When laying out a new growroom, one of the most important factors you need to decide is what type of system to use. Generally this issue boils down to either a hand-watered soil type of system or a hydroponic system using drip feeders. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Let's lay out the pro’s and the con’s of each.
Soil is one of the most forgiving systems that you could use. Generally soil has important nutrients, and acts like a buffer when it comes to pH. These can be tremendous helps to a newbie grower as there are fewer things to worry about. In addition to this, most people agree that the taste of soil grown bud is incomparable to buds grown on rockwool or hydro rocks. This comes from the fact that the buds take on the flavor of the soil, giving it a more earthy and more-rounded taste.
One draw back is that it makes it harder to flush, as soil is chock full of nutrients and even with a couple of weeks flush its hard to totally get them out.
One way to really flush your soil plants is to take them out of their pots in the last three days of their flower cycle. Clean the soil away from the roots being careful not to damage them, then put the whole plant in a bucket of water so that the roots are submerged in it. Your plant will survive for a couple of days and in the meantime the direct uptake of water will really flush the nutrients out.
An ideal way to combine systems is to use a nutrient rich soil mix and then water your plants on a timer using a drip system. This way you will eliminate the need to hand water your plants, and you will know exactly how much water is used based on the fact that it comes equally out of the dripper in a controlled manner.
This is where the main advantage of a hydro system lies: The automated watering your plants. In a big room with over 500 plants, this makes a big difference. Another advantage is that the plants will generally grow quicker and finish earlier. This comes from the fact they are continuously being watered and dried out. Plants thrive on a system that lets them get dry followed by a heavy feeding. This way they can absorb the nutrients better and faster. In addition, the plants can be more easily flushed because the system doesn't hold water for very long.
One disadvantage in setting up a hydro system for a new grower is the complex nature of the system. You will need a pump that can readily distribute the water throughout the tubing. It's important to make sure that the pressure of the water is regulated so that the plants all down the line are evenly fed. The plants will also have to be raised on tables that are slightly angled allowing them to drain.
I hope this leads to some clarity when making the choice on your next growroom.
Any questions you can always email me.
Get growing and have fun!