Literally, hundreds of urban legends exist out there about impossible hydroponic harvests. A 5-gallon DWC won’t land you a unicorn. But given proper care, you can get a hefty yield from it.
That sounds promising. However, as an inexperienced indoor gardener, you want to know what you’re getting into.
How much can a 5-gallon DWC yield?
In an ideal 4’x4’ setup, each 5-gallon DWC gets you around 5-10 oz per plant. On average, one can yield ½oz per sq foot area in a 5 gallon DWC. For that, make sure that the water pH always stays around 6. Adequate lighting added with sufficient nutrients will only crank up the yield.
Sounds too good to be true when it’s put that way. Except, it’s actually not! I’ve tried this method and am more than willing to share my experience with you.
How Much Does a 5 Gallon DWC Bucket Yield?
There is no easy way to answer this question. The production from a DWC system depends on a wide array of factors. Even the tiniest detail can vastly affect the yield of your plantation. In fact, DWC gives huge yields if the plants are nurtured properly.
By measuring all the available matrixes, we can narrow down the estimated range of yield.
Does DWC increase yield over time?
Yes the DWC increases yield over time. With proper execution and a touch of luck, you can hit the jackpot.
How much does a 5-gallon bucket yield?
A ‘’Pro-grower’’ can extract as much as .75 pounds per 5-gallon bucket. But this takes heavy resources and experience to achieve. As a beginner with very few resources, you won’t get that much yield.
Despite all that, a beginner can expect a good return even for small-scale DWC gardening. A beginner can garner about .5 pounds yield per plant from a small 5-gallon setup.
The yield can vary from plant to plant and is largely due to other variables. This includes the strain type, adequate lighting, temperature, and nutrients. Properly maintaining them can land you a great return in a single harvest.
How to Get Maximum Yield from 5 Gallon DWC?
The trick is actually quite simple. Proper maintenance and grooming!
Regardless of what strain your choose, you can expect a high yield from 5-gallon DWC. Compared to the 5-gallon soil yield, 5-gallon hydroponic gardening holds much more yield potential.
With my 4 5 gal DWC setup, I’ve reaped about 29oz Royal Moby. I have a 4×4 grow tent setup where I placed 4 5 gallon DWC buckets. That means that each of my plants got me about 7.25oz yield. Not bad!
It’s about time I walk you through the measures that made me such prolific yields. So let’s not drag this any further and get straight to the task.
Roll up your sleeves. We got work to do!
Step 1: Get Your Lights Right!
The goal is simple—getting the most out of your 5-gallon DWC setup. And the biggest factor that’ll help us reach there is lighting.
Getting the right balance in indoor lighting is very important. While 200W HPS can easily cover up a 2’x2’ area, it’s not enough for larger tents. Likewise, a 1000W HPS would be too excessive for areas any lesser than 5’x5’.
Quality lighting in the veg cycle can be the key to a plant’s potent future. And the right light can be just the push your plant needs for higher yield.
With that in consideration, here’s a table showcasing the potential DWC yield per plant. This table will help you understand how light watts and tent-size impacts yield-
|Image||Product||Grow Space||Wattage||5-gallon pots||Yield per plant||Buy|
|California Light Works SolarXtreme 250 LED Grow Light||2’x2’/.60 x .60m||200||1 pot||1.5-2oz/ 40-60gm||Click Here|
|MARS HYDRO FC-E3000 300Watt LED Grow Light||3’x3’/.90 x .90m||300||3-4 pots||4.5-9oz/100-250gm||Click Here|
|iPower 600 Watt HPS MH Digital Dimmable Grow Light System||4’x4’/1.2 x 1.2m||600||4 pots||5-10oz/150-300gm||Click Here|
|VIVOSUN Hydroponic 1000 Watt HPS MH Grow Light Air Cooled Reflector Kit||5’x5’/1.5 x 1.5m||1000||8-9 pots||9-18oz/250-500gm||Click Here|
As you can see, the yield increased manifolds along with the increased wattage and tent size.
According to the table, the 4X4 DWC yield should be around 5-10oz/plant. Guess I did a pretty okay job with my gardening!
The Ushio 600W HPS lamp is the crowd favorite for indoor gardening on a small-medium scale. And I myself have been riding the same bandwagon as the rest.
With a 600W glow light, you get adequate lighting for plants within a 4’x4’ area. It’s also a cost-efficient option for small-scale indoor gardening. You can produce about 1oz per 50sq inch area using a 600W HPS light.
Step 2: Keep the Temperature Down
Your cooling setup should be carefully planned in relation to the size of the tent. My tent, the GrowLab GL 145 accommodates enough space for my plants. However, if you’ve less space and a small budget, you should go with smaller tents.
At midday, the temperature of the rootzone of hydroponics can reach up to 95F. It seriously suppresses the nutrient uptake of the plants.
One should also take the RZT(Root Zone Temperature) of a plant into consideration. According to a study, a 20F rise in temperature decreases the plant height by 18%. Furthermore, it also sees a 10% decrease in leaf production in plants.
The study found that a plant produces its most yield while maintaining 71F RZT. Plants yielded around 2.3t/GH more under 71F compared to 95F root zone temperature.
For the best result, your air temperature should be higher than that of the water. Around 70-80F for air temperature, and around 64-68F for water. In no way should the temperature of the water reach below 55F.
I installed an exhaust fan right next to the window to drive out hot air. And simply with that, I managed to keep the temperature down even on the hottest days.
I also made sure that the lights were off when the heat reached its peak. Once the summer was over, I didn’t have to worry about temperature anymore.
For people struggling with low temperatures, wrapping the entire tent with building insulation can help.
Another thing to consider is the bucket itself.
Buckets of 5-gallon size often come in black colors, making them light-proof inside. This is usually done in an effort to stop algae formation inside the DWC setup. Nonetheless, this also gives rise to the internal temperature of the bucket.
To avoid temperature upsurge, coat the bucket with white paint before setting up the DWC.
Step 3: Adjust the Water pH Accordingly
In my quest to achieve extreme yields, I monitored the pH level every single day.
And I’m not exaggerating a bit!
I kept the pH level down to 6 for the entire 5 months.
You can loosen up a bit and let it go a bit higher. But be careful not to let it slide past 6.5 or below 6.
Excess acidity or alkalinity stops the plant from absorbing minerals. DWC yellow leaves can be an indicator of very high, or low water pH levels.
Baking soda and potassium carbonate can lift up the pH level. Similarly, adding sulfur and aluminum can lower the pH of the water. Use a quality pH meter to keep track of your water’s pH level.
It’s also essential to understand the different pH requirements for different plants. In my case, my Royal Moby could withstand pH rise or drop to some extent. So as long as you face a small level of fluctuation, you should be okay.
Step 4: Appropriate Nutrition Allotment
For the nutrients, I emphasize the volume of phosphorus, calcium, and nitrogen present in it. They are essential elements for plants. Alongside them, there is an assortment of elements that helps a plant bolster its growth.
I prefer setting up an elaborate nutrient plan for different stages of a plant’s growth. Depending on the plant’s consumption ability, the nutrient ratios also vary.
Here’s a basic application table for the required supplements for your plant-
|Weeks||Growth Stages||Required Nutrients|
|Week 1||Cutting and Seeding||.25 tsp FloraGro/ gallon.25 tsp FloraMicro/ gallon.25 tsp FloraBoom/ gallon|
|Week 2-6||Mild Vegetative||1 tsp FloraGro/ gallon1 tsp FloraMicro/gallon1 tsp FloraBoom/ gallon|
|Week 7-10||Aggressive Vegetative Growth||3 tsp FloraGro/ gallon2 tsp FloraMicro/gallon1 tsp FloraBoom/ gallon|
|Week 11-13||Transition to Bloom||2 tsp FloraGro/ gallon2 tsp FloraMicro/gallon2 tsp FloraBoom/ gallon|
|Week 14-22||Blooming and Ripening||1 tsp FloraGro/ gallon2 tsp FloraMicro/gallon3 tsp FloraBoom/ gallon|
Nutrient consumption differs from plant to plant. Luckily for me, the Royal Moby is a hungry DWC strain. It consumes large amounts of nutrients without being overwhelmed.
And with that, you can expect sizable DWC yields in 5 months’ time. All it takes is an hour of daily monitoring.
The 5 gallon DWC veg time should be around 9-10 weeks. By the same token, the flowering stage lasts an estimated period of 12-13 weeks.
Don’t back off from a little bit of experimentation. Who knows, you might even hit the legendary 1 pound indoor plant yield one day!
Does overwatering turn leave yellow?
Yes. Overwatering can turn the leaves yellow. Actually, it can work both ways due to moisture stress. It happens for either over-watering or under-watering the plant.
How deep does DWC need to be?
A DWC setup should be at least 10 inches deep. Any form of DWC should have a minimum of 10 inches in depth. Or else, it can’t be considered a DWC.
Should a 200W bulb be enough for a 2×2 tent?
A 200w bulb should be good enough for a 2×2 tent. It can cover as much as up to 9 square feet. So it will fit great for a 2×2 space.
Guess what? That’s everything you’ll need!
Within 10-11 weeks, you can get a sizable return from your 5-gallon DWC yield. Just make sure to invest a few minutes every day after them.
Enjoy your massive yields!