There are different types of irrigation systems that are available for the typical cannabis farmer. The principles of operation are the same across the board, but the mechanisms of delivery may differ from one type to another. These systems fall under two broad categories: recirculating systems and run to waste drip systems. Let us look at the characteristics of each of these methods in greater detail.
Recirculating drip irrigation systems
- The cannabis plants are located above the reservoir containing the nutrient solution. The remaining solution that is not used up by the plants is taken through the growth medium and back to the reservoir. This has the advantage of reducing wastage so that the plants use up only that which is required.
- This system is simple to operate and setup.
- The fact that the system is placed above the plants means that the system is not susceptible to leaks without getting noticed.
- This system may be installed in a number of options as listed below:
- The single drip ring system where the plant is grown in the container which is then filled with clay particles and put above the reservoir containing the nutrient solution. The timer is set and the solution pumped from the reservoir right into the root system of the cannabis plant. The clay particles contribute to aeration of the growth medium. This system is ideal for farmers who want to keep a single plant.
- The second system in this category is the pot dripper system where the pots containing the cannabis plants are placed above the reservoir. This system also makes use of a timer to schedule feeding sessions where the nutrient solution is pumped above the roots. The excess nutrient solution drains through the pots and is channeled back to the dripper. This system works well for beginner farmers.
- The Dutch drip system works in a similar fashion to the pot system, with the only difference been the use of rockwool in place of pots.
Run to waste drip irrigation system
This is the second method of drip irrigation, and is remarkably different from the methods aforementioned. In this system, just as the name suggests, the nutrient solution is not recycled. Instead, it is pumped through the growth medium and drained in a waste tank. As a result, the main difference between the two systems is that one makes use of the recycled nutrient solution, hence the name recirculating drip system, while the other does not.
Advantages of the run to waste drip irrigation system in cannabis cultivation
- This method works well for commercial cultivation of cannabis since the nutrient solution is not depleted of the key ingredients.
- On a large scale, this method of drip irrigation is both easy to install and reduces the labor-intensive act of watering the plants.
- With this method of irrigation, one can use a wide variety of growth mediums including rockwool and coir.
- This system is very easy to expand should the need arise since extra drippers are easily added to the existing system.
Using the right irrigation system for your cannabis farm is key if you are interested in getting the correct yields from your crop. There are different options that are available for farmers, and sometimes this can get a little overwhelming for farmers who would want to research on the best method. This article focuses on the benefits of drip irrigation as well as the factors that you need to put into consideration when settling for this method of irrigation.
It is interesting how the mention of drip irrigation brings to mind many other crops, especially those under green house cultivation. The good news is that this form of irrigation can also be used to grow cannabis. Contrary to popular belief, drip irrigation is among the simplest methods of irrigation, so if you are a novice farmer wondering what irrigation method to use, this presents the perfect opportunity for you to do so.
What are some of the advantages of using drip irrigation in cannabis gardens?
- This form of irrigation, once installed remains in place for as long as the farmer does not need to move gardens.
- Since drip irrigation ensures a constant supply of water, the cannabis plants do not dry up, and this helps contribute to getting great yields.
- The drip irrigation system can be used with numerous growth mediums, including but not limited to soil, rockwool and coco. What’s more, it can also be used by farmers who have chosen to grow their cannabis plants in containers, both in the outdoors and indoors garden setup.
How does drip irrigation work?
Even before delving into the mode of operation of drip irrigation, it is important to acknowledge that there are different types of drip irrigation, all of which use the same principle. The plants are growth in the select medium and the dripper is attached so that it hangs over the medium. The dripper is linked to dripper line which is in turn connected to a pump.
Ideally, you should store the solution containing the nutrients in a reservoir. You will then set the timer so that at periodic intervals, the plants receive the nutrient solution. The solution is delivered to the growth medium and eventually to the roots of the cannabis plant. The roots will then absorb the nutrients so that the plant gets the required ‘food’ it requires for proper growth and development. What makes drip irrigation ticks is that there is constant streaming of nutrient solution over a long period of time. It is better to have small amounts of the nutrient solution, in frequent sessions and over a long period of time as opposed to watering once a day and using high amounts of the same.
This also has the benefit of preventing over saturation in the soil as well as increasing the aeration of the soil. Overall, this promotes faster growth and the plants develop healthily.
The purpose of growing cannabis will differ from one farmer to another since some farmers will opt to grow the cannabis for personal reasons while others will settle for the cannabis for commercial reasons. The similarity between the two rests solely on the fact that both farmers would want to get bigger buds, but how does one get to achieve this? The secret lies in the provision of the right nutrients and in the correct amounts. Typically, bigger buds mean that you get to enjoy more of the cannabis buds, and what better way to enjoy the fruits of your labor than with this type of technique?
It is important for cannabis farmers to know that getting bigger buds is not entirely dependent on the plant strain since the farmer has to put in effort to get the plant to grow well. Part of doing so involves knowing the stage that the plant is in, and more importantly, the nutrients that are required for the given stage of growth and development. Let me stop getting ahead of myself: the ideal place to start is to understand the fundamental principles of nutrient uptake in the plants.
Basics of nutrient uptake in cannabis plants
- Nutrients are food for the plant, and are used to provide energy to drive the metabolic processes within the plant.
- Nutrients are required in varying amounts, and for this reason, are classified into two distinct categories: macro nutrients and micro nutrients. Macro nutrients, just as the name suggests, are required in large amounts, while micro nutrients are required in small amounts but also play a critical role in the proper growth and development of the cannabis plant.
- The main nutrients that you will come across when cultivating cannabis plants are: Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium abbreviated N, P,K respectively. This is why you will see that most fertilizers have a value that denotes ‘NPK’, each of which indicates the value of the nutrients.
For you to get big buds, make sure that you provide the nutrients required for each stage. For instance, during the vegetative stage, farmers are advised to increase the concentration of Nitrogen since this element plays a fundamental role in the growth and functionality of the plant. The increase in Nitrogen also makes it possible to set the stage for flowering. It is very important for farmers to note that when the flowering stage begins, the plant will demand for a different combination of the nutrients. This will include a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorous and potassium concentration than it is in nitrogen. In case you are wondering, this is the perfect opportunity for you to use what is commonly referred to as ‘bloom fertilizer’ in order to ensure growth of the cannabis buds.
Choosing the correct set of nutrients especially in the latter stages of growth means that it is easy for your cannabis plants to get bigger buds and consequently, greater yields.
Cloning cannabis provides a perfect option for farmers who are keen on improving their yields, but is an intensive process, so it becomes imperative for farmers to put in place strategies that will ensure their plants clone successfully. Here is a basic guide to help you in this regard.
i) The first thing that you must know is that there are certain strains that are easier to clone than others. Knowing the strain that you have with you will make the process easier for you. To put this in perspective, cannabis sativa plants tend to be easier to clone, quite unlike their counterparts, the cannabis indicas. Plants that belong to the indica family are hectic to clone, so before starting the process of cloning, make sure that you are aware of the genetic lineage of your crop.
ii) Learn the relevant techniques that are required for proper cannabis cloning. One of these techniques is the rooting procedure. The first step in this procedure is ensuring that you are aware of the precise location where the root will grow even before you make that cutting. This section of the cannabis stem, once cut, needs to be wrapped to create a dark environment. This is known as etiolation, and plays a key role in promoting the rooting process.
iii) Perform the cutting with a sharp pair of scissors to prevent increased trauma to the cannabis plant. A blunt pair of scissors not only severs the plant, it also predisposes the cloned plant to the development of hard roots.
iv) Make sure that the cutting tools of choice are sterile. Cloned plants can easily pick up infections, and this is the last thing that you want to happen. While at it, you must also sterilize the stems of the cannabis plant for the same reason. Making the cutting should be done in such a way that it is placed at an angle. This increases the surface area for the absorption of water, ensuring that the cloned plants develop well.
v) For the process of root formation to occur successfully in cloned plants, you must see to it that the plants are exposed to air. This however, should not be positioned too close to the stem as it predisposes the cannabis clone to stunted growth. This can be prevented by placing the cutting in water promptly. Alternatively, carry out the cutting process under running water. You will then leave the clone in the rooting solution for a couple of days. Do not leave the clone in plain water.
vi) You also have to make sure that you provide adequate and proper lighting for your cannabis clone. Avoid direct lighting as this will cause the clones to burn, in the same breath, avoid dark areas for the clones as this will hinder proper growth and development. Fluorescent lighting is recommended for this stage, allowing farmers to get the best of the clones.
vii) The last tip is to make sure that the pH of the soil or growth medium is in check to promote proper clone development.
It should be every farmer’s desire to get good yields and quality produce. A fundamental part of getting good yields involves not just the quantity of the buds, but also the quality of the buds. The ideal cannabis bud is compact and dense, making for a rich bud. What happens when you get buds which are light, airy and exhibit fluffiness? This is probably a very annoying thing, but which with adequate preparation, can be dealt with effectively. This article focuses on some tips that you could use to make sure that your buds are huge and dense. Using these tips effectively gets rid of the low quality cannabis buds allowing you to get a good harvest from your crop.
You must be aware that the inferior quality buds are caused by a number of factors including: inadequate lighting, extremely high temperatures as well as low concentration of the required nutrients during the most important phases of the plant’s growth and development. For this reason, you must be aware that dealing with the root cause of the low quality buds will revolve around making changes in regard of these factors. Let us look at each of the solutions below:
- For plants grown in an indoor cannabis garden, high temperatures are often the result of either a lack of ventilation or too much heat from the indoor lighting within the garden. To prevent this from happening, install a proper ventilation system. You also want to ensure that you use bulbs which do not emit too much heat as this plays a great role in creating airy buds. In the same breath, move the plants so that they are not directly positioned under the lights. The ideal temperature for proper growth of the cannabis plants is 27 degrees Celsius.
- The same principle is replicated in the outdoor cannabis garden. In high temperatures, the plants will develop airy buds, thus creating the perfect opportunity for low quality yields. The good news, however, is that in the outdoors, cannabis plants will typically enter the flowering phase during autumn when temperatures are low.
- In case this does not happen, you could improvise by spraying the plants with water to lower the temperatures of the plant. Sprayers are a perfect option for this, and they also work very well for farmers who have used greenhouses to grow their cannabis.
- When the cannabis plants do not get sufficient light particularly during flowering, they have a tendency to develop immature, loose and airy buds. To avoid this, especially in indoor gardens, it is imperative for the farmer to make sure that they observe the proper light schedule.
- Loose airy buds are not as potent as their mature counterparts, and this is usually indicative of low concentrations of nutrients availed. To counter this, farmers must make sure that they provide the correct combination of nutrients, and more importantly, in the correct ratios.
Since it is possible to carry out preventive measures, loose airy buds should not be common place.
Cannabis lights play a critical role in an indoor garden since it is solely the farmer’s responsibility to make sure that the crops get adequate lighting. It sometimes becomes very tricky for a farmer to settle on a given type of lighting since there are so many brands available in the market. This article narrows down to two types of grow lights: LED and HID lights. A comparative analysis of the two will allow a farmer to settle for the right choice depending on what their needs are as well as the size of the indoor garden.
This article was inspired by the feeling I got when a friend shared with me the cost of the typical LED light. Having used HPS lights for a while, curiosity got the better of me and I sought to find out whether I could make a switch to the use of LED lighting. I chose to research on the provisions available for farmers using LED lighting, and needless to say, the initial cost of these grow lights is a tad bit deceiving. The reason for my sentiments is that if a cannabis farmer simply compares the initial cost of using LED to that of other grow lights, they may be tempted to think that LED lighting is out of reach. Contrary to this popular belief, the cost of operation of LED lighting is lower than that of other grow lights when looked at from a long-term aspect.
How is this possible yet LED grow lights are costly?
The lower cost of using LED lights in your indoor garden results from the fact that the lights produce less heat compared to other lighting options. Consequently, it is possible for the farmer to reduce or in some cases, eliminate the need for a fan to get rid of heat that is produced as a result of using the grow lights. To put this in perspective for the novice farmer, think about it this way. The cost of purchasing the LED grow lights is a one-off activity where you get to spend a good amount of capital. Paying electricity bills on the other hand is a regular thing. For this reason, you want to pay a high amount initially and then scale down the bills in the long term.
Another advantage of using LED lighting in your indoor cannabis garden is that the bulbs last longer when compared to the use of, say HPS light bulbs which require regular change. Again, the logic is the same. Pay more initially and cut on costs as the days go by. You can then plough in back the balance to the management of the garden with the aim of improving your yields and getting the best of your outdoor garden. As with any other product intended for use in the cannabis garden, make sure that you settle for quality lighting systems. You will be grateful you did with the service that you get over the days. In this regards, the technological advancements in lighting systems means that you can improve on the same.
Marijuana cultivation is common in places where marijuana has been made legal. It is a practice that is allowed if you possess a valid marijuana identification card. It is done by those that need medical marijuana for the treatment of their diseases.
If you want to grow your own marijuana plants, there are a number of decisions that you have to make before you can get started. Here are some of them:
Where should you grow your marijuana plants? There are different options when it comes to the location of your marijuana grow site. You can create an indoor garden and use a spare bedroom, attic, basement, or closet, or you can start an outdoor garden and transform your backyard, rooftop, or a garden.
What marijuana strain should you grow? Since there are several types of marijuana strains available today, you need to decide which one best suits your needs and preferences. You have to consider the THC levels, amount of yield, flowering period, and so on to be able to find the best one for you.
How much it everything going to cost? The amount of money that you will need will depend on what type of growing method you will use, the marijuana strain you will grow, and various other factors. You may want to cunsult an expert in order to get a rough estimate of all the expenses.
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