Understanding What “The Best” Water for Cannabis Means to Your Plants
I hear from so many of you awesome up-and-coming all-natural growers out there, and one of the things that always stops me in my tracks, is when you guys say something like:
“I am using reverse osmosis water, at 5 PPM, and it was pH 4.2, so I added some pH-Up to adjust it.”
There are 3 huge-ass problems I have with that statement, and I’m not alone—your all-naturally growing Cannabis plants have big problems with it too. So, let me whip out three things here, for those of you that don’t quite “get” the whole water thing. I think it will help. 😊
- Any water with a TDS (Totally Dissolved Solids) value below 10 PPM (Parts Per Million), has a density so low that it doesn’t make any difference to your plants what the pH is. It could be pH10, or pH 3, it just doesn’t matter, period. This water will not have a negative effect due to the pH, on your living soil, to any perceptible degree, no matter what the pH is. It just doesn’t have the “weight” to deliver any pH effects; however, higher PPM water with a pH out of range can kill your plants fast and ugly.
- You shouldn’t be using pure reverse osmosis water on your cannabis plants unless you are running a lot of well flushed/rinsed coir (coconut fiber) in your soil mix. The coir has a ton of mineral salts present, along with being a decent pH buffer as well, due to high potassium levels. Those two jobs are normally handled by groundwater in nature—delivering minerals like calcium and magnesium, along with pH buffering qualities. The best water for cannabis growing (in living soil) is between 40-90 PPM and runs a pH right around 7.0—keep in mind that plants in the ground can handle higher PPM levels, and lower pH water. But for containers, that’s your target baybee.
- Never adjust the pH of your water, tea, or solution, period. If you grow synthetically, or “Soup Style,” using liquid organic nutrients as your primary food source, then you can get away with adjusting the pH with liquids. pH-Up is potassium hydroxide, and pH-Down is phosphoric acid, or other organic acids. If you dump a bunch of highly available potassium, or phosphoric acid (or any other organic acids) on your living soil, you’ve got big problems about to happen.
Quick and Easy Water Formula to Make the Best Water for Cannabis
If you are using your own custom and powerful soil mix, like my True Living Organics soil mix, you want your water up around 40 to 70 PPM. Not just the PPM matters, but what makes-up the PPM level, it’s those dissolved solids (mineral salts) like calcium (Ca), and Magnesium (Mg). Obviously running this level of PPM means your water’s pH matters, a lot. If you are running just quality bagged soil, like Ocean Forest, or any of the G&B brand soil mixes, then you can run your PPM levels higher, like 60 to 90 PPM. But like I said, what’s dissolved in that water matters huge.
What you want to do rather than using super low PPM water, is get yourself some Dolomite lime—not granular and not any other kind of lime—and then, just like you would make a living tea, with an air pump and an air stone, you do the same thing, just using Dolomite lime added to the water. Add 1/8th of a teaspoon of Dolomite lime per 1 gallon of water and bubble it for 24 hours. Your water will not only be rich with some Ca and Mg, but Dolomite lime is extra special! It will also buffer your water to just about 7.0 pH—perfect! You will end up after 24 hours of bubbling, with water that is about 50 to 60 PPM, and a perfect 7.0 pH. It truly is the best water for cannabis when growing in living soil. That’s all you need to do!
If you have a freshwater fish tank, you can add small amounts of that water, to bring your cannabis water PPM level up, and it also adds a ton of great elements to your water. There are high levels of nitrogen (NH3-N) in this water, along with a ton of microbial life, primo organic matter, and minerals. You can always add some of this aquarium water, every time you water, just bubble it for 24 hours along with the Dolomite lime. However, you must stop using the aquarium water about 3 weeks before harvest; this is so your plants can use up all their stored nitrogen before you cut them down, for the best cannabis results.
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Rev’s Supernatural Recipe for Designer Water
I (of course) use a custom living soil mix (TLO style) that is very powerful. My personal customized water runs about 65 PPM on average, until 2 or 3 weeks before harvest, then the PPM level goes down to around 50 PPM using just the dolomite water. I bubble this blend below for 24 hours before using. Here’s the way I do it good peeps…
REV’S PERSONAL BEST WATER FOR CANNABIS RECIPE
- Per 5 gallons of dechlorinated groundwater. My city tap/municipal water runs about 42 PPM on average, I dechlorinate it using active carbon (duel) filtration. Groundwater has a wide variety of diverse minerals/nutrients. If your groundwater is too high in PPM value, cut it with rain, distilled, or reverse osmosis water.
- Add ½ teaspoon plus 1/8th teaspoon of Dolomite lime for the Ca, Mg, and superior buffering of the pH. If you start with reverse osmosis, rain, distilled, or low PPM groundwater like mine, your water will always end up about 50-60 PPM after 24 hours. You can store this water for months.
- Add ¼ teaspoon of DE (diatomaceous earth), agricultural or food grade only. This brings Ca, along with silicon. Silicon is a very good thing for resin production down the line.
- Add 5 to 10 oz. of aquarium water. Massive nutrient value here, along with tons of microlife.
- Literally add 4 or 5 granules of Epsom salt, and no more—careful here, too much sucks badly. This brings in Mg, along with sulfur. Sulfur is awesome for all terpene expressions, smells and flavors.
- Add 1 teaspoon of alfalfa meal. Primo organic matter and growth hormone, along with well-balanced nutrient values and microbial life.
- 1/2 oz. of langbeinite infused water (see below). Great potassium, along with sulfur and Mg.
- Add ½ teaspoon (stacked) worm farm “juice” leachate. So many good things here, wow! However, you will need a worm farm for this addition.
That’s my custom little routine for supernatural quality cannabis water. All you really need to do is the Dolomite addition; and that will kick major ass for you all by itself. Langbeinite, AKA sul-po-mag, is available from Down to Earth, and here’s how I use that. I bubble 1/8th teaspoon of langbeinite in a 1-gallon container full of water for 24 hours, no longer! It will end up between 400 and 500 PPM. I just freeze this water into normal sized ice cubes and add a single ice cube per 5 gallons of water, standard ice cube size—about ½ oz.
Afterword with Rev
Okay then my fine green friends, try out the Dolomite lime trick with your water and see what happens, you’ll love it. If you expand the additions of your designer water, using the langbeinite and/or Epsom salt—be super careful! You can overdose your plants fast with either of these. I would always use at least some dechlorinated groundwater in my designer water formula. It just covers a wide range of bases, especially regarding micro, trace, and secondary nutrients. Also, get yourself a TDS meter; I always have two of them, to occasionally cross check them with each other.
If your groundwater source, like your well, spring, or city tap water, is already in the perfect PPM range, 50 to 70 or so, you’re all good. You must make sure and remove any chlorine (chloramine) first, if it is present. Most groundwater sources are made up from a healthy array of dissolved minerals, but some are terrible, with high (toxic to your plants) levels of iron, sulfur, manganese, and others. In this case I recommend a reverse osmosis water filter with duel carbon cartridges, and the Dolomite lime “tea” above. For germinating I would always use bottled spring water (Arrowhead is my choice here). And lastly, always aerate your water for the best cannabis!
ANOTHER GOOD REV ARTICLE TO READ
Rev’s Crossword Time – New Puzzle
Oh, I have a good one for you today Skunkers! Give my latest puzzle a try, if you dare! I think it’s fairly easy this week, a couple big words, but easy to figure out what they are. Good luck Earthlings.
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.