Aeroponics is a method of growing plants that does not require a growing medium. Instead, plants are suspended in the air. Although it is a slightly less well-known technique, there are a number of advantages to growing weed using an aeroponic setup. This guide will give you everything you need to get a successful crop.
Aeroponics – Quick Introduction
The most distinctive feature about aeroponics cultivation is that it doesn’t use a growing medium. When you use this technique, you use an apparatus to suspend plants in the air. The roots dangle down beneath while the rest of the plant sticks out above the aeroponics setup. Plants in an aeroponics system are fed by misting the roots with a nutrient-rich water solution.
The primary benefit to this type of growing is that it gives you more control over the growing environment than nearly any other technique. In this regard, it’s similar to hydroponics.
On top of the control this technique gives you, aeroponics also significantly decreases the chances that your plants will get sick or attacked by harmful pests. That’s because there is just so little that your plants come into contact with.
In other growing methods, diseases and pests can reach your plant by way of the growing medium. But since the only thing your plants will come into contact with in an aeroponics grow is whatever you use to hold them in the air, there isn’t a whole lot that can infect them.
Finally, a successful aeroponics grow can help your plants grow quickly. The plentiful supply of oxygen reaching your plants helps kick their growth into overdrive.
Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of aeroponics, here is one of the easiest ways to set up your own aeroponics grow operation. Here’s what you will need:
- A large plastic bucket or tote (the size you use depends on how many plants you want to grow).
- Net pots with neoprene lids (you need one for each plant you plan to grow).
- A drill.
- Hole saw drill bit (be sure it matches the size of your net pots).
- 1/2″ threaded hydroponics pump (be sure it can easily fit into the bottom of your bucket or tote).
- 1/2″ 360-degree sprinkler head.
- Electrical timer.
Step 1: Cut Holes Into Lid
To get started, use the drill and hole saw to cut holes into the lid of your bucket or tote. These holes will eventually be where your plants go, so be sure they’re evenly spaced out and that they’ll give each plant enough space to grow and spread out.
Step 2: Make Your Sprinkler Device
To make your sprinkler device, you are going to combine the hydroponic pump, the sprinkler head, and the timer. Start by screwing the sprinkler to the pump. If you want the sprinkler to sit higher up in your bucket or tote, you can also add a threaded plastic riser in between the pump and the sprinkler.
Once the sprinkler and pump are connected, hook the entire thing up to your timer. When the system is up and running, you’ll set the timer so that the sprinkler sprays water for 30 minutes and then stops for 30 minutes. This will deliver all the water and nutrients that your plant needs, while also maximizing the amount of oxygen they get.
Now place the sprinkler device in the bottom of your bucket or tote. With the sprinkler in the bottom of the bucket or tote, put the lid back on. Be sure to feed the pump cord up through one of the holes in the lid so you can easily plug it in.
Step 3: Suspend Cannabis Plants
The best way to approach this technique is to have baby plants already growing. So, before starting the project, be sure you’ve germinated some seeds. Alternatively, you can start with clones. Either way, you need baby cannabis plants that already have decent roots and some early leaves.
To get your plants ready to go, carefully place them through the middle of the net pot lids. The roots should be safely dangling down through the bottom of the pot, while the top of the plant stands up above it. When you’ve got the plants safely in the net pots, place them in the holes you cut into the tote lid.
Step 4: Add Water and Nutrients
At this point, you’ve got your aeroponics setup more or less complete. Now it’s time to add water and nutrients and plug in the sprinkler. It’s usually easiest to just pour water in through one of the holes in the lid.
Alternatively, you could cut a smaller hole in the lid specifically for adding water. Add enough water to submerge the pump, but not so much that it reaches the roots of your plants. With the timer set to run 30 minutes on/30 minutes off, your plants should be getting good doses of water, nutrients, and oxygen.
Step 5: Grow Your Plants
Continue feeding and watering your plants. As they move through the growing cycle, be sure they get enough light. During the vegetative phase, cannabis plants need at least 18 hours of light per day. When it’s time to transition to the flowering phase, scale it back to 12 hours each day.
Similarly, you also need to keep an eye on the temperature and humidity levels in your grow room. The room should be between 70 and 86 degrees F. When your plants are young, shoot for humidity levels around 40-70 percent. Later on, humidity should be in the 40-50 percent range.
Step 6: Harvest the Bud
When your plants put out flowers, watch the trichomes. As soon as they turn milky white, it’s time to harvest. Carefully cut away all the flowers. Hang them upside down in a cool, dark, well-ventilated room to dry. When the stems snap easily in your fingers, it’s time to cure your buds.
Using a pair of sharp scissors, carefully trim away any excess stems and leaves. Now put your perfectly-trimmed buds into glass jars. Seal them shut and place them in a cool place away from direct light. Air the jars out once a day. When the buds reach that perfect balance of dry, but still slightly sticky, you’ve reached the promised land. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.