Growing medical marijuana is legal in lots of places. All you need to do is get the right permits. Once you do you can grow outside. Doing this has some unique challenges, including securing a good water supply.
Medical cannabis requires water, as we all realize. Grow some inside a closed off area and you’ll see how much water it can transpire through the leaves. Provided you have good drainage the plant can handle lots of water.
This isn’t to say that marijuana likes swampy ground, or that it likes to be wet. It likes being well drained, and can take some drought if it’s prepared for it, but a steady water supply is beneficial.
If you grow close to your house this isn’t a problem. You can drag your hose to the plants. It may be outdoors, but a steady supply of water is convenient.
Except some places have watering restrictions. If that applies to you then you do have a problem, just like a guerrilla gardener. You have to store water and plan, because you can’t just leave the tap running.
Like many situations, the best solution is a range of options. Being close to a water source is an obvious benefit. Something to store water can contribute. Improving the soil to retain moisture also helps the crop.
Using hoses, ditches or carrying water means you need a water source to be in the near vicinity. The water source probably has to be uphill from the garden. We’re talking about walking distance, or the combined length of a few hoses. In other words, perhaps an few hundred feet.
Water is heavy and takes up lots of space. Carrying it is hard. If you are carrying it you want to be close. There’s nothing low profile about bring found by hikers with ten gallons of water strapped to your back.
A hose based supply system should run downhill. If you try to go uphill you’ll need pumps. Pumps mean gas and noise unless you use rechargeable batteries. That’s an option but requires ingenuity. Hoses must be hidden or else they’ll lead right to the garden, and that means plant theft.
Digging troughs is hard work. It also requires a gravity feed. They can also be hard to disguise. After all, little streams run toward water sources, not away.
When the water gets delivered is an important issue as well. A constant drip or leak system is better than flooding the garden from time to time. If you have to always go to water the plants you’ll become a slave to them. Some degree of automation is desirable. It also helps keep the garden inconspicuous.
There are two ways to handle this. Storage of water, in containers of some sort, is the first. The second is water retention through the soil itself.
Storage requires something to hold a lot of water. You want something that will hold lots of water and yet be low profile. There are a few options.
One is a series of five gallon buckets. They are small enough to hide in vegetation and debris. They are easy to acquire. They are also easy to fill, either by hose or directly from a water source if it’s close enough. Paint them black, green or camo so that they disappear into the background.
55 gallon drums are another option. Steel ones work, but lighter plastic ones are also available. They are harder to hide, but they can sometimes be hidden in plain sight as garbage.
These kinds of drums can be hose filled. You can also attache plumbing fixtures to the bottom to control release. Soaker hoses can improve the system, and they can even be buried to make watering slow and steady. If you’re trying to hide them in plain sight you’ll have to be creative, though, because discarded drums don’t have hoses attached!
One advantage of bigger drums is that they can catch and store rainwater. This won;t solve the whole problem, but it will help.
Recycled waterbed mattresses are another neat trick. They hold lots of water and are low profile. You can have a permanent fill hose and a slow release system, or you can fill it occasionally and then use the same hose to slowly drain it and water the crop.
The last method is to improve or alter the soil so that it retains more moisture and water. Farmers across the globe have practiced this for centuries. There are also modern additives that help retain water and release it slowly.
Sloped garden plots dry out faster. You can alter the landscape by terracing small areas. Mulch the ground with vegetation to keep some sun off it and reduce drying. You can economize on water by trenching around the base of the plant. Pools can be dug or constructed with sheet plastic to retain rain and run off.
There is a new product available that can also offer help. Water retention crystals, or hydrogels, swell when soaked but then release the water back into the soil as it dries out. Some are made if starch and some are made of polymeracrilides. Not everyone agrees that water crystals work. I haven’t conducted any controlled studies but I can confirm that the tiny crystals can be mixed into dirt and will swell to many times their size when moistened enough. I can’t help but believe that they help outdoor plants survive drought more successfully.
Castulo Zane has written about how to grow marijuana for years. For more about grow marijuana search his name on google.. This article, How to Get Water to Outdoor Gardens is released under a creative commons attribution license.