What Are Aeroponic Grow Systems?
Instead of using soil, an aeroponic system suspends the plants in an enclosed environment with their roots exposed. These roots are sprayed with a nutrient-rich water mist. This modern cultivation system utilizes high pressured pumps to spray each plant with a fine mist of moisture 24/7 for quick and optimal growth. While costlier than more traditional cultivation methods, aeroponic grow systems are perfect for commercial cannabis growers who are looking to have larger and more frequent harvests.
Hydroponic vs Aeroponic Growing
Hydroponics is when plants are placed in a growing tray, and the nutrient-rich water solution can flow below it. This water is cycling through the plant trays to provide hydration and nutrients, and left-over water can be collected in an overflow tray and returned to the water tank for use.
Both hydroponic and aeroponic growing occurs in indoor, controlled environments; because of this, they are less susceptible to damage from wind and weather conditions. Hydroponic and aeroponic growing also require less square footage for growth, with aeroponic growing allowing for use of vertical grow racks. Hydroponic growing will produce healthy plants, however aeroponic systems will guarantee plant quality due to the roots’ exposure to oxygen. Both hydroponic and aeroponic growing systems are more environmentally friendly due to the lack of growing medium used.
Both aeroponic and hydroponic growing systems are environmentally conscious alternatives to traditional growing methods. This is because neither requires a growing medium and can use less water and nutrients as there is no soil to waste that food and moisture. Aeroponic growing is even more environmentally friendly than hydroponic growing as it requires less water, and fewer nutrients to obtain optimal absorption and growth.
The Benefits of Aeroponic Growing
Aeroponic growing systems use much less space than traditional agriculture, and even less than hydroponic growing. In an aeroponic system, plants can be placed closely together, and even stacked on top of one another in a vertical gardening system, since they require no growing medium. This allows you to maximize plant production in a limited space, and you can also easily move your plants around, giving you more mobility, and the option to switch out your nursery plants as needed.
Aeroponic grow rooms are incredibly environmentally friendly, as they require much less water and space. Due to its lack of growing medium, aeroponics systems effectively use 95 percent less water than soil-based methods, allowing the plant to thrive on less resources.
Aeroponics systems allow the plant to maximize nutrient absorption as there is no growing medium to take away nutrients from the roots. In an aeroponic growing system, plants rely on the moisture from misting as well as the oxygen in the environment. Because the roots of the plants are constantly exposed to oxygen these systems promote quick and bountiful growth. Due to the lack of growing medium, and the enclosed environment they reside in, plants are also less likely to contract diseases.
Aeroponics for Cannabis
Growing cannabis crops in an aeroponics system creates huge benefits for the grower. Because the plants are no longer fighting for oxygen and nutrients in the soil, they can grow faster and larger allowing you to make additional harvests during the year.
Aeroponic cannabis growing also allows for precision applications of both water and nutrients to the plant. This is crucial to ensuring a viable plant with ample flowering. Because of the direct exposure to water, oxygen, and nutrients, the plant roots can more easily absorb all three. Cannabis plants growing in a controlled aeroponics system are also much less likely to contract a disease or be invaded by pests, though it is still possible.
One of the major drawbacks of aeroponics gardening is the cost. These systems require advanced machinery and equipment to operate as well as constant supervision and backups. Because the roots are exposed and vulnerable, aeroponics facilities require 24/7 operation to grow healthy plants. The roots are misted every 5-10 minutes with a nutrient-enhanced fine water mist, if this misting does not occur for whatever reason (empty water tank, power failure, clog, etc.) the crop will fail within a few hours.
However, many of these issues can be combated with proper backups and systems in place. Backup generators are incredibly important in aeroponics gardening to help combat any systems failures due to lack of power. Grow room control systems are also a huge help to growers as they can alert the team of any equipment malfunctions or elemental issues, such as low moisture levels.
Specific equipment to start your aeroponic farming operation includes aeroponic misters, a reservoir for both water and nutrients, netting or vertical growing apparatuses, a water pump, and a drainage system at the very least. Because the plants can be placed very close together or even stacked vertically, these systems require very little space in comparison to traditional growing.
Is an Aeroponic Growing System Right for You?
The upkeep and attention needed to have a successful aeroponics growing system are in some ways more intense than traditional farming. However, if done properly the payoff can be huge. Not only will you grow healthier and larger plants, but you can do so in a shorter period of time, allowing you to add extra harvests to your grow schedule.
While these systems are more complicated, they can actually be very easy to manage with little to no prior experience, and the benefits will likely outweigh the drawbacks if quality and quantity are your goals. Being able to produce healthy and bountiful crops consistently with aeroponics growing will be a major benefit for your cannabis operation. With the right equipment and planning, you will be able to offset your startup costs in a matter of months.
Types of Aeroponic Growing Systems
Image 1 shows a four-tiered AEssenseGrows aeroponic cloner featured with our Cloning & Veg Aeroponics System
Cloning racks provide space for new cuttings to propagate and await their move to a larger growing space. An aeroponic cloner provides multiple racks for your cuttings to begin root growth that is. This is great for commercial growers using a modular growing system to increase cloning volume and speed.
Two-Layer Aeroponics Rack System for Flower
Image 2 shows the two-tiered AEssenseGrows aeroponic growing rack for high quality yields found in our Double Deck Aeroponics system
Once you’ve propagated your clones you can now move your nursery plants into their final growing apparatus. Aeroponics towers offer multiple racks for plants to grow strong and healthy. Using multiple racks allows your grow to go vertical, allowing your to maximize production in less space and offering room for more growth.
Central Control Software for automation and management
Image 3 shows an AEssenseGrows Aeroponics System Control software.
Aeroponic growing can be time consuming due to the attention to detail and constancy needed for the plants to thrive. With a control system you can automate much of your feeding and misting schedules, and give you remote control of your crop. These digital hubs allow you to set environmental parameters as well as track progress of your plants, and receive alerts if equipment failure occurs.