If you didn’t choose organic cannabis growing from the very start, you’ll inevitably come to it after a few harvests. So why waste time! Read our guide, jot down our tips, and start planning your very first organic grow.
What Does it Mean To Grow Cannabis Organically?
There are no regulations in place anywhere saying what constitutes organic cannabis growing, but there are a lot of practices that are considered organic. You may selectively use only some of them or all of them. It all depends on what results you want to achieve.
And we’re not talking only about sustainability, ecology, carbon print, etc. here. These are all noble things, but many go beyond the scope of this post. Instead, we’d like to focus on home growing and methods of producing cannabis buds that are natural, clean, and good for their own health and well-being.
Pros And Cons Of Organic Cannabis Growing
Let’s start with the very few cons of growing organic weed indoors. Basically, there are two:
On average, you get slightly lower yields when not using synthetic fertilizers.
It’s rather difficult to use organic fertilizers in hydroponic setups, such as DWC.
The rest are all pros. Let’s group them according to how they benefit both grower and smoker.
Benefits For Growers:
An organic grow usually uses soil – the most beginner-friendly method.
You can recycle the soil grow after grow, saving you both time and money.
For auto plants, you can use just fresh water from seed to harvest.
You don’t need to bother about specific pH levels.
There’s less risk of overfeeding because the soil buffers organic nutrients beautifully.
You don’t have to worry about flushing your plants before harvest.
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Benefits For Smokers:
Organic methods really bring out the natural terpene profile of your buds.
A shorter cure is needed to achieve a great aroma and taste.
The smoke is free from potentially harmful synthetic chemicals.
It’s also not as harsh on your throat and lungs.
Staples Of Growing Organic Weed
No organic cannabis growing guide will give you exact step-by-step instructions that you must not deviate from under penalty of death – death to your plants, that is.
Instead, think of organic farming as a way of fostering microbial life – those billions of tiny living things that will feed your plants and protect them from disease and pests. Make the environment alive rather than sterile, and this life will do all the work for you.
Organic Cannabis Seeds
Growing weed organically begins long before you open that pack of seeds. Odds are that these seeds have been produced organically by their breeder. Many seed banks featured here at Herbies offer organic cannabis seeds for sale, including:
This means that, when producing their all-natural beans, the breeders strictly adhere to the practices we describe below.
There are several approved ways of germinating cannabis seeds. The most organic of these are usually also the most straightforward, such as putting seeds directly in soil. And they’re pretty effective, too!
If you’re set on growing organic weed, steer clear of materials such as rockwool. It’s not only that the production and use of rockwool puts a strain on ecology – it’s also bad for your seedling if you start in one medium and then transplant to another.
Good indoor organic cannabis growing tips should always start with soil, as this is the single most fundamental factor influencing the success of your grow.
To be called organic, soil needs to be free of artificial chemicals, contain plenty of food to support microbial life, and finally, be inoculated with said life. We also advise thinking about reusing your potting soil over and over for your future cycles and not disturbing it between grows. With that, your grow will be truly organic. And never ever forget that for an organic soil to start working, it must first be inoculated (populated) with beneficial microbes, such as bacteria and mycorrhizae. So, how do you do that?
For the ultimate organic soil mix recipe for cannabis, go to our dedicated post about supersoil. Supersoil is a mix full of macro and micronutrients and beneficial microbial and fungal life that sustains itself during the entire growing process. Essentially, it’s a whole ecosystem designed specifically to feed your plant. Go with organic supersoil and you won’t have to worry about nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. Alternatively, if you want to save time, you can buy ready-made organic supersoil mix in a hydro shop.
For outdoor organic cannabis growing, a no-till method is a given. In other words, after harvest, cut the stalk at the ground level and leave the soil undisturbed. The rationale here is that it takes many seasons to establish a complex ecosystem in your topsoil, which becomes a home for a myriad of beneficial microorganisms and bigger creatures like compost worms. Don’t ruin this home with a spade.
You can also use the no-till method indoors. Just give your grow bags a resting period for several months. Provide the soil with an occasional light watering, and this will be enough for the old roots to decompose and make a comfortable new home for the next generation of plants.
With organic supersoil, it’s possible to fill your container with enough organic food to last your plants from seed to harvest. It’s literally that simple! Your only chore will be to regularly give your cannabis fresh water.
Just make sure the water is free from chemicals that might weaken or kill the beneficial bacteria and fungi living in the root zone. Often, it’s enough to let your tap water sit for 24 hours, although filtering it is a safer option.
A great alternative for fresh water is rich compost tea, which will support the life of all microbial life of the soil while stimulating the growth of the plant itself. We’ve broken down the making and use of it in this article.
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Not all growers, even beginners, find this simplicity appealing. Many of you may want to boost your organic weed with nutrients, stimulators, and other additives. Nothing could be simpler! Just Google ‘hydroponic store near me’. These are also called grow shops and cater mostly to cannabis growers. They offer many lines of nutrients for sale, including organic ones (which we advise that you stick with) such as BioBizz and Green Buzz Liquids, among many others.
When thinking about outdoor organic cannabis growing, one subject you can’t avoid is whether to simply plant your weed into the ground, make raised beds, or use containers. The first method would seem the most organic one, but only until you consider the comfort of your plants’ root zone.
Cannabis roots prefer a medium that’s well-aerated and well-drained – and this is where raised beds and grow bags win hands down.
Indoors, grow bags are also preferable because they let more air into the root zone and prevent the roots from growing in circles (the ‘root-bound’ condition). Plastic containers do have this problem (and besides, plastic can hardly be called an organic material).
Pest Control Compatible With Organic Cannabis Growing
Unfortunately, pests are a common issue, and organic setups are no exception. Often, a grower faces a tough decision – to compromise the harvest with harmful chemical pesticides or let the pests ruin it completely. But you don’t really have to settle for either.
There are organic ways to fend off pest attacks. In fact, you’ll be surprised at how effective organic pest control can be! The options are plenty, and among others, include the use of:
Predatory insects. For example, ladybugs can destroy root aphid infestations.
Companion plants such as basil and mint. Read our article to learn all about companion plants and how they can come in handy for a variety of uses.
Diatomaceous earth powder, which is active against a plethora of bugs, slugs, and larvae.
Neem oil, which is helpful in battling over 400 pests including spider mites and aphids, as well as most fungal infections.
Any of these things may save your crop, and they're all completely organic.
Growing Organic Weed Is Both Easy and Fun
Cannabis cultivation may seem a bewildering subject to a would-be gardener. Think of all those rules, schedules, charts, and formulas.
However, on the contrary, organic cannabis growing should be simple and intuitive. The main thing is to develop a ‘feel’ for your plants and their needs, establishing a connection with them. Then, they’ll be more than ready to forgive your excessive fussing or occasional mistakes… though it’s hard to make a mistake when all you really need to do is water your cannabis and watch it grow!
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