At the time of writing, it is legal to cultivate marijuana at home in 21 states plus D.C. although, in several states, such as Rhode Island, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, you can only grow medical cannabis. While it is bad news in 29 states, it is great news for cannabis enthusiasts who are now allowed by state law to cultivate at home recreationally or medicinally.
However, despite the growth of marijuana cultivation across the United States, there are still relatively few places where you can benefit from a one-to-one consultation. Although you can take a trip to see seed/clone retailers or hydroponics stores, it is likely that these organizations will steer you towards non-soil growing mediums, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers.
It is a bit like a broker recommending shares in stock when he receives a commission from the company in question for doing so. These stores make the sale, but you don’t necessarily receive the best advice or products. Fortunately, there is an increasing number of retailers that follow the organic growing approach, and that’s something we wholeheartedly recommend at MarijuanaBreak.
It would be remiss of us to disregard synthetic fertilizers completely, but the fact remains that you can get better yields, higher cannabinoid content, and improved flavor by going organic. Best of all, it costs a lot less too! Humans have grown marijuana naturally for thousands of years. It was never an issue until marijuana was made illegal in the 1930s.
By the 1970s, a significant proportion of weed was grown indoors because cultivators knew they faced severe penalties if they were caught. Initially, it had a negative effect on potency and yield. As a result, growers used chemical fertilizers to grow cannabis. Grow spaces were confined areas susceptible to attack from pests which meant further chemicals, in the form of pesticides, were needed.
With the change in legislation in certain states, clandestine growing is no longer required. As a consequence, it is now possible to revert to the days of organic growing. Keep reading to learn how easy and inexpensive it is to grow organic weed in the comfort of your home.
How to Grow Organic Cannabis
One of the great things about organic cannabis farming is how simple and flexible it is. The definition of ‘organic’ is a topic that continues to spark much debate. Some say that true organic farming involves plants grown from non-GMO seeds without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Jeff Lowenfels, a graduate from Harvard law, is often credited with increasing interest in growing weed organically. He said that organic growth is all about a plant’s natural life cycle and the microorganisms that make up the soil food web.
A simple example of the concept can be seen in the practice of fertilizing the lawn in spring using leaves that fell in autumn and winter. The microorganisms that live in the soil play a huge role in organic gardening. They produce nutrients for your plants from waste and other compounds found in the soil. It is a natural process that removes harmful waste and aids in feeding the plants.
Overall, we have to say that there is a lack of regulation in terms of what dictates true organic farming. Technically, it is impossible to grow organically indoors since it involves growing in an enclosed system. However, unless you are an industry professional, it shouldn’t cause you much pause for thought because it becomes a matter of preference.
To begin with, you need an all-natural soil medium. Without a high-quality organic potting soil for your weed, you can forget about attaining success with this type of growing. Everything starts with this ‘soil food web.’ As organic fertilizers are made from animal and plant waste, you need to consider soil amendments such as perlite, fish emulsion, bat guano, earthworm castings, and compost.
Creating a ‘super soil’ is not an easy task and is something that novices may find tricky. On the plus side, you can avail of numerous ‘recipes’ online. Generally speaking, we believe it is best to keep things simple and narrow your options down to two. First of all, you can purchase pre-mixed organic soils which are great for new growers. Aside from watering, such mixes require little in the way of maintenance. Organic soils seldom need pH adjustments and can provide your marijuana plants with all the nutrients they need.
The second option is to create DIY super soil. This should be the preserve of experienced growers because it takes time, patience, and knowledge to get the right mix. The first step is to find the right base soil. High-quality organic soils are normally rather expensive and should contain ingredients such as those mentioned two paragraphs up, along with glacial rock dust, coco fiber, pumice, and soybean meal.
If you can’t find soil with enough nutrients, you must add your own; this is where your knowledge comes in. It isn’t enough to know what to add; you also must know the right ratios. Once you circumnavigate this ‘minor’ issue, you need to mix the ingredients correctly. This is why we recommend pre-mixed organic soil!
Even when you have the right organic soil, it is essential to ensure that you treat the whole growing environment as one ecosystem. This means keeping the right balance between soil, temperature, humidity, airflow, grow lights, and ventilation. It should be easier to achieve this delicate balance when growing outdoors.
If you are an indoor grower, on the other hand, it is much trickier. Although it depends on the individual marijuana strain, most weed types fare well in temperatures of between 65- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit. Keep humidity at around 60-65% during the vegetative stage and lower it by 10-15% during flowering. Invest in a hygrometer and thermometer which you can use to check humidity and temperature levels regularly.
Use temperature control and ventilation to keep everything balanced. With non-organic systems such as hydroponics, maintaining the right nutrient levels is a burden. You’ll be pleased to know that it isn’t the case with organic cannabis.
What Should You Feed Your Organic Cannabis?
While hydroponics involves deciding which nutrients to use, with an emphasis on finding the right ratio, using the right water is the main concern when growing organic cannabis. We advise you to steer clear of tap water because sadly, many municipal supplies are laden with chemicals such as fluoride which kill ‘good’ bacteria in the soil.
According to an NDRC report, around 77 million Americans are served by water systems that report violations of the 2015 Safe Drinking Act. It is safe to say that this water is also NOT suitable for plants. For the record, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania had the most offenses. Experts recommend investing in a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system which purifies water; making it safe for you and your marijuana plants to drink. RO systems remove pollutants such as fluoride, sulfates, bacteria, pesticides, and much more from the water.
Aside from clean water, organic supplements can make a huge difference in the growing process. Aerated compost teas are excellent because they reintroduce living microorganisms to your soil. As a result, processes such as fighting pathogens, and turning them into nutrients, take place. Mycorrhizal fungi can be added to soil because they boost nutrient and water intake at the roots of your organic plants. Believe it or not, you can add a small sprinkling of these beneficial fungi to your soil at the beginning of the vegetative stage, and see positive results.
Marijuana requires Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K), throughout the growing process. As a rule of thumb, plants need more N during the vegetative stage and more P during flowering. It is also a good idea to halt the addition of nutrients two weeks before harvesting to avoid a nasty fertilizer taste. Don’t forget secondary nutrients such as calcium, manganese, and magnesium. Carbon dioxide is also essential.
When you add synthetic supplements, you must remember that they work on a ‘supply-lock’ basis. What this means is that they continue providing nutrients until the plant stops allowing them. The excess passes through the soil and drains off with water. With organic soils, you don’t need additional supplements because your plants already have everything they need.
Organic Cannabis – Pest Control
We strongly urge you to refrain from using synthetic insecticides because you can ruin the taste of the crop; inhaling these chemicals is also bad for your health. Unnatural pesticides also damage the soil, and if it is saturated with chemicals near harvest time, you face a desperate race against time to ‘flush’ the soil to ensure the crop is useable.
Such soils also need to be tilled, tossed or remixed if they are to be used next season. With organic soils, you are dealing with a living entity which means no tilling, etc. is required. All you have to do is remove the root ball, add some mycorrhizal fungi, and the soil is ready to be used again!
With regards to dismissing pests, you have the option of creating homemade remedies. Sprays made with neem oil, in particular, are extremely adept at killing existing pests and discouraging others from arriving on the scene. Other good mixtures include garlic, coriander, and cinnamon. Bacillus thuringiensis, better known as BT, and diatomaceous earth, also known as DE, also work wonderfully against pests.
Companion planting is another great way to deal with pests. These are plants known for their ability to repel certain pests naturally. For example, marigolds are effective at dealing with aphids while gnats hate basil and dill. Perform a quick search online, and you’ll find that there is a companion plant for almost every common pest.
Organic Cannabis (Final Thoughts)
Don’t succumb to the temptation of using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. You probably think it is the ‘easier’ option, but it really isn’t. Growing cannabis organically is not only easier than you think, but it also is cheaper and ensures your soil isn’t filled with salt and chemicals. If there is too much salt or chemicals in your soil, they can cause a nutrient lockout. The result is nutrient deficiencies, lower yields, less potent buds, and weed that doesn’t taste ‘right.’
When you go organic, your soil will absolutely love the extra care and attention it receives. Now that it is possible to once again, grow marijuana freely, it makes no sense to continue using synthetic ingredients. Throughout history, weed has been grown naturally, and as you can see from this guide, you don’t need that much expertise.
The explosion in marijuana growing in the United States means there is ample information on growing organically, along with the necessary tools and ingredients. In the end, you benefit from better tasting weed that’s likely to be more potent and save money in the bargain. What’s not to like?