Organic marijuana is definitely gaining momentum. This gardening practice seeks to make better use of the available resources, embracing the use of eco-friendly, natural materials and staying away from all kinds of synthetic chemicals. If you also want to obtain perfectly healthy plants with explosive yields exactly like the ones offered by traditionally-grown plants, the following tips and strategies will clearly help you make your dream come true.
Be it for a trend, a marketing campaign or a real concern about our environment, the truth is that organic products are playing an increasingly more important role in our lives. The cannabis industry can't just look the other way and so more and more weed is starting to be grown organically. Don't miss this post if you really want to become an organic cannabis grower.
Cheap and sustainable light source
From an eco-friendly point of view, plants are best grown outdoors so as to make the most out of the available natural resources. The sun is the main source of heat and light for living things on earth, and it's totally free and limitless so long as the weather is on our side. If you aren't fortunate enough to have an outdoor spot, the best you can do is look for a terrace or balcony, although you may have to take proper preventive action.
If there's no way you can grow in the open air, don't worry for you can still make sustainable use of the available resources. The very first step would be to pick adequate lamps and to make sure the power is just right for every moment.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend using LED lights: they consume at least 50% less energy and not as much heat is generated. Reflectors could also help you on your quest for sustainability because they increase efficiency. But there's still more. Organic cannabis growers should have some knowledge about the existence of growing techniques that allow for a more even distribution of light (or better use of the space). Sea of Green (SOG), Screen of Green (SCROG) or Low-Stress Training (LST) are just some of them.
Water is in short supply
When rationing water, it's important to bear the specific needs of every strain in mind. If we live in a place where water is a scarce commodity, we'd better forget about growing strains that require lots of water. In such cases, Kush genetics could be a great choice, given their ability to cope with droughts. Choosing the right way to water your plants is equally important. Unlike flooding, drip irrigation or watering cans will allow you to distribute water wherever it's necessary.
Additionally, a natural topsoil layer around the plant will greatly improve water retention. Just a heads-up: watering plants in the late afternoon or during the night cuts down on evaporation.
Better off with reused organic soil
Good-quality soil is key to the correct development of our plants, as well as to their health and yield. The technical advances occurred during these last two centuries have negatively affected the soil quality and fertility owing to the use of chemicals and intensive farming.
However, other than negative consequences, these advances have brought about new ways to revert this situation. Having accepted this premise, loads of cannabis growers have started to use a totally organic substrate called "Recycled Organic Living Soil" (ROLS) that leads to the achievement of top-quality harvests.
To make your own ROLS, consider the following as general guidelines. The first thing to do is get some good soil. After that, it'll be time to start composting, for which you'll need to use remains of organic matter such as food or plant debris. Then, the microbial life will break down the organic matter. And finally, after some time, it'll be your turn to add the compost to your plants.
If it's not enough, use a mix of fertilizers
Should you really manage to make healthy organic soils, you may not have to incorporate any other supplement or fertilizer. However, if you do, there's a wide range of organic products available on the market that could be of great use. For example, compost tea is a fantastic way to boost microbial life and prevent disease.
Alternatively, you can grow companion plants that provide your cannabis plants with the nutrients they need. Chamomile, for instance, contains and gives away minerals. Borage contributes to the regeneration of soil. Clovers move nutrients from the soil to the surface, but not just that. They also stop water evaporation and soil erosion. Crop rotation will highly benefit your marijuana plants as well. By planting alfalfa, beans or other leguminous plants, the amount of nitrogen around them will go up.
Fight plagues with natural remedies
Using chemicals to fight plagues is indeed very common. Although sometimes this is the only possible way to get rid of unwanted visitors, in most cases there's a less aggressive and more eco-friendly alternative to do so.
If your plants are being attacked say by a plague of microscopic mites, Neem oil will be your most powerful weapon. You can find it in any grow shop or gardening store. It's a naturally occurring pesticide with a bitter taste. For that very reason, you should avoid applying it directly to the leaves. If you identify the plague and it's not too late, use it once and see what happens in a couple of days.
Seek allies: your enemy's enemy is your friend
Pesticides are also being questioned: their use, their effect... This has led many growers to start using insects to fight other insects for it's a far cleaner and safer method that works extremely well if used in time. They harm neither the environment nor the quality of water or the crops. The only drawback is that it takes patience and that, once the flowering kicks off, it'll be too late use it.
Some of the most effective insects are the voracious ladybugs, the predatory mites such as the Phytoseiulus persimilis, the flower bugs, the lacewings (they can eat up to 60 whiteflies and aphids an hour), the parasitoid wasps or even the spiders (feed off all kinds of insects).
Attack them from the inside
Nematodes make great allies too. They're basically worm-looking multicellular organisms on earth that have a significant effect on many insect plagues. Caterpillars, rootworms, aphids, lepidopterans, leaf-mining insects, snails, and slugs will start shaking at their sight.
Nematodes can be found in various commercial formulations of sponges, granules, gels, and powders. They simply attach to the insect and penetrate through multiple natural openings. Once settled, they release toxic bacteria, eventually leading to the death of the host. After it, they get out and continue seeking victims.
Symbiosis: a win-win situation
Fungi can be of great help too. One of the most important functions of these peculiar organisms is their ability to break down dead or decaying organisms and to absorb the nutrients in so doing. Plants can establish a symbiotic relationship with them in order to take advantage of such nutrients. This is when mycorrhizae come into the scene. You can either buy mycorrhizal fungi or organic fertilizers that contain them.
As you can see, organic farming is an environmentally-friendly natural and sustainable practice based on traditional methods used by our ancestors. The cheapest way to obtain heavy yields without using chemicals and making responsible use of the available resources. With no negative impact on the taste or the quality of the end product, of course.