no till cannabis growing

Another common misconception with no-till farming is that it promotes pest populations. This is only partially true. A thriving soil microbiology is teeming with all sorts of life. Fungi, bacteria, nematodes, mites, worms, protozoa, and even larger insects and animals all encompass the web of life that can exist in a fully charged, untilled organic soil medium. These lifeforms are not only beneficial to the plants themselves by making nutrients in the soil more bioavailable, they actively control harmful pest populations such as spider mites and fungus gnats through naturally occurring systems.

If you want to incorporate no-till farming practices into your home cannabis garden, getting started is both simple and surprisingly inexpensive. Start by building yourself a super soil using a mix of organic ingredients such as composts, amendments, and a bit of aeration through the form of perlite or lava rock. Mix these ingredients together and use them as your grow medium.

Contrary to conventional agricultural practices which involve mechanically disturbing the soil, no-till farming incorporates natural mechanisms that leave soils undisturbed. This principle is based on the foundation building a thriving biology within the soil, a process which is severely compromised when a soil is tilled.

With traditional cannabis farming techniques, soils are either tilled and amended with nutrients between plant cycles or tossed out altogether. While these practices can be highly effective for growing cannabis, they aren’t very efficient as the never-ending need for chemical inputs and the consistent tilling or tossing of soils is anything but promotional to building a soil biology.

Amending your super soil with worms is a great way to promote the production of fresh compost, otherwise known as “vermiculture.” In this system, worms digest decomposing organic material and create castings that replenish the soil with valuable nutrients, eliminating the need for the external input of fertilizers. With worms, growers are encouraged to add organic matter to their topsoil, a healthy worm snack that promotes healthy decomposition while constantly adding life back into the soil.

What Are the Benefits of No-Till Methods for Growing Cannabis?

Take the old growth Redwood forests in the Pacific Northwest for example. The microbiological climate in this part of the country is staggering as a result of the undisturbed natural mechanisms that have been in place for thousands of years. In these same regions, cannabis farmers are utilizing similar techniques to produce some of the industry’s leading products in terms of flavor, yield, and safety standards.

No-till farming and organics go hand in hand, building upon the philosophy that natural systems within the soil will provide the plants with fully bioavailable nutrients with very little need for external input. These natural systems work together in symbiosis to support a flourishing biological community ripe with fungi, bacteria, and more.

No-till cannabis farming, on the other hand, eliminates the need for input altogether by letting nature do all of the work. This saves not only time and money, but the hassle of having to worry about using potentially harmful chemical inputs such as pesticides or plant growth regulators. Furthermore, untilled soils can be reused for years on end with almost zero input whatsoever, making this the most sustainable way to cultivate cannabis.

One of the worst misconceptions about no-till cannabis farming is that the practice is incapable of producing the same quality and quantity that traditional agricultural methods can. Nature itself is a perfect example of why this isn’t the case. The richest ecological environments in the world are those least disturbed.

There are two major problems casting a shadow over cannabis cultivation as a whole: chemical safety and sustainability. Although these problems are not exclusive to the cannabis industry, their unique impact on both the industrial and cottage markets as well as with home growers alike is noticeable.

Because your cannabis will need certain macronutrients at certain times, layering the topsoil with various cover crops will eliminate the need for consistent amendments to the soil. Nitrogen-fixing cover crops are a great way to get macronutrients back into your soil.

A potential solution to both of these problems lies in a farming practice known as “no-till gardening.” This technique incorporates organic practices and natural systems to create a thriving environment conducive to growing healthy plants with less input. No-till gardening is both organic and sustainable, offering a safe and efficient way of cultivating cannabis without the need for chemicals and wasted energy.

One misconception about no-till cannabis farming is that this practice is difficult to scale in either direction. This couldn’t be further from the truth. No-till farming is just as accessible to the home grower using 3-gallon pots as it is to the top tier farmer cultivating on a massive scale. The power of no-till lies within building a thriving soil food web. This concept can be successfully achieved in any spacial capacity, offering the same security and sustainability.

Whether it be to eliminate the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and other costly and potentially unsafe inputs, or to save money and time by reusing soils, no-till farming is continuing to rise as a viable alternative to traditional cannabis agricultural practices. Both top-tier cannabis farms and home growers alike can harness the powers of no-till farming for a safer and more sustainable crop that saves time and money. With little to no input overt time, no-till farming could very well be the safe, sustainable answer that the cannabis industry has been looking for.

Common Misconceptions About No-Till Farming.

What Is ‘No-Till’ Farming?

Make sure you keep an eye out for bugs or mold but you shouldn’t have a problem at all.

Before starting your grow cycle you should already know approximately how long the strain you’re growing will take so you can tweak the schedule a bit and make sure you can flush properly. Remember that this article just serves as a guideline and may differ depending on your growing conditions.

In the last week of flowering you can continue watering with the freeze-dried coconut water if you think it’s necessary and only if you think your buds could fatten up a bit more.

No-till is an agricultural technique used for cultivating without disturbing the soil, which prevents erosion and increases the soil’s health and nutrient retention. This method is known for increasing the variety and amount of life in the soil while requiring minimal labor, and despite not being popular amongst cannabis growers, is a great way to grow cannabis organically!

Ideally, you should flush for 3 weeks (obviously, when possible) due to the amount of nutrients in the pot but if it’s not possible in your case, try to flush for 1 week at least (the next one).

Week 7 – Flowering.

During this last week, you’ll have to take into account several factors such as the state of the trichomes and stigmas to know when your plant is ready for harvest according to the type of effect you prefer, but this could take a couple of days so make sure you check every day.

As said above, baby plants don’t need much food so in the first week you’ll only be providing beneficial microorganisms; So on day 1 , you should be introducing all of the following (or as much as you can) beneficial bacteria and fungi:

During this week you’ll be feeding quite a bit of nutrients to provide your plants what they need for thick dense buds.

Also, have in mind that if you are looking to keep mother plants or your plants need more time in the vegetative, you can continue alternating between week 2 and week 3 until one week before pre-flowering, then continue with the next feeding chart.

One week before your plants start pre-flowering you need to give your plants some extra nutrients for them to have what they need to grow big dense buds.

In the sixth week from seed, your plant will be in full-flowering mode so there’s not much to do other than maintaining the best conditions possible and continue feeding your cannabis plants.

Remember that you can use any product but for the best results you want the soil inoculant to contain all the following beneficial bacteria or as much as you can :

This guide will result in an unbelievable harvest, with delicious smelling and tasting flower. We understand that some of the ingredients used may be quite hard to find depending on where you live so we recommend using Build A Soil products which are of an extremely high quality.

Make sure the ingredients for the second application are properly combined before applying it.

This technique is more common when growing in sandy or dry soils, this technique reduces erosion while increasing water infiltration , the retention of organic matter, and nutrient cycling , which ends up increasing life in the soil while using mulch and stubble to control herbs and pests, or if necessary, use 100% organic products to do so which results in an overall healthier soil.

Week 9 – Flowering.

This week is when most plants will stretch quite a bit so make sure you adjust your lights accordingly and, due to your plants needing much more nutrients for the buds to develop, you’ll be feeding them quite a lot .

After the cover crop has come out of the soil you can go ahead and plant your cannabis seeds (or transplant your seedlings) into this pot.

Also, if you were planning to prune some leaves to allow more airflow and light to reach all the buds equally or remove any branches to promote bud growth at the top, now is the time to do it.

For the best results possible, the premium organic 3-5-2 NPK should contain as much as possible of the following ingredients:

A good way to know when to start your grow cycle in this pot is to wait until the cover crops have sprouted , if you don’t know which cover crops to use, we recommend the ones in the table above.

With the pots filled and watered, you want to add the following per 60L container:

And the CalSil should preferably be derived from wollastonite and contain the following:

Week 10 – Flowering.

Reaching the seventh week your buds should be taking shape and looking beautiful. Due to having fed quite a lot during the last week, you’ll mostly foliar spray during this week to avoid any minor nutrient deficiencies and keep your plant with that beautiful healthy appearance.

For this week, you will have to brew an alfalfa meal tea; The tea should be done with 16.3g of high-quality alfalfa meal per 1L of water, letting it soak for 24-48hs with an airstone to help aerate your tea.

As you can see in the schedule, one day after you can go ahead and introduce some digestive enzymes to help the beneficial microorganisms make the nutrients available for your plants to absorb.

Have in mind that for the rest of the guide we’ll use the quantities needed for a 60L pot, if you are using bigger (or smaller) containers you’ll have to adjust the quantities.

Well, before starting you need to know that you will need big pots; It’s recommended to use 120L pots (or raised beds) but you can get away using 60L , 30L , or 15L pots, obviously, you don’t need a 120L pot for each plant, you can grow 2-3 plants in each container (depending on the size) so don’t worry, you won’t’ need one huge container per plant.

Once your buds are 100% it’s just a matter of harvesting, drying, curing, and smoking your sweet organically grown buds!

This week is critical if you want to get beautifully frosty and chunky buds so make sure you provide everything your plant needs and keep an eye to ensure she’s growing healthy .

Right after your seedling comes out of the soil it will be pretty small and the roots won’t have established yet so during the first week you have to provide a good amount of beneficial microbes and fungi to provide a good environment for the roots to develop healthily and thrive.

Depending on where you live, you may find your buds remain moist for a very long time. However, if you live in a less humid climate like we do, you may find it slightly more difficult to get your cannabis not to dry out rapidly. Therefore, some may need to burp their jars more often than others, take note of how humid the climate you are in is and decide.

If you want a quick cheat sheet, simply download this PDF calendar here.

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During the first few weeks of flowering, your plants will stretch. Some strains stretch more than others, so hopefully, you listened and didn’t get the plants so big in veg that the buds turn to crisp against the light bulbs.

Now that you have your curing area all set up, you will want to let your plants dry over a two week period. By doing so, you can preserve many of those tasty terpenes, which otherwise would be lost by a rapid dry. With the environment setup mentioned above, you should be well on your way to the perfect drying environment.

Harvest & Curing.

Alright, alright, you’ve all been asking for this since we started publishing tips and tricks on growing cannabis, so here it is a full cycle calendar for growing cannabis our no-till living soil way!

Grower Tip: If you have any type of height constraints, remember that the plants will stretch once put into flower. For this reason, be sure not to get the plants too large in veg, as they will end up roasting on your indoor lights or being squished against a greenhouse ceiling.

For best results, we want to inoculate the soil with microbials every 2 weeks. The below instructions are for small amounts of soil. If you are using multiple yards of soil, you’ll want to use 10 grams of Rootwise Mycrobe complete per yard (1 heaping tablespoon).

Again, we add the first application once at the start of the week. Then, 3 to 4 days later, you apply application #2. This is continued up until a week before putting the plants into flower.

After the plants have dried, you will want to cut the branches from the stalk and place in a container/tub or brown paper bag. You will trim the plant from these containers. Once done trimming, place the buds into a glass jar, like a Mason Jar. Every few days, you will likely need to let air out of the jar. This is also known as, burping the jar. You will do this until the moisture you desire is reached.

Light Schedule: 12 hours on and 12 hours off.

Light Schedule: 12 hours on and 12 hours off.

Light Schedule: 18 hours on and 6 hours off.

Light Schedule: 16 hours on and 8 hours off.

Again, you will only add the above amounts once a week during this time and stop this schedule after week 8 is complete.

Finding a place to cure your plants.

With all the pots filled, you will want to add the following to the top of your soil in each 15-gallon container:

At this point, it’s time to get the cannabis plants big enough to enter flower! Again, depending on your setup, be careful how large you get them in veg.

We strongly recommend that you follow the below instructions when harvesting and curing your cannabis.

Light Schedule: 18 hours on and 6 hours off.

Personally, we simply add one-application of the following the first week:

During this stage, we apply two different applications. One at the beginning of the week and another 3 to 4 days later. The applications are as follows:

For this first week, your plants are probably pretty small, especially if you started them from seed. Either way, you will want to take care of them accordingly.

Weeks 1-4: Bloom Transition (a.k.a stretching phase)

Before we begin, you should know that you will want to use 15-gallon pots or larger. Personally, we prefer 30-gallon fabric pots or beds.

So, for this week, you will want to add the following items:

Light Schedule: 18 hours on and 6 hours off.

Grower Tip: Peat Moss can be difficult to fully dampen, to help with this you can add aloe and yucca to the water. Then, simply mix and water in.

You should have an idea on the overall flowering time of the cultivars you are growing. Some finish at 8 weeks, if this is the case, you may want to cut out the week 7 feeding. Most of the cultivars we grow flower 65-70 days. We like to feed only water the final 3 weeks. You’ll need to use some judgment on when is the best time to harvest. Smell the flowers, look at them carefully each day. Are the calyx’s swollen? Are most of the hairs dark? Are the trichomes cloudy? You should be able to tell when they cease focusing on their buds and are ready to be harvested.

Now that you have your pots ready and plants transplanted into them, you will need to care for your cannabis plants to prepare them to go into flower. Whether you start your cannabis plants from seed or use clones, you’ll want to get your plants big enough to be flowered and strong enough to produce the scrumptiously delicious buds you’re looking to harvest too!

And, we made it to the flowering stage! At this point, your light schedule will change to the standard 12 hours on and 12 hours off until the plants are ripened and ready to harvest!

Then for the rest of the first week, just be sure your soil remains hydrated.