Farmwork Friday – Water

Before you can get to the fun bits of cannabis, a lot of work has to go into the cultivation of the plant. Or, maybe you consider that the fun bit? Either way, we’re here to outline what the team at Elyon does to give you the best bud, from choosing the soil to harvesting the plants. Let’s get to (farm)work. 

Don’t Doubt the Drought

Ah, water: life’s basic necessity. It’s a cooling, quenching treasure that we often take for granted. But it can be a sensitive subject here in California, especially in the cannabis world. For most of the past decade, California has been in a drought (lasting from December 27, 2011 to March 5, 2019). Like any agricultural product, cannabis needs a lot of water to survive and thrive. At Elyon, we are always looking to improve sustainability and make the most efficient use of resources, especially water. 

The first step in using water efficiently is to ensure you have the right soil. It needs to have the proper drainage, but also good water retention. The water won’t pool or run off too quickly with the right soil; meaning you are watering based on the plant needs, not the soil’s. 

Drip, Drip

How do you know what the plant needs? We rely on the expertise of our growers (along with tissue analysis tests, soil readings and plant moisture potential readings) but there are a few, easy to see signs if your plant is being under or overwatered. The plant will start to wilt and look rather droopy. This happens in both circumstances. If you are underwatering, however, the plant’s leaves will also turn yellow or brown. If you are overwatering, the leaves will be a dark green and will curl inwards. You should also feel the soil around the plants. If it’s bone dry, it probably needs water. 

All the plants at Elyon are either hand-watered or are on a drip system. This helps control the amount of water used and allows the growers to water based on each plant’s needs. Nutrients are mixed directly into the water, creating an efficient system of feeding and irrigating the plants at the same time. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

With the goal of being as sustainable as possible, we are using recycled water at our farms in Petaluma. Greywater, or recycled water, is wastewater generated from homes and offices that doesn’t contain any fecal matter (think water from sinks, washing machines, showers, dishwashers). This water can be reused for irrigation and its number one use is agriculture. Purifying the water by ozone filtration or reverse osmosis, this is a great way to give life to the plants without using up extra resources. 

At Toley Farms, we use the ozone filtration method – an extremely efficient form of purification. The filter charges the water, converting oxygen into O3 molecules (ozone). Highly oxidative, the ozone kills the bacteria and algae buildup in the water. It then breaks back down and reverts back to oxygen, resulting in a slightly higher dissolved oxygen level in the filtered water. This can lead to improved nutrient uptake in the cannabis plants and eventually improved yields. Win, win. 

It’s Raining Cannabis

Happy, healthy plants lead to a happy high and water plays a huge part in that. Pay attention to your plants, they will let you know if they are thirsty! But if it’s ever a question, it’s better to underwater than overwater. A slightly stressed plant can lead to more concentrated aromatics. Don’t stress them out too much. They can’t smoke themselves to chill out. 

 

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