Water: Essential for you and your cannabis plant
Water is part of the four elements, next to Fire, Earth and Air. It is a basic need for all life on earth. Humans and animals consist for about 60% of water (depending on gender and age), plants for no less than 80%.
The water cycle describes the path taken by the element water through the Earth's system. Surface water, for example from rivers, lakes and seas, evaporates. It is absorbed by the atmosphere and forms clouds that then generate precipitation. This precipitation may or may not fall back into rivers, for example, and also penetrates the Earth and serves as a source of life for plants and trees.
We find it quite normal that water comes out of the tap and sometimes forget that this is not so obvious at all. The water we drink in the Netherlands belongs to the best in the world. It is therefore preceded by a whole purification process.
In Limburg, the water we can drink is extracted from groundwater. This groundwater is pumped up. In order not to over-explore the soil, infinite amounts of water may not be pumped up. So-called surface water is then used, for example from the river Maas. This water is of poorer quality and first needs to be purified even more thoroughly. Purifying water costs an enormous amount of energy.
At the moment we are experiencing a serious drought that will most likely only increase in the coming period. This exceptionally dry spring has never happened before since the start of the measurements. The frightening realisation that we are facing water scarcity urges us to be more economical with water.
Weed and Water
Our beloved marijuana plants also need water. A large cannabis plant can use up to 60 litres on a very hot day. Fortunately, it is also a tough plant that generally can take a beating.
A long period of drought has, as mentioned before, an influence on the groundwater. The water that is more on the surface of the earth is absorbed by the roots of many plants. When it becomes increasingly scarce, only plants with very long roots are able to absorb water from deeper layers.
When there is a severe drought, plants are weakened. They are more susceptible to pests and diseases. THC, the active ingredient in cannabis that plays a major role in its psychoactive effect, has the function of keeping pests away from the cannabis plant. Therefore, a cannabis plant under stress (whether due to drought or certain pests) will produce more THC to defend itself.
How can we ensure that we handle the element Water as carefully as possible? Whether you take your weed out of the shop or grow it yourself, the plant needs water anyway. It is very important not to carry buckets of water to the sea, but to be smart with your water consumption.
Choose a plant that is better able to withstand drought
Go for a cannabis variety that is better adapted to dry climates. Indica has broad leaves and thus allows more water to evaporate. Sativa, with its long, narrow fingers, is generally a better choice when you're struggling with drought. Indica also usually produces large, compact buds that are more susceptible to mould more quickly when the climate is very dry.
The ideal location for your plants
Cannabis plants like a lot of sunlight, but with extreme drought like these days, it's not a bad idea to put your plants in a place where they also get enough shade and coolness, from a tree or hedge for example.
Tip: Plant your cannabis in a valley, this will retain moisture much better than higher up.
In a pot
If you have plants in a pot, the soil will dry out faster and you need to water more often than if your plants were planted directly in the soil. This has to do with the fact that the roots can then look for available water themselves, but also because a pot is shined along the sides by the sun and therefore evaporates the water.
Tip: if you want plants in pots, dig these pots into the soil! This way they will not be exposed to sunlight.
How to water
- Always water your plants either early in the morning or in the evening so the sun and heat are gone and the water will not evaporate immediately.
- Dig a hole near the plant and pour the water in here. Then slide soil back over it. This way the water can be better absorbed by the plants. Always water as close to the roots as possible.
- Give plants a larger amount of water in one go, instead of always small bits. This way the water can sink deeper into the soil and the roots have to reach deeper to get to it.
- Cover the soil around the weed plants with mulch. This means that you use material that protects the soil from sunlight and makes it retain moisture better. Use plant material such as straw, pulled out weeds, cardboard. Mulch is also food for soil life. Soil life is the all-embracing name for the innumerable mini and micro animals that keep the soil healthy, airy and nutrient-rich.
Technology seems to be a burden and at the same time our saving angel. I sincerely hope that we will introduce a standard for our water guzzling appliances, such as the washing machine and the toilet, which will make them more effective and economical with water. Why flush the toilet with drinking water? What would it be like if we didn't immediately 'flush' water away, but reused it?
Collecting shower water: A very effective way to collect some water every day is to put a bucket in your bathroom. The water that would normally drain away immediately while you wait for it to warm up, can now be collected in this bucket. Alternatively, you can leave the bucket standing while you take a shower, as long as you use biodegradable soap!
If you take a bath, you have immediately collected about 150 liters of water, so use it!
Collecting washing-up water: Same principle. Basically, dishwashing water contains all kinds of nutrients for your plants. Again, it is important that you use biodegradable detergent.
Pee in a bucket: Did you know that you can also use urine to give to your plants? This also contains nutrition. Use 1 part urine to 10 parts water.
Collect rainwater: A lot of precipitation can fall in the winter. It is of course ideal if you have a professional collection system and can use this many litres of water when you need it most. At the moment, the rain barrel will probably be half empty rather than half full, but remember that you are on the right track and can make a big improvement with small steps.
As a final tip I would recommend removing as many tiles and concrete as possible around your house. Let the earth breathe again and let the rain, when it falls, penetrate the ground directly instead of being carried away through the sewers.