Now, we’ve all heard of ‘Ocean Grown Cannabis’. The ‘O-G’ acronym falls either behind, or in front of, some of the most beloved strains. However, its origins are rooted more in the plant’s folklore than actual science. As we know the hydrosphere exists. Would it be too bold or misguided to disassociate the ocean’s actual role in spreading nutrients amongst inland soil? According to some scientists from the University of Hawaii, you can actually find pronounceable traces of Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium in ocean aerosols or sea spray around Hawaii’s islands. These are essential organic nutrients for growing good smokable cannabis. There’s just one problem. And that problem is sodium, a lot of it.
Just an hour Northeast from North Bend, Oregon sits The Elliott State Forest. A publically owned, 82,000 acre state park, known for it’s lush growth and temperate climate. The Pacific Northwest is home to many areas where coniferous forests like these thrive. Where the average rainfall typically amounts up to 200 inches per year. This is quite a bit when you consider that the wettest place on earth produces around 400 inches per year, in Mawsynram, India.
Several factors play into the creation of these super wet places. Reach deep back to your last Earth science class. Remember the hydrosphere? The natural circulation of Earth’s water transported by a combination of rain, rivers, lakes, and oceans? Well, the hydrosphere plays a key role in developing a coniferous forest. It’s a closed system. Meaning, every and all matter created since the Big Bang has been repurposed, recycled, and reintroduced into the soil for millennia, in a systemic process known as the hydrologic cycle.
It’s nothing new, and the way it works is very simple. Elliott State Forest, for example, sits between the Oregon Coast Mountain Range and Pacific Ocean. Condensation from the Ocean accumulates in clouds where they’re confronted this mountain range, causing massive rain dumps along the coast line. Natural occurring nutrients like Boron, Calcium, Potassium, Nitrogen and other organically created chemicals, transition from sea to air and finally to land, then back again. It’s at this stage that generates what’s called, biogeochemical cycling.
High salt levels are a huge danger for plants. Unlike us humans, salt actually causes a biochemical reaction called, osmotion. The plant’s tissue responds by misallocating important water storage. This is part of the reason why growing cannabis with liquid nutrients is such a hassle because processed fertilizers cause eventual sodium build up. It’s an issue typically resolved by flushing the soil with water. But this can be avoided by using dry unprocessed fertilizers and rainwater. Sticking with what nature provides is simply a more ecologically sustainable approach that saves time. Specific research borrowed from Dr. James Bockheim of the University of Wisconsin, demonstrates more validity to this argument. Bockheim studied douglas firs in a chronosequence of five uplifted marine terraces along Oregon’s coast. Bockheim collected soil samples monthly for a year in these regions. Beginning on the coast, then slowly working his way inland, he found salts in the soil had diminished significantly after 4 miles inland, while still retaining large traces of Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium. It should be noted nitrogen production wasn’t really significant in Bockheim findings, making these assumptions entirely based on studies like Bockheim that aren’t cannabis specific, despite his research being conducted on the coastal Northwest.
It is also interesting to look at how wine is made. There’s a reason why the best wine is grown in a global temperate zone halfway between the North Pole and the Equator (45th parallel). Research or not. A temperate climate will always be a beneficial factor when growing cannabis. This is a core concept of Terroir. The wine industry’s idea that biodynamic growing is what makes the tannins in wine
Admittedly there are drawbacks. Some like to think growing outdoor using concepts borrowed from the wine industry (Terroir) are the most ideal methods for growing cannabis in an ecologically sound environment. Without a doubt. More ecological practices are what growers should aim for. If the hydrosphere produces biogeochemical cycling, then why not maintain the water supply using rain catchers? Doing this allows you to tap right into that hydrologic process, capturing these base nutrients letting your soils break down what’s available.
Operating on rainwater alone would be impossible in places like Jackson County where average rainfall is anywhere between .26 to .40 inches a year. Here in Bandon, OR, we see an average of 59 inches per year. With a steady rain water supply and recycled soils, you don’t even need to flush your plants for sodium build up as you would with any liquid based nutrients. Throwing a hybrid indoor setup into the mix only increases this utility by protecting this hybridized process with a safe climate using steel and polycarbonate. As environmental historian Carolyn Merchant once said; “there is no single concept of nature; it embraces everything that is fluid, changing, and mysterious. Ultimately, however, to know nature on earth is to live within it and reserve it in every way.”.
https://www.oregonstateparksfoundation.org/donate-now/ (“If you enjoy our beautiful state parks or you’re just someone who cares, go ahead and click here if you would like to donate.”)