Hydro weed, otherwise known as hydroponic weed, is one that has sparked debate throughout the growing industry regarding hydroponic versus soil cultivation. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to which is better as each grower must assess their personal preference, budget, and environment that the growing is being done in.
There are pros and cons to both hydroponic and conventional growing methods, one of them being price and another concerning what is factored into that overall cost. Understanding the costs and benefits to both growing methods will help make the decision on the method of growth easier.
There is a misconception that hydroponically grown cannabis is done inside and cannabis grown in soil only occurs outside, but in reality, both can be done inside whether it is a large or small grow setting. That does not mean both methods work equally well or similar in cost. It simply means there are options available.
However, when discussing cost as in this article it will refer to hydro weed as being grown indoors and soil cultivation outdoors or in greenhouses. Using soil cultivation indoors includes all the same costs as hydroponics but also has to take into account the cost of intake and removal of soil as well as issues with soil testing, pests and fungus/mold that occur differently than if the crop is outdoors. To keep a clear differentiation of the two types of cultivation, the discussion will be about indoor hydroponics and outdoor/greenhouse soil.
Soil cultivation is similar to if the grower were creating regular outdoor gardens and would follow the regular routine of soil preparation, planting, fertilizing and maintenance. In contrast, hydroponic cultivation is using mediums other than soil to grow plants. Hydroponic often refers to a growing regime that uses water mixed with nutrients and a much more controlled indoor environment. Soil cultivation has an old school feel compared to the newer hydroponic technology that is available to growers.
Soil tends to be used for those who are just entering the cannabis growing world. It is an easy and fairly inexpensive way to grow cannabis, especially if it is outside or in greenhouses. The majority of the production cost is going to be found in seeds, containers, and irrigation. There will also be costs for lights, ventilation, and heat/AC if you are growing in a greenhouse. The thing about outdoor growing in soil is the plants often offer a higher yield as they have the ability to grow without size restrictions. This includes the greenhouse grows as well due to space and high roofing available at a cheaper cost than industrial grow areas.
The cons to growing in soil are that you lose some control over harvest especially if it is an outside crop or greenhouses. Temperature, rain/irrigation, humidity, and light all are less predictable and can influence plants and yield. Outdoor influences are not controllable.
Generally, costs for growing are lower than hydroponics. Containers for plants, greenhouses, or outdoor space are certainly less costly than rented or purchased buildings. Soil needs to be good quality so there may be cost per square yard if it is brought in for plant care. As the market has become more mainstream there are soils that have been designed for the cultivation of cannabis which will be more costly than the usual topsoil. There will also be costs if there is thought that the plants need pest protection or fertilizer to help them grow in soil.
There are further costs such as irrigation depending on the size of the grow or if it is in a greenhouse. Greenhouse grows will also need some balance with lighting and temperature control but can be more “outdoorsy” with soil. Greenhouses and outdoor growing obviously must be done as the seasons allow.
Growing weed hydroponically lets the grower control the environment compared to soil cultivation. Hydroponics allows the set delivery of nutrients, optimal lighting along with easily controlled temperature and humidity. It is almost a laboratory setting where the grower sets the parameters and variables.
The issue with growing hydro weed though is the indoor limitations it is bound by. There is limited space and it costs more money to set the space up. The equipment costs more if the plants are to have the environment in which they will thrive. It also needs closer monitoring then soil plants as plant health is more easily compromised than the hardy soil ones.
Hydroponic costs are going to be higher than soil growing simply because of the climate control needed. Lights, irrigation, temperature, nutrients, pest control are all needed for indoors. Pests such as fungus gnats or spider mites can be problematic if they get hold of inside grows as well. However, the ability to control the environment means there is less chance of a failed crop and more chance of success. It also means that cannabis will have a better flavor and will grow faster with a controlled environment.
While there is no way to make sure every crop flourish, choosing the best cannabis cultivation process for time and budget is important. Hydroponics and soil crops both have their pros and cons that must be weighed. Place of cultivation, time that is invested, size of crop along with budget will play into a decision on which cultivation is best for the grower. Soil is easier and cheaper overall but allows less crop control. Hydroponics offers more control over the growth of the crop but will cost more in time and money.
The final thing to take into consideration is that while the costs of a one time grow may lean towards soil cultivation, many of the costs involved for hydroponics are going to be one time expenditures for repeated use. While there are still hydro and nutrient costs, lights, temperature control, and irrigation are all in place. The cost per plant is going to significantly decrease with each hydroponic crop that moves forward. Soil cultivation costs will be the status quo as hydroponics decrease.
Source of Featured Image: canva.com
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