Light Cannabis Growing Environments: Soil, Hydroponics, Aquaponics

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If it grows in the open ground in the wild, the cultivated hemp now take advantage of the many growing environments developed by Man. Depending on the needs, the means available and the results sought, cannabis can also grow as well in the ground, Aboveground or in mini-ecosystems created by producers, as is the case withaquaponics. However, not all of them offer the same advantages.

Culture of light cannabis in France

France is the second largest producer of hemp. However, most of this legal cannabis is then processed to produce ropes, fabric and straw for animals. A small part, which should continue to grow, is however dedicated tocannabidiol extraction : the famous CBD.

In full energy recovery, hemp cultivation thus represents around 8 hectares of French soil, mainly distributed between Champagne-Ardenne, Île de France, Normandy, Burgundy, Manche, Aube and Pays de la Loire.

While the majority of these 8 hectares concern open-air fields covered by traditional agriculture, this is not the only possible cultivation method for cannabis. With the progressive democratization of legal cannabis products, the tendency is to put more varieties on the market, as close as possible to the varieties of indica or sativa cannabis well known on the black market, while remaining perfectly legal.

Main cannabis growing environments

Indoor legal cannabis sativa plant

Indoor legal cannabis sativa plant

Certain CBD cannabis growing environments lend themselves better to expectations of producers and consumers vis-à-vis these new varieties rich in CBD. The factors pushing to choose one environment over another are numerous: quantity and quality of production, respect for soils and biodiversity, local environment, etc.

Several options then arise. The main cannabis growing environments are :

  • Earths: classic culture in open ground or in pots.
  • hydroponics : above-ground cultivation using a neutral substrate such as coconut fiber.
  • aquaponics: hybrid culture between aquaculture and hydroponics, using fish.

Depending on the case, they lend themselves better to indoor, outdoor or greenhouse cultivation. Let's go back in more detail on these different growing environments and what they can do for plants and their environment.

Classic cultivation of legal cannabis, in the ground

The earth is thenatural environment of cannabis, legal or not, since this is how it grows in the wild. Thanks to the domestication of the different varieties, Man has gradually been able to determine what can bring the plant to push faster, healthier, and produce more.

Un good quality potting soil will thus be advantageous for the plant, in particular by facilitating the oxygenation of the soils as well as its permeability. The quality of the land therefore fully contributes to nutrient intakes and allows more easily regulate water intake. Growing cannabis in the ground thus has the advantage of the simplicity and expertise acquired by producers over millennia. It also requires less water and fertilizer than most other environments.

Finally, the " soil life Contributes to the development of the plant. Organisms (bacteria, microbes, worms) evolving naturally in the earth indeed provide fertility and stability on the ground.

Cultivation of light cannabis in hydroponics (coconut fiber)

Coconut fibers provide an environment conducive to growing light cannabis

Coconut fibers provide an environment conducive to growing light cannabis

Hydroponics is a growing environment primarily using water work ("hydro" in Greek). It is based on techniques known as above ground cultivation. Hydroponics was already known to the Aztecs, however it has only been widely used since the 1970s. The Netherlands was among the first European producers to be interested in it, particularly for compensate for the lack of sun.

It must be said that hydroponics has many advantages since it allows, among other things:

  • to do without land,
  • only provide the plants with the necessary nutrients for a tailor-made diet,
  • and therefore accelerate growth CBD-rich cannabis plants.

It suffices to replace the earth with a neutral substrate, which can be rock wool, clay pebbles, sand or volcanic stone. In the case of cannabis light, these are generally the coconut fibers which are preferred. The fibers do not contain, unlike the earth, any nutritive element, but allow to stabilize the plants which develop their roots there. The nutrients are then brought in via a irrigation system, often a drip.

More expensive to set up, hydroponics nevertheless allows produce more, in a shorter period of time. Deprived of certain natural nutrients, CBD flowers however tend to produce less aromas, which is of course reflected in the taste of the final product.

See also: Cannabis cultivation in aeroponics

Cultivation of CBD-rich cannabis in aquaponics

Trout is one of the fish used in aquaponics

Trout is one of the fish used in aquaponics

Aquaponics is a hybrid culture environment consisting of creating a ecosystem combining plant cultivation and fish farming. This is a technique which is increasingly interesting in the modern cannabis market since it allows the advantages of hydroponics to be combined (fast and abundant production) and soil culture (maximum aroma development, terpenes in the case of cannabis). Some store products come directly from legal cannabis plants from aquaponics.

This is allowed by the establishment of a virtuous system where some people's waste becomes other people's food. Thus, the fish reject excrement in the water of a basin located below planting CBD-rich cannabis. This waste is broken down by bacteria present in the water, filtered by the roots, then assimilated by the plant which feeds on their nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). In exchange for food, the plant therefore cleans the water of the fish, which in turn can flourish in a clean environment.