ALOHA GOOD PEEPS OF EARTH. Rev here coming at you with some good advice for building yourself some bad ass water for growing cannabis in containers. This all works best (and in fact, only) if you are “off the bottles” of liquid nutrients. Things like phosphoric and citric acids, along with other things will radically change pH quickly in your growing containers and add a lot of PPM value. Not only are these things counterproductive to the health of your living soil, it can also easily lock out certain elements making them unavailable to the plants. You don’t need any liquids my friends, I know that seems unfathomable to some of you, but it’s true. Try it with a bit of patience and watch what happens—that’s my story and I’m stickin’ it to ya! LoL. Let’s dive in…
Rev’s Water Formula at Present
Let me just open the show today with my water formula. I keep my water I use for my plants at between 40-70 PPM (approx.) and my water is composed mostly by Ca (calcium), Mg (magnesium), along with somewhat less S (sulphur); let me say loudly, you do not want to overdose your soil with any of these elements! Mg is the worst and will likely end in ugly death after a period of sickly looking slow growth. It is, in my experience, almost impossible to come back from an Mg overdose. S is a much faster killer of plants if an overdose occurs; it will take the soil pH down hard and fast, locking out many elements and killing (or possibly making dormant) a vast majority of the soil bacteria. Fungi that love these conditions often become invasive and basically takes over the container staying massively dominant … which is bad. A Ca overdose is usually easily fixed using a thorough good old-fashioned flush.
In the context of this article I am talking about overdosing with these elements when they are totally dissolved in water and using a TDS meter so you can read the PPM (parts per million) of those elements in your water, in total. Plants have always relied upon, to some degree on ground water—there are a few rare exceptions like air-plants—since they arrived on this planet, for access to readily available mineral elements dissolved in that water; fairly consistent levels of those elements, in fact. Consistency of your water’s PPM and mineral make-up are very important to the plants, and they adapt quickly to exploit (and often store) these elements very efficiently. I wanted to tell you these things before I whip out my water recipe, to help avoid any potential errors for you if you want to give it a try. I use living soil in containers indoors, and this is info I have gleaned from my long-ass growing experience. So, with that being said … it is most important, if using my guidelines here for “designer water for living soil” yourself, make sure that if you run higher PPM levels than I advise do so by raising it in very small steps and waiting 3 weeks (closely observing plants for issues) to make sure it is all good.
REV’S DESIGNER WATER FOR LIVING SOIL INDOORS IN CONTAINERS
I recommend running around 30-70 PPM water if your soil is custom built to be very powerful, like my custom TLO (True Living Organics) soil mix. If you are using commercially available bagged soil mix, I would make my water more like 50-90 PPM. Alrightythen, here we go…
I start with reverse osmosis filtered water that has also been dechlorinated. I add back to this pure filtered water enough of the “waste water” (also produced by the water filter) to end up with a PPM value of around 20 PPM. That’s step 1 and I do this to enhance the diversity of the elements in my water, and since I filter city tap water to start with, my filter’s wastewater is just high PPM dechlorinated ground water basically.
As step 2, I use a “mineral tea” I make as another additive and that is basically made just like a compost tea would be made and is also an actively aerated tea; using just an air-pump, air-line, and an air-stone. I make these in one-gallon plastic pitchers, starting with pure reverse osmosis filtered water, using about ½ teaspoon of FAST ACTING dolomite lime, and about a coke-spoons’ worth of (garden grade) Epsom Salts per gallon of water and I let it bubble for 24 hours and this mineral tea ends up being about 60-80 PPM. I add this to my 20 PPM water in levels that result in ending up with around 50 PPM water for my plants, give or take. If the mineral tea seems a bit much for your dynamic, simply add water from a good healthy well or spring to attain the desired PPM value for your water.
You must be very careful with the Epsom additions, using too much of this will go very badly. Also, make sure you use fast acting dolomite lime here, powdered or pelletized both work fine.
NOTE: Bottled spring water normally runs around 60-70 PPM and so may not have the PPMs required to reach your target PPM; however, many natural springs do. Just make sure, whether spring or well water, that the water is healthy, as far as pollution or abnormal levels of certain elements; like Mn (manganese) for example, goes.
This water really shows its supernatural powers when used on your plants within a few weeks (assuming you haven’t corrupted your soil to begin with) keeping fairly consistent PPM values from watering to watering, and not adding any kind of bottled nutrients in liquid form. You can see the awesome results starting in 2-3 weeks as the plants adapt to the mineral sources that it can count on. Keep that TDS meter handy, but you only have to build your water one time correctly to come up with a benchmark recipe to follow in the future; just don’t forget to regularly check your water’s PPM value; you know, “an ounce of prevention” and all that—wink. L8r G8rs, Revski has left the building.
These are so cool and work very well indeed in my experience. Now, I only use these self-watering containers (see photo) for my cannabis plants when they enter the flowering stage. Right after transplanting them into these containers (referring to 2.5-gallon sized containers here) and before the first time I water them, I add 1 tablespoon of composted steer manure, 1 tablespoon of kelp meal (NOT kelp extract), 1 teaspoon of crab meal, and 1 teaspoon of alfalfa meal, directly into the bottom built-in catch tray at the bottom of the container. Give your plants enough water so that the catch tray fills up (at least mostly) but does not overflow; in fact, do this every time you water them in this style of container. While these additions are in the tray water there is crazy microbial activity releasing great elements that are very available, in addition, it keeps on working for a long time and I have definitely seen bigger yields using this dynamic; whenever I am using these style growing containers I do this.