Top 10 Tips for Growing Hydro
Some of the best methods are the most basic ones, and the newbies always overdo it when prepping for their first hydroponic grow. So, what’s the first thing you should do? (Aside from reading these tips) Get comfortable and pay attention to the ten top tips for growing hydroponic marijuana!
10. Start with a sterile environment
Yes, you can grow weed out of your bedroom closet. You can also make toilet wine but I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’re going to do this, do it right and invest in the correct equipment and first things first: a quality tent. Get one that best suits your needs, but do your research! Don’t forget to take your strain into consideration: indica grows shorter and fatter while sativa grows taller and thinner. Choosing your strain ahead of time (planning a lot of things ahead of time is helpful) is going to help you in the long run for multiple reasons, choosing the size of your tent, for example.
9. Choose the right strain for you
You could probably grow weed out of that seed you found in a bag or the one that your friend gave you, but need I refer back to the toilet wine? There are plenty of online locations (such as one of the references used in this article) that sell marijuana seeds to lots of different locations, including anywhere in the US. The important thing is to choose a vender FIRST and then research the different strains they have to offer. Why? Because one shop’s Blue Cheese isn’t going to be the same as the next shop’s Blue Cheese, that’s why. So find a shop that will ship to you, and invest in some quality, feminized seeds (autoflower is ok for newbies, but never recommended by this gal). A good shop should have a decent description of the effects of their specific strains, so read, read, read!
8. Understand the importance of pH, but don’t overdo it
When I first started, I obsessed over the pH because the old-schoolers told me how important it was, so naturally, I overdid it. Anytime the pH went out of the “acceptable” zone by even a smidge, I would make adjustments. I made so many adjustments that I kept going through bottles of pH up and down until my mentors stopped me in my tracks. They reminded me that plant pHs naturally fluctuate between night and day pHs, and you’re better off allowing a plant to teeter back and forth itself rather than obsess and try to control it.
7. Getting the right airflow
You would be surprised how many people point the fan that’s inside the tent directly at the plant… NO. BAD GROWER. STOP IT. You need to put that little fan in a corner, and point it at the opposing wall so you can build a tornado of wind in there, just not as fast or large as an actual tornado. You want to build an airstream that surrounds the plant as equally as you can. Depending on how you have your intake and outtake fans set up, you should coordinate them together with the mini fan you keep on the inside (if you don’t do this, you should).
6. Maintain a consistent temperature
Whether you keep your room on the warmer or cooler side, you just need to keep it consistent. My cousin keeps his grow room much warmer than I keep mine, yet we yield similar results; I attribute the difference to the strain varieties. I love Blue Cheese from my favorite online shop, and it’s a strain meant for northerners, as in it can stand cooler summers. For me, that translates to it can withstand my airconditioner temperatures during the summer because I am a heat sissy.
5. Keep records
I know this sounds like a ridiculous tactic, but I’m telling you, your future self will thank you if you leave behind information that you can follow up on and/or mimic for amazing results. I switched fertilizers once and forgot I had done so, with disastrous results… Stupidly, I had done so halfway through a grow because I had run out of my usual stuff and was lazy. See what happens when you slack? Learn from my mistakes, and keep a record of your actions.
4. Research fertilizer brands
No matter what type of brand you choose (I reference my favorite for this article), be sure to follow that brand’s specific instructions. A lot of people go by what so-and-so recommended them, or this well-known dealer. Ok, that’s great that those methods work for them, but you need to get just one round of a successful grow in right now, so don’t complicate things, and follow an already existing set of instructions.
3. Only use clean equipment and distilled water
Seriously, I know you can get away with using the kitchen sink, but if you want to see real results then you need to do this the right way from the beginning. Invest in a small reverse-osmosis (RO) system, any type should do the trick. The more filters the system has, the better the filtration. Invest in what you can really afford, but remember that this purchase is a one-time purchase; you’ll need to buy replacement filters a few times a year (depending on how frequently you use your system), but even then, the filters themselves aren’t that expensive.
You need to sterilize your equipment; just because it’s brand new does NOT mean that it is sterile, ok?! Dunk that sh*t in boiling water if you can, wipe down all surfaces you can touch, and make sure that there isn’t a hole in your tent (that’s part of the sterile environment, remember?).
2. Humidity is still important for hydro growers
Some growers think that because they go hydro they don’t have to consider humidity levels, but you do. I don’t know if it’s just my climate, but I find that I don’t need to baby the younglings when it comes to humidity, rather, the adults are more sensitive. Once I get a nice canopy going, I will open the lid to the reservoir a bit, and honestly, that has worked for me this whole time. People have told me not to do it because it increases the chance for the growth of bad bacteria, but hey, it all goes back to a sterile environment, RO water, and clean hands. This way, I also don’t have to worry about keeping another item clean: a spray bottle. Yes, you would need to keep that clean too if you think about it. Ultimately the choice is up to you, but either way, just don’t forget about the humidity.
1. Buy the right light
This one is hard not to be biased just because I have multiple brands in mind that have worked out well for me, BUT to remain unbiased, I will instead tell you what makes a good growing lamp. I will reference my favorite site for lamps. There are some people, such as myself, that prefer to build their own lamps because it’s not as scary as it sounds. I had some really great teachers over at the ilgm.com community board, and I strongly recommend any newbie to reach out to some experienced growers for advice along the way. It’s super helpful having a group of people to reference when you’re freaking out that your plant might be dying when she’s totally fine.
For the first-time grower, a decent LED will probably do the trick, just be sure you are actually purchasing a grow light for plants, and not just a fancy light…