Organic Cannabis Growing
How To Grow Strains Organically
Organic cannabis growing can be especially rewarding when you have great cannabis seed genetics to start with. Organic growing methods, fertilizers and soils give your cannabis strains all the building blocks they need to help unlock the very best qualities and build strong plants. Many growers notice more pronounced colors, flavors and aromas when they grow their harvest of sticky nugs with organics over conventional grow methods.
Organic Cannabis Growing Basics
Unlike synthetic fertilizers which are typically formulated in forms that are easily absorbed by plants (just add to water and irrigate for a fast feeding), organic fertilizer components and materials are not always 100% soluble or ready to be taken up by plants as soon as they are applied. If organic growing cannabis, the microbiology in the soil plays a very vital role in converting raw forms of organic ingredients into nutrients that can be taken up by the plant.
While this might sound like a little bit of a drawback, it’s actually quite beneficial; especially for newer growers. That’s because the soil microbiology helps to regulate fertility levels naturally. This makes it harder to overfeed your plants or starve them–provided you are following some basic fundamentals to help build healthy soil microbiology.
Organic Soils for Cannabis
You can build your own healthy and productive organic potting mix, suitable for growing indoors or out. When it comes to organic cannabis growing indoors it is not recommended you use any soils or composts from outdoors–you don’t have the same natural forces at work in an artificial environment. If you build your own following this guide, you’ll have healthy soil mix that just needs a light feeding with a complete organic fertilizer added to water from time to time.
Organic Cannabis Soil Recipe
1-3.8 cubic foot bale sphagnum peat moss
1-20L bag earth work castings (Nitrogen, carbonic acid, encourages microbiology)
1-cup dolomite lime (Calcium)
1-cup alfalfa meal (Nitrogen)
1-cup bone meal (optional, Phosphorous)
1-cup Kelp meal (Potassium, MicroNutrients)
Yucca Extract (wetting agent)
NOTE: avoid adding outdoor composts or kitchen scraps for soils used for growing indoors.
Additional Note: Some growers use commercially prepared peat potting mix (pro mix, sunshine mix) in place of straight peat and just add the extra organic components listed above. While not 100% organic, this makes life a little easier in terms of the mount of mixing that is required (already has perlite in it).
Mixing Soil for Organic Cannabis Growing
Mixing organic soils is best performed outdoors–handling, mixing and filling pots is a messy affair. It is recommended that you wet down ingredients before mixing to avoid creating more dust than you have to. BREATHING IN DUST FROM DRY ORGANIC SOIL INGREDIENTS CAN BE HARMFUL. Always wear a face mask when handling and mixing soils.
Large sturdy totes or even a small plastic swimming pool work well for wetting ingredients down, mixing, potting, etc. For larger batches a large plastic tarp is handy. Whatever you use to mix your soil, make sure that it is clean before you start–do not contaminate your soil mix with unwanted pathogens, etc.
Using a spray nozzle on a hose works great for keeping dust down without over-watering the mix. The best soils for organic cannabis growing tend to be light and spongy–think of a moist chocolate cake. Heavy soils that remain water logged are not very productive for organic cannabis growing. Organic soils that do not drain freely tend to attract anaerobic bacteria and fungi, the micro organisms that cause problems like stem rot or root rot. Healthy microbial life forms that help make organic ingredients into nutrients for tasty buds prefer aerobic conditions–where there is oxygen present.
For the very best results, add a tablespoon of organic unsulphated molasses per gallon of water to the initial wetting of your organic potting soil mix and let the soil rest for a week or so before use. This helps kick start the natural life in the soil which turn your organic ingredients into nutrients for plants.
Organic Cannabis Crop Feeding
Most organic mixes will need supplemental feeding for the best results. You can use bottled complete organic nutrients as directed and/or brew your own aerobic compost teas.
Click HERE to learn more about brewing your own organic compost teas.
Some More Points to Consider for Organic Cannabis Growing Success
Water quality counts. Chlorinated water will kill off the healthy microbial life in organic soils. Use filtered water, rain water or at least let tap water sit for several hours for some of the chlorine to dissipate.
Don’t over water! Let the soil breathe–wait for it to dry our sufficiently before your next watering or fertigation. TIP: adding more perlite and a drain layer of rocks in pots or beds helps improve aeration so your roots breathe better and it’s tougher to over water.
Remove lower branches and foliage. Yo don’t want the green parts of your cannabis plants coming into contect with soils–this is a “bridge to problems” that should be eliminated.