Pouring salts and chemicals onto a dead medium and then down the drain does unnecessary damage to your local environment. It pollutes rivers, lakes and oceans.
Examples of chemically-derived non-organic nutrients are Miracle-Gro, Peter’s and the popular General Hydroponics Flora Series three-part formula. These nutrients will grow plants with nice-looking, sizable flowers. But without implementing a long flush, these buds will burn like charcoal, with a black ash that continuously needs to be relit. I’ve smoked plenty of decent chemically-grown pot (and grown it in the past). But the same strains, grown organically, always win out in the final analysis.
The best cannabis cultivators always seek new ways to improve the quality of the flowers they produce. Some will still debate that there isn’t a difference between marijuana grown with chemicals and flowers grown organically. But savvy connoisseurs and well-informed patients prefer naturally produced pot. That’s why we’ve provided this handy step-by-step guide on how to grow organic weed.
Take one look at some of the results of chemical agribusiness runoff, such as the Salton Sea in Southern California. You’ll see why nonorganic nutrients are never advisable. Rotting fish carcasses float on the salty foam of a dead sea, and the whole area reeks of a foul stench that’s clearly man-made. This isn’t the woodsy, earthy smell of natural decay prevalent in a compost pile; it’s the acrid odor of an early demise caused by overuse of toxic chemicals.
What Does “Organic” Mean?
An organic product can broadly be described as any product that’s derived from a recently living organism. To grow organic weed means that your growing medium and plant foods result from natural sources. Not from synthetic salt compounds conjured up in a lab. Organic particles are capable of decay or are sometimes the product of decay, unlike the concentrated chemical formulas designed to grow commercial crops cheaply.
In a natural setting, plants, dead animals and animal waste all collect over time on the forest floor. They decay with the help of bugs, bacteria, worms and fungus to provide nourishment in the topsoil layer that is vital to plant growth. This process, referred to as the “soil food web,” is how recently living organisms feed their future selves and complete the cycle of life and death. Roots thrive, aided by mycorrhizal fungi that help break down nutrients for easy accessibility and uptake. This top humic layer of soil is teeming with beneficial microbes and bacteria. This is what we try to re-create when we grow organic weed.
Cannabis growers should feel an obligation to use a healthy, living soil to produce truly medicinal and connoisseur-quality pot. Now, most nutrient companies provide organic alternatives that won’t clog drippers or stink up reservoirs, so even hydro growers can take advantage of more natural plant foods. Medicinal users who want to grow organic weed should especially take note of organic methods. There’s no longer any legitimate reason to use chemical formulas.
Step 1: Why Grow Organic?
If you are growing from clones instead (such as those you purchase at a local dispensary, or obtain from a friend), you can skip straight to potting them into grow bags outside.
Sativa-dominant plants are typically more uplifting and energizing. Sativa plants also get taller, lankier, and take longer from seed to harvest. Indica-dominant strains finish a little faster, pack on fatter buds, and are generally shorter and wider plants. These make them a preferable variety for northern climates with shorter growing seasons. Indica is also known for more of a mellow, sleepy, heavy, couch-lock kind of vibe.
Here is a little video of our organic living soil in action:
The preferred container for growing cannabis for many people, ourselves included, is in large fabric grow bags. As opposed to a hard-sided container, they promote better aeration, drainage, and even moisture. Solid containers like 5-gallon buckets could be used, but have the tendency to be drier on top and soggy on the bottom. Grow bags also accomplish something called air-pruning. When the cannabis plant’s roots near the edge of the bag, the exposure to air naturally prunes them back. This is a way to keep the plant happy and healthy in its given container, naturally limiting itself and keeping the roots healthier. In contrast, a solid container allows the plants roots to continue to grow in circles around the container and themselves – becoming root bound. This is not a good thing.
If possible, use dechlorinated water. It isn’t a deal-breaker, but the plant and soil microbes will definitely appreciate it. If you are on city tap water, allowing a bucket of water to sit out overnight can help the chlorine dissipate. We mostly use our captured rainwater. Another option is to use a simple hose carbon filter to remove chlorine.
Combine the following ingredients. If you plan to fill several large containers (like grow bags – discussed below) then it may be easiest to mix all of these in a very large tote or even spread out on a tarp, and then add some to each bag. Note that it is best to pre-moisten the peat moss before mixing it with everything else. Peat tends to be hydrophobic when dry, and can make your soil less likely to absorb water well if it is mixed without wetting first.
Peat moss gets some flack for being not very sustainable. However, it also gets some of the best reviews and results for growing cannabis. Cannabis likes very slightly acidic soil, which peat moss naturally is. It is also an incredibly common ingredient in almost all bagged soil, so it’s hard to avoid in the gardening world. Aaron put together our soil before we were fully aware of the environmental concerns. Because we are reusing and recycling it each year, the best thing for us is to continue utilizing it!
Here are a few reputable places that discreetly sell cannabis seeds online:
We prefer to grow from seed. Once we obtain seeds, we treat them pretty much like any other garden seed! They’re germinated in 4” pots full of seedling start mix, inside on a heat mat. Keep the containers covered and moist until they sprout. Ideal germination temperature is around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Kelp meal contains over 70 different vitamins and minerals. It helps promote overall plant health, vigor, and tolerance to stress, pests ,and disease. It is also a renewable, sustainable resource – so that’s a huge plus.