LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING: WHAT IS ORGANIC CANNABIS?

It is important to know that there is no official process for certifying cannabis as “organic”. Due to our beloved plant's difficult legal landscape, it cannot be regulated by the same licensed bodies that accredit organic fruit and vegetables. Instead, we have to rely on understanding what growing organically means and applying the same principles to cannabis cultivation.

A general definition of growing organically is “to farm or cultivate in a way that supports natural, sustainable processes”. Thousands of years of natural cannabis cultivation have achieved just that. The plant would be grown outdoors, using the land and soil to supply nutrients. In turn, the cannabis plant would support its own natural ecosystem before being harvested. The process would then be repeated seasonally by growers.

It wasn’t until cannabis prohibition became widespread that growers were forced to head indoors. The result was, in most cases, a need to supplement natural routines with artificial ones. In this case, pesticides, chemicals and artificial lighting were used to speed up or enhance growth and production.

If we now refer back to our organic spectrum: If we grow indoors, but this time we use a natural produced growing medium without any pesticides, technically, those plants are being grown organically—at least to a degree. If you factor in the lights (artificial) and the cost of running an indoor grow, does your grow room still fall under the umbrella of sustainable?

Growing cannabis organically comes in many forms. Unfortunately, until marijuana can be sufficiently regulated, what constitutes as organic is up for debate. However, that doesn't mean that growing organically is something you should disregard.

Excess Nutrients Improper Nutrient Balance Cannabis Cultivation

WILL YOU BENEFIT FROM GROWING ORGANICALLY AT HOME?

The benefits of growing produce organically come widely documented. Cannabis is no different, as you will be ingesting it. Whether that be literally, or by smoking/vaporising, marijuana and the components you used to grow it will be entering your body. By using pesticides and chemicals to enhance growth, you are running the risk of those compounds entering your body when the cannabis plant absorbs them.

The most exciting benefit is the improvement in flavour and aroma. Organic growing supports the natural production of cannabinoids and terpenes. Working together, these chemical compounds give cannabis its highly desirable aroma—and effects of course. With many strains sold on their flavour alone, anything that offers a boost is greatly received. All of the plant's energy can be put into its development, rather than having its potential hindered by unnatural chemicals.

On a wider scale, your environmental footprint is also substantial, depending, of course, on how you grow cannabis. Electricity, heat, water; all of these elements can have an impact on the broader environment. Switching to an organic grow, indoors or out, can save you money, while supporting a natural ecosystem.

We will cover some easy to follow steps that all growers can take, if they want to grow cannabis organically. Before we do, let us consider the impact of growing organic cannabis on a commercial scale.

Organic Feeding Chain

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF GROWING ORIGINALLY ON A COMMERCIAL SCALE?

Despite the challenge surrounding cannabis and its legality, business is still booming. The number of US states legalising the plant on a medicinal and recreational basis is steadily increasing. European nations are also slowly moving towards a greater acceptance of cannabis. The demand for weed is growing, which means we need more of it. Some estimations put the energy usage of commercial cannabis operations at more than that of hospitals of the same size. The environmental impact is significant.

The rapid rise in demand also puts commercial growers under more pressure to deliver. You cannot rush nature, so inadvertently pesticides and chemicals become an attractive option. Mainstream consumers are faced with the same risks as those growing artificially at home. Foreign substances can enter the body, and have the potential to cause harm.

Organically grown cannabis is better for the environment, safer for consumers, and stands a better chance of being accepted for future scientific studies. It supports the industry's desire to become a trusted commodity, ensuring cannabis production can remain sustainable.

GROWING ORGANIC CANNABIS AT HOME REQUIRES SMALL CHANGES

We have talked in length about the benefits of growing cannabis organically. Although the drawbacks are minimal, there are still some disadvantages. Growing organically can take longer, and may cause yields to be smaller. The good news is, with proper research, the majority of drawbacks can be negated.

Organic growing is a sum of all its parts. It is essential to consider the entire picture before making a switch. Here is how you can take an organic approach to growing cannabis.

SOIL

Soil is the lifeblood of cannabis—organic soil centres on sustaining the perfect environment for microorganisms. If we focus on feeding them, they will naturally support the food web, and supply our cannabis plant with the vital nutrients it needs. To do this, you have two options. Creating your own super soil from scratch, or buying a ready-made organic soil. Assuming you want to do the former, you will need a few unique ingredients.

A mix of earthworm castings, bat guano, kelp meal, perlite, peat moss, pumice and fish emulsion is a good place to start. It may sound like a lot, but in reality each component is only added in small amounts. Several specific soil recipes can be found online for those keen to experiment.

Once your soil is prepared and your seedling planted, all you need do is water regularly. From this moment on, normal growing routines can be resumed.

LIGHT

A completely organic and sustainable environment would use natural light to fuel photosynthesis. If you live in a climate that can provide those requirements, moving your cannabis plants outdoors is the best way to grow organically. If you cannot, adjustments in the types of light you use can lessen your impact on the broader environment. Switching to LEDs is a perfect example of growing more sustainably. High quality LEDs can use up to 70% less electricity than a 1000W HPS light.

Thankfully, yields using LED lights have been improving. This is driven by both a better understanding from growers and an improvement in the quality of lights available. Some growers use a combination of LED and HPS lights. LEDs are most suitable for the vegetative stage, while HPS lights support bud production during the flowering stage. Ultimately the degree to which you grow organically comes down to personal preference. There is no denying that the money saved by LED grow lights is a welcomed bonus.

PEST CONTROL

Encouraging a natural ecosystem should discourage the majority of pests. Every element of organically grown cannabis supplies the next entity in the cycle. Organic matter provides the soil with nutrients, which feed the microorganisms and so on. Pests, however, can still occur and without the ability to use artificial pesticides, what are your options?

Companion planting is the best way to support the ecosystem you have created, while preventing pests from destroying all your hard work. Basil and dill will repel gnats, while marigolds are ideal for avoiding an aphids infestation. Just make sure you leave sufficient space between companion plants and your cannabis. You don’t want them to have to share nutrients.

There are some natural pesticides made using need oil, which you can also try. They have shown efficacy for the treatment of most common pests. The lesser-known Bacillus thuringiensis is also worth considering. It is useful in preventing fungus, mosquitoes and caterpillars.

THE FUTURE OF ORGANIC CANNABIS CULTIVATION

We have covered the principles that underpin organic growing alongside several tips for taking on the challenge yourself. While it is true that from a commercial perspective, there is not a verified accreditation for organic growing, the importance of doing so is significant. Not only is a more flavoursome product produced, but the weed is also free from potentially harmful substances.

Some independent institutes are being set up to certify commercial growers as organic. The hope remains that as the legality of cannabis increases, the same standards set by other areas of commercial growing can be applied to the marijuana industry. Growing organically supports the fundamental value of nature—something that is at the very heart of cannabis. Mother nature gave us marijuana, and it seems only right to give something back.

Cart

Included FREE items

No cannabis seeds

Shipping € 0.00
Total € 0.00

Check out