Ok, its time to grow out a medicinal marijuana grow. Here you are invited to follow along and ask questions whenever necessary. I’ll cover how this particular hydroponic system works and post some pics to help you understand. We’ll also follow the grow through to harvest.
Before getting started with any grow its important to CLEAN your grow space. Bugs and fungus are of major concern. In between each grow it is important to completely sterilize or at least to the best of your ability sterilize as much of your grow space as possible.
After i complete a grow i like to bomb my space with some of those bug bomb(spray cans) and let them sit a day or so. You’d be surprised what crawls from the cracks and dies on your floor. This stuff is flammable and if you have a perfect grow room like i have, it can be very dangerous. Vent the room well prior to spending any length of time in there. Let me back up here for a second. When i say i have a “PERFECT” grow room, i am referring to the style of grow room. Many growers will vent their grow rooms allowing for huge amounts of air to be exchanged. Although that is a great way to grow, there are some increased risks associated. A grower should consider the pros and cons of each prior to setting up there operation.
In a “PERFECT” grow room you try to provide the perfect environment for the plants but in an air tight space. No air is being displaced by exhaust but rather filtered to remove smell and CO2 is provided via either bottle or burner in a regulated manner. My room is very tight and little air escapes keeping smells contained. Although i highly recommend this way to grow, especially in urban areas, they require a bit more attention to safety and do have some added cost. Cleanliness is key however you choose to grow.
Today i spent a better part of my afternoon removing the flood tray and reservoir along with whatever else was in my way. When i had my grow room pretty empty i swept, vacuumed, and mixed a hot batch of bleach and water. Next I mopped down my walls and floors. I scrubbed my reservoir and tray and then put them back. Here is where we begin. ( i still have assembly to follow…i’m a lazy stoner : )
I was going to be using some clones from Nirvana’s Purple Power strain. That plan has unraveled as the friend who would have supplied them has gone A.W.O.L. After waiting a few extra days and no returned calls……Were moving on.
The clones above are G13, Strawberry Cough x Deep Chunk, Black Domina and Purple Kush. These are all very killer strains. Great for different ailments and the Strawberry cough is kinda a connoisseur’s strain. Its not a high yield er so its kind of like the “Special” stash for when your really feel’n it.
We’ll be taking these strains and growing them out. We’ll also be taking clones. I’ll use some to establish mothers to keep the perpetual grow goin and to cover all the basics.
How the Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain) System works:
Basically this grow will take place using a 70 gallon reservoir on a 4′x6′ table. You need to have a reservoir big enough to allow an extra amount of solution keeping your pump submerged. You don’t want to burn that pump up on the first go right? LOL
Try to set your table as low over your reservoir as possible. This will (1) provide the greatest amount of grow space available for your plants, as well as (2) act as a cover/barrier to keep light out of the reservoir. This will help prevent algae growth. Let the reservoir hang out enough for convenient access. Your going to need to regularly test the PH, TDS, and add nutes/ph down when necessary.
Ok, so you have a reservoir under your table, and you have a submersible pump that allows the water to flow back when turned off in your reservoir. Your pump when activated will now pull your hydroponic nutrient solution up to the grow bed to feed the marijuana plants by flooding the tray. When the water level reaches a set level the overflow will run back to the reservoir via a return tube and gravity. When the pump shuts down due to your timed feeding schedule the remaining water below the overflow level will simply just reverse flow back through the pump and into your reservoir via gravity. The biggest draw back here is, “what if the pump fails to move the solution”? Good question. It happens. Your bound at some point to experience a power outage, or worse yet…..a pump failure. ALWAYS have a spare pump on hand. This is cheap insurance. Power outage? This is why i advocate growing in a rockwool medium or another medium that RETAINS moisture for long periods of time. I have seen many growers using hydroton in ebb and flow systems with only 1 pump. Not safe in my opinion. Fine for DWC growing if you have established plants, but in a flood and drain with no moisture retained in your medium, missing 1 or 2 feedings may lead to some serious trouble. Rockwool can retain enough moisture to hold your marijuana plants over for possibly a couple days.
This is the basic principle of the “Flood and Drain” or otherwise known “Ebb and Flow”.