growing cannabis indoors organic

There are a variety of wonderful organic supplements that may be added to assist in an organic grow, many of which offer a ton of benefits to the growing process. For example, incorporating the use of aerated compost teas can greatly help you in a number of ways. Compost teas reintroduce living microorganisms to the soil, in turn facilitating beneficial processes such as fighting pathogens in the soil, converting them to nutrients, and eliminating diseases.

Other biological remedies such as bacillus thuringiensis, also known as BT or Mosquito Bits, and diatomaceous earth (DE) can help do wonders as an effective foliar agent to be used against pests.

Feeding your organic cannabis is as easy as finding the right water to use. When growing organic, try to avoid using tap water. Municipal water supplies tend to contain fluoride and other chemicals that can and will kill beneficial bacteria in your soil (though you can always opt to pick up an organic soil amendment or supplement at your local hydroponic shop if you’re ever in a pinch).

Synthetic nutrients and pesticides both have a tendency to leave soils pretty beat up and saturated with salts and chemicals towards the end of a grow, mandating pretty serious flushing to prepare your crop for consumption. In many cases, these soils must be remixed and tilled or tossed before the next season. As organic soils are actually living entities, they do not require tilling to prepare for a new crop. By simply removing the root ball and adding a bit of dry mycorrhizal fungi to the soil, you’re ready to go for a new round. No-till gardening is emerging as a standard in most organic cannabis farming practices, not just for its obvious sustainability purposes, but for the benefit that organic soils that have been strengthened over a long period of time can offer.

With organics, the primary focus is to build the best possible environment to sustain life and provide nutrient access to your plants. This focus extends beyond the soil, so it’s best to view your entire grow as a tiny ecosystem that you must maintain in order to achieve homeostasis.

What to Feed Organic Cannabis.

Organic pest control is easier than you think. There are a handful of natural pest management remedies in circulation that work wonders for controlling both indoor and outdoor gardens and don’t require the use of harmful systemic synthetics. Companion planting, the practice of pairing certain varieties of flora to naturally deter pests, is a fantastic first step for outdoor growers. Try using basil or dill in your garden for gnats, or marigolds for aphids. A quick search will land you with a ton of beneficial pairing for your garden plants; just switch out your control group plant with cannabis and you’re good to go.

Inoculating your soil with mycorrhizal fungi is another organic grow hack that can pack your soil with an extra punch. The symbiotic relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and your plants (i.e. mycorrhizae) has the power to vastly increase both water and other nutrient intake at the roots. A sprinkle of a dry organic fertilizer containing s single-source fungi at the beginning of your grow can be the only thing you add to your soil through both the vegetative and bloom phase and your plants will thrive.

For starters, an all naturally amended soil medium is perhaps the most important first step in creating a healthy sustainable grow. Building a clean and sustainable organic potting soil for cannabis is absolutely essential in creating a viable food web for the microorganisms that will ultimately help keep your plants stacked with readily available “organic” nutrients. Popular organic soil amendments include most types of compost, pumice, earthworm castings, kelp meal, perlite, bat guano, fish emulsion, peat moss, etc. Ingredients along these lines each serve a specific purpose and will help foster an environment for microorganisms to proliferate.

In addition to water, cannabis requires a few essential nutrients such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, manganese, etc. Synthetic nutrient supplements operate on a supply-lock basis, meaning that their job is to supply a nutrient directly to a plant until the plant locks that nutrient from further absorption. In this case, the remaining excess passes through the soil with water drain off. Organic soils, on the other hand, do not require nutrient supplements because they are comprised of ingredients that inherently contain these valuable minerals and molecules. Uptake in these cases is contingent solely on the plant’s needs and doesn’t require extra attention (or money) from the grower.

There are currently 15 states with medical cannabis home grow provisions and three states (D.C. included) where adults are allowed by state law to cultivate at home recreationally, with some of these states carrying heavier qualifications than others. This list continues to grow as more cannabis enthusiasts gain access and can try finally try out their own green thumbs.

There are two ways to achieve a super soil of this caliber. The first is to build it yourself by acquiring these ingredients individually and mixing them to preference. Since this can be daunting to a novice grower, pre-mixed organic soils can also meet almost any growing condition and can be found in most hydroponic retailers that provide potting soils. Pre-mixed soils are highly recommended for first time cannabis growers because in most cases, these products require very little maintenance other than the occasional watering. This is because organic soils very rarely need pH adjustments, will produce and supply nutrients to cannabis plants without the need for additives, and are fortified with beneficial microorganisms that help deter pest damage.

Getting started with organic cannabis farming is both simple and flexible as there are many ways to incorporate these methods into your home grow. Think of organic growing more in terms of a spectrum. Since there currently aren’t any regulations in the cannabis industry as to what actually qualifies as true organic farming, many interpretations do exist. As a result, this topic can be quite polarizing for industry professionals, but for home growers it simply comes down to a matter of preference.

Right now, if you live in one of these places and you meet the qualifications to cultivate in your home, there are only a few resources where you can go to get in-person consulting on the matter. Hydroponics shops and seed/clone retailers are a start, but these businesses, driven by monetary incentives, have a habit of suggesting that new growers begin by incorporating synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and non-soil grow mediums into their grow based on the fact that they all require a purchase at their facility.

Although conducive to achieving a sale, these suggestions aren’t always aimed on what is best for you, the consumer, as well as your plants. It’s important to understand that not all retailers share this modus operandi, and many shops are beginning to offer organic solutions alongside their synthetic companions. However, what you may not know is that for a fraction of the cost of a single bottle of synthetic liquid fertilizer, you can get the same, if not better yield, flavor, and cannabinoid content in your crop at home by simply using organic farming practices.

How to Grow Organic Cannabis.

Providing your cannabis with sufficient growing conditions is one of the most important steps in building a successful organic grow. This includes a proper spectrum of light, optimal temperature and humidity settings, and high ventilation and airflow. Many organic growers swear by gardening outdoors but if you’re limited to growing indoors, choosing lights with the broadest possible light spectrum and the coolest temperature output is the key. You can always offset hot lights with proper ventilation and temperature control.

Before you head into your local hydroponics shop and grab that bottle of “ Barry’s Synthetic Bud Ripening Super Juice” that’s packed full of salts and chemicals for your plants, consider going organic in your next home grow. Not only will your soil absolutely love the TLC, but your colas will, too. Organic cannabis farming can be cheap, simple, and far healthier and sustainable than using manufactured chemicals and synthetic additives in your grow. Whether you choose to incorporate one or all of these organic techniques into your grow, your cannabis will not regret it and neither will you!

Controlling Pests on Organic Cannabis.

Provide support for the main stalk with a sturdy stake. As the plant gets larger and starts to put on bud weight, you may find the need to further support individual branches. This will depend on the strain. Some growers get crazy with their support and training systems! We start with a small stake for seedlings (shown above) and then swap it to a 5 or 6-foot tall stake as the plant matures.

Once you have your homegrown goodies properly dried and cured, it is all ready to use: whether you like to smoke or vaporize your cannabis (read this important article on the subject), make cannabis-infused oil for edibles, or create healing topical salves . The options are endless!

Kelp meal contains over 70 different vitamins and minerals. It helps promote overall plant health, vigor, and tolerance to stress, pests ,and disease. It is also a renewable, sustainable resource – so that’s a huge plus.

Additionally, you can make them mobile! We make rolling dollies to sit all of our cannabis grow bags on, out of 2×6’s and heavy-duty casters . See the photos below. That way, we can easily roll or rotate the large (and heavy!) plants out of our way or into better sun as needed. If you do the same, make sure you get casters that are rated for at least 50 to 80 pounds of weight per wheel, minimum. Ours are 2″ and okay for the flat patio, but 3-inch wheels probably would have made it even easier to move.

If you have a lot of room and want really large plants, you could go even larger! On the other hand, if you are growing autoflower cannabis plants, a 5-gallon or 7-gallon bag would work just fine. Not sure what the difference between a photoperiod and autoflower cannabis plant is? Check out this post that explains it all.

Sun and Support.

The topic of “how to grow cannabis” has such a funny vibe about it. If you browse around online, you’ll see there are many cannabis growers with extremely strong opinions about “the right way” to grow cannabis, though all of their methods vary… Esoteric language, expensive supplies, and complicated recipes or instructions are often used, making it a very intimidating and confusing subject for new home growers.

In most places, cannabis seeds are started indoors in March or April, and transplanted outside in April or May once the risk of frost has passed. Basically, cannabis seedlings need to be protected from freezing or other harsh conditions – just as any other seedling does! If you aren’t sure about your area’s frost dates, stop by this article. In it, I share veggie seed-starting calendars for every USDA hardiness zone. For cannabis, you can essentially follow the timing recommendations for tomatoes (but on the later end of the given windows).

Keep in mind that cannabis has not been legalized at the federal level – with the exception of low-THC, high-CBD hemp. Therefore, even if you live in a state that has legalized marijuana, shipping cannabis seeds and products across state lines is technically still illegal . But it is commonly done nonetheless. To my knowledge, people buy cannabis seeds online fairly easily and without issues. However, if cannabis is legal in your state, the most safe and “by the book” way to procure seed or started plants (clones) is from a licensed cannabis store.

If you are growing from clones instead (such as those you purchase at a local dispensary, or obtain from a friend), you can skip straight to potting them into grow bags outside.

For this method, you could skip a lot of the additional amendments upfront, though you’ll still want to add some as the growing season progresses. Cannabis is a hungry plant! The choices and availability of bagged organic soil options will vary depending on where you live. If you can, get top-of-the-line stuff – it is going to be more pre-amended for you.

Some people who grow cannabis choose to replace the peat moss portion of this recipe with coco coir, which is a more renewable, sustainable material. I can’t speak to its effectiveness because we haven’t used it for cannabis, though we do add a little coco coir to our raised beds sometimes, and also use it as bedding in our worm bin. Honestly, we have heard not-so-great results and read numerous studies that show coco coir has inferior performance to peat moss.

Depending on the strains you are growing and your summer daylight hours, the average cannabis plant will continue to grow larger in size (in its vegetative state) until the days begin to shorten and it receives less than 12 hours of sunlight per day (e.g. after summer solstice). Then, it switches into its flowering stage and begins to develop buds. Most outdoor cannabis plants will be ready to harvest in September to October. The exception to this would be for autoflowers, which can start and finish their entire life cycle in as short as 3 months.

Here is a little video of our organic living soil in action:

Beyond all of these broad categories, each strain will also have unique attributes that may make it more or less desirable to you. Find what suits your needs! What works for us may not be what works for you. To read more in-depth on the differences between sativa, indica, and autoflowers (including their health benefits) check out this post.

We generally prefer uplifting, happy, energetic sativa-dominant hybrids – ones that are balanced with enough indica to keep things smooth, relaxing, and still make for a great night of sleep. “Maui Wowie” is a long-standing favorite here, and “Rosetta Stone” is our new go-to lately.

Mulch.

Last by not least, when the time comes, here an article all about processing your cannabis: “How to Harvest, Dry, Trim, Cure, & Store Homegrown Cannabis: The Ultimate Guide” . When IS the time right to harvest? You’ll learn that here too. This guide is basically everything you need to know, from the best timing, temperature, humidity, methods, and more.

As the plant grows and the root ball gets larger, it will drink water faster and therefore need more, and more often . I will write a follow up post about watering and fertilizing (which often go hand-in-hand) throughout the growing season soon.

Gypsum contains calcium and sulfur, and helps the plant better utilize and uptake potassium, which is one of the key macronutrients that all plants depend on for life. In the “NPK” ratio for all fertilizers, the K stands for potassium. Adequate potassium availability and uptake enables plants to photosynthesize, produce energy and important enzymes during growth, and also assists with water uptake and drought resistance.

If you checked out our post about how to build the perfect organic soil for raised beds, our methods for building the perfect cannabis soil isn’t all that different. We’re shooting for something that is rich, biologically active, full of micronutrients, and has an excellent balance between moisture retention and drainage . Reference that raised bed soil post if you want to dive deep into detail, but otherwise here is a quick-and-dirty for cannabis soil:

The size of your grow bag will dictate the size of your cannabis plant, and its health . Obviously, the size of your space will determine how big of bags you can use too. The smallest I would suggest for a traditional photoperiod plant is about 15 gallons. We generally use 20-gallon or 25-gallon bags for those big girls.

The bags we prefer to use are the Smart Pot brand, or GeoPot . These are extremely durable and long-lasting. You get what you pay for . We have used cheaper grow bags in the past and they rip and degrade within a season or two of use. Smart Pots will last for years and years. We have bags that are three years old and still as good as new. Call me silly, but I also love being able to choose tan or brown colored bags. I like a pretty garden space and prefer the look of those to the stark black choices.

In regards to water, the goal is to provide consistent, even moisture. Do not let the soil completely dry out between watering, but don’t drown it out either. As with many things, this will vary a lot depending on your climate. If you’re in a very hot and arid place, you will need to water more frequently than someone in a cooler coastal climate like ourselves.

Strains: Sativa vs Indica.

This post is intended for people living in states who are legally allowed to grow cannabis at home , either medicinally or recreationally. If you have any questions about this, please refer to your local cannabis regulations. Note that today’s post is also geared around growing cannabis naturally outdoors , so I will not touch on light deprivation or indoor grow set-ups. I do plan to write an indoor grow guide in the near future, but most of the tips in this article can easily be applied to an indoor grow too!

We prefer to grow from seed. Once we obtain seeds, we treat them pretty much like any other garden seed! They’re germinated in 4” pots full of seedling start mix, inside on a heat mat. Keep the containers covered and moist until they sprout. Ideal germination temperature is around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another popular mulch option is to use an organic cover crop seed mix, and lightly working it into the top inch of soil when you first plant your cannabis seedling. As it gets watered, cover crop will grow under the canopy of your plant. It becomes a living mulch , and also enhances your living soil food web. As it grows tall, you can “chop and drop” mulch with it. That is when you trim it and leave it in place to decompose as green mulch.

Examples of popular cannabis soil brands to keep an eye out for are Roots Organics products, Fox Farm’s Ocean Forest/Happy Frog, or Recipe 420 by E.B. Stone. Even some of the Kellogg or G&B Organics could work well, especially when premium compost is added. Check to see if there are any hydroponic stores or “grow shops” in your area. Those stores cater to cannabis growers, and are more likely to carry premium bagged soils over the stuff at big box nursery centers.

We prefer to grow our cannabis in grow bags, and I’ll explain why below. If you want to stick your plants in garden beds or right in the ground, be my guest! This is just what works for us. Check out how to build a durable and deep raised garden bed here.

Oyster shell flour is an excellent source of calcium for the plants, as well as phosphorus. Adequate calcium carbonate protects plants from heat stress, makes them more resistant to disease and pests, strengthens plant cell walls, and increases nutrient uptake and overall vigor. Oyster shell flour also acts as a pH buffer.

Keep reading to the “Cannabis Growing Conditions” section below for information on exactly when and how to start cannabis seeds (or plant clones).

Combine the following ingredients. If you plan to fill several large containers (like grow bags – discussed below) then it may be easiest to mix all of these in a very large tote or even spread out on a tarp, and then add some to each bag. Note that it is best to pre-moisten the peat moss before mixing it with everything else. Peat tends to be hydrophobic when dry, and can make your soil less likely to absorb water well if it is mixed without wetting first.

Your leaves will grow firm, drooping and curling down towards their stems, starving for oxygen if you overwater them. If this is the case, you’ll need to cut back on watering and give them time to recover. You can try increasing the temperature from the lights and your airflow if you are growing indoors to speed up water absorption. You can also poke some holes in the soil with a pencil to give them some oxygen. Your plants may also require a better drainage system.

Cannabis indica leaves typically grow much shorter and wider than sativa leaves. Cannabis indica will also produce less leaves (seven to nine) on the stems when compared to the sativa plant. The Cannabis indica plant itself is often much shorter than the sativa plant as well. Indica seeds often require a slightly shorter flowering time of 45 to 65 days compared to 60 to 90 days for sativas. You’ll want to check the instructions that come with your seeds for their specific flowering times.

For a DIY-grow operation, a store bought compost bin is probably your best bet. These bins will save you some time and labor by keeping your carbon and nitrogen ingredients at a temperature of 50 to 60 degrees celsius. Maintaining your compost pile at such a high temperature will speed up the decomposition of your compost into fresh soil. You can also do cold composting if you have the time and don’t mind doing a bit of extra work.

Yes, becoming a ganja farmer does require an investment of time, patience, and money, but that’s why we’re here to help. This guide will show you how to minimize that investment and will thoroughly prepare and inspire you to grow your own organic marijuana. Oh, and if your green thumb is more of a brown thumb at this point, don’t worry, we’ll show you how to change all that.

We’ll touch on the potential of hydrogen (pH) scale and show you how it applies to the water you give to your pot plants. Then, we’ll venture into the potential signs of plant stress so you’ll know if your plant is struggling with a deficiency or an overabundance of something. We’ll show you how to brew organic compost teas and control pests the organic way. Finally, we’ll walk you through the harvesting process and show you how to trim, dry, cure, re-veg, and even clone your valuable plant material. All that for the low-low price of free! The only way it could get better is if we came to your house and did it for you. But where would the fun in that be?

Pre-flowering.

Non-organic refers to any kind of plant food that has been predigested in a laboratory before it is placed in soil. Organic, by way of contrast, refers to gardening with natural plant nutrients derived or composted from dead leaves, bushes, grass clippings, bat guano, liquid fish, or seaweed. None of the nutrients used in organic growing have ever seen the inside of a lab.

The curing process breaks down the left-over chlorophyll in the buds which will make your marijuana taste like grass or old hay. It will be harsh and unpleasant to smoke unless it is cured which accentuates the subtle aromas and potency of the bud’s terpene resin. Curing also decreases the chances of mold forming on your marijuana.

Slow overall plant growth, weak stems and dark heavy claw-like leaves are signs of a toxic excess of nitrogen.

Your plant will have trouble growing taller, the leaves will curl back and change unusual colors if it has a copper deficiency. New leaves will grow in dark and twisted while older leaves will fade yellow or white.

The veins of younger leaves near the top will turn yellow and start dying off if the plant is deficient in Zinc. There will also be less space between new nodes and the leaves will start bunching up. Any bud growing on flowering plants will begin to die at this point as well.

The stem of the plant will grow thicker and begin growing more nodes where new branches with more serrated leaves as it continues to vegetate. Your ganja will eventually slow down its upward growth and start filling out with more nodes and branches. Calyxes will start to emerge at the nodes where the branches meet the stem of the plant. Allow your plants to veg out for 4 to 6 weeks in order to grow 4 to 6 different leaf branches. It should be 18” inches or taller before you are ready to move it to the flowering phase.

Most seeds you buy should be feminized unless otherwise indicated, however you should stay vigilant and check for male plants anyway since they will pollinate and ruin the cola buds you want to harvest off of the female plants. The sex of your cannabis plants will reveal themselves after roughly 10 days of flowering conditions.

The plants will become stretchy, the stems will become weak and the older leaves near the bottom will start getting dark and scorched lesions will appear around the edges of the leaves as they curl and die due to potassium deficiency.

Clones will root faster if taken during a vegetative as opposed to flowering phase.

At this point, you may be wondering, “How much of each do I use?” The simple answer is, it doesn’t matter…as long as you use a consistent ratio of each. “Oh no! There’s that word ratio again.” We know, “ratio” tells you absolutely nothing about how to measure out the carbon material and the nitrogen material. But don’t quit on me now. We’re almost there. Here’s how to figure out how much of each material to use.

How to Keep the Seedling Safe.

Now that you’ve got the mix figured out, you may be wondering where to pile all this lovely rotting stuff. You can just heap all your carbon and nitrogen scraps in a far corner of your property, but at least three walls helps to keep the “mess” from spreading.

We highly recommend your own grower’s journal where you can record daily feeding, watering, light and heat cycles as well as any big setbacks and breakthroughs. This record-keeping will help you learn from your mistakes and replicate your successes. Party on, dude!

The seedling will break ground and two small round embryonic cotyledon leaves will push out of the shell within 2 to 5 days. After that, the first pair of baby serrated marijuana leaves will emerge. Over the next few days, your baby pot plant will sprout leaves with 3, 5, and 7 points depending on whether you are growing an indica, sativa, or hybrid plant. Some of the smaller leaves near the buds can grow up to 9, 11, or even 13 points.

You’ll know when your cannabis plant is ripe for harvest when the hues of the pistils from the cola buds transform from milky white to reddish orange.

Organic marijuana is simply tastier, healthier, and more potent for both medical and recreational purposes. According to MMJ Business Daily, the majority of cannabis consumers in Colorado, California, and Washington State prefer organic marijuana compared to hydroponically-grown weed. In fact, those same respondents prefered organically-grown schwag over hydroponically-grown schwag. That’s saying a lot! Hydroponically-grown schwag is usually dry, brittle, brown and loaded with seeds and stems. That same schwag tastes horrible when you smoke it because it was fed with lab-made fertilizers as opposed to the kind of “food” that pot plants prefer to eat. That’s the beauty of organically-grown weed—be it the highest grade or the lowest schwag—it tastes better than anything else out there.

Have you ever started to feel a little high just from opening a bag of soft, moist, colorful cannabis? Have you ever wondered what makes some cannabis smell, taste, and feel better than others? If so, here’s the answer. The stronger the sweet, citrus, spice, or pine aroma from the terpenes of your weed, the more likely your marijuana was grown organically. And that’s a good thing.

Now that you’ve got a basic compost pile going, you’re ready to mix some of that base soil into the ultimate 420 fertilizer. This tried-and-true recipe was first developed by Subcool, the head breeder of TGAgenetics. You can also purchase Subcool’s super soil mix online if that suits your needs better. The Weed Nerd himself, though, will tell you that mixing your own super soil will make your marijuana grow healthier. Let’s get mixing!

Simple Steps to Make New Soil.

The leaves of your pot plant will turn yellow, wilt inward and upward and will fall off starting with the oldest leaves near the bottom of the plant if it deficient in nitrogen during the vegetative phase. Yellow leaves due to nitrogen deficiency are normal during the flowering phase when the buds are nearly ready for harvest however.

Chlorosis yellowing will spread from the back of the leaf to the front if the plant is deficient in sulfur. The older leaves near the bottom will turn pinkish red or orange, Any growing buds on the plant will die off.

You will need the following materials to make organic soil, fertilizer, and compost teas to feed to your growing cannabis plants. Many materials for composting such as dead leaves and lawn trimmings can be gathered at little to no financial cost. The other elements can be found at major hardware stores and local gardening centers. Obscure items such as Azomite and humic acid can be found and purchased online at hydrofarm.com. Here’s the list.

In this guide, we are going to teach you how to grow marijuana. To do that, we’ve included a comprehensive checklist of all the tools, materials, and magic ingredients you will need to begin growing your marijuana the organic way. We will also make sure you know how to care for your cannabis during the seedling, vegetative, pre-flowering, flowering, harvesting, and cloning phases of ganja growth. After that, we’ll show you step-by-step how to make compost, not just for your pot plants, but for anything else you want to grow. Then we’ll get specific and give you instructions for making an awesome 420 fertilizer that will have your cannabis plants growing strong and healthy in no time. We’ll discuss the various stages of the pot plant’s growth, from germination to flowering, and show you what you need to know about each. But wait…there’s more!

Nutrient burn first appears as random spots around the edges of the leaves which will curl downward if you’ve overfed your plants or perhaps if you’ve planted your rootling too close to the fertilizer. You’ll want to cut back on any inorganic nutrients or compost teas you’re feeding the plant and flush it with de-chlorinated pH-balanced water.

Growers have experimented with crossbreeding ruderalis and indica plants in an attempt to create strains with shorter growing seasons. Ruderalis strains crossbred with sativa and indica have produced strains that flower automatically without having to reduce the number of light hours that the plant is exposed to in order to transition from the vegetative phase into the flowering phase.

Your plants of either strain should reach the vegetative phase in about 1 to 3 weeks. During the vegetative phase, plants stems will grow taller and thicker and will develop new leaf nodes. This increased growth means that you will need to give your pot plants plenty of pH-balanced water along with dry, flowing air, lots of nitrogen-rich organic nutrients, and as much soil space as possible. These factors combine to encourage your eight-inch baby to grow into a three-foot tall monster within six weeks.

We’ll start our guide by explaining organic growing. Then we’ll give you a list of the tools and ingredients you’ll need for every stage of the your pot plant’s lifecycle.