Here in the UK, most – but not all! – cannabis is cultivated using chemical fertilisers with hydroponic systems, as this is the easiest and cheapest ways to create industrial types of yield.
Some people do grow organically, using natural fertilisers. There are, however, other methods available to those who want to create cannabis in a more environmentally-friendly and economical fashion.
In Ontario Canada, completely underground and hidden from view, is a cannabis company called Green Relief Inc who is making the headlines for its unusual growing methods. Using a system known as ‘Aquaponics’, the company is growing high grade cannabis using only fish waste to feed the plants!
They claim to be the only licensed producer of cannabis in the world to produce weed in this way. But how?
What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics has been around since the 1990s and is a sustainable way of growing plants and also raising healthy fish. Using this methodology, it can be possible to grow more product using less water and without having to invest in traditional fertilisers, bringing down costs and labour further and providing a completely safe, organic final product.
When growing in hydroponics, the plant gets all its food from the water in the form of chemical nutrients. Hydroponics helps to maximise yields and increases the growth rate of plants.
Aquaponics is essentially hydroponics with fish waste instead of chemical nutrients.
The waste from the fish in the water turns from ammonia into nitrates and so becomes the ideal nutrient for the plants, providing excellent nutrition in a sustainable fashion.
It’s important that correct beneficial bacteria are used in the water in order to turn the waste into usable food that the plants can readily absorb through their roots.
The other advantage of this type of growing is that at the end of the cycle you have also fed some fish so you will have actually created an additional food source just by growing your plants.
Benefits for the Homeless
The additional food sources are certainly not going to be put to waste – that would be ridiculous. Instead of throwing those fish away at the end of the cannabis growing cycle, the fish used from the grow are donated to a nearby kitchen which it uses to feed homeless people.
Sounds like a win-win system that benefits all concerned.
‘This is the agriculture of the future,’ founder Warren Bravo said to CBC. ‘If you’re not latching on to sustainable agriculture technologies now, you’re going to be a dinosaur.’
The whole system apparently took two and a half years to fine tune and uses 90% less water than traditional growing systems. The company is expanding and expects to be listed on the Canadian stock market in the the following months.
Will we be shortly seeing these types of system in the UK? Will you build one to capitalise on the upcoming green rush?
Smaller systems are available to buy and there are plenty of books available about this type of growing on Amazon.