When you think of plant cultivation – whether it’s a massive field of corn, a flower garden, or your private stash of cannabis – you would believe that soil is an essential medium in which the plants take root. That’s not always the case, as many intrepid growers use a system that does not have any growing medium at all after sprouting.
It’s a system called aeroponics, from the Greek aer (meaning, well, air) and ponos (meaning labour). It’s an ingenious method that, while older than you might think, is being put to good use these days by cannabis growers across the country. Here’s how more companies are using it to grow some of the best, most potent weed around!
What Are Aeroponic Growing Systems?
Aeroponics is growing plants without soil. Invented in the Twenties, this kind of system sees the plant suspended in a semi-closed or closed environment. The plant’s roots and lower stems are suspended in the air, while a foam barrier encapsulates the roots in a chamber where the grower can spray them with a nutrient-rich water mist.
The reservoir stores the plant’s water supply, with the grower monitoring the water to ensure its quality and nutrient levels are correct. The planter bed is where the plants grow, and they include systems for misting, drainage, and supporting the roots, which stay apart from the rest of the plant by a foam barrier. Connecting these two is a pump for the exchange of water through the system.
You might be able to figure out one benefit to aeroponics already: it uses a lot less space and energy than outdoor growing facilities and indoor hydroponic systems. They give the grower more control over the plant’s environment, improving survival rates despite the reduced area. There are many more reasons why more growers – both professional and amateur – are choosing to grow using aeroponics!
What Are The Benefits Of Aeroponics?
There are many advantages to using aeroponics. For one, it’s a great way to reduce the likelihood of diseases and pests getting at the root system. The chamber is sealed, helping the plants grow healthier and allows the grower to monitor progress easier by taking out unforeseen variables.
Cannabis growers can also reduce the pesticide load used on their crops; eliminating soil also lowers the chance of contaminants getting into the root system through the dirt.
Aeroponics is one of the top methods for growers who want to breed new strains and improve the potency of their crops. Cannabis grown using aeroponics have been shown to have the highest yield of trichomes, the tiny hairs that cover buds and give it the resinous, frosty appearance.
Aeroponic growers still have to be careful about protecting their plants, as no growing method can be 100% sealed off from a wider environment. The exposed roots in the system are highly sensitive, so growers will often use a hydroponic system as a backup to save the crop should the chamber become contaminated.