Personally Id recommend that you just try 100% perlite because its easy, clean and reusable. Watering and Feeding To feed your plants you just hand water them like you would any houseplant. If youve never grown anything it might take a while to get used to, but believe me its as easy as pie. During the first week or so of veg youll probably have to water them every few days just a little because the roots havent reached the bottom of the bucket where all the water is, once they do youll only have to water about once a week.
The important thing is that whenever you feed them you want to add enough so that roughly 30% of what you put in comes out the holes. This helps flush out built up salts and keeps the bucket fresh. Personally I feed my plants with every watering with good results. Two weeks later after a trim Im ready to flip these to flower. Ill feed them about once a week for the duration of the flower cycle. Other than that Ill only have to check on my garden to raise the lights. I had never hand-watered plants before I tried this style and it was hard to get my head around it before I tried it. Ive noticed that when hydro growers try hempy they tend to water too much at first as I myself did. Plants actually do the most growing and look the best just before they need watering so dont panic and start over watering them. If your plants start to look wilted or if they look hungry (paling of the leafs) its time to feed.
Once the roots reach the bottom of your bucket (about a week) youll see the plants really start to take off and I suggest you try to wait as long as you can before you feed them, get to know your plants and keep records and youll get the hang of it in no time. If you decide to use perlite you should plan on recycling it. Recycled perlite is actually better than new perlite. You can remove the roots by shifting through a metal net. Once you get as many out as you can you need to boil the perlite in water for about 5 minutes. With most hydro growing styles water temp is a huge concern but not with Hempy. As long as youre not growing in 100 degrees I wouldnt even worry about it. I had used the Lucas formula with my other systems for so long that I didnt even think about using a different recipe and Ive noticed other growers doing the same thing. Bottom line is Lucas is meant for DWC and the ppms are too low for Hempy. Once I started using the recipe on the back of the GH bottles and the grow nutrients with some Epsom I got much better results. You can use any nutrients you wish and many people go organic but trust me, you dont want to waste your time using Lucas formula in Hempy. Bud Porn These are examples of plants that I grew under a 250 watt hps light in Hempy. I hit 0.6gpw on my 3rd Hempy grow and I think I might hit closer to 0.8gpw on my latest round with a 2 week veg/55 day strain. A 20L black plastic bucket (important that it’s black, as this will keep light out of the root zone and prevent algae from growing in the reservoir); A drill with a quarter inch or half inch drill bit; A tray or saucer to catch run-off; A mix of 3 parts perlite and 1 part vermiculite; Any decent hydroponic nutrient. Drill a hole on the side of the bucket, 2 inches from the base. Fill the bucket with the perlite / vermiculite mix and pot up your plant (the plant should be root bound in a propagation block). Water from above until you see run-off coming out of the hole on the side of the bucket. The base of the bucket is now a reservoir, effectively mimicking the water table that a plant feeds from when naturally growing outdoors. For the first 2 weeks the plant will need to be watered little and often – every other day – as its root’s fill the bucket and head towards the reservoir at the bottom. Once the roots reach the reservoir, the growth is phenomenal! The watering is then reduced to twice a week, hand water with nutrient solution until you have achieved around 30% run-off, then you can be sure that you’ve replaced the old nutrients in the reservoir and have drawn fresh oxygen into the root zone. The hempy bucket offers the constant supply of nutrient, water and oxygen that leads to rapid growth and massive buds. When the roots hit that reservoir at the bottom of the bucket your plant will fly! They’re also less maintenance than a hydro system, as you only check your EC and pH when you feed, rather than monitoring a nutrient tank. The only downside is that planting up in a relatively large container from the start may mean a longer than usual veg period, so using a larger bucket may not be so suitable if you’re growing small Autoflowering varieties.
In which case, simply use a smaller bucket like a 5L or 10L. Alternatively, if you like the idea of very big plants, you could even give a 25L or 30L black bucket a go. So what type of grower are the hempy buckets good for? New growers – when starting out from fresh, there is so much to think about when growing indoors that it makes sense to simplify the actual feeding of your plants. Using a hempy bucket with a built-in reservoir, turns watering into a twice-weekly task, rather than a daily chore. This allows you to concentrate on mastering the basics of your grow room; lights, extraction and fighting the urge to trim off your first buds as soon as you spot them! Newbies scouting for a fail-safe system should look no further, hempy buckets could well be your saviour!; Nervous over-waterers – there’s no denying that there is a certain type of grower, usually ones that have easy access to their plants and keep them in their home, who just can’t help checking up on them and having a fiddle!
The temptation to ‘just give them a bit extra’ can be so strong, that they eventually over water or over feed. Hempy buckets are ideal for this type of grower, because they allow you to set a strict feeding schedule of watering every 3 days.