Growing The Organic Way
Some stingy growers may tell you that cannabis plants can’t tell the difference between cheaper, synthetic nutrients compared to “organic” cannabis soil and fertilizer. Some may even claim it’s a waste of money, according to High Times. However, MMJ Business Daily found that “organic” is the most critical consideration besides price when buying cannabis for the majority of medical cannabis patients in Colorado, California and Washington State.
This guide will help you understand how organic cannabis is grown and which natural nutrients are best for making organic cannabis compost, super soils and organic compost teas. With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be well on your way to growing your own high quality, organic cannabis.
What makes Cannabis Organic?
What exactly does “organic” mean? Organic does not mean the same thing as “natural” even when it comes to the food we eat. To be “natural” means to be free of artificial ingredients and minimally processed whereas “organic” refers to ways of processing food or plants with naturally occurring nutrients as opposed to man-made synthetic chemicals.
“Organic” growing refers to the spontaneous breakdown and absorption of nitrogen, phosphorus potassium and other key plant nutrients from naturally existing composted dead leaves, grass clippings, bat guano, liquid fish or seaweed through natural methods of manuring, composting and crop rotation. The basic philosophy of organic farming is to minimize environmental pollution. Non-organic, by way of contrast, refers to any kind of plant food that has been broken down and prepared for absorption in a laboratory.
The Proof Is In The Pot: How to Grow Cannabis Organically
Organic growing can be a bit trickier than non-organic growing. Organic cannabis growing requires some knowledge and patience which will produce a superior crop of cannabis. The stronger the sweet, citrus, spicy or pine aroma from the terpenes of your flower, the more likely your cannabis was grown according to organic methods.
The First Step: Stoner Soil Work
You can buy your own pre-prepared pot soils, however organic pot puritans, such as “The Rev,” author of True Living Organics, whose methods have inspired and informed our own, suggests creating your own organic “super soil” to replace chemical fertilizers.
Compost For Cannabis
Skip the store-bought base soil and compost your own from carbon-rich materials, such as dead leaves, straw, plant and tree trimmings, pine needles and nitrogen rich materials such as manure, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels and seaweed. Mix your compost heap regularly, especially if you’re not using a compost bin to ensure that the cannabis-friendly microorganisms in your compost heap get plenty of oxygen. You may eventually notice steam rising from it in the morning! Your compost is ready as soon as it’s soft, crumbly, sweet and earthy smelling dark brown or black.
Make Your 420 Fertiliser
Now you’re ready to mix your homemade organic compost base soil into the ultimate 420 soil fertilizer.
- First, spread a layer of your composted base soil with coco fiber and mycorrhizae on a large plastic tarp or in a plastic kid’s pool.
- Spread 75 kg of rock phosphate, 1/8 cup Epsom salts, 1/4 of cup azomite (trace elements), 1/2 of cup sweet lime (dolomite) and 1 tbsp of powdered humic acid on top of the base soil mound.
- Add a new layer of base soil on top of the powdered nutrients.
- Now add 1 kg of bat guano and a new layer of base soil followed by 1 kg thick layers of blood meal and steamed bone meal each with layers of base soil.
- Mix everything together with a spade then transfer it to garbage cans with 10 liters of water per can and leave your mix to cook in the sun for 30 days. This will allow helpful microorganisms and fungi to enrich the soil.
Properly Plant Your Cannabis Seeds
Now you’re ready to plant the seeds in the organic super soil you’ve just fertilized. Soak the seeds in a glass of water for 24 hours, then place your seeds between paper towels until the seeds sprout their taproot. Your seedlings are now ready to be planted.
You’ll want to create a bottom layer of the super soil and an upper layer with more organically composted base soil where you’ll plant your germinated seeds for both indoor and outdoor growing. Planting the seeds directly into the super soil will burn your plants with nutrients. The roots of your plant should not reach the super soil until it is large and hungry.
How To Create Compost Teas
Compost teas are the organic way to add nutrients to the super soil once your germinated cannabis seeds have grown into strong seedlings. Compost tea can be fed directly to the plants roots to inoculate fungi within the soil. Spray your compost tea on the leaves of your cannabis plants to suppress disease as a fungicide replacement.
You can make your own compost tea by filling 25 liter bucket with water. Oxygenate it with air stone bubblers and an air pump for a few hours to purify it of chlorine and other contaminants. Then, fill a cotton bag with compost, guano, and a bit of molasses. Submerge and steep the cotton compost tea bag in the bubbling oxygen-rich water for two days. The tea will be most effective for an hour after it’s ready, so make sure to use the tea on the plants leaves and roots as soon as it’s ready.
Advantages Of Indoor and Outdoor Organic Cannabis
One of the added advantages of using organic compost, super soil and compost teas for growing your cannabis indoors is that it smells better than other options such as manure, which helps eliminate unwanted funky smells in your home.
Organically growing your cannabis outdoors offers even more advantages. Dig a hole, both deep and wide, and fill it with super soil and compost which you should turn and mix once a week with a shovel or compost fork. This will allow the roots of your plants to grow large and healthy at very rapid rates without binding to one another. You can reuse the same spot for growing your cannabis year after year simply by refreshing your super soil and compost.
Hydroponic Cannabis: The Organic Way
Hydroponic cannabis growing is typically an inorganic process in which synthetic fertilizers are added to reservoirs of water as opposed to soil in which the weed is growing. Roots in these systems typically grow faster, however it comes at the expense of much of the aromatic and euphoric qualities of the cannabis. Cannabis can however naturally grow hydroponically along rivers, swamps or other wetlands. Although they are less common in the cannabis community, indoor and outdoor hydroponic cannabis plants can be grown organically by using a dual root system of organically fertilized super soil on a top root bed and a lower root bed of water. Aquaponics is a new organic, hydroponic growing method in which fish farms are stacked below the roots of hydro-cannabis trays so that the fish and hydro farms can feed one another.
Organic Pest Control
It doesn’t matter if you’re working with cannabis indoor or outdoors, it’s necessary to contend with cannabis eating pests and you’re going to want to avoid using harsh chemical pesticides on your medicine. Spray a mixture of neem oil on the tops and bottoms of your leaves to keep insects such as spider mites, whiteflies, and thrips at bay.
Add The Indispensable Organic Cannabis Ingredient
To grow cannabis the organic way is mostly a matter of soil work, as you have hopefully surmised by now! Mixing compost for soil, making your own super soil fertilizer replacements and your own compost teas are the ABCs of organic cannabis gardening and farming no matter what kind of indoor, outdoor or even hydroponic set up you may be using.
Lastly, your cannabis plants need organic love and affection every bit as much as they need nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. You can organically feed your cannabis love by gently hugging the stalks of your plants, caressing the leaves, talking to the buds and playing your favorite music for them and so many countless other organic marijuana growers do. The mutual love shared between growers and many kinds of plants aside from cannabis have long been known to help people overcome depression and anxiety. This is why working with your weed the organic way will literally give you an incomparable “natural high”.