Today, in the cannabis market and in grow shops, there are various products to feed weed plants. Fertilizers have the mission of delivering micro and macronutrients to cannabis plants which is why different cannabis cultivation programs may include organic nutrients, chemical or synthetic nutrients, or a mixture of both, depending on the brand that sells the products. Now, all the options described are good, it just depends on the needs and taste of the gardener who decides what to grow with.
First, growing organically means not using synthetic or mineral nutrients or fertilizers. To nourish weed plants, growers use manure, compost, plant teas, and sprays. Using this type of cultivation preserves soil life. This is vitally important if you are a terpene matcher because it has been shown that organic weed could produce more terpenes and therefore taste better on the palate after each puff or when used in edibles or meals with cannabis.
When grown organically, cannabis plants remain well nourished but also serve as a vital food source for beneficial soil microbes. This allows plants to be stronger and more productive with healthier and more potent buds. Also, we can say that organic fertilizers are slow absorption, meaning that the roots of the plant can have the different nutrients when it requires them in the precise amount and proportion. As a result, the plant receives a more balanced diet in addition to preventing a possible overfertilization of the plants. The latter, is super important for novice weed growers who are unaware of issues such as overfertilization.
However, not everything is perfect with organic fertilizers. One of the disadvantages is that in sterile substrate, this type of fertilizer can encourage the appearance of insects and fungi. Another important disadvantage compared to synthetic fertilizers is their price as they are usually more expensive than mineral ones.
There is a series of foods and nutrients that we can consider as fertilizers and that are 100% organic with which we can feed our cannabis plants in a balanced and healthy way. Here, we are going to present some of them so that you can keep them in mind.
Humus: Humus comes from the decomposition of organic matter thanks to the action of earthworms, bacteria, and microorganisms. It provides plants with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and organic matter. It also contains humic and fulvic acids which improve soil quality and nutrient absorption.
Guano: Guano is formed by the accumulation of excrement from different animals such as seabirds, bats, or seals on surfaces in arid environments or with low humidity. It provides active organic elements and minerals such as phosphorus or potassium which strengthen the plants so that they have better development and abundant flowering.
Seaweed: Seaweed, while still not as popular as humus and guano, is increasing significantly in its use in cannabis farming. The algae act as a biostimulant and improve the biotype of the plant. They contain amino acids and natural phytohormones as well as their own microorganisms that work against invading fungi and bacteria. In the market, there are different organic fertilizers that have been made based on seaweed.
These organic fertilizers are rich in microlife which offers many benefits to plants. The word microlife or microorganisms is used to refer to a series of beneficial bacteria, algae, protozoa, and fungi which favor the development of plants while taking care of the health and structure of the substrate, thus achieving a more fertile substrate.
These microorganisms are responsible for transforming the nutrients of the substrate so that they are more assimilable by the roots. The microorganisms also regulate the pH of the substrate so the plant will make better use of the fertilizers that we have added. In short, thanks to the microbial action, our plants will experience greater, healthier growth and we will be able to reduce the amount of fertilizer used. The microbial action also facilitates the uptake of water by the roots and provides benefits for the entire plant such as the increase of the natural green color, an improvement in the state of health of the plants, among others.
Some of those microorganisms that help cannabis plants and that we have highlighted in the previous paragraphs can be classified into 3 main types:
Bacteria: We will start by clarifying that bacteria are microscopic beings whose function is to break down minerals so that they can be assimilated more quickly by the roots in addition to fixing atmospheric nutrients in the culture medium. On the other hand, they are also capable of offering a certain stimulus and protection to the root system and to the plant itself against the attack of different types of insects and microorganisms, especially harmful nematodes. Some of these bacteria include Azotobacter chroococcum, Bacilus subtilis, Bacilus licheniformis, Bacilus azotoformans, Bacilus negaterium, among several others
Ectomycorrhizal fungi: Ectomycorrhizal fungi are those that do not penetrate inside the roots, more specifically in their cells. They are not visible and their use is just as important as that of endomycorrhizae. In this group, we can find Glomus mososporum, Paraglomus brazilianun, Glomus deserticola, Gigaspora daisy, Trichoderma koningii, Trichoderma harzianum, etc.
Endomycorrhizal fungi: Endomycorrhizal fungi are those that penetrate inside the colonized root, so they are found in the external parts of the root system itself and can even be seen with the naked eye. If we wash a root system colonized by this type of mycorrhizal fungus and leave the root uncovered, small protuberances can be seen attached to them.
On the other hand, synthetic or mineral fertilizers are obtained from non-renewable, mineral raw materials. They are synthesized through the action of man and many times, through chemical processes that are very harmful to the environment, both because of the waste they generate and because of the enormous amount of non-renewable energy that is used.
One point in favor of mineral fertilizers is that they have a higher degree of solubility, therefore they are the most suitable for hydroponic cannabis cultivation because organic fertilizers can clog the irrigation system. On the other hand, synthetic fertilizers are more effective and faster to solve the problems of cannabis cultivation if there are deficiencies. This happens because its composition is more precise with which we can control the proportion of nutrients that we are providing to the plant with greater accuracy. Another advantage to take into account of this type of fertilizers is that they are usually much cheaper than organic ones.
There are several drawbacks when feeding plants with mineral fertilizers. Many times, the plants do not consume all the nutrients that are provided in nutrition. Being mostly liquid, mineral fertilizers often do not reach all the roots of the plant because they dissolve with water. The nutrients available to the plant in the substrate decrease because the humic and fulvic acids are also reduced when using mineral fertilizers.
Another disadvantage is that when watering with synthetic fertilizers, we must fertilize very rigorously because otherwise, the development of the plant could be affected. As we have already said, with this type of fertilizer, it is easier for the plants to be affected by overfertilization. Perhaps, one of the most recurrent disadvantages that growers point out is the accumulation of salts from these products damaging the quality of the soil. This is because synthetic fertilizers come in such a high concentration that the microfauna of the soil does not have time to decompose them. Chemical fertilizers kill the microlife of the substrates and impoverish them, leaving them sterile in the long term. Bacteria, fungi, and protozoa die due to the decrease in the amount of organic matter in the soil which is their food.
Of course, they can be mixed because both work as a complement to each other. They can be supplemented as needed because organic fertilizers will deliver nutrients to the plant that synthetic fertilizers do not and they can also stimulate microlife in the substrate which synthetic fertilizer tends to destroy.
In some cases, when crops show deficiency, more advanced growers mix doses of mineral or synthetic fertilizers with organic fertilizers. This makes it easier for the plants to regulate their deficiencies. When making this type of fertilizer mixtures, you can use the minimum doses of both organic and mineral fertilizers to avoid overfertilizing or leaving excess salts in the substrate of your cannabis plants at the end of the crop.
Best strains for organic or mineral fertilizer
In this guide where we talk about organic and mineral fertilizers, we are also going to show you some varieties that have been cultivated in an exceptional way by breeders around the world with one type of fertilizer or another. Come on, let’s get started!
This mostly sativa variety called Guanabana was cultivated with mineral fertilizers indoors in Colombia, demonstrating a great power of adaptation for indoor cultivation because the environment had a warm climate, high temperatures, and humidity. Regarding soil, this Guanabana was cultivated in a coconut substrate plus perlite. For this reason, the gardener had the possibility of managing the feeding doses more freely.
As can be seen in the image, Guanabana develops elongated colas like a good sativa. As it was entering the last flowering stage, it already showed some wear on its leaves that turned yellow, a normal issue when marijuana plants get to the end of their growing cycle. Just remember that with this strain you can harvest between 500gr-600gr when grown indoors and about 600gr when grown outdoors of buds with a potency of 16%-18% THC which give off sweet and fruity flavors after 60 days of flowering.
We are talking about the Super Critical Bilbo Fast Version because this variety is an all-terrain variety that adapts to cultivation with organic fertilizers as well as mineral nutrition. Being a fast version variety, nutrition with mineral fertilizer is good for it as it can absorb fertilizers more quickly.
However, if you grow it outdoors during the summer time, it would be best to fertilize with organic nutrients in order to obtain its maximum potential. These plants reach up to 2 meters tall with huge yields, ranging from 1k to 1.7k of only delicious buds with sweet, fruity flavors and notes of wood. Note that you can harvest in a record time of only 45-50 days when you grow it outdoors.
Kabrales feminized seeds strain comes from a crossing of Cheese x Cheese. It is cultivated outdoors during the summer season in Europe, showing a great size and excellent development thanks to the organic nutrition that has been provided during the months of cultivation. This variety is mostly indica, produces a deep and pungent aroma typical of “cheese”, and the buds are ready to be picked after 65-70 days of flowering with THC levels ranging from 18%-20%.
If that were not enough, we tell you that with organic fertilizers, you will be able to extract the maximum flavor from the Kabrales buds which give off a sweet taste with spicy notes of cheese. However, the harvests are abundant and range from 350gr-400gr indoors, reaching its maximum production outdoors with crops ranging from 400gr-500gr of buds, an exquisite aroma that will surprise you.
Alien OG is another one of our strains that responds greatly to nutrition with mineral fertilizers as shown by this plant that was also grown with synthetic fertilizers in a coco and perlite substrate. The buds of this strain are usually fat and round as shown in the image and are covered with an intense amount of resin when they start to mature which makes them sticky. Not to mention their consistency that is hard and compact like a rock.
Now, if we talk about crops, indoor gardeners obtain between 450-500 gr/m2 of buds and outdoor breeders can collect 500-600 gr/plant. These amounts will undoubtedly fill all of your containers so you have good reserves of flowers with levels of THC between 22%-28% and flavors of herbal tones with an aftertaste of pepper and citrus notes.
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