“Deep Water Culture” (commonly referred to as DWC) refers specifically to the type of hydroponics where plants grow with the roots stretching out into a tub of nothing but aerated nutrient-water. This roots-in-oxygenated-water setup is what gives Deep Water Culture its remarkable vegetative growth speed! Why is it called Deep Water Culture? “Deep Water” because the plants are growing in a deep pool of water instead of in some sort of growing medium, and “Culture” is a word that can also mean “Cultivation”.
What is DWC?
In short, DWC is growing your plant with its roots in aerated nutrient-water (the air part, provided by bubbles, is very important). Like this:
Growing medicinal plants in DWC system
A DWC medicinal plants grow comes in many different styles and adaptations. However the common theme is that the roots are immersed in a bath of nutrients at an optimum pH, often around pH 5.8. Normally medicinal plants roots left in water/nutrients would eventually rot. But the presence of bubbling air (e.g. from a DWC air stone, connected to an external air pump) provides the roots the oxygen they need to grow with great vigour.
The container is often simply a deep bucket (hence the name, DWC) which is often black in colour. The absence of light keeps dreaded slime and algae to a minimum. One plant can comfortably fill the typical 15-20 litre DWC bucket full of medicinal plants roots by the end of the grow. A healthy root ball is a huge white mass of roots.
The benefits of growing medicinal plants with DWC
The main attractions of growing DWC medicinal plants are the fast growth rates and huge yields that are potentially on offer when DWC is done well. For those that delight in the joy of growing their own medicinal plants, there is an undeniable satisfaction that comes from seeing a successful DWC grow really push the medicinal plants right to it’s limits.
Growing in a DWC medicinal plants system isn’t for everyone. But for those that do it well, dry yields of several hundred grams per plant are quite routine. Deep water culture medicinal plants growing pushes hydroponics (soil-free) cultivation to it’s limits. As such, it’s the ultimate thrill and ultimate challenge for many indoor growers. For those that truly enjoy their medicinal plants cultivation there are few more satisfying feelings than seeing a crop grow from seed to harvest. When you harvest your first DWC monster the joy and satisfaction will be remembered forever.
But for someone that has only grown in soil before there are some undeniable added new complexities to consider. You will need a, perhaps slightly noisy, air pump to feed the DWC air stone and you may need to discover the joy of owning and calibrating pH and EC meters for the first time.
Growing medicinal plants in Deep Water Culture doesn’t need to be difficult. It may require some fine-tuning at first to get everything right, but so does any other growing method. Once you have your DWC set up and running with everything in check, it will make growing great medicinal plants easier and quicker than before.
Good luck with your first DWC grow!
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