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Soil or Hydro?
One of the consequences of recreational weed laws being relaxed across so many parts of the world is that everyone seems to have ‘green fingers’, these days.
If you love your weed, there’s nothing more rewarding than growing your own crop from seed – both from a financial perspective, and for the sense of achievement that it brings.
Usually, the conversation among stoners is as likely to be all about nutrients, grow lamps and pH levels, as much as as anything else… but there’s one question that stands above, more fundamental than the rest.
The question, only posed once you have bought your precious feminised cannabis seeds from a reputable seller, is… in what medium will these seeds grow best?
A couple of years ago, there would only have been one choice. Today, however, it is not quite so clear-cut.
Growing in Soil
Whether it’s for weed, tomatoes or roses – most of us automatically think of soil as the default growing medium.
If you’ve cultivated plants before, then it probably makes sense to stick with soil, as you already know the basic botanical principles and techniques.
Growing in soil can be straightforward, inexpensive and intuitive. It’s also the natural choice, if you are growing your crop outside. Organic, nutrient-rich soils have their own unique benefits when growing your cannabis – you have to ‘top the system up’ much less, because the soil itself is an ecosystem in balance!
The downside? Growing in soil can take longer than other methods. Outdoor growing will also leave you more exposed and vulnerable to pest attacks.
Strictly speaking, the word ‘hydroponics’ means growing in any medium other than soil (for instance, coco coir).
However, the prefix hydro- has commonly led to the word being associated with growing in water.
For our current purposes, we will stick to that popular interpretation; where the plants are grown in a water solution. There are different systems and forms of hydroponic growing, even within this limited scope.
Common types of hydroponic setups includedeep water culture systems, along with aquaponics and drip systems… but we will not go into detail as to how these methods work, here.
The biggest advantage of using any hydroponics system is that plant growth is typically faster, in comparison to growing in soil. When you know what you are doing, the precision of scientific conditions can also lead to better crop yields at harvest time.
That caveat is important, however. Getting exactly the right nutrient sequence and mix dialled in takes lots of time and experience to get right. If you want to ‘get good’, be ready to put the hours in and learn from your inevitable mistakes.
Set up costs vary depending on the type of system, but hydroponic costs will invariably be higher than if you’re growing outdoors in soil. Just consider the water, the lights, the grow tent, et cetera…
Soil vs Hydro: Which Medium is the ‘Right Choice’ For You?
Clearly, there is no simple answer in terms of which is ‘best’.
Most amateur growers start out with a traditional soil set-up;many happily stick with that, and get great results.
However, if you have a talent for growing, and you find yourself possessed with the spirit of adventure… you could always try making a little ‘extra investment’. That is, if you’re comfortable to uproot yourself from the realm of soil.
Your first hydroponics system can take your cannabis cultivation to a whole new level. Take your botanical skills and transfer them into a different world – one where you get to ‘play god’, with incredible specificity over the management of grow conditions. If you’ve got the means, and the money to sink… it’s worth a shot, right?