As some of you may already know, wick systems are some of the most easiest ways of growing plants in a hydroponic system.
There are several variations which all boil down to the same thing — wicks dipped in water.
Wick systems are very popular among first time growers as their simplicity makes them the optimal system for growing cannabis indoors, without too much hustle. These low-tech hydroponic systems allow you to effectively grow just about any plant without too much waste of water and nutrients.
Why use wick systems?
Some growers use wick systems because they require the bare minimum when it comes to watering plants and maintaining the system. Since the wicks pull water from the container in which the plant’s are held, growers have little to no work to do when it comes down to managing the system once it is up and running.
Another important thing to note is that almost anything can be turned into a container for wick systems. Cut up a bottle in two halves and you are already halfway there….
Since wick systems are pretty much self-manageable, all you need to do is set it up the right way.
By doing that you’ll have way less work to do down the road.
The simplicity of this system means that you can determine everything that concerns the system in the early phase, such as deciding how many wicks you will use, which will equal the amount of water being delivered to the plants once the system is established.
Wick systems also allow you to not even be in the same city while your plants are growing, even up to a week or longer.
By deciding how much water will be in the container from which the wicks will pull water, you can effectively determine for how long the plants will have water reserves.
Growing plants in wick systems means that you are probably likely to grow them in a closed environment such as a room or a closet — keep that in mind when making your initial setup.
Almost every plant, cannabis plants especially, needs light to grow and grow big flowers, so make sure to place them in an area that gets at least 12 hours of daylight, otherwise you might have to invest in some lighting equipment.
Another thing to keep in mind will be the air humidity and temperature, which are both very important factors.
You just can have a too humid surrounding or the mold will eat up and destroy your plants.
Luckily for you, wicks are a great way of preventing mold from the container and in water to reach your plants.
Wick systems pro’s and cons
Just like any other hydroponic system, wick systems have both good and bad sides to the story.
The concept of a hydroponic system can be hard to understand to new growers, which is why this hydroponic system is great for first timers.
Hydroponic systems usually have a couple similar flaws, which include:
- Plants are grown in water only, which brings the risk of a weak crop yield
- Mold can appear if the system is not often checked and cleaned
- Water has to be changed from time to time so that the nutrients don’t become static
- They require some type of oxygenation, especially for bigger plants
However, these cons are nothing when compared to the pros of wick systems. Since these systems are used all around the world, they can’t be all that bad — and they aren’t.
Here are just some of the upsides of using a wick system:
- Using a very porous growing medium can increase the uptake of oxygen
- Wick systems are super easy to understand and set up
- They require minimum maintenance and management
- They are the cheapest system to set up and run since there is next to no expenses if you are making a home version of the set up
- They are perfect for closet growing and almost any small growing space
Even though wick systems do have a lot of potential for you to slip up and make a mistake during your grow, they are just as easy to correct.
Nothing is so serious that it can’t be fixed. Sure, if mold catches on parts of your plant you might have to cut of a branch or two.
Don’t concern yourself over things like this as they will milk your joy out of the grow and make you wish you never started in the first place.
How to make a wick hydroponic system
To make a wick system from scratch you will need to visit your local hydroponics store if you don’t have all the necessary materials.
As the name suggest, wick systems are all about wicks, so that might be the first thing you want to get.
Here’s a short list of things that can serve as wicks if you don’t want to spend any additional money on them:
- Lengths of cloth
- Absorbent cotton
- Mop fibres
- Anything else that absorbs water readily
If you didn’t get it by now, wicks are just another piece of the growing medium. They pull the water from the container and deliver it to the roots. They connect the growing tray or the net pots with the reservoir.
The only difference is if you decide to keep the roots submerged in water or not.
For the remaining parts of a wick system, follow this list:
- Net pots for plants;
- A tray in which you will place your net pots;
- Growing medium – vermiculite, coir or small expanded clay pellets will all do the job
- A reservoir for the nutrient solution – this can be an Opaque bucket. Make sure it’s black or opaque, either way it must not let light through, otherwise you will start developing cultures in the nutrient solution, which may damage the plants;
- Nutrients for growing cannabis
Wick systems are notoriously easy to set up due to their simplistic nature. They have only a few components that need assembling, as well as little to no maintenance after you initially set them up.
Start by threading your wicks through the holes at the bottom of the net pots and fill the net pots with a growing medium. You don’t have to fill them to the time, but make sure they are at least half full, especially if your are using a medium that is larger than usual.
Place the pots in a position which will allow them to easily reach the water container from which they will pull water.
It is very important that the wicks are deep in the water.
Line the pots in a tray and place the tray on top of the water container.
If you choose to grow one plant per container (for example, one plant in one water bucket) you won’t need a tray, but you will need a lid which has a hole made for the pots to fit inside.
Place a cannabis clone or a seed in the growing medium.
Make sure that the clone or seed is touching the wick so that it can start pulling water from the container.
If the seed is not touching a wet wick, it will never open and it might go bad, so make sure you don’t make this beginner’s mistake.
If you want to go the extra mile and provide your plants with additional oxygen, you can always place an air rock at the bottom of the water container or on the bottom of every bucket if you decide to grow each plant separately.
However, this will only mean that you have another piece of equipment to take care of, a bigger power bill – but it might bring you an even bigger yield as well.
As far as hydroponic systems go, wick systems are very simple and easy to maintain, which is exactly why they stuck around for so long. They provide a great way to feed your plants water, without having to keep the roots of the plant sunk in the water, or sprinkled onto.
Wick systems are perfect for first time growers, and those that have little experience in growing weed. They beat almost any other system in small area grows, such as closets and sheds.
These systems have no moving parts, unless you decide to add an airstone in the mix, which means that they also don’t make any noise.
They are very economical when it comes to water and nutrients and we strongly recommend anyone wishing to grow weed in hydroponic systems to test our guide and let us know what were the results.