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Capping the Damage: Water and DripCap

OPENER protect your stalks

Guess what? They’re at it again. As legalization becomes more of a certainty each day, the agents of perpetual suffering are busy trying to find new ways to ensure control of the biggest money crop in the world. How? By finding new ways to demonize the growers who both revere and derive their livelihoods from the plant by suggesting they are the worst threat to an ailing planet, the ultimate idea of a bad joke. But nobody’s laughing.

Water has become the new battleground, especially in California, which has the potential of becoming the biggest cannabis producer on the planet. After years of government corruption, denial, inefficiency and wastefulness, the same group has disingenuously crafted a rather genius plan; blame the cannabis growers for the water shortages threatening the state. It’s an easy sell to a gullible and fearful public and a nice way to shift the blame from both their own failed policies as well as other, more politically friendly agricultural groups.

Water is truly becoming an endangered resource across the world and even though pointing fingers at conscientious growers as the culprits might be a little hard to swallow, the truth is we have to become more vigilant with regards to water conservation and collection. Given the experience with other crops and industries, we know we can’t count on progressive and equitable solutions emanating from government. Excessive governmental intervention isn’t necessarily desirable anyway as it perpetuates the damage, as demonstrated in other legal industries such as wine and almond production. Rather than strive for a system in which cannabis is treated just like any agricultural product it should be our goal to export the ethos and spirit embodied by planet conscious growers towards other areas, and make the cannabis agricultural community the model to emulate.

To this end, each issue of SKUNK will feature a product, idea or improvement on water collection and conservation. We lead it off with the Cube Cap and Drip Cap, simple little products which promise huge savings on both water and nute consumption among other benefits.

CubeCap is a company which first hit the scene eight years ago, with their patented CubeCap, a device designed for “Flood and Drain” and “NFT” systems, to combat algae by keeping light away from your grow medium as well as trapping and isolating moisture in one of its levels thus depriving the algae of the two conditions it needs to survive. Additional tests, conducted in Holland also revealed a significant water savings, 33 to 50%, as the cap reduces evaporation resulting in plants which need much less water without sacrificing yields. In many environments your water often contains your plant food, so the reduced waste will also save you from costly nutrient loss.

A few years later, CubeCap added the DripCap to its product line in order to satisfy the demand for growers preferring top micro irrigation feeding systems and to replace dipper stakes, a product which although problemat2010-08-04_08.34.31ic hasn’t changed since 1965.

They essentially deliver the same type of water reduction benefit and aid in providing an algae-free environment. The DripCap can also be used in bottom feeding environments making it an all-in-one wonder but it does require more space as it relies on the pressure furnished by the pumps needed in a central feeding setup. In fact this feature of the DripCap recently necessitated a design change, primarily directed at the hobby grower who operates without many of the bells and whistles available to the commercial facility, particularly pressure regulators.

Many smaller grows were reporting a sudden surge of water which would shoot out the top of the caps as the PSI was above desirable levels. The company is now offering the DripCap without the top air holes and has also added some beveled irrigation nipple holders to hold their hoses firmly into place, completely sealing the water chambers, eliminating the need for pressure regulators or in line valves and emitters. Just pump away and benefit from a range of advantages including minimized algae, fungus gnats & their root eating larva as well as the pesticides and herbicides needed to combat them. There is a lower temperature and increased flushing effect in the block, lowering EC and salt build-up. In addition you should see a reduced energy usage due to minimized use of exhaust fans for venting the minimized ambient humidity.

With advantages like these it might appear that this product is poised to capture a large part of the grower market, both large and small scale, especially in light of the water shortages plaguing many regions. Better still, the benefits are not restricted to cannabis growers as it is suitable to any type of grow, from Purple Kush, to green tomatoes. Hell, this product should even appeal to lawmakers and conservation agencies, provided they are interested in easy solutions.

Sadly, the reality has been a very different experience, as the makers of DripCap, along with Sunlight Supply, their main US distributor, and armed with studies illustrating significant advantages, have solicited every water conservation agency in California offering both information and an intelligent solution. As of yet, they have not received a single response, proving once again that it’s up to us to be the solution; we can’t rely on them.

 

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