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Scientific Perspective | Thoughts on Substrate Farming and Water Consumption


Did you spend hours trying to select the best grow media and hydroponic system only for your plants to get diseased and/or require way too much water? You're not alone. Many cultivators face this same issue in their facilities today. In this blog we will hear the thoughts from Hydra Unlimited's Principle Engineer / Chief Scientist, Hank Bonnah, regarding substrate farming and efficient usage of water. 

"I had the opportunity to watch an online presentation with Lance Lawson, Horticulture Specialist with Premier Tech Horticulture. Interesting talk. His work primarily revolved around the use of Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss media and the use of "Active Ingredients" such as Endomycorrhiza and Bacillus Pumilus which can both stimulate root-growth and act as bio-fungicides. I found it interesting. There was a question at the end of the presentation from a 'hydroponic grower' – "Many hydroponic growers say their plants are more susceptible to disease if grown in coco media than rockwool.  How can we avoid disease problems with coco media?"  Lance went back to his points about adding "active ingredients" to resolve the issues of disease in coco media.


When we think about substrate cannabis farming, often growers pick rockwool. Rockwool is not recyclable, a continual algae nightmare on the surface of the cube and pretty much ecologically speaking – everyone's last choice.  But rockwool is a relatively inexpensive alternative and at least starts out sterile. Growers step away from rockwool cubes to be more "green" and pick more sustainable, though often more expensive growing media such as coco coir.  But, with that choice the grower can end up struggling with disease. In either case, substrate farming uses way too much water and wastes expensive nutrients. All of this simply drives up cost, especially troubling as margins erode. 


There is a better way: Hydra Unlimited's Recirculating Deepwater Culture [RDWC] systems. Our systems use a fraction of the water* with a corresponding reduction in nutrient use.  And utilizing the expertise from our experienced Hydra Unlimited staff, we can show growers how to maintain sterile grows that both eliminate the concerns for root disease and accelerate vegetation in the grower's crop of choice."

– Hank Bonnah | Principle Engineer / Chief Scientist


*35-70% less water from comparisons to various typical substrate cultivation methods


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