Feeding the soil
The nutrition of cannabis plants is a key factor that to a huge extent will determine the success of the harvest. Naturally, achieving a high yield of flowers is one of the principal objectives of every gardener, and a good way to measure the success of the grow. As a result the use of fertilisers in cannabis cultivation is pretty much ubiquitous, although there are still many growers unaware of the benefits of a healthy and active microbial life in the substrate.
To faithfully reproduce and accentuate the organoleptic characteristics (the aromas and flavours) of the cultivated variety, and to achieve a high cannabinoid content in the trichomes, are good indicators of a successful cannabis grow, and to achieve this, proper nutrition is absolutely indispensable.
Therefore, the type of fertiliser that we use, in addition to encouraging flower production, will also have a significant influence other aspects such as the quality and final aroma of the flowers, their cannabinoid content and even the speed of flowering and maturity.
It has been demonstrated that when cultivating cannabis with natural or organic fertilisers instead of chemical or mineral fertilisers (minerals) the plants will produce better quality buds, giving excellent results in terms of flavour and aroma as well as in the final percentages of cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBG, and so on), terpenes, flavonoids, etc.
Organic cannabis cultivation with microbes
Among these natural fertilisers we want to highlight the products that improve and promote the microbial life of the soil, which we could call organic cultivation with microbes. One of the principles of this method of cultivation is that we don’t feed the plants, but we feed instead the soil in which they grow.
It is very important that any soil or substrate is rich in microbes, because the micro-organisms take care of decomposing the organic matter in the soil so that the plants can assimilate it and effectively absorb nutrients. All these organisms, which work symbiotically with the plants, make up the soil food web.
A healthy growing substrate should be abundant in microorganisms. The microbes in the soil benefit the crop, helping the proper healthy development of plants due to a more efficient absorption of nutrients and the increased resistance of the root system against soil pathogens.
In recent times, given the importance of the subject and an increasing interest on the part of many growers, a large number of products have emerged to improve the microbial life in the soil. It’s easy now to find products formulated to inoculate the sol with microbes and beneficial bacteria, usually fungal inoculants formulated with mycorrhiza and trichoderma. These products are mixed with the rest of fertilisers and/or stimulators that we use. In this article we will tell you what each of these products is for.
In most cases these products are sold as dormant spores in powder form, which must be mixed in the substrate or dissolved in the irrigation water to innoculate or boost the microbial-life in the growing medium.
With all that could be written about its benefits, earthworm humus, also referred to as the “black gold” of organic horticulture, could warrant its own separate chapter here. The castings obtained from earthworms make a premium organic fertiliser that stands out for its high bacterial and enzymatic content, highly beneficial for promoting microbial life in the soil.
Microbial inoculant products for cannabis cultivation
A microbial inoculant is a technological product based on beneficial microorganisms that promote plant growth. The wide range of these products that are currently on the market are generally divided into two categories of microbial inoculants: Bio-stimulants and Phytostrengtheners.
The Bio-stimulants are intended to improve the growing soil and ensure a better assimilation of organic nutrients by the plant. The Phytostrengtheners are products formulated to provide protection in the fight against root pathogens and other pests and diseases, and also to improve the activity of the plant in general. Let’s have a look at some of the best choices in each of these two product categories.
Most growing substrates are steam-sterilised, an operation that is carried out to eliminate any pathogens or seeds that may be contained in the media. The problem with this method is that it also eliminates any beneficial microbial life that’s already established in the soil, so it is vital to apply bio-stimulants to regenerate the soil and assist the development of our plants.
Startrex Bio Tabs
Startrex is a high quality organic soil improver, composed of many beneficial bacteria that contribute in a big way to the better nutrient absorption by plants. It also improves the structure of the soil, a factor that promotes the good development of healthy roots.
Its main components are humus, silica and fulvic acid. This last component is essential to the growth of the plant, stimulating root metabolic activities, favouring the absorption of nutrients and a better resistance of the plant in the face of adverse situations.
Startex is simple to apply and convenient to use, given the earthy texture of the product, making it very easy to mix into the substrate. It can be used to both enrich new substrates and to regenerate old soils after use.
MycoPlant from Trabe is a product based on mycorrhizal fungi. These fungi form a symbiotic relationship with the roots, contributing to a better and healthier development of the plant, particularly in the root zone. Once they’ve colonised the roots, the mycorrhizal fungi extend their filaments of hyphae throughout the substrate, helping the plant to regulate its supply of minerals, trace elements and water.
Mycorrhizae work to balance mineral absorption and help to alleviate water stress, promoting soil biological and microbiological activity and improving soil structure. Mycoplant is easy to apply simply dissolve in the irrigation water or mix into the growing medium. Its use is recommended especially after each transplant or whenever it is necessary to boost the plants root development.
Terralba Blackstrap Molasses
These Blackstrap Molasses are derived from sugar cane and are a very different type of product to the two previously discussed, this being a thick and dark liquid as opposed to a powder. However, it is also a perfect example of a nutrient that works by stimulating microbial life in the soil.
In this case, the molasses serve as an ideal food source for beneficial microbes and works very well to encourage microbial life in the soil. The high carbohydrate contribution of the molasses is food and energy for bacteria and fungi, so that the intake of this food stimulates its activity (which as we already know, directly benefits the crop).
Molasses can make an ideal complement for soils already rich in microbial life, helping to maintain and increase it. Terralba Blackstrap Molasses is a 100% ecological product that is simple to apply, simply dissolve it in the irrigation water.
Prevent diseases in the crop or acting against them is an important element for any grower. By encouraging the microbial life in the soil we can help to avoid or counteract possible pathogens that could affect our plants.
Jumus B +
Jumus B+ is a product supplied in powder form and which is dissolved in the irrigation water for application. It is composed of growth-promoting bacteria, with an organic base and plant extracts rich in amino acids.
This plant stimulant promotes life in the soil through the beneficial bacteria Bacillus subutilis and Bacillus amyloquefaciens, improving the access of the plant to nutrients and strengthening its immune system. Administered via foliar spray it is also highly effective in the fight against powdery mildew and botrytis.
Bactrex is a product formulated to reinforce and protect the root system against pathogens. Among its components there are 8 beneficial bacteria, specialists in recycling carbon from the remains of organic materials.
Its components include rhizobacterias, which are responsible for assimilating minerals and capturing nitrogen from the air to make it available to the plant. Bactrex also contains Trichoderma fungi that grow quickly and out-compete other fungi, including harmful strains, helping to prevent the onset of root diseases in our plants.
A long list of products are now available for curious growers who want to build and maintain a healthy, productive and organic substrate. Those cultivators who put a premium on healthy harvests, full of aroma and flavour, have at their disposal a wide range of very interesting and effective products for treating and fertilising cannabis gardens.
Happy and healthy growing!!!