A continuous flow hydroponic system circulates nutrient-rich water around the roots of your plants. Compared to traditional growth methods, these systems recycle and reuse the same water, rendering them more effective and less wasteful.
An overview of continuous flow
As the name implies, continuous flow refers to any system in which the nutrient solution is continually pushed over the root systems of the plants. A basic top feed or drip irrigation system and Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is a great example of a continuous flow system. The idea of ebb and flow is slightly different.
How does a continuous flow hydroponic setup work
A continuous flow system has a steady flow of fertilizer solution over the roots of the cannabis plants. One advantage of a continuous flow system is that the nutrient reservoir can be located independently of the plant and its growth media. This implies that a huge reservoir might be utilized to supply many plants.
The larger the hydroponic reservoir, the easier it is to maintain a constant temperature, pH, and EC levels, preventing the issues that can result from rapid fluctuations in these values.
The benefits of using continuous-flow hydroponic setups
Continuous flow hydroponics has various advantages, making it superior to growing in soil and other hydroponic systems in specific situations. These benefits are summarized as follows:
- Increased yields: Cannabis plants cultivated in continuous flow hydroponics systems frequently provide higher yields. The growth process is quick and linear due to the easy availability of nutrients, minimal insect stress, and a lack of soil pathogens.
- Quicker harvests: Instead of sending roots into the soil for nutrients and forming partnerships with microorganisms to get particular minerals, cannabis plants in continuous flow systems have all they need feeding to their roots continually, resulting in quicker development. When it comes to photoperiod strains, however, the light cycle has a significant impact on when plants mature.
- Increased oxygenation: Cannabis roots need oxygen to breathe and perform physiological activities. When resources run low, roots become vulnerable to infections. These setups hydrate roots with a nutrient solution rich in dissolved oxygen, enabling them to stay healthy and disease-free.
- Reduced water use: Contrary to popular belief, continuous flow hydroponics consumes far less water than soil systems.
The drawbacks of continuous flow hydroponic systems
Continuous flow hydroponic systems, like any other growth technology, have disadvantages. Here are the drawbacks of these systems to identify where things could potentially go wrong:
- Energy intensive: These systems require energy to run the pumps and air stones, albeit requiring less water; indoor systems also necessitate intense lighting. Unless you have the funds to invest in a solar system, you will have to rely on your energy provider for power.
- Need care and maintenance: Although the lack of marijuana soil implies less mess to clean up, hydroponic installations still require care and maintenance. Algae and organic matter can collect in the pipes, so clean the entire system between grows to keep diseases at bay.
- Noise: Who doesn’t enjoy the sound of trickling water? If you can hear it above the constant drone of your pump, you’ll like this peaceful sound. Outside settings don’t make much of a difference when it comes to noise. If you’re growing in your bedroom, you’ll rapidly realize you need to shift your system.
- Prone to malfunctions: Continuous flow hydroponics setups can be automated to operate automatically, but things can and do go wrong. Power outages, faulty pumps, and faulty air stones will leave your system desperately needing human intervention. If you don’t recognize these problems, your plants’ health and output will be at risk.
Various types of continuous flow hydroponic systems
Below are some examples of continuous flow hydroponic systems, and a detailed guide to help you better understand the various varieties and their distinct advantages:
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) hydroponic setups
NFT systems are made up of thin, lengthy growth channels inclined slightly. Net pots housing cannabis plants are slid into the channels, and roots are exposed to a constant current by a nutritional solution pushed up from an external reservoir. While this stream is shallow, it gives all cannabis plants requirements to thrive, like micronutrients, macronutrients, and oxygen. Plants build a nutrient-rich film over their roots over time, which keeps them supplied and hydrated. These modular systems are frequently stacked vertically to maximize efficiency in confined spaces.
Aeroponic Continuous Flow systems
Aeroponic continuous flow systems are made up of a growth chamber, which is usually built of PVC pipes. Plant roots grow and hang in the air when net pots are placed outside the chamber. As opposed to a current or drip of nutrients this misting system gives continuous water and nutrients to the roots. The solution finally settles at the chamber’s bottom and recirculates into the external reservoir. This kind of hydroponic system consumes extremely little water and has a compact, easy-to-hide design.
Continuous drip hydroponics
Instead of providing a continuous stream of the nutritional solution, this technique brings the life-giving liquid one drip at a time. It is quite similar to drip irrigation methods used in soil-grown cannabis. This method keeps plants alive, but the sluggish solution conveyance implies less noise and a lower chance of organic debris clogging the pipes. Plant roots have constant access to oxygen since they are never buried in water.
Aquaponic continuous flow systems
This technique uses fish to feed the marijuana plants. Continuous flow aquaponics is compatible with drip and NFT systems; however, it employs a separate reservoir. Instead of dumping synthetic ionic fertilizers into this body of water, farmers rear fish that excrete nutrient-rich waste that keeps plants growing. Meanwhile, the plant roots filter the water, helping to keep the fish clean and healthy.
Things to consider before purchasing a continuous flow hydroponic system
Since the continuous flow is such a broad concept, buying one cannot be easy.
For example, you’d have to be more precise and look for an NFT system. This makes it impossible to provide complete buying guidance; however, factors to consider before purchasing include the following:
- Noise: Determine how loud the system is. A water pump and an air pump will be functioning at the same time. Check that these pieces of equipment are quiet enough that they will disturb you or your neighbors while they are operating at night.
- Modularity: Many systems are modular, allowing you to add new troughs to accommodate more plant locations quickly. If you underestimate your requirements (a typical mistake), adding a new module rather than overhauling the entire system will be easier and less expensive.
- Size: Most systems will be sold based on the number of plant sites available. Be honest with yourself about your requirements. Calculate how much marijuana you’ll need and add a little extra to be safe.
Best marijuana strains for hydroponic systems
Here are fantastic strain options to grow in your continuous flow hydroponic setups:
This is an instantly recognizable name. Unsurprisingly, Jack Herer is a strain that does well in a growing hydroponic environment since it works well everywhere. The popularity of this strain is largely attributed to its genetics, which combines Haze hybrid with Northern Lights #5 and Shiva Skunk. Jack Herer’s impact is incredibly euphoric and uplifting, making it ideal for those suffering from depression or who are generally dissatisfied with the status of the world. It possesses a Sativa dominance and a THC concentration of 20%. Also, Jack Herer blooms in approximately nine weeks and is ideal for hydroponic gardening.
This strain is another genetic gem that is ideal for hydroponic cultivation. Green Grack is a cross of Skunk#1 and Afghani, two original cannabis strains. Green Crack is a robust, high-quality strain that delivers large amounts of potent buds. Its scent is a tropical fruit blend, and the flavor is mouthwateringly sweet with a dash of spiciness. This is another Sativa dominating strain with a traditional Sativa feel. This strain is uplifting, euphoric, intellectual, and stimulating, making it suitable for creative people or social situations. Furthermore, it will thrive in a well-designed hydroponic system and typically blossom in 8-9 weeks.
Sour Diesel is another award-winning strain widely regarded as one of the most potent on the market. It’s intelligent but calming, with an uplifting twist; thus, it’s frequently advised to folks suffering from despair or stress. Sour Diesel has a surprisingly high CBD level of 1 – 2%, making it even more suitable for therapeutic purposes. This marijuana strain has a sweet and sour flavor profile with a spicy aroma that quickly soothes the brain. Furthermore, Sour Diesel offers high yields and is an excellent strain for those new to hydroponic cultivation.
Although each continuous hydroponic system is unique, they all share one thing: they continually expose plant roots to nutrients, water, and oxygen. Each method produces rapid growth, large yields, and great nutrient absorption. You’ll also have less pest pressure and have an easier time diagnosing and treating illness symptoms. So, why not experiment with continuous flow hydroponics? Choose your favorite design, gather resources, and start developing your marijuana seeds for sale!