Are you new to growing Cannabis and have opted for the easy-going, organic style over hydroponics, or other salt-based fertilizers? If so, then there are a world of options available to you - from the most basic store-bought soil to creating your own organic mediums teaming with beneficial microorganisms that have been recycled consistently harvest after harvest. Below are DYNOMYCO’s 6 top tips to consider next time you work with organics at home.
Tip #1: Concoct the Perfect Blend
It's great to have a custom organic mix that ticks all the boxes as far as nutritional value, however there are certain qualities a good organic soil mix will need to last the duration of a successful harvest.
Our top tip here is to use substrates such as peat, perlite, worm castings, diatomaceous earth, and coco to create a soft, spongy and airy medium. Peat may not be considered a renewable source, however through the practice of recycling and amending, it can be re-used for multiple harvests. In fact, we work with commercial growers who have been recycling their soil for over 5 years with phenomenal results! Re-amending their soil every cycle has been critical to their success. With as much air as possible flowing through the medium, the roots will become more active in search of air pockets and moisture. To top it off and create the ultimate organic cocktail, add DYNOMYCO® directly into the mix.
Ratio for a 50 liter mix:
20 liters of coco
10 liters of fresh worm castings
10 liters of perlite
5 liters of peat
5 liters of diatomaceous earth
5 tbsp of DYNOMYCO®
Tip #2: Recycle the Growing Medium
When you truly understand the long game of organics, then the idea of reusing your growing medium after each harvest becomes the only rational choice. Not only will the existing medium be teaming with beneficial bacteria and DYNOMYCO® fungi, but the microbial balance of the soil food web will be at peak harmony.
Our top tip here is to take the roots of the harvested plants, chop them up into finer pieces, and then add them back to the soil to be broken down as food. Under a microscope you will find that the population of root-based microorganisms is sky high and throwing away these living cultures would be a waste of valuable nutrients.
Tip #3: Molasses for the Win
If you have ever bought a basic organic nutrient from the local garden center and noticed it was very heavy, and the contents inside were dense and shiny black, then there is a very good chance you have purchased molasses. Normally sold as a full part nutrient pack that can be used throughout the entirety of the crop lifecycle, molasses-based liquid feeds are packed full of sugars and trace elements.
Our tip here is to use a solution of black strap molasses finely diluted into water to treat your compost or soil prior to planting. The molasses will act as a stimulant for the soil food web as well as supply the organic medium with plenty of carbon. The most important thing is to make sure that the molasses is well diluted with water before application to the soil. A good ratio is one teaspoon per 1.5 liters of warm water to make dissolving easy.
Tip #4: Good Aeration Lets Roots Breathe
Aeration is extremely important when growing cannabis, especially when we are talking about root zones. Many beginner growers often mistakenly use soil with high water retention and poor drainage that takes a long time to fully dry. This can not only oversaturate the root zone and put pressure on the roots, but can also invite bad bacteria that infects the roots. When this happens, your previously white fuzzy roots will turn a sickly brown and become thin and unhealthy, accompanied by a rotten smell. This is the process of anaerobic breakdown or anaerobic digestion and it is not a process you want for your roots.
If you are experiencing this issue, our top tip is to take half of the dense soil and replace it with a mixture of perlite and coco. Then add DYNOMYCO®, as this will make a significant difference in how much water the pots can hold while increasing drying out speed. The faster the medium can dry out, the more the roots will have a friendly environment to expand in mass. Mycorrhizal fungi have many benefits when growing cannabis, from boosting root zone resilience under harsh, dry conditions to their ability to store large amounts of moisture. The most relevant benefit of mycorrhizal fungi is they facilitate the formation of a symbiotic soil food web in the surrounding earth that works intelligently in harmony with plant root zones.
Tip #5: Rich with Microorganisms
Soil is already packed full of microorganisms that enable symbiosis with all plant life. One of the great things about growing organically is you have the ability to introduce into your organic medium new populations of beneficial bacteria and fungi, giving your plants the upper hand and protecting the roots from pathogens.
Our tip here is to use beneficial bacteria and fungi such those found in DYNOMYCO® to make an aerated tea using plain water and a spoonful of molasses. The beneficial microorganisms present are aerobic, meaning they reproduce with the presence of oxygen. A 24-hour period with an air stone and pump can really take the population count to another level.
In order to do this, a grower will need a bucket filled with fresh water, an air pump with an air stone to create the dissolved oxygen, their handy pack of DYNOMYCO® and a biostimulant that acts as a food source during the process, such as molasses, honey or humic acid. By simply allowing the pump to generate high amounts of dissolved oxygen over a designated time frame, the beneficial bacteria will already multiply into the multi-millions within the first 6-9 hours. It takes a full 24 hours for the fungi to multiply to the billion count.
Tip #6: Compost Piles
If you have a sufficiently large garden, then making a compost pile and using the compost has many benefits. Home compost makes it easy for anyone to separate out green and brown waste as well as food waste. It does take months for compost to break down into the soft, dark matter we need, so patience is essential when working with your own compost.
Our top tip here is to build a pen using 4 wooden pallets, and stand them vertically, making a container that can be filled over time. Growers who have lots of garden waste will be able to make some very nutrient-rich compost, essentially for free. The benefits of making your own DIY compost bins are numerous: you avoid buying and storing plastic bins, the cost is minimal, you can customize sizes depending on your needs and most importantly, industrial yards will have pallets for free ready to be taken away.
Implementation of organic cultivation methods opens you to a whole new realm of possibilities. The knowledge you’ll gain about soil health and how to use the soil food web to your advantage will make you a much better grower with an appreciation of the complexities of nature and what it takes to truly be sustainable.