Companion Planting For Cannabis: What You Need To Know
Using companion plants in your grow is an excellent way to safely and naturally enhance your cannabis plants, pushing them to be the best they can be.
If you are looking for a natural way to improve the conditions of your garden and even help with some pests, companion planting is an innovative yet not so new way to do just that. Companion planting is the strategic planting of fruits, vegetables or herbs alongside your cannabis plants in order to improve the natural ecosystem your plants are growing in - without turning to pesticides or additional supplementation. Companion planting is a natural and effective way of controlling mites and other pests, enhancing nutrient uptake and soil quality, as well as providing a habitat for beneficial creatures.
Companion planting really falls under the heading of Permaculture. Permaculture is a concept that looks to mimic the natural world and ecosystems for application in modern agriculture. It stems from the words permanent and agriculture, although Permaculture can at times refer to societal engineering. Its purpose is to create permanent agricultural systems that incorporate natural and renewable resources into design and workflow. In the end, Permaculture aims to reduce waste, manage energy efficiency, increase natural integration, explore agricultural diversity and ultimately bring agriculture to a more natural and sustainable level.
Companion planting has a long history going back some 10,000 years. Some of the earliest examples of companion planting were pioneered by Native American tribes. Native Americans were known for maize (corn), beans and squash which they always interplanted. Some tribes believed that these three crops were a holy trinity of sorts from the Great Spirit. The Native Americans found that when companion planted, these three crops helped each other thrive. The corn gave stability to the bean vines which wrapped around the long stalks. In return, the beans would fortify nitrogen levels in the roots which increase growth and yields. When planted with squash, the squash's spiny nature would keep predators away as well as regulate moisture levels in the soil. Companion planting with cannabis works in very much the same way. By creating its own micro-ecosystem, crops that are companion planted grow stronger, produce higher yields, and have fewer problems with pests.
When companion planting with cannabis, you are performing several primary functions at once. Pest control, nutrient refinement, and soil integrity are all benefits of companion planting. If you are growing in a not so friendly to cannabis town, companion planting can be used to disguise your plants. One of the biggest benefits of companion planting is the nurturing of beneficial microbes in the soil. These microbes convert nutrients into a more bio-available state. However, these beneficial bacteria and fungus can also be harmed or killed by many synthetic nutrients. Thus companion planting requires an organic fertilization to really get the most out of it. At its core, companion planting is about getting away from synthetics and returning to natural, sustainable gardening. This is much easier to do outdoors, but can be done indoors if you have enough space and patience.
By companion planting cannabis with certain types of plant species, you can fine tune the results you are looking to achieve. Some plants bring additional beneficial microbes to your soil, allowing for increased nutrient absorption. Some plants, particularly herbs like basil, repel pests due to their overwhelming odour. Other plants that give off specific elements can be incorporated to add additional nutrient to the soil. These will then, in turn, be converted by the beneficial microbes, thereby making for stronger and healthier cannabis. Companion planting has many practical applications that can be tailored to meet your cultivation needs.
COMPANION PLANTS FOR CANNABIS
Beans – Beans are a great way to supplement Nitrogen in your cannabis. We have all seen what a nitrogen deficiency can do to yields. Beans absorb Nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form more readily available to your cannabis.
Herbs – Chickweed is a herb that is excellent for adding supplementary nutrients to your soil. Next, there is basil. Basil is great for pest control due to its pungent smell. Chives, cilantro, and sage are also good companion herbs as they deter aphids, spider mites, beetles, and flies.
Chrysanthemum – These flowers help protect against nematodes - microscopic worms that can infest and damage root structures. Chrysanthemum is used to make some organic pesticides due to their high pyrethrin content. Pyrethrin causes nervous system dysfunction in insects.
Peppermint – Peppermint is another plant that is commonly used as an organic pesticide. In that form, it is converted into a pesticide oil. Naturally, peppermint acts as a repellent of harmful insects and has the potential to attract beneficial ones.
Garlic – Yet another base in organic pesticides, garlic works as a natural fungicide in your garden. Instead of turning to the pesticide version of this or any other plant on this list, simply companion planting will help you reach many of the same goals.
Alfalfa – Alfalfa is used for soil nutrient supplementation as well as a soil base component. Alfalfa can be used to form a nitrogen-rich layer that will further enhance your plant's nutrient intake.
Chamomile – One of the best all-around companion plants for cannabis, chamomile is good for more than just tea. Chamomile has the ability to capture accumulated calcium, sulphur, and potassium. As the plant breaks down, these nutrients become embedded in the soil and help strengthen your cannabis.
Age old methods of cultivation are coming full circle. With growers looking for more natural ways to cultivate cannabis, companion planting reveals itself as a safe and effective method of achieving that goal. As synthetic nutrients can kill the beneficial microbes in your soil, companion planting is geared toward organic cultivation in an outdoor setting. Turning to companion planting, as opposed to using synthetic nutrients and pesticides, fosters an ecosystem that will help your cannabis achieve optimal nutrient absorption, repel unwanted pests and lead to a happier and healthier garden.