If you’re looking for the best buds possible from your crop, proper watering practices will go a long way. And in a hydroponic system, your water solution means everything for the growth and health of your plants. There are a ton of options out there. These include methods where a continuous flow of nutrient solution is fed to the root system, and even aeroponic systems with no medium at all, where the plant is watered via a fine mist or humidity in the air.

The ideal watering practices for you will depend on your budget, time availability, and level of experience. All these factors will influence how you preserve water and keep nutrients close to the root system of your plant.

Hydroponics vs Aeroponics Cannabis

DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM

This is a very popular system in hydroponic operations. By controlling the quantity and frequency with which you water your plants, you’ll also control the supply of nutrients. This gives the grower the potential to tailor their supply of solution to the number of droplets given to a plant.

The drip irrigation system consists of a series of small tubes and droppers that connect your water reservoir to each of the plants in your garden. There is really no limit to this. One could feed a couple of plants or an industrial-sized facility using a drip irrigation system. The amount of solution and frequency with which it is administered is then controlled by a timer; not a drop more, nor a drop less is fed to the plants. You don’t even have to be there to feed them. This will save time and money, leaving you available to take care of the non-automated processes.

In more conventional plantations, water is usually given in excess to the plant. It’s expected that it will just drain out. This is not the best condition for a plant to grow in, nor is it the most environmentally-friendly. Preserving water is especially important for growers living in extremely dry areas where water may not be abundant. Drip irrigation will help ensure you always have enough water solution for your plants.

DISADVANTAGES

This system still has its disadvantages. It won’t be the easiest method to set up. Having a hose laying around your grow room will make things much easier for the average home grower. The pipes will also have to be cleaned every once in a while to prevent clogging. Algae and mineral build-up might stop the water flow. This could lead to one or more of your plants not getting the water solution it needs. If your system dispenses the water below the soil, you’ll have no way of telling if your plant is not being fed. You’ll only notice a nutrient deficiency days later.

Drip irrigation will also require a monthly flush-out. This will help with the above problem. By regularly flushing your system, you’ll clean out any residue left behind by the slow flow of water. How often you do this will depend on the cleanliness of your kit and the quality of your water and nutrient solution. And finally, although this system requires less overall supervision, it requires greater attention when you do deal with it. You’ll have to constantly check your plants for signs of ill-health or disease. This is the only way you’ll be able to fix any problem in a timely manner.

Drip Irrigation System Hydrocultivation

MATERIALS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE YOUR OWN DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM

In order to make your own drip irrigation system, you’ll need an emitter for each plant. This is what actually controls the supply of water to individual plants. There are a lot of variations when it comes to these products. Some are simply a perforated tube allowing water to be released. Others come attached to a plastic stake and will spread water over a larger surface. It is up to you to decide which method is best. What you should definitely look for are emitters with pressure compensation. This is because if you have multiple levels in your grow room, the ones on the lower level will end up receiving more water due to gravity. Pressure compensation will guarantee the same output on every plant independently of elevation variations.

You’ll obviously need spaghetti tubing to fit into the emitters. These will ensure that the water reaches your plant. These will then be linked to a PVC manifold that serves as a hub for your water distribution. These will vary in size depending on the number of plants. In a large-scale operation, you’ll need not only longer, but thicker PVC tubing. With all of this set up, your next addition will be a water pump. Most pumps out there will do the job just fine, pumping more than 1000 litres of water per hour, which is plenty.

The last and most overlooked material is the bucket. This is super important because it’s where your excess water will flow into. Your pump will then reuse this water and this is how you’ll be saving money and the environment.

Now, let’s gather all these materials and assemble them into a functional drip irrigation system.

BUILDING YOUR DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM - PREPPING THE MATERIALS

The great thing about drip irrigation is that it requires almost no extra money nor effort to add another plant to your garden. Today, we’ll be teaching you a very simple setup. Being that it’s super easy and quick to build, it won’t accommodate an industrial facility for professional growers. It’s perfect for people like you and me who just want a few plants so we can grow our own bud to share with friends and family.

You’ll first need some kind of bucket or container, mentioned as the last material above. Look for one with a lid. The size of the bucket is what will determine how many plants you can accommodate in your system. You’ll need to fit the net cups, so cut appropriately-sized holes in your bucket’s lid. These will be approximately 10-12cm in diameter. Drill another hole that is big enough to pass the plug of the pump. The last hole you have to drill must have the diameter of the thick tubing attached to the pump.

Now that you have everything set up, let’s start the building process.

BUILDING YOUR DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM - PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Place the pump on the bottom of the bucket and feed the wiring and tubing through the lid. The next step will be to reduce the 1.2cm tubing that the pump recognises to a size that won’t flood your plants. You’ll need a reducer that decreases the tubing to half the size. This will certainly accommodate your needs much better. Next, fit the lid to the bucket. Push the tubing back into the hole, making the reducer stay flat on the top. Relax, the most difficult part is over. Once the reducer is at the end of the thicker tubing, attach 10cm of the thinner one to the other end.

Now, all you need to do is place your pots in the designated holes and fill them with your medium, such as clay pebbles or rockwool. Finally, you can place your seed or clone. Make sure the tubing leads to it and you’re ready to go.

Plug in and wait for the results to show. Just don’t forget to include a timer on your plug so that it’s not working 24 hours a day. The ideal scenario will be around 3 times a day for a duration of 6 minutes.

Don’t forget to check for clogged emitters, and you won’t be disappointed with the final product. This is a very low-maintenance system that has the potential to give you top-quality yields. Have fun and don’t forget to learn from your mistakes.

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