HOW TO GROW ORGANIC CANNABIS
Welcome to the world of organic cannabis growing. What does this mean exactly? Well by using organic methods to grow and farm means that only naturally occurring plant, mineral and animal products are used to help the plants grow rather than using chemicals that are synthesized in a lab. Basically, growing as naturally as possible or how it would be done in mother nature by promoting life. This means that you are a creating natural eco-system full of beneficial life and bacteria that basically feed and keep your plants thriving and super happy. This may seem like a tough job but it can be very easy and flexible once you understand some basic principles.
One of the most important things about an organic grow is that the plant medium (stuff the plants grow in) is amended from natural sources, i.e. organic soil. An organic, clean and sustainable potting soil is essential in creating a home for beneficial microorganisms that create readily available “organic” nutrients for your plants to feed on. This is how nature creates food for plants. The millions of microorganisms in the soil actually process the soil and make it better!
Popular organic soil mediums include seedling soil, most types of compost, pumice, earthworm castings, kraal manure, kelp meal, perlite, vermiculite, bat guano, fish emulsion, peat moss, etc. These are normally mixed in blends that ensure the soil drains well, is aerated yet retains moisture well and contains the minerals and nutrients that help foster an environment for microorganisms to proliferate. Remember, a healthy soil generally means a healthy plant. This is the first and most important thing to consider as this creates your foundation for your plants’ growth.
Feeding your organic cannabis is simple and easy. The first thing to consider when growing organic is to avoid using tap water from the municipality as it normally contains chlorine and other chemicals which could be harmful to the beneficial microorganisms that keep your soil healthy.
Next thing to consider is actually adding nutrients and minerals in the form of plant food and other supplements. Cannabis requires a few essential nutrients such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, manganese, etc. all can be found in organic supplements. These can be bought at the local nursery or can easily be made at home.
Some examples that are found locally are “Sea grow” and “Nitrosol”. While these are good they are not as good as those made at home by creating a nutrient-rich tea using a bucket of water and compost. Add one spade of compost to a bucket of water and let it sit for 24-48 hours, then strain the water and vuala, you have an organic tea better than most supplements you can find on the shelve! Remember compost is usually full of essential nutrients as a result of beneficial microorganisms and therefore makes a wonderful tea consisting of a blend of nutrients and amino acids such as fulvic and humic acid which promotes vigorous, green growth and life. These teas do even better and almost come alive when aerated and also promote beneficial bacteria which kills off pathogens and diseases.
Synthetic nutrient supplements operate on a supply-lock basis, meaning that their job is to supply a nutrient directly to a plant until the plant locks that nutrient from further absorption. In this case, the remaining excess passes through the soil with water drain off. Organic soils, on the other hand, do not require nutrient supplements because they are comprised of ingredients that inherently contain these valuable minerals and molecules. Uptake in these cases is contingent solely on the plant’s needs and doesn’t require extra attention (or money) from the grower.
Organic growing means that everything used is as natural as possible and this includes the various methods of pest control such as pesticides etc. Organic pest control is easier than you think. There are many natural pest management remedies around that work very well in controlling both indoor and outdoor gardens and don’t require the use of harmful synthetic chemicals.
Organic spray on applications to deter and remove unwanted pests can easily be made at home using naturally occurring herbs and plants. Finely chopped garlic can be added to water and strained to create a potent insect repellent that is sprayed onto the surface of the leaves and stems. Chilli powder and canola oil can also be used as well as many others. A simple google search of organic pesticide will show many of these such formulas which can be made at home to target specific threats.
Companion planting is another organic way of keeping pests under control. This involves planting certain plants and herbs alongside your cannabis plants to naturally deter pests. Try using basil or dill in your garden for gnats, or marigolds for aphids. A quick search will land you with a ton of beneficial pairing for your cannabis as well as which herbs deal with which pets respectively. A good way of doing this is by keeping your companion herbs and plants in pots that can easily be moved around and introduced when needed.
Other biological remedies and minerals can also be used for certain pests. These include naturally occurring `mosquito bites and diatomaceous earth which can do wonders as an effective foliar agent to be used against various worms and caterpillars. For more on Pest Control read here.
Many growers use synthetic nutrients and pesticides which may leave the soil in a state of despair with no natural living organism. Theses synthetics saturate the soil with salts and chemicals and render the soil “dead”. In many cases, these soils must be remixed and tilled or thrown away before the next season. As organic soils are actually living entities, they do not require tilling to prepare for a new crop. By simply removing the root ball and adding a bit of dry mycorrhizal fungi to the soil, you’re ready for a new grow. Organic soil does well with age and may even get better and more “alive” with age.
Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides prove to be the easy route and are often chosen because of their practicality and a lack of knowledge. Growing organic cannabis is healthier, cheaper, more efficient, more sustainable and fun! When you see the rewards of growing organic cannabis you will realize that a little more effort goes a long way! Remember Happy plants means good yield and a happy grower.
Happy Growing all!
Written by MJ, January 2018