Cannabis cultivation choices are complicated. Which genetics do we cultivate for high-grade flowers, which for concentrate, and which for our nursery business? What PPFD do we want to maintain, and at what week and stage of growth? How do we deliver water, with what nutrients, and at what rate? What leaf temperatures do we need, and at what costs and risks?
There are so many questions, and the answers are all interconnected. It’s very challenging to definitively say this is the best light, genotype, fertigation strategy, or cultivation media without considering the challenges, benefits, and facility impact of each one.
When it comes to substrates, growers have hundreds of options to choose from. There’s rockwool, soil, coco coir, clay pebbles, foam, peat, pure carbon, aeroponics, ebb and flow, deep water culture, and even aquaponics, and it can be hard to feel confident in any one of them.
As Nemati et al. point out in their white paper, much more research needs to be done before the industry can agree on the “best” grow medium. For now, growers can look at specific case studies for helpful information, as results are directly connected to media, fertigation, genetics, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) rather than scientific generalizations.
To simplify the process, we collected the four most popular media choices according to our customer base and decided to do a quick comparison.