There are a million different places online that can tell you about growing marijuana. At the Cannabis Institute, we teach many different techniques and ways to grow marijuana, but our primary method – what we truly believe in and preach about – is living-organic soil. Living-organic soil is a productive organic system that produces healthy harvests with very little input – and is arguably the best kept secret among growers. We often asked questions about living-organic soil, such as what is living organic soil? Why is it considered “living”? How does it work? What makes organic soil better? What effect does living-organic soil have on a plant? I will answer these questions, and more, in this guide about living-organic soil.
WHAT IS LIVING-ORGANIC SOIL? Basically, living-organic soil is soil that has been naturally amended by the decomposition of plants and animals.
IF LIVING-ORGANIC SOIL IS MADE UP OF PLANT AND ANIMAL RESIDUES IN VARIOUS STAGES OF DECOMPOSITION, THEN WHY IS IT CALLED “LIVING”? Living organisms are also part of living-organic soil, and play a large role in contributing organic residues to the soil and in formation of more stable types of organic matter (Grubinger). Plant roots and various soil animals, such as earthworms, all provide organic materials to the soil that eventually become part of the soil organic matter life cycle (Grubinger).
OK, I NOW GET WHY IT’S “LIVING,” BUT WHY IS IT CONSIDERED ORGANIC? Because the life in the soil is naturally, or organically, creating all of the nutrients the plant needs to grow. This means the grower isn’t using any chemical salts, synthetic fertilizers, or inorganic pesticides at any time during the growing process.
SO HOW DOES LIVING-ORGANIC SOIL WORK? It’s crazy, but in one teaspoon of living-organic soil there are 100 million to 1 billion bacteria (Hussey). When this microlife “eat” and “digest” chemical compounds to create energy for themselves and “poop out” the waste from the process, they create the compounds that plants need to grow. It’s an elegant system in which the waste from one organism becomes food for the next, creating a cycle that can sustain itself without any outside help (Shenassa)
WHY SHOULD A GROWER CONVERT TO LIVING-ORGANIC SOIL? First-and-foremost, a living soil replaces the need for chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides. Cannabis grown in a living-organic soil is far healthier than cannabis that has been fed salty-chemicals and potentially sprayed with pesticides.
But beyond health reasons, marijuana grown in living-organic soil generally produces larger yields, increased potency, and improved flavor and aroma.
WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT FERTILIZERS? The truth is, chemical fertilizers produce immediate results. Remember what you learned about osmosis? Basically, it’s the movement of water through a cell membrane from a solution of low solute concentration to a solution with high solute concentration. So, where is the water in the soil located? It’s locked up in the cells of the microlife. When salts in the form of chemical inputs are added to the soil, water is drawn out of the microlife in the soil, and they are either killed or go into dormant state. Now the plant is dependent on the grower to provide all of its food and protection, which results in more fertilizers (Hussey).
WHAT ARE SOME ADDITIONAL PROS FOR LIVING-ORGANIC SOIL? Again, the No.1 benefit of living-organic soil is it’s healthy. Some additional benefits include:
- cannabis grown in living-organic soil produces stronger and more complex smells when compared to cannabis grown in other mediums.
- usually, there’s no need to add extra nutrients. All you have to do is water.
- by using living-organic soil, you are recreating an ecosystem that most resembles how cannabis grows in the wild.
WHAT ARE SOME CONS OF LIVING-ORGANIC SOIL? Some people don’t have the patience for living-organic soil. Making your own living-organic soil can be a real hassle, although you can buy it. The soil is really smelly because it does have decay in it. And plants tend to grow slower when compared to plants being fed liquid nutrients.
Growing in a living-organic soil is the main proficiency top growers are using throughout the industry. The secret is out: soil life is the key to happy and healthy plants. Bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, and worms all play a vital role in the life of plants by breaking down organic matter to make the nutrients available for plant roots. Soil life is complex, but it’s also the secret to growing more potent and better tasting weed.