One of the many hydroponic growing methods is the Deep Water Culture technique. This method has positives and negatives, just like any method, which we will have a look at. The important thing to do is ensure that we are finding the right set up for our crop. DWC is considered to be one of the most common hydroponic systems in use. This is likely due to the ease of set up and use, it is especially popular with beginners. It is also thought to be one of the most economical setups available.
How Does the Deep Water Culture System Work?
DWC is extremely simple and easy to use, which is what makes it such an attractive setup. Essentially using this system ensures the plants get all the nutrients and oxygen they could desire while reducing the amount of energy the plant needs to collect them. This means the plants can redirect that energy into important factors such as yield and THC production. Different hydroponic systems use different methods, usually altering the way in which the nutrient solution is introduced to the roots. DWC is very simple in that the potted plants are simply hung in a net over a nutrient solution reservoir. An air stone or two are placed at the bottom of the reservoir to ensure plenty of oxygen flow. The roots simply grow down into the solution and drink as much as they need.
- Simple Setup: The system involves potted plants suspended over a nutrient reservoir.
- Nutrient Delivery: DWC submerges the roots ensuring the plants receive maximum nutrients with minimum energy.
- Eco Friendly: A system like this will use less than half the water needed for growing in a soil-based medium.
- Pest/Disease Resistant: With no soil and the roots exposed it is very unlikely that plants will be affected by pests, mould or disease.
- Oxygen: This kind of hydroponic set up allows for growers to place air stones in the reservoir. In turn, this means the plants have far more access to oxygen than they might otherwise.
- If anything goes wrong, the air pump breaks or the air stones don’t work, the plants will likely die so having backups is essential.
- If there is a power cut the roots will probably drown and the plants will die.
How To Setup A DWC System
This is totally up to the grower as DWC systems can simply be purchased online. However, they are easy to set up at home which can save a little bit of money. For those who are experienced in this sort of thing, setting up a Deep Water Culture system will take absolutely no time at all. For those who are less experienced, it is easy enough to be a great introduction to hydroponic setup building and to be a fun project.
What We’ll Need
- Net Pots – These are a type of plant pot that have plenty of holes at the bottom for the roots to grow out of. These can be purchased in pretty much any garden shop or online. If we are working on a serious budget drilling holes in a plastic container is also a good option. As long as the roots have somewhere to go the pot will likely do the job. For anyone planning on drilling through plastic please ensure the sides of the holes have been sanded before planting so the roots don’t get shredded.
- Non-Soil Medium – Of course, we will need something to hold the plant in place in the pot so we will require a non-soil growing medium. Lava rocks, perlite or clay pellets are all excellent choices.
- Water Reservoir – This is where the nutrient solution will go so, depending on how many plants we are growing, it needs to be a good size. For a single plant, a bucket works well and for more plants just any large plastic container of around 5 gallons. The bucket should be black as this will stop any light getting through to the solution. Light can cause algae, temperature changes and can damage the roots.
- Air Pump – This will keep the water moving around the reservoir so that it doesn’t become stagnant. This is one item that we shouldn’t skimp on as if it doesn’t work or breaks the plants will not grow.
- Oxygen Stones – These can usually be purchased in pet shops and will just provide extra oxygen to make sure the roots don’t drown.
- Nutrient Solution – Nutrient solutions can be purchased online or made at home with the correct soluble nutrients. It is important to research the nutrient balance necessary for the different stages of growth.
- Meters – As with any form of cannabis growing we need to keep checking in on our plants. We need to check on the PH balance of the solution, which in hydroponic growing should be between 5.5 – 5.8. This balance will fluctuate and can badly affect the plant so we need to keep a close eye. We will also need a thermometer to ensure the plants aren’t getting too hot or too cold. The ideal temperature is 18 – 22 degrees celsius.
- Tubing – This will be required for the airflow and oxygenation of the nutrient solution. Once again we need to make sure the tubes are black and not see-through. If algae forms inside the tubes it will block the airflow and may drown the plants.
Set up is relatively easy and there are many full instructional videos available online for those who are completely new. The only other piece of equipment we will likely require is a drill to create holes for the air tubing. Other than that it is a simple case of the nutrient solution goes into the reservoir, the plants sit above and the roots grow down. As long as we have plenty of nutrients, water and oxygen available to the plants they should grow extremely well and produce impressive yields. As always it is important to do plenty of research and ensure the chose strain will work well with a hydroponic setup.
Remember: It is illegal to germinate cannabis seeds in many countries including the UK. It is our duty to inform you of this fact and to urge you to obey all of your local laws to the letter. The Vault only ever sells or sends out seeds for souvenir, collection or novelty purposes.
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