To grow potent cannabis, you need to hit the sweet spot of your preferred growing medium, enough lightness and darkness, proper nutrients, and the right amounts of water.
Despite hydroponics being used in more and more grow rooms, soil remains an effective way to grow cannabis. What makes soil great to grow in? The answer is beneficial microbes.
Dirt contains millions of living creatures called microbes that thrive in healthy and nutritious conditions. These microbes contribute to plant health by providing organic matter to grow in, aerating the soil, and adding nutrients – all for free!
One thing that comes up constantly in the field of cannabis cultivation is mychorrizae, and how it works to improve plant growth.
What is Mychorrizae and What does it do?
Just like probiotics help our bodies stay healthy, microbes help plants. One kind of microbe you will find in soils naturally are mychorrizae. These are fungi that attach to plant roots. The fungi grow hair-like fibers called hyphae. When these grow together it is called mycellium.
Fungi help to decompose elements in the soil and make the nutrients accessible to plants. Certain fungi can help to improve soil quality by breaking down complex carbon compounds.
Other fungi, especially the ectomycorrhizal fungi, form symbiotic relationships with plants. They form a sheath called a mantle around the roots of the cannabis. It transports nitrogen to the roots, and in return it gets carbon from the plant.
Mychorrizae also help cannabis plants uptake water and minerals. The hyphae create a net that attracts these substances to the root, and makes it easier for the plant to obtain them from the soil. This works because the overall surface area of the root zone increases when mychorrizae attach to the plant. This higher absorption capacity means more accessible water and nutrients. Another thing mychorrizae does is help the plant bind phosphate groups. The root provides sugars for the fungi and in turn it helps the plant get more water and breaks down nutrients for it.
Another beneficial life form farmers love to see in their soil are worms. A wriggling worm means the soil is alive and full of nutrients for your plants. The worm itself helps the plant to grow and provides it with minerals. Worms also help move the soil, which promotes aeration and optimal growth. Worms also help to prevent soil erosion outdoors.
The movement of the worms creates spaces in the soil. This in turn makes it easier for water to reach the roots and for nutrients to move through. The roots absorb better with aerated soil. Worms added to soil prevent waterlogging.
The worm castings, which are essential worm excrement, are a natural and organic fertilizer that helps make your plants big and vibrant. Materials that move through the worms are enriched, which in turn benefit the soil. Worm castings include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Worms eat soil microbes that might be harmful to plants, such as harmful nematodes. They produce their body weight in castings every day and do a lot to help plants and maintain healthy soil. There are many different types of species of worms, some which you can purchase and others you will find in the garden. If your soil has naturally occurring worms in it then it shows the soil is fertile and can sustain life.
One thing you can do to promote balance and healthy microbe levels is to avoiding tilling. A good way to prevent weeds without tilling is by adding mulch. If you need to disturb the soil to break up compaction, then the winter is the best time to do it. Then cover the soil with high quality compost.
Mychorrizae and earthworms are two elements in soil that help cannabis plants grow healthier, faster, and stronger. You can find them in garden shops or in the forest if you’re adventurous. There are many advantages to teaming up with beneficial microbes and microorganisms and making a balanced soil medium full of life.