How to grow organic cannabis?

Growing cannabis organically means you cultivate the plant in the way nature intends it to be. This approach may require a lot of your resources and time, but the yield is definitely rewarding. By employing the organic method, you are also helping our planet since you use less to no synthetic chemicals.

Through this article, let me walk you through how to grow organic cannabis.

How to grow organic cannabis?

What should be on my checklist for growing organic cannabis?

There are generally four stages in growing organic cannabis. Each one requires a set of tools that you need to ensure a productive harvest:

Germination

  1. Cannabis seed
  2. Soil
  3. Gloves
  4. Garden fork (Optional)
  5. Hand trowel (Optional)
  6. Watering can

The tools are available in your local gardening or hardware store. These may also be purchased online which is more convenient since you would not need to physically visit a store.

If you decide to get your Cannabis growing necessities online I highly recommend growershouse.com.
They have a vast selection of grow lights, timers, pH meters, grow tents, and also great organic soils and nutrients. 

How do I source the cannabis seed?

  1. For some apparent reasons, the seeds you utilize determine the success of your organic cannabis growth. Therefore, you must source good seeds.

At this point, you need to have a working knowledge of the three main types of cannabis seeds.

  1. Regular seeds: These refer to seeds produced when you crossbreed a male plant with its female counterpart. If you buy regular seeds, there is no definite ratio of male-to-female plants. You can only state the difference once your growth reaches the flowering stage.
  2. Feminized seeds: As the name suggests, these seeds grow into female plants. These seeds provide growers high chance of harvesting buds.
  3. Autoflowering seeds: This third type of seeds is the byproduct of breeding a cannabis indica or sativa plant with cannabis ruderalis. It is general knowledge among cannabis growers that autoflowering plants produce buds within a short period (generally within two to three weeks). The shortened harvest time effect of auto-flowering seeds is achievable via indoor cultivation when the growth is under 20 hours of daily light.

To buy quality cannabis seeds visit this online store or click the Seed type link above to go straight to the right seed category. 

Seed strains are also worthy of one’s attention in growing organic marijuana. There are four strains of the plant:

  1. Sativa: Plants that are sativa-dominant provide the user with an uplifting and energizing experience. Physically, these are taller and slimmer plants, with leaves that are longer and thinner.
  2. Indica: When marijuana growth is Indica-dominant, the generally associated vibe is “body high.” Cannabis indica plants are known to have shorter and bushier plants.
  3. Hybrid: Growers achieve this strain when they crossbreed Sativa and Indica. According to one website about weeds, there are more than 3,600 hybrids available today.
  4. Ruderalis: This is an unpopular strain because of its relatively low THC percentage, 3%. However, because of its auto-flowering trait, marijuana breeders use it in cultivating Indica and Sativa.

To further discuss the differences between Sativa, Indica, and hybrids, you may refer to this blog post.

What soil type works best for growing organic cannabis?

Almost every experienced and expert cannabis grower agrees that soil health determines the quality of organic cannabis produce. By using healthy living soil, chances are you will avoid experiencing potential nutrient deficiencies, pests problems, and plant pathogens.

Today, growers refer to super organic soil to harvest incredible-quality cannabis buds.

Although super soils have their plus and minus, it is still rewarding for any growers to prepare such types to achieve desirable buds. Here is a simple procedure in preparing a super soil:

(Alternatively, you can purchase a ready-to-use organic soil mix like in the PDF Shpopinglist that you can download below.)

Step 1: Determine your base soil.

You must choose the proper base soil for your super soil. Remember that cannabis plants thrive better if the ground is well-oxygenated, porous, and slightly acidic (pH 6 – pH 6.8).

Advisable it is for you to procure organic soil mixed with natural elements such as worm, casting, compost, coco coir, and more. Considerably it is expensive, but the significant health of your plants and the bud size are substantially worth it.

Below are some ingredients to expect from organic soils;

  • Sand
  • Manure
  • Guano
  • Coco fiber
  • Peat moss
  • Rock dust
  • Pine castings

Step 2: Enrich your soil.

To do this, you must put your soil into a large container. Using a garden fork, loosen the dirt to aerate it. Afterward, improve your base soil’s conditions by adding some of the following:

  • Compost
  • Coco coir
  • Vegetable and fruit peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Bone meal
  • Blood meal
  • Sand
  • Epsom salts

The amount of each component you use in your super soil will be determined by the quality of your beginning soil as well as the amount of time you have before planting. If possible, you should prepare your soil at least six months before you wish to grow. You’ll be able to utilize more of the ingredients indicated above because they’ll have had more time to break down.

Step 3: Flush your soil.

If you lack time to prepare your super soil beforehand, Royal Queen Seeds have provided their visitors with a simple procedure to prepare cannabis soil.

In the pots you plan to grow in, combine:

  • 3-part organic starter soil
  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part worm castings
  • ½ cup greensand
  • ⅓ cup guano
  • ½ cup dolomite lime

Using your graip, blend everything. Soak the mixture in pure water for at least two days. You must keep the soil wet throughout.

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Which is better – garden beds or soil containers?

After determining how to produce super soil, the next decision involves choosing between garden beds and soil containers.

Garden beds These refer to large patches of healthy land used for organic farming. Plants take advantage of the ample space in garden beds for deeper penetration of their roots.

Soil containers Growers use these containers to move their plants from one place to another. Marijuana placed in soil containers can be relocated under the Sun or into the shade. Another important aspect of using soil containers is when the weather outside becomes unfriendly; growers can transfer their growth to a safe place.

How do nutrients affect organic cannabis growth?

Like humans, marijuana plants need two types of nutrients to be healthy and robust – micronutrients and macronutrients.

Macronutrients

These are essential elements needed by plants in abundance. Thus, the term “macro.” Known macronutrients are the following —

NITROGEN

Benefits

  • Responsible for the plant’s vegetative growth
  • Aids in plant’s photosynthesis
  • An integral part of amino acids

Sources

  • Seaweed
  • Manure
  • Worm castings

POTASSIUM

Benefits

  • Promotes faster growth
  • Prevents disease
  • Pest control

Sources

  • Kelp meal
  • Greensand
  • Wood ash

PHOSPHORUS

Benefits

  • Responsible for photosynthesis
  • Internalized by plants during the flowering stage
  • Fosters healthy root system

Sources

  • Bone meal
  • Manure
  • Rock phosphate
RAW Nitrogen 20-0-0 - 8 oz
Down To Earth - High Phosphorus Seabird Guano (0-11-0)
RAW Potassium 0-0-50 - 2 lb

Micronutrients

Minerals that plants in small quantities cache fall under the category of micronutrients. However, just because they exist in such a small percentage does not mean micronutrients are non-essentials. The deficiency of any of these could cost the plant’s health:

IRON

Benefits

  • Involved in the manufacture of chlorophyll
  • Critical in the process of respiration
  • Essential in specific metabolic processes

Sources

  • Manure
  • Kitchen scraps
  • Seaweed
  • Greensand

CALCIUM

Benefits

  • Facilitates photosynthesis
  • Preserves cell structure
  • Mitigate the presence of heavy metals in the soil

Source

  • Eggshells

BORON

Benefits

  • Important in pollination and seed development
  • Vital in cell division
  • Keeps stems and stalks healthy

Source

  • Compost and organic matter

MAGNESIUM

Benefits

  • Part of the chlorophyll molecule
  • Improves enzyme production
  • Helps plant absorb light

Source

  • Organic compost

ZINC

Benefits

  • Aids in internode elongation
  • Used in converting starches into sugars
  • Helps plant to withstand cold temperature

Source

  • Kelp (foliar spray)

Detecting nutrient deficiency in your plants could pose a significant challenge. Left undetected, a plant that is nutrient deficit could produce a low yield or might even wilt.

Emerald Harvest Cal-Mag Calcium-Magnesium Supplement
Microbe Life Iron Supplement
RAW Calcium/Mag 9-0-0 - 2 lb
Soil Sulfur 4 lb

If you want to find out more about the nutrient needs of cannabis plants and its effect on potency and yield, check out my post: “How to know what know what nutrients are lacking in a cannabis plant.

Does pH affect my cannabis growth?

As its measurement varies from 0 to pH 14, the pH scale helps growers identify their soil’s acidity or basicity. The health of any marijuana strain rests on the soil’s pH level.

The rule of thumb for marijuana soil’s pH is from 6 – 7—this rule applies for cultivars grown on earth. If cultivated through the hydroponics system, the pH level might be more acidic — from 5.5 – 6.5.

The capacity of your plants to absorb vital nutrients depends on your soil’s pH range. Certain nutrients and trace elements will no longer be available to the plant if the pH of your growing media falls outside of the mentioned ranges. This situation explains why even if a nutrient is physically present at the plant’s roots, the plant may begin to show signs of nutrient shortage.

One upside of organic growing is that you would be less worried about maintaining your pH—the soil’s ability called “self buffering” is the reason for this. Buffering capacity refers to the soil’s ability to resist change. In the case of acidity, it can withstand a change in pH.

But this does not mean that growers can relax in maintaining the pH range of the soil. Closely monitoring is still a good call.

What are the benefits of growing cannabis organically?

Abundant harvest – One primary concern of commercial breeders is the probability of diminished yield if they opt to grow cannabis organically. But this is not necessarily the case. Once the factors are at their optimum, those who grow weed via natural means can expect an abundant harvest.

Yields may be lower than non-organic growth if the micro-environment is not optimal. In the past, this was undoubtedly the case. However, commercially available organic fertilizers, growing media, and additives, as well as knowledge of how to use them, have greatly improved over time.

Enhanced flavor and aroma – Cannabis that is organically grown can manufacture excellent terpene and terpenoid qualities. Of course, this is achievable in an optimized environment where the plants grow.

Better potency – The potency of cannabis depends on the appropriateness of nutrients it receives. Since the proper balance between micro and macronutrients is significantly regulated in organic growing, organically grown cannabis has better potency than its non-organic counterparts.

What are the downsides of organically growing cannabis?

Just like any other growing medium, soil growing your marijuana has its disadvantages.

Burdensome – Maintaining an organic garden of marijuana requires more work from the grower. A lot of interaction should occur between you and your growth. Some of the methods that succeeded this season may not work next year. To attain the most excellent potential result, you must constantly change your growing procedures and develop your technique. However, if you dedicate yourself to growing chemical-free produce, all of your efforts will be worthwhile.

Pricey – We all know that the process it took for a product to be made determines its price. Since organic cannabis requires more effort, it is more expensive than non-organic weeds. Yet, the good news would be some patrons enjoy fresh and chemical-free marijuana products.

Constant soil improvement – In growing Cannabis organically, frequent soil amendments are observed by the farmer. He should aim for the proper balance of nutrients using organic fertilizers / nutrients.

Is organic cannabis healthier?

The answer to this question cannot be a simple “yes” or “no.”

The idea that organic cannabis is healthier than plants grown through a soilless medium is somewhat debatable.

One primary reason organic weed is “slightly healthier” is that the plant is grown as what nature has intended – using soil. Growers avoid the use of synthetic chemicals because they utilize natural fertilizers.

Traditional growers also pinpoint the experience of customers in consuming marijuana grown other than organic procedure. Aside from ingesting chemicals, customers experience burn in the throat and lungs, more significant cough, headaches, and hangovers as they consume weeds cultivated synthetically. Albeit, there is not much scientific research to back up this claim.

How do I manage the pests off my organic growth?

Whether grown indoors or outdoors, cannabis is susceptible to pests attack. To address this issue, you should be aware of the following: (1) types of pests, (2) pests prevention, and (3) pests elimination.

Types of Pests

Here are some of the pests that can affect your marijuana:

Aphids

Barnacles

Broad mites

Bud rot or mold

Caterpillars and inchworms

White powdery mold

Mealybugs

Leaf miners

Grasshoppers

Etc.

Pests Prevention

Growers need to get ahead of the potential problem they must face. This is the most effective way of pests prevention. Follow these practical steps of avoiding damaging pests attack on your plants:

  1. Determine what pests are most likely to occur in your place. Indoor growers are most likely to experience bud rot or mold due to high humidity and inadequate airflow. On the other hand, outdoor breeders will experience problems caused by grasshoppers, snails, aphids, and thrips. Knowing what type of enemy might interfere with your plants is a good starting point for pest prevention.
  2. Maintain healthy soil. Just like humans, plants have their immune systems. The robustness of their immune systems is directly related to the health of the soil. The stronger the plant’s immune system will be if you provide a healthy environment for it to live and flourish in, full of rich organic matter, worms, and enough high-quality compost.
  3. Observe significant preventative measures such as regular waterings or foliar sprays with aloe vera and silica. This practice can aid in boosting a plant’s immune system and general resilience.

Pests Elimination

Sometimes, no matter how we protect our plants from pests’ invasion, they still manage to break through our defenses. At this point, these are the steps you should carry out:

  1. Use bugs. To combat aphids, one can turn to ladybugs. These insects are known predators of aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, whitefly, and other soft-bodied insects. Most importantly, ladybugs are strictly carnivorous so they will never eat your growth.
  2. Apply natural insecticides. These will not harm your plants while dealing with pests. Essential oils with strong aromas, such as cinnamon, peppermint, or clove, are all good at discouraging pests from attacking your plant. When used in small dosages, these oils are generally safe for cannabis and are proven to be effective in deterring pests.