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Growing Cannabis Using Drip System Method

Created by
JoshuaHolt JoshuaHolt
Added 14 December 2021

If you’re a cannabis grower, you already know how thirsty the plant can get. 

And watering your cannabis plants can be complicated yet tiresome if you’re a beginner. 

It’s one of the most critical elements that can give you fantastic juicy buds. Or kill your plants. 

Watering cannabis isn’t as simple as pouring a bucket of water every few days — you need to follow a specific schedule to pamper your babies. However, it comes with its own issues. 

So, how do you avoid these issues? How do you grow terrific cannabis plants while conserving water simultaneously? 

How do you set up a hydroponic system that’s cheap and effective as well?

The answer is drip irrigation.

Using the drip system method is relatively easy, and you can make one for almost nothing. The best part of a drip system is that you don’t have to worry about watering your plants on time, either! Plus, you save a lot of water compared to other setups. 

This article will explain everything you need to know about drip irrigation. In addition, we will show you two DIY setups that are super easy to make. 

How Does Drip Irrigation Work?

drip system cannabis

Drip irrigation is quite a simple process that automatically delivers water and nutrients to your cannabis plants consistently. It helps you reduce labor, save water, fertilizer, and water plants on time. 

Don’t worry if you’re using a hydroponic system to grow cannabis — drip irrigation works on both hydroponic and soil-based cultures.

Cannabis plants grow very well when you consistently water them. Overwatering and underwatering are common issues; however, drip irrigation avoids both problems and ensures adequate water supply by dripping a particular amount of water at regular intervals close to your plant’s roots. This way, the roots are never too dry or too soaked, and water is also not lost to evaporation or drainage.

You can choose between several drip system methods, from the more expensive, high-tech ones to cheap DIY setups that use waste plastic bottles. It all depends on your preference and culture size.

Two Types of Drip Irrigation

You can choose between various drip irrigation options, but we prefer the most popular ones: drip line irrigation and bottle drip irrigation. 

Let’s look at both these methods in detail. 

1. Drip Line Irrigation

Drip irrigation

The drip line irrigation method is the most popular but potentially expensive. This system uses a continuous line (pipes) running around your grow room, and the line is fed with low-pressure water from the tap or motor. 

The lines above each pot contain a few holes that continually drip water plus nutrient solution near the plant’s roots. Note that this system requires some maintenance and is prone to clogging due to sediment buildup.

The drip irrigation system is flexible, and you can set it up according to your requirements. If you don’t want to buy the equipment one by one, you can purchase kits available in local stores or online. 

Equipment You Need:

  1. Thin or spaghetti tubing ‒ Thin tubing is available in most local markets and works well for drip systems.
  2. PVC tubing ‒ PVC tubes will be used as main lines to carry the nutrient solution plus water from your reservoir pump to emitters. Purchase these tubes according to your setup, but 2-inch tubes work well for home growers.
  3. Drip emitters ‒ Every plant you grow will need an emitter, so purchase them accordingly.
  4. Pump ‒ You will need a submersible pump to pump the solution effortlessly. 
  5. Grow tray ‒ Rather than having separate trays for all plants, use one common tray to collect the water.
  6. Reservoir ‒ A regular bucket that can hold at least 15-20 gallons will suffice.
  7. Hydroponic growing media like coco coir or hydroton
  8. Net pots
  9. Timer
  10. Silicone sealant (aquarium grade)

How to Set Up a Simple Drip Irrigation System

Setting up a basic drip system is pretty straightforward. 

  1. First, position the pump inside the reservoir. Next, connect the pump to the emitters through the spaghetti and PVC tubes. Place all the emitters individually in the growing media in every pot
  2. Next, place all the pots in the growing tray. Finally, position the setup properly by placing the reservoir below the tray so that the run-off water flows into the reservoir naturally due to gravity. Setting the reservoir higher than the tray will require an additional pump.
  3. Once the setup is complete, connect a timer to the pump's power source and set it according to a daily schedule, depending on your plant's requirements. Most growers let it run for 5 minutes at least 3-4 times a day
  4. If you don't want to use drip emitters, poke holes inside the spaghetti tubes, so they deliver water directly. 

2. Bottle Drip Irrigation

Bottle drip irrigation

You won’t believe how simple and cheap this irrigation method is, making it perfect for beginners. 

This method of growing cannabis using drip irrigation only uses plastic bottles and some strings, but one drawback is that you may need to refill the bottles every day. However, you can get a bigger bottle and reduce your work. 

Setting up a bottle irrigation method is one of the easiest ways of growing cannabis plants hydroponically. This will work if you have just a few plants to grow.

Equipment You Need:

Bottle drip

  1. Plastic bottle with caps (ideally, 1.5 liters) to hold the water
  2. Drill or thick metal wire and lighter to punch holes in the bottle
  3. String or wire to suspend the bottles above the plant
  4. Stakes or a regular tripod stand to hang bottles
  5. Scissors or knife to cut the bottles

How to Set Up a Simple Bottle Drip Irrigation System

1. Start by cutting the bottom of the bottles using a scissor or a hot knife.

Cut the bottle

 

2. Drill 2 holes on the sides of each bottle of around 2 cm from the cut. Run a string through these two holes and suspend the bottle upside down 30 cm above the plant pot.

Drill holes

3. Fill the bottles with water. Slowly open the bottle cap, so just enough water starts to drip at a steady pace. Or, drill holes in the cap to allow the water to drip slowly. 

Drill holes in the cap

4. Refill the bottles as needed.

Why is Drip System Method a Better Option for Growing Cannabis?

Farmers worldwide have been using drip irrigation to grow crops for decades — and rightly so! 

Here are some of the advantages of using drip irrigation to grow cannabis:

    • Reduced labor: This system automatically waters your plant with the proper quantity, saving a lot of time.
    • Precise water distribution: Forget counting seconds when watering your plant — the drip system method provides the plant with the exact amount of water and nutrients at regular intervals.
    • Less water loss: When you simply pour water on your plants, a lot of it is wasted on evaporation and drainage; drip irrigation avoids this problem by dripping water close to the roots in adequate amounts.
    • Healthier roots: The drip system method provides water to the roots, optimizing humidity and moisture levels that enhance the roots’ growth.
    • Reduced risk of pests: The method keeps the surrounding area and plants drier, making it a less hospitable environment for pests.
    • Less fertilizer wastage: With precise watering of the plants, significantly less fertilizer is lost to the water substrate, and nutrients are supplied directly to the roots.

Does It Have Any Drawbacks?

Alas, yes. Everything has drawbacks, and so does the drip method system. Here are a few of its flaws:

  • Expensive: This is not always the case, but if you want a sophisticated drip method system, you will have to spend a lot of money.
  • Potentially dangerous: Having an extensive grid of pipes full of water running around your grow room can be hazardous for you and the plant — you may trip over it, and leaks can damage the electrical circuits or flood the plants.
  • Maintenance: Drip systems that use pumps will need to be maintained well during winters as they build frost and break down. And when it’s not in use, you will have to empty the entire system of water to prevent it from freezing over.
  • Clogging: The nutrient solution that runs through the pipes contains salt, which can build up over time, causing clogs within the system.
  • Plastic degradation: The plastic components of the system will degrade faster as they are exposed to a lot of light in the grow room. So, microplastic can end up in the water and crop. 

Is the Drip Irrigation System Expensive?

The system can be expensive only if you want it to. Sure, a proper drip irrigation system requires initial investment and timely maintenance costs. And if the system uses pumps and filters, even those would need to be replaced or serviced on time. 

But, on the other hand, you can even set up a system for free using waste plastic bottles and some strings. So, it depends on your preference. 

Summary: Growing Cannabis Using Drip System Method

Growing cannabis using the drip system method is simple and sometimes cheap! So, if you are serious about growing healthy cannabis plants, you should start using the drip irrigation system.

You can start with the drip bottle system, but that’s too basic for bigger grow rooms with several plants. So, instead, we recommend you move to a sophisticated system once you have figured out your growing style and preferences. The cost is worth it. 

As we said, farmers have been using this system for decades. It’s time we take a page out of their book to grow the best quality cannabis at home!

 






Comments

Khanos
Khanos

Thanks

nedreynolds
nedreynolds

Holy bananas... could this be any easier... I will be trying this very soon!