High there fellow HMJaners and welcome to another grow installment from ThisBuds4You. In the last grow installment we learned How to Build a Stealth Grow Box for $150. This week we will be discussing the differences between soil and hydroponics so that you may choose what’s best for your growing needs. There are several choices to make once you decide to grow your own sweet cheeba and one of the most important decisions is whether to grow in soil or hydro. Many beginner growers choose to start with soil because they have experience with growing vegetables, herbs and house plants using dirt. Soil is inexpensive and easy to acquire. However if you’d like to spend time tinkering and tweaking your grow, hydroponics may be for you. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and in the end the decision is up to you.
Soil is easy to find and very easy to use. Just fill up your chosen growing container with soil, add water and a seed or clone and BAM: you’ve got a garden. You can also easily add supplements and nutrients to soil such as worm castings, bat guano and bone meal. You can find good soil at your local garden center and it’s generally no more than $20 for a 1.5 cubic foot bag. I recommend Fox Farm Ocean Forest potting soil for growing cannabis in soil. It can be found at your local hydroponics store or on the internet. Try to avoid soils that contain slow-release fertilizers such as Miracle Gro, Schults and Peters. Soil acts as a buffer for your roots so growth rates are slower, however, soil is much more forgiving than hydroponics. Soil gardens do not need to be watered and tended to daily. Some people argue that soil grown ganja tastes better than hydro grown ganja…and sometimes I must agree. Soil may not be the best alternative for growers in city and urban environments as soil is dirty and hard to dispose of. NEVER PUT GROW TRASH IN YOUR OWN TRASH! <—- good advice
Soilless and hydroponic gardens offer faster growth and total control of your plants. Feedings are very precise and pH and temperature control are a must. Monitoring PPMs, pH, temperatures and making adjustments is a daily routine in hydroponics. Nutrient solutions must stay above 60 degrees F to keep happy and healthy roots that take up nutrients and below 70 degrees F to avoid root rot. Cannabis thrives at a pH between 5.5 and 6.0 when grown hydroponically. Equipment such as a pH meter, a R/O (reverse-osmosis) machine, pumps and timers may need to be purchased if setting up a hydroponics garden and the initial costs can be expensive as hell. Hydroponics is not forgiving and if a problem arises you may have just hours or minutes to fix it before disaster strikes. There are several different hydroponic methods of growing: top feed drip systems, recirculating systems, drain-to-waste systems, DWC (Deep Water Culture), NFT, Ebb & Flow and aeroponics to name a few. In the next few weeks we will get into each type of system and see what it all means.
Soilless mediums offer great flexibility as these are somewhat of a hybrid of both soil and hydro. Soilless mediums are exactly that, they do not contain soil and therefore are considered a hydroponic growing method. They are generally comprised of peat moss, coco and perlite. They are commonly used in container gardening and use hydroponic nutrient mixes. ProMix is a very popular soilless medium; it contains peat, vermiculite and perlite. CocoGro from Botanicare is also a very popular soilless medium; it’s shredded coconut husks that have been cleansed. Many pre-packaged soilless mediums have excellent drainage properties and need to be watered more often than soil gardens, but soilless gardens generally have faster growth that is associated with strictly-water driven hydroponic gardens. Because soilless gardens use hydroponic nutrient mixes, a pH meter and R/O machine are recommended.
Now you should have a pretty good idea of the differences between starting up a soil garden or a hydroponics garden. Both are very enjoyable, it all depends on how much time (and money) you want to dedicate to your grow. Stay tuned for next week’s edition when we discuss water, nutrients and what it means to your plants.
Keep it green and overgrow the world! – TB4U
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