As California suffers one of the worst droughts on record we must remind ourselves to try and save water. California isn’t alone; NASA satellites in the sky recently discovered that many of the world’s aquifers are in distress as people drain more water than gets replenished. What can you do to save water as a cannabis grower? You could use precision irrigation for soil or a water-efficient hydro method, but why not go all out? Check out a grow method that uses 90% less water, from an expert who uses aquaponics to grow food crops, as well as some great weed.
Aquaponics is a relatively recent growing method that combines aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics. A single body of water constantly recirculates through two separate tanks: one that houses fish and one that houses a hydro bed for the plants. Bacteria convert fish waste into fertilizer for the plants that, in turn, clean the water to keep the fish healthy. The gardener only needs to provide food for the fish, and certain micronutrients for the plants. Careful calibration of this miniature ecosystem makes a nearly self-sustaining garden that barely uses any water.
We talked to Stephen Raisner, marijuana aquaponics expert from the Aquaponics Source in Longmont Colorado who uses this technique to grow great weed. With water conservation in mind we asked him why aquaponics is so water efficient, hear what he has to say.
“Aquaponics uses 90% less water than traditional soil gardening because you have no water loss to evaporation and no loss to the ground table. It uses a lot less than hydro because we never have to flush out reservoirs. We lose about 1% per day on average to evaporation and the water the plants consume which makes it much more water efficient. It also uses less fertilizer for the same reason. You aren't throwing away your money and nutrients every 2 – 4 weeks and instead only boost them up, meaning you use about 20% – 30% of the nutrients you would in a hydro system.”
“Aquaponics achieves water efficiency by recirculating the water instead of throwing it away regularly. The only time you would need to flush your aquaponic system is if you really screwed up the dosing on a nutrient or had something major go wrong with the system but a properly set up system will not need flushing. We only need to top off the reservoir every few days to account for water the plants consume or that evaporates.”
For exclusive information on how to maximize your yield using the dual root zone method for aquaponics, check out Stephen Raisner’s own guide to building an aquaponics system. For more in depth information on aquaponics check out potentponics.com and theaquaponicsource.com.
photo credit: Stephen Raisner
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