As a beginner, learning to master your craft as an organic grower can take years of trial and error and finding out what works for you. Growing organic Cannabis using soil and feeding plain water is one of the easiest ways to produce a great tasting crop, so in this article we provide 8 top tips to consider taking your skills to the next level.
Top Tip #1 - Making a custom blend soil
One of the best ways to make sure your growing medium has all the right qualities to produce healthy plants when growing Cannabis plants. Custom blends can consist of a wide range of organic substrates. It is very important to make sure you have plenty of aeration and drainage, as well as the adequate amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, as well as trace elements.
When it comes to growing organic Cannabis, it is a wise decision to add a wide range of possible ingredients. My top tip here is to only source top quality products and if you are planning to grow Cannabis using a custom blend then consider using coco, compost, soil, worm castings, bat guano with 40% perlite added. We recommend adding Silicium Flash and Startrex into your custom blend for the optimal balance of nutrients, probiotic bacteria, humic and fulvic acid.
Top Tip #2 - Liquid nutrients
There are two ways that Cannabis plants can access food, and they are in liquid form, and in hard meal form. Growing organic Cannabis buds using only plain water from the tap, will still produce impressive results even for a first timer, however using liquid nutrients is an excellent way to keep the plant’s nutrient reserves full at all times.
My top tip, when it comes to growing organic Cannabis using liquid nutrients, is to find a molasses based version. You will know if the bottle contains a molasses based nutrient, as the weight will be heavy, and the liquid inside will be thick, shiny black and have a sweet smell. Molasses contain many micronutrients as well as provide a rich source of carbon for the soil food web. We recommend using organic liquid nutrient Ogratrex, BIO PK 5-8 or Guerrilla Juice.
Top Tip #3 - The importance of drainage
When growing organic Cannabis, it is very important to make sure that you water the plants consistently, and that there is plenty of runoff at the base of the pots. Pots which do not have good quality drainage will promote nutrient solution to become over saturated, resulting in water logged root zone.
This is how problems like root rot occur, which severely affects the plant’s health and ability to function and absorb nutrients. My top tip here is to use substrates such as perlite at a ratio of 40-50%, or to add a 2-inch layer of hydroton clay balls at the bottom of every plant pot. Roots love oxygen, so the more air and space around them, the better, especially when producing organic Cannabis.
Top Tip #4 - Beneficial bacteria and fungi
You would be amazed at how many beneficial microorganisms there are present in a teaspoon sample of soil. Beneficial bacteria and fungi have existed for millions of years and work in a harmonious relationship with plant roots. Not only do the little helpers do their best to break down nutrients for the roots, the mycorrhizal fungi will also physically attach themselves to the roots, producing a much larger root zone.
Growing Cannabis with bacteria and fungi in your growing medium, is a fantastic way to increase the final yields, as well as plant resistance. My top tip here is to introduce them into your growing medium, by simply adding ready to buy bacteria and fungi spores. Once added, beneficial microorganisms will protect the soil and roots against harmful pathogens. We recommend using Bactrex and Mycotrex from BIOtabs for the best inoculants.
Top Tip #5 - Top dressing
This simply means that you apply a top layer of organic dressing to your pots. Growing organic Cannabis plants and top dressing every 7 days, is a great way to maintain the micro and macro nutrient balance, ensuring that the plants never go short of food. You can apply different organic substrates during the vegetative or flowering phase, depending on what your goal is.
My top tip here for top dressing an organic crop, is to add worm castings and fresh compost. Worm castings are highly recommended and will slowly release nutrients, whilst compost is a good source of Magnesium. Try and only use high Phosphorus and Potassium products such as bat guano as a light top dress once you are in the flowering stage.
Top Tip #6 - Foliar spraying
Cannabis plants are able to absorb nutrients via their roots and also their foliage. When growing organic Cannabis buds, you can use a mild nutrient solution from seaweed or algae. Not only will foliar feeding improve the health and vitality of your crop during the vegetative stage, it will also allow the plants to uptake nutrients and grow with a vibrant shine.
When it comes to foliar spraying plants, my top tip here's to never spray once the buds are forming (from week 3 onwards) and to always spray on the top and underside of the leaves. Make sure the foliar spray solution is not too thick, causing a residue to be left behind. The Boom Boom Spray from BIOtabs is 100% vegan and a powerful biostimulant.
Top Tip #7 - Organic aerated teas
Easily one of the best ways to bring your flavors to the next level when growing organic Cannabis, and an easy to perform task. Organic aerated teas are basically a tea which has been brewed with an air pump, for a minimum of 24 hours. Aerated teas can be made from a number of substrates, with the most common being Ortega, worm and compost during the vegetative stage, and bat guano or bird guano tea for flowering. The team at SSSC love to use the PK Booster Compost Tea for really enhancing the flavors of our buds.
One reason we love organic teas is due to the fact they will supercharge your growing medium, and feed the beneficial microorganisms. We are big fans of organic compost teas, and our top tip here is to make sure that your tea produces a white foam layer on top. It is important to keep the temperature warm and as close to 18-21 degrees Celsius as possible to produce the best tea and best tasting organic Cannabis.
Top Tip #8 - Avoid cheap soil
One of the easiest mistakes to make as a first time grower, and one which can severely set you back. When growing Cannabis, you will want to make sure there are more than enough nutrients readily available for the roots to use from day 1. Cheap soils that can be bought for a few euros per bag should be avoided, due to poor nutrition levels, drainage and water retention.
Our top tip here is to either spend top money on a well - known brand, or as we suggested in top tip #1, to make your own custom blend. It is much better to invest early on with good soil, as this is the key to producing top quality organic Cannabis.
As a first time grower, sometimes less can be more, so starting off with a good base soil and watering with plain water will work just fine. However, if you really want the biggest buds possible, richest flavors and overall best smoking experience, then consider trying out custom blends, top dressing, adding bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi and organic aerated teas next time you grow organic Cannabis!