Soil microbes and cannabis cultivation
List of contents
Healthy soil, productive soil
A healthy crop soil is a productive soil. The health of the growing medium can be measured by the diversity of organisms and microorganisms that inhabit it. These microscopic soil inhabitants, mainly fungi and bacteria, establish a whole series of relationships with the plant that are essential to the proper development of a cannabis crop.
In all substrates these beneficial microorganisms must be maintained and promoted. This is essential to achieve a balanced growing medium, as this equilibrium will give us the optimal conditions for the development of plants. All these soil microbes live in a symbiotic relationship with the plants to make up the so-called soil food web.
The soil food web
The soil food web is much more complex than the well-known food chain of the animal kingdom, where the grass is eaten by the gazelle and the gazelle is eaten by the lion. In the soil, this exchange of food is not so linear, since what soil microbes do is to transform organic energy into food for plants through different and varied processes.
This energy, from which microbes feed, is mostly provided by photosynthesis; the chlorophyll of the plant absorbs light, transforming inorganic energy into organic energy. This, combined with minerals and CO2, form organic compounds that feed the microbes in the growing medium.
Once these microorganisms access these organic compounds and feed on them, the work of decomposition begins. First digest and then evacuate the organic compounds, generating plant-available nutrients assimilable by the plants. In turn, the constant movement of these microscopic beings benefits the soil structure, keeping it loose and fluffy, greatly facilitating the extension and development of the roots.
The soil microbes, in addition to feeding on vegetable matter, are also nourished by carbohydrates and proteins produced by the roots by means of the calls "exudates". These exudates, through a chemotactic attraction, use food to attract the bacteria to a specific place depending on the state or need of the plant, either for lack of nutrition or to fight any pathogens affecting it.
How microbes affect indoor & outdoor crops
The quality and conditions of soil microbes will vary considerably between an outdoor and an indoor crop. The microbial life of soil outdoors is much more likely to regenerate on its own, while the substrate of an indoor grow should be encouraged by using nutrients and compounds formulated to promote soil microbes.
In a soil of culture the best way to maintain and promote microbial life is not to use mineral fertilisers. In any case, outdoor cultivation or indoor cultivation, be it soils or substrates, the use of inorganic nutrients goes against everything that promotes the microbes in the growing medium.
Promoting microbes in outdoor soil
A natural cover or mulch, in outdoor cannabis grows, is a common cultivation technique of most ecological growers, what is known as organic cannabis cultivation with microbes. This works by protecting the culture medium, maintaining the humidity levels necessary for microbial life to flourish without being disturbed, leaving organisms and microorganisms to regenerate the soil and nourish the plants.
Microbe rich indoor soil
In an indoor growing soil the best way to promote microbes is by using organic nutrients rich in bacteria and beneficial enzymes, as examples we would highlight earthworm humus or bat and seabird guano.
We ca also highlight specific products to promote bacterial life, the so-called bacterial inoculants, which are products formulated to contain specific bacteria concentrates. These beneficial microorganism inoculants can be used in all the main growing media - soil, coco or hydroponics.
They are applied either mixed into the cultivation substrate or dissolved in the irrigation water and their results are spectacular, they reproduce in the substrate the natural conditions that occur in the soil. Within these bacterial inoculants are strains intended to improve plant growth and other more specific strains that act against the pathogens that can attack the root system of the cannabis plant.
It is clear that caring for and promoting soil microvida will always have a positive impact, giving productive and better quality crops. In addition to applying more sustainable and ecological concepts to cannabis cultivation, we will achieve an increase in the organoleptic qualities (aroma, flavour ...) in the final crop of buds, qualities superior to those case of crops fertilised with mineral nutrients.
Happy and tasty growing!!