Simple – hand-water your plants in containers
Bigger Yields – Experienced hydroponic growers usually get bigger yields than experienced soil growers – given the same conditions (light, nutrients, etc).
How long can grower be away? It’s important for a grower to always remain close by for their first grow, especially for inexperienced growers. Experienced growers can safely spend more time away from the garden. Bigger containers hold more water and therefore give growers more time away, since constant watering isn’t needed. In the best case scenario it is always best to check on your plants at least once a day. You never know when a pest infestation will take hold, a plant will fall over, or some other unexpected event will happen.
Of course, soilless mixes are not right for every type of indoor hydroponic system. For example, the popular flood-and-drain setups that use flood tables and drain the nutrient solution back into a reservoir are not ideal for loose, granular soilless mixes. Instead, a flood-and-drain setup needs a more stable, immobile medium like rockwool or hardened, expanded clay (HEC) pellets. Soilless mixes are ideally suited for another popular type of hydroponic setup: top-feed grow systems.
Indoor hydro growers like this NorCal operation use “soilless” mediums. (Photo by Nico Escondido)
Mediums & Plant Nutrients
While composted soils are the more popular choice for outdoor growers these days, indoor growers are relying more and more on amended soilless mediums. These soilless mixes look, feel and act very similar to traditional soil, but they are coco-, peat- or sphagnum-based substrates that have added amendments like perlite, wood chips and vermiculite. As we know, hydroponics (or more accurately, water culture) is the method of cultivating plants without soil. So even though these mediums look and feel like soil, they are technically soilless—which, by definition, makes them hydroponic substrates.
Photo by Nico Escondido
Indoor vs. Outdoor Mediums
By growing many smaller plants indoors, growers can attempt to boost their yields, but these still don’t compare to outdoor yields on a per-square-foot basis. However, it’s with the quality of the herb that indoor growers make up the difference. Because indoor growers can control every aspect of their plants’ environment, they are better situated to maximize each strain’s genetic potential.