Ok let me chime in with what I've learned about coco. The majority of my growing life was spent growing with organic soil, I used bio bizz nutes with compost teas and it was great, I grew in 12Ltr pots and watered every 2 days, wet-dry cycles..... Now I was happy growing like that but then I started to grow in coco with drippers on strict orders from my very good friend and grow guru Bush Dr, instantly I was hooked, I seen, explosive growth rates, thick white root mass, and most importantly my yields went up 20-25%, etc.
Here's what I was seeing...
4 Weeks Root Growth
5 Days Growth Comparison Pictures
Coco is different from soil and it should not be treated like soil, coco is a hydroponic medium (soilless medium), some like to call it 'semi-hydroponic' because it is more forgiving than full hydro. The thing is, you can water coco like you water soil, every day or 2 and you will get soil results but if you water coco a few times per day you will really reap the rewards of hydroponic results in a more stable medium. When dialing the watering schedule it's important to take into consideration the size of pot that your using and the size of your root mass, for example if you pot up some freshly rooted clones into 6.5Ltr pots and start watering them 3x per day you will run into some problems. People like to say that you can't overwater in coco, I agree with them to a certain extent but you can overwater if you give them too much when they don't have a well developed root system, that's why it's important to harden off the roots and let 'em go hunting for nutrients at the beginning, this will help to build the root system. When I pot up a freshly rooted cut I let it have wet-dry cycles for a few days then I slowly up my watering, at the end of week one I'm watering once per day, I aim to be watering 3x per day by the end
of week 2. Once the root system is developed it is very very hard to overwater, they will take all you can throw at 'em and ask for more.
I also think it's important to mention that coco doesn't require the same size of a pot compared to soil, I have grown plants at 9.25oz in a 6.5Ltr pot. Less is more, unless your looking trees, don't go over 6.5Ltrs, there really is no need plus if you have a pot that's too big you could run into overwatering problems and possibly root rot. I like to add hydroton at the base of my pots, this assists in drainage, I also add layer of hydroton at the top of the coco to help slow down evaporation. I'd highly advise you to do them 2 things. Stopping evaporation is very important, the process of evaporation removes water from the coco and leaves behind salts which will cause both PH and toxicity problems, macro and micro nutrients will get locked out with the excess salts in the coco. You want to keep coco WET so all excess salts are constantly being soaked and flushed out of the medium.
Once you water 3x per day your plants will start to grow super fast, FAT stalks, branching growing like crazy, it really is fun seeing the explosive growth rate. I feed 3 x per day right up until flower stretch is over then I bang up the waterings to 5x per day, just as the buds switch into swelling mode, the plants react great. You see, when you feed a plant you aren't just giving it fresh nutrients, you are also giving fresh oxygen to the roots, the nutrient solution saturates the medium and pushes out the stale O2, as the solution works its way down the medium it draws in fresh oxygen from the top, this is one of the reasons why I think multi feeding works so well with coco. Your giving your plants access to more fresh oxygen.
Now one of the huge advantages to growing with coco DTW is the fact that you are watering to you get a little run off each time, which goes to a waste tray/rez to be dumped later. That little bit of run off ensures that each and every time you water your plants (3-5x per day) you're also washing away excess salts, salt build up can be a problem in coco and you often have to flush it out to get rid of all the excess salts. Once you get that little bit of waste run-off from each watering you are effectively flushing it out every time you water, this means that you don't have to do a manual flush until the end of flower when you do the 'final flush'. If you don't already use it then I can highly recommend you check out a product from House & Garden called, Drip Clean, I'll not go into the science behind it because all that information is easily accessed on the internet but this product will ensure that excess salts are washed away, Drip Clean attracts salts and other build up, it helps to purge them from your medium, and it also does a great job keeping your drippers clear.
Another thing that I've noticed about growing in Coco DTW with multi feeds per day is that it's much better to feed 'little but often' just like how a bodybuilder or an athlete breaks their daily caloric intake into 6-8 meals a day to keep their metabolism in peak working order. Well from my experience the same applies to plants grown in coco, instead of watering your plants at a high EC/ppm once every few days, break it up into 3-5 smaller strength feeds each day and watch how your plants react but remember to have a developed root system before you use the multi-feeding. Once I start the multi-feeding I like to keep the EC at 1.3/650ppm (that's including 0.4EC tap water), I let the run-off tell me if the plants require more or less feed. If the waste EC rises by a point or 2 then I know they are getting too much so I adjust my EC accordingly and vice versa.
OK I've been babbling too much but if your growing in soil and want to experience something new and IMHO better, then give Coco DTW a whirl, everyone that I've helped convert has never looked back infact their gardens are thriving and they are getting the best yields that they have ever experienced. If you would like any advise post here so we all can share information.
Here's a few more pictures of plants grown in coco with a run to waste drip system...
KarmaTrain - 8 Weeks Harvest
Grown in 6.5Ltr pots
54 Days Flower
Chem D Side Bud
31 Days Flower
I'd like to give a big thank you to Bush Dr, he is an excellent grower a has lot of experience, without him I'd most likely still be growing in soil. Thank you Bush Dr!