What is meant by Organic?
Organic refers to any substance containing carbon-based compounds, especially one derived from living organisms. Therefore, growing cannabis organic is a process whereby everything that is used is completely natural. From nutrients, to fertilizer everything needs to be completely devoid of external chemicals and synesthetic pesticides.
Organic products are growing in popularity within society due to the observed benefits on safety, taste and the environment. Products ranging from fruit and veg to cannabis now offer organic alternatives – which are great.
What are the benefits of growing cannabis organic?
Organic cannabis is the safest, tastiest, most sustainable form of cannabis you could consume. Yes, the process of growing cannabis organically might take a bit of extra time, but it is certainly worth it.
Arguably the most important benefit to organic cannabis – the taste! Improved taste and aroma is probably the most talking about benefit. By allowing your plant to grow in nutrient rich soil, absent of unnatural toxins and synesthetic nutrients – you will notice a stronger more pure taste. Artificial chemicals can often alter the overall taste of your cannabis.
Growing cannabis organic, absent of chemicals often affects the potency of the plant. For regular plant growth, individuals often opt for basic soil solutions containing between 3-6 basic nutrients namely nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Soil containing these nutrients facilitates plant growth, but there are ways to make the smell and taste of your cannabis better. Organic plants are instead grown in high quality soil, enriched which an array of micro and macronutrients. Nutrients, which venture beyond the basic mix often, have added benefits to plants, its taste, smell and size! The addition of micronutrients including copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, sulphur and calcium allow these plants to become superior in potency and size.
The benefits of growing cannabis organic venture beyond the state of your plant and the enjoyment for the user. Synthetic chemicals and fertilizers are harmful to soil and often contribute to the destruction of microbial and insect habitats within the soil. In contrast, the process of growing organically is sustainable and healthy and has minimal ramifications on soil state and biodiversity. The nutrients and compost used to grow organic cannabis are wholly natural, mainly compiled of veg scraps, animal bones. The use of natural compost and fertilizer benefits your plant offering it a steady stream of nutrients and feeds life in the soil, aiding its long-term health.
With society cannabis is often regarded as a ‘natural’ drug especially in comparison to alternatives. However, synthetic cannabis can often be contaminated with unknown toxins and chemicals – meaning you can often consume these along with your cannabis. By taking the time to grow your cannabis organically you ensure you are consuming a largely pure and natural product. Cannabis absent of chemicals is a healthier, tastier and safer choice – an overall better experience for users.
As you can see the benefits of organic cannabis are endless, however, it can be a little confusing to start with. If you are unsure where to begin don’t worry, it is a relatively simple process when you have a method in place. Here is a how to guide, which will enable you to start growing your cannabis organically:
Native cannabis strains have been growing naturally in the wild for millennia. They’ve not needed synthetic fertilisers, hydroponic watering systems nor insecticides, just a good growing medium rich in micro-organisms, natural pest controls, water and sunlight. Get these things right and you can look forward to great harvests.
Growing cannabis organic is all about the soil
Good soils could include a mixture of ingredients including earthwork casts, bat guano, seaweeds, peat moss, compost and fungi.
For the beginner, pre-mixed soils can be bought, packed with enough nutrients and bacteria that all you should need to do is maintain watering as these pre-mixed soils are supplemented with microorganisms that will help deter pest damage and minimise disease.
For the more experienced growers, you could experiment with creating your own soil. If you do, don’t underestimate the important role fungi play. Contrary to popular opinion, plants don’t just suck nutrients out of the soil. Instead, they release sugars into the immediate area around the roots. These sugars attract fungi and bacteria, which work with the roots to increase nutrient absorption.
You could kick-start your soil with a sprinkling of dry mycorrhizal fungi as the symbiotic relationship between the fungi and your plants has the potential to increase both water and nutrient intake at the roots.
Don’t forget your worms, as they are of critical importance to soil health. They take nutrients down into the soil, and their tunnels help to aerate and channel water down to the roots.
Organic pest control can be achieved through companion planting. Namely, planting companion plants next to the cannabis plants to naturally attract pests away from your cannabis plants. Some popular companion plants include dill or basil to deter gnats and marigolds to deter aphids. If you do get aphids, these can be controlled by ‘rubbing’ them off with your fingers or spraying the plants with a very diluted soap solution.
Some companion plant species also improve soil health by enhancing soil structure and fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil. Suitable plants would include Alfalfa and White Clover as they are easy to grow and are both effective at improving the soil as they work with bacteria in the soil to draw in nitrogen from the atmosphere.
You’ve no way of knowing what’s been added to your tap water so try to always use rainwater for your watering. Chemicals in tap water can have the effect of killing off the beneficial bacteria you’ve worked so hard to culture in your soil.
As part of your watering and feeding routine, you could try using Aerated Compost Teas. ACT is a process that involves mixing compost, water, and a food source in a container and adding oxygen using an air pump. Brewing compost tea increases the number of beneficial bacteria and other microbes, it increases the potency of the soil and further aids with disease control and creates its own fertiliser for the plants.
Long Term Soil Care
Less is more when it comes to growing cannabis organic. Organic soils are living entities and a healthy soil is some time in the making so digging and tilling of the soil can destroy the beneficial bacteria that have been built up in the soil by exposing it to UV light and disrupt the fungal networks that have been built. Breaking up the surface will increase evaporation of water.
Once one crop has finished, just remove the root ball, sprinkle some dry mycorrhizal fungi into the hole and replant your new plants.
What are the most organic strains to grow?
So long as you are not using any chemical fertilizers than you can grow any strain organically, however some old school growers argue that only regular landrace strains are 100% organic.
In order to create feminized seeds most breeders use spray the parent plant with a chemical in a process called colloidal silver. This causes the plant to only produce feminized seeds. Technically you could say that this process is not organic in the sense that is not completely natural. The most natural unaltered strains are landraces such as Afghan and Thai, these are cannabis strains that grow as nature intended and have not been cross bred with any other strains.