Many people choose to grow their own medicine using hydroponics, especially in Colorado. In fact, most of the cannabis available to purchase at any dispensary here is grown with a hydroponics system. Hydro grows are one of the best options for growing weed because of the amount of control you have over your garden. You can alter the flavor of your herb with different types of nutrients, as well as yield larger colas. Most hydroponics systems are able to be almost completely automated, but there is still going to be a lot of work involved. We did a bit of research on the best hydroponics systems for growing weed in Colorado. Here’s what we found out:
Colorado is a super dry state. We are one of the states with the lowest relative humidity outdoors in the country, and because of the mountains, we also get a lot of wind. If you garden other things outside here, you probably know that the wind and the intense sun due to our elevation can make for a difficult outdoor soil grow, and I don’t mean just for cannabis. My bell peppers last season ended up with sunscald due to the intense winds, hail, and sun intensity due to elevation. Many growers and gardeners out here prefer controlled, indoor grows, especially for cannabis. There are 3 best hydro systems for growing weed in Colorado, and choosing a hydro system will largely depend on your time, space, and knack for gardening. They range from basic to intricate, and from novice to intermediate. The three best hydroponics systems for growing in Colorado are the wick system, the ebb and flow system, and the drip irrigation system.
1. The Wick System
The wick system is an excellent system for cannabis growing newbs. It’s a great first system for you to get started because it’s one of the most basic setups available. Because it’s so basic it’s also relatively cheap, which is excellent for if you want to get started on a grow today. It’s a very straight-forward, low-tech system, and a lot of people choose it because it isn’t too complex. As a matter of fact, you probably grew a plant in grade school with a wick system.
It’s easy, but it does come with a few cons, which we’ll share up front. For one thing, it’s so low tech that it won’t be as effective as some of the more intricate systems, but it’ll still get the job done and yield a decent amount of weed. It isn’t a system designed for high maintenance plants, so if you want to use a wick system, be sure to pick up low-maintenance cannabis seeds or clones that don’t get too big. Plants with large water requirements won’t do well in a wick system. Another potential downside is that the nutrient solution will remain static, so as the plants absorb nutrients and water, you may run low on oxygen in your reservoirs, so it’s a good idea to purchase an air pump to oxidize the water a bit.
As for the pros, a wick system is super viable because it’s a very basic, easy to understand hydroponics set up. It’s also simple and passive, meaning there are no moving parts and there is very little that can go wrong with it. Using a wick system requires very little attention, so if you don’t have much time and you want your plants to kind of just do their own thing, you’ll love a wick system. It’s also incredibly cheap to build and to run, so your wallet will be happy. It’s one of the most viable hydro systems in Colorado because the substrate won’t dry out while you’re at work, like many other systems will.
A wick system works by taking capillary action. Essentially, it causes liquids to rise against gravity by seeping through other materials. Think about it like an oil lamp. The wick soaks up the oil as it is getting burned. In this sense, a wick system absorbs nutrients and water making sure the plants roots will always have access to food and water. As the plant sucks up the nutrients by the roots, they are pulled up by the wick from the reservoir. Because it is the plant that provides the power to lift the solution it is impossible to overwater your plants.
Here’s an excellent thread on how to set up your own wick system.
2. The Drip Irrigation System
A drip irrigation system is a fantastic system for colorado life because it’s so efficient on water and nutrients. We live in such a dry state that every drop of water is important, and preventing it from evaporating or going to waste is a huge deal. This hydroponic technique relies on top feeding a regulated nutrient solution to your plants. It’s more in between intricate and basic, but it’s fantastic for novice growers.
It comes with its own set of pros and cons, of course. But overall, it’s a top three system for Colorado growers. One potential problem is your irrigation tubes getting clogged. Another is the evaporation of water from the reservoirs, making your nutrient mixture more potent than it should be, so always be sure that you’re testing your water regularly.
However, the pros far outweigh the cons. A drip irrigation system is an almost as low maintenance as the wick system, except it’s so much more efficient with water and nutrients. There is a smaller chance for evaporation, and because of this low waste potential, it’s more eco and environmentally friendly. It’s also a very easy and cheap set up, making it a go-to for gardeners on a budget. For colorado, I’d recommend a drip system for both novice and advanced growers.
It works by using tubes to carry water and nutrients from the reservoir to an emitter which releases the nutrients to the plants slowly into whatever substrate you’re using to grow, typically clay pellets or rock wool. Any excess leaking from these plants will leak back into the reservoir to be recycled through the system.
Here’s a nice article on setting one up for yourself.
3. The Ebb and Flow System
The ebb and flow system, also known as the flood and drain system or a water table is the most popular hydroponics grow systems in Colorado because of it’s simplicity. It’s easy to automate, but there is a lot of work that goes into it. They are effective and versatile systems that you can design and set up to fit your time and space requirements, able to accommodate plants of all sizes and shapes as long as you have the skills to adjust things on the technical side as needed. You can go as large or as small as you want. It isn’t the easiest system, as there are a lot of working parts, including air and water pumps that can get clogged if they aren’t managed and cleaned properly, but it’s still great for newbies and advanced growers alike. They require a rudimentary level of technical knowledge but are some of the most productive systems available.
Essentially the ebb and flow system works by flooding your plants substrate in an inch or two of water and nutrients and draining several times a day. This allows for the plant to absorb the nutrients and water it needs, but also dry out to prevent root rot and other problems while simultaneously allowing the plant’s roots to take in some oxygen as they dry out.
Only using 4 or 5 pieces, the ebb and flow system is ultra viable for busy colorado growers.
Here’s an easy guide on setting one up.