Aaron LaBarbera   |   December 10, 2017

The Benefits of Fertigation

Fertigation is a fertilization process that utilizes a separate water supply to deliver nutrients to cannabis plants in an efficient and exact manner.
Aaron LaBarbera is a freelance writer who sees the intersection of technology and cannabis as an exciting way for people to use it medicinally and recreationally. He views the benefits as life-changing and hopes through Cannabis Tech that…

Urban-gro and Rhythm are two companies taking the process of fertigation to a higher level of automation, efficiency, and precision.

Image courtesy of Rhythm CSS

 

How They Work

There may be some minor differences depending on whose system you decide to use, but they share many similarities such as a separate water supply to avoid the contamination of the regular water supply. The water is then mixed with the various nutrients and pumped into the feed lines which run through the rows of plants.

 

Diagram of an Urban-gro fertigation system.  Image courtesy of Urban-gro.

 

Let’s take a slightly deeper dive into how the Urban-gro and Rhythm systems work.

These fertigation systems can be custom designed to your irrigation plans and needs. Separate tanks of each plant dependent nutrient like ammonium nitrate, phosphorus, and potassium are fed into a mixing tank where each chemical is carefully metered and mixed. The fertigation system then pumps the nutrient mixture into a common line with the irrigation water which runs out to the plants through drip lines.

These computer-controlled systems ensure that control of your fertilizer is available down to the minutiae. We're talking not just irrigation times but precise control over quantities of each chemical and the ability to control and create custom blends for each watering zone. Urban-gro’s systems allow the user to change the blend mid-feed to compensate for things like the stage of the crop, leach rates, and time of day among others. A unique feature of the Rhythm fertigation system is remote monitoring and control via an app on your preferred mobile device so you can monitor and tweak wherever you might be.

 

Advantages

The advantages of fertigation over other fertilization techniques are numerous. One such advantage is very little waste, because each part of the fertilization mixture is highly controllable, ensuring that only what is required is used. At this level of control, you will consistently have healthier plants, which leads to increased production and ultimately an increase in revenue.

One really important advantage and one that every current and/or future grower should take into consideration is the number of man hours required to maintain and perform the fertigation process. These new, digitally controlled fertilizer systems are capable of saving 400+ man hours per month! Let’s do some quick math. Minimum wage in California is $10.50/hour. Multiply that times 400 and you're looking at $4,200 a month saved. And that's only minimum wage in California but its a safe bet that the savings will be in the thousands regardless of the state.

 

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