coir or Rockwool). Next, place your seedlings in individual pots that separate the interior and exterior of the planter bed.

Place a collar around the stalk’s base to prevent the mist from molding the stalk or evaporating it. The collar is also an effective means of ensuring your plants’ roots don’t become damaged or infected.

The roots should quickly grow out of the growing medium and through the pot. Meanwhile, the plant will grow vertically away from the bed.

You will need to use spray nozzle attachments to deliver the water. The water released from the nozzle is in a fine mist, and it covers the plant’s root systems. Any excess moisture produced is collected on the bottom of the bed and is drained back into the reservoir.

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Tips for Cultivating Aeroponic Marijuana

Here are a few tips to help you grow aeroponic weed more efficiently, divided into a few categories.

Reservoir notes

  • Please take note of your reservoir’s water level; remember that the plants consume more water as they grow.
  • Keep the water temperature in the reservoir below 75 degrees Fahrenheit; 65-68 degrees is the ideal temperature range.
  • Keep the pH of the water between 5.5 and 6.5.
  • Build a small cooling fan into the reservoir 24/7 to maximize root zone oxygen levels.
  • Use distilled or filtered water; tap water usually has chlorine, which you don’t want to add to your grow water.
  • Empty and clean the reservoir weekly to ensure mold and pests stay out of the system.

Nutrients & Growing

  • Remember that you’ll need to change the amount of nutrients you give your plants as they grow.
  • If using store-bought nutrients, begin with 25% of the recommended amount and increase gradually if and when necessary.
  • Take note of the height of the growing lights; your plants will close the gap as they grow, so you must continually raise the lighting.

Equipment

  • Take note of the length of time you switch the misters on for; 3-5 second pumps are usually enough.
  • Check your equipment regularly for clogging and other faults. Check the misters and pumps often to ensure the water circulates through the system properly and reaches the plants. Your plants can start dying if they don’t receive moisture for 60 minutes!
  • Invest in oscillating fans to keep mold and pests out of your system.
  • Choose CFL or full-spectrum LED grow lights. Avoid using strong HID lamps as they can increase the water temperature in the reservoir to a point where bacteria grow rapidly.
  • Buy a pH and EC meter to help determine whether your nutrient solution needs tweaking.
  • Get an EC meter if your plant nutrient recommendations are in EC units; if they are in ppm, a TDS meter is a better option.

The Grow Room

  • Ideally, your grow room’s temperature will remain at about 68-70 degrees.
  • Although you can grow more plants using aeroponics, it is best to give them enough space as overcrowding increases the risk of bacteria and mold growth.
  • Enhancing the grow room’s CO2 level will also boost yield.
  • Keep your grow room as clean as possible to prevent pathogens from getting into your system.

Marijuana Strains

  • It is best to use photoperiod strains rather than autoflowers.
  • Robust hybrids such as Blue Dream fare particularly well in an aeroponic set-up.

Advantages of Aeroponically Grown Marijuana

Now that you have a basic idea of how an aeroponics system works, let’s investigate its advantages and disadvantages. Like most growing methods, aeroponics isn’t suitable for everyone, but it could prove highly effective for those with the means and desire. Here are the benefits of aeroponics.

It Offers a Higher Yield Than Standard Growing Methods

In the 1990s, Richard Stoner got funding from NASA to create a high-performance aeroponic system for space and Earth. The MIR space station used his research to cultivate plants in space. Incredibly, the MIR seeds showed more growth than the plants on Earth!

Overall, aeroponics boosted crop yields by 45-75%, while plants cultivated via aeroponic methods had about 80% more mass than other methods!

In 2001, a study by the University of Arizona analyzed the effect of aeroponics on two plants. These two plants, burdock and echinacea, are noted for their medicinal properties. Aeroponically grown burdock performed extremely well. This method produced harvests approximately 1,000% greater than the field-grown burdock’s average yield. Also, the crop was easier to harvest due to the lack of soil.

Meanwhile, a 2014 study compared the difference in yield between aeroponically grown and field-grown leafy greens. The researchers looked at eight different crops and found that when aeroponically grown, the crops produced yields of between 8% and 65% more than crops grown in the soil.

You Use Significantly Less Water

Agriculture accounts for approximately 97% of human land use; unfortunately, soil is becoming increasingly degraded. It is also a fact that the world is facing a potential water shortage. At present, about 70% of freshwater withdrawals relate to agriculture. With aeroponic farms, we can cultivate crops without fertile land. Moreover, it is a method of growing that uses 95% less water than standard agriculture.

Indeed, NASA discovered that Stoner’s aeroponic system decreased water usage by 98%, pesticide usage by 100%, and fertilizer usage by 60%.

Extremely High-Quality Marijuana

Aeroponically grown marijuana is usually of a very high standard. By adding nutrients directly to the roots, you end up with huge buds. Those who use an aeroponic system to grow weed say that the buds are covered in glistening trichomes, usually an indicator of high potency.

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Easy Access to Oxygen

The cannabis plant’s roots have constant access to oxygen as the aeroponics process involves keeping the roots suspended in the air. Furthermore, when you dissolve nutrients in water and apply them directly, they are available for rapid plant uptake.

Less Space is Required

Aeroponic systems allow plants to be more tightly packed as there is no battle for soil. Therefore, you can grow more plants in a small area and reduce the risk of pest infestations. It is common for commercial aeroponics operations to grow a large number of plants near each other. This makes sense since the plants are not fighting for nutrients or soil.

Easy Transplanting

Transplanting aeroponically grown plants is easy; all you need to do is lift the pot and transfer it to a different reservoir. Your plants won’t feel any shock since there is no growing medium.

Total Control

If you’re an experienced marijuana grower, you’ll love the level of control you achieve with aeroponically grown weed. You have full command over pH and nutrient levels. Consequently, you can use your skill to determine the right level of nutrients required and boost your crop’s growth.

Furthermore, you control the grow room’s temperature, lighting, and humidity. Having such control is great news if you’re cultivating strains requiring considerable care and attention.

Disadvantages of Aeroponically Grown Marijuana

Of course, aeroponics is not the perfect cannabis cultivation solution. There are a few downsides which we now explore.

Aeroponics Has a Steep Learning Curve

Aeroponics is NOT a growing method that’s suitable for novices. It requires significant time, effort, and knowledge to get it right. You are responsible for different factors such as nutrient concentration, water temperature, pH levels, humidity, and the system’s efficiency, among other things.

You Must Monitor Your Equipment & Crop Constantly

The system involves the use of a timer with the roots misted at specific times during the day. Therefore, power cuts, clogged nozzles, broken pumps, empty reservoirs, and other faults can negatively impact weed cultivation. As you need 24/7 electricity, you may have to invest in power generators in case of a power outage.

Also, you must regularly clean and sterilize an aeroponic set-up to stop the buildup of fungi, bacteria, or other pathogens around the plant’s root zone.

Mistakes Are Costly

When roots don’t have moisture, they will die. Consequently, you must have a means of knowing when there are issues with equipment so you can fix them quickly. Otherwise, your entire crop could perish. Indeed, if there is an issue, plants will die rapidly.

Expensive Set-Up

There are high initial costs associated with an aeroponics system. Apart from the expense of buying or making the system itself, you must also pay for nutrients, pH and EC meters, fans, and a backup electricity source. If you are a serious marijuana grower, the added cost is probably worth it. However, aeroponics is probably a bit too expensive if you only want to cultivate a few plants for personal use.

Risk of Mold

While there is less risk of pest infestations, aeroponically grown weed is more susceptible to mold and root rot.

Get Bigger Buds with Homegrown Cannabis

Whether you’re a first-time aeroponics grower or a veteran, taking a trip to Homegrown Cannabis Co. can help you achieve your dream of cultivating potent weed with sparkling trichomes at home. You have access to the world’s most extensive range of in-house genetics at your fingertips and can also buy nutrients and mix packs, not to mention benefitting from a host of great deals.

Aeroponically Grown Marijuana: The Final Word

Although an aeroponics setup is unquestionably expensive, growers agree that the end product makes the investment worthwhile. This combination of indoor growing and the direct application of nutrients to the plant’s roots helps to develop enormous buds.

The cannabis industry is at the forefront of efforts to implement aeroponics technology. As well as providing bigger yields and using less water, aeroponics could potentially be used to increase food production. Given the Earth’s rapidly growing population, this may prove an extremely useful application of aeroponics in the future.

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