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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Living Soil: A Sustainable and Cost-Effective Method for Growing Cannabis

Key Takeaways:

  • Living soil is a biodynamic medium for cultivating cannabis, utilizing microbiology and natural processes.
  • Living soil is cost-effective, reusable, and leads to higher terpene contents in cannabis flowers.
  • Bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and worms play important roles in the living soil ecosystem.
  • Living soil can be used for both outdoor and indoor cannabis cultivation, but requires more consideration and planning indoors.
  • Living soil provides a more environmentally friendly and flavorful alternative to hydroponics and coco coir.

There are many different ways to cultivate cannabis plants, each with pros and cons. One of the most sustainable and cost-effective methods is living soil. Living soil has gained popularity in recent years as part of the organic and regenerative movements in agriculture. It utilizes microbiology and natural processes to create a self-sustaining ecosystem that benefits cannabis plants. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cultivator, living soil offers numerous advantages for growing high-quality cannabis.

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of living soil, its benefits, how it works, and its suitability for different cultivation settings such as outdoor and indoor environments. We’ll also discuss the difference between living soil and super soil, the best medium for living soil, and optimal pH levels. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of living soil for cannabis cultivation!

What is living soil?

Living soil is a biodynamic medium that embraces principles from microbiology and nature to create a sustainable and cost-effective way to cultivate cannabis. It is teeming with billions of living organisms, including bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and worms. These organisms form a healthy soil food web, breaking down organic matter into nutrients for the plants.

To create your own living soil, you can add natural amendments and various types of bacteria and fungi to your existing soil. This fosters a self-sustaining community of microorganisms in the soil, which provides ongoing nutrition for your cannabis plants.

Why choose living soil?

Living soil offers several advantages for cannabis cultivation:

  • Cost-effective: Living soil is reusable, reducing the need for expensive fertilizers and amendments.
  • Higher terpene contents: The microbiology in living soil contributes to enhanced flavors and aromas in cannabis flowers.
  • Natural pest and disease resistance: The soil’s microorganisms help the plants naturally defend against pests and diseases, minimizing the need for pesticides.
  • Easy to use: Unlike other cultivation methods that require multiple fertilizers, living soil can be irrigated with plain water or compost tea.

How does living soil work?

Living soil provides ongoing nutrients for cannabis plants by breaking down organic amendments in the soil. Different types of organic matter, such as kelp, worm castings, and alfalfa meal, can be added to any type of soil. The microorganisms in the soil then work to break down these amendments into plant-available forms of nutrients.

Bacteria play a crucial role in living soil, metabolizing decaying matter into nutrients that are stored in their cellular structure. Beneficial bacteria also outcompete harmful bacteria in the root zone, maintaining a healthy environment for the plants.

Fungi, particularly mycorrhizae, enhance root health and create food reserves that the plant roots can tap into. They also help break down amendments and contribute to the overall health of the soil. Nematodes and worms assist with pest control, nutrient mineralization, and improving soil structure through their activities.

What is the difference between super soil and living soil?

Super soil is sometimes used interchangeably with living soil, but there are some differences between the two. Super soil is typically used only once, as it contains enough nutrients to sustain a cannabis lifecycle. It is created by layering different amendments in specific amounts to provide proper nutrition throughout the plant’s growth stages.

On the other hand, living soil relies on ongoing microbial processes and minimal amendments. It involves creating a balanced and healthy soil ecosystem that can continuously provide nutrients for the plants. While super soil is a good option for a single grow cycle, living soil offers a more sustainable and long-term approach.

What is the best medium for living soil?

The best medium for living soil is loamy soil supplemented with pumice for aeration. The soil texture should be fluffy but not too dense. Pumice is preferred over perlite as it is environmentally friendly and provides low levels of nutrients like silica.

Is living soil better for outdoor or indoor?

Living soil can be successfully used for both outdoor and indoor cannabis cultivation. However, there are some considerations for each setting.

In outdoor environments, the existing microbiology in the soil provides a favorable starting point for cultivating cannabis in living soil. Outdoor plants are also generally hardier and can adapt to the available nutrients in the native soil. Growing cannabis in living soil outdoors is relatively easier and more forgiving.

In indoor environments, creating the right living soil mix requires more planning and consideration. Indoor growers need to start from scratch in a sterile environment and ensure the proper composition of their medium. However, there are soil manufacturers that offer pre-mixed living soil products, simplifying the process for indoor growers.

It’s worth noting that indoor cultivation in living soil may result in slightly lower yields compared to hydroponic systems due to space constraints and limitations on aggressive feeding. However, the quality of the cannabis produced in living soil is exceptional in terms of flavor and aroma.

What is the best pH for Living Soil?

In living soil, maintaining the proper pH level is key for optimal nutrient availability. A pH of 6.5, which is slightly acidic, provides the best conditions for nutrient uptake. It is important to use pH regulators like dolomitic limestone and gypsum to keep the soil pH within the desired range.

Is living soil better than hydroponics?

Living soil and hydroponics are two different approaches to cannabis cultivation, each with its own advantages. Living soil focuses on creating a natural and sustainable ecosystem that mimics nature, resulting in flavorful and environmentally friendly cannabis.

Hydroponics, on the other hand, involves growing plants in a soilless medium and providing nutrients directly to the roots through nutrient-rich water. Hydroponic systems generally allow for faster plant growth and higher yields.

Choosing between living soil and hydroponics depends on personal preferences and cultivation goals. While living soil prioritizes quality and sustainability, hydroponics may be favored for faster, larger yields.

Is living soil better than coco?

Coco coir is a popular alternative to traditional soil for cannabis cultivation. It offers benefits such as faster plant growth and higher yields. However, living soil is often considered a better option due to its natural availability of nutrients and its environmentally friendly nature.

Coco coir can be prone to salt buildup and contamination with pathogens and heavy metals. Living soil, on the other hand, creates a balanced and self-sustaining ecosystem that promotes plant health and enriches the soil over time.

Is living soil good for autoflowers?

Living soil is an excellent choice for growing autoflowers. The ongoing nutrient availability in living soil is especially beneficial for autoflowers, as their life cycle is not as predictable as photoperiod plants. The plants can selectively access the nutrients they need at different stages, simplifying the nutritional management process.

How much should I water my cannabis in living soil?

Proper watering is crucial for living soil cultivation. It is important to keep the soil from becoming too dry, as it can harm the microbial colonies in the soil. When watering indoors, aim to water until you see some runoff at the bottom of the pot, but minimize excessive runoff to avoid flushing out nutrients that haven’t been metabolized by the microorganisms.

How to make living soil?

There are various living soil recipes available from different manufacturers and expert growers. It’s recommended to research and analyze different recipes to create your own customized living soil mix. Pay attention to the compost source, as it forms the foundation of a good living soil mix.

Final Thoughts on Living Soil

Living soil offers a sustainable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly approach to cannabis cultivation. Its ability to produce high-quality buds with enhanced flavors and aromas makes it a popular choice among cannabis growers. While it may require more planning and consideration, the rewards of cultivating in living soil are well worth the effort. Every grower should experience the wonders of living soil at least once in their cultivation journey.

Remember, continuous learning and experimentation are key to improving your garden. Happy growing!

Dr. Jen Chalmers
Dr. Jen Chalmers
Dr. Jen Chalmers is an accomplished writer and cannabis enthusiast. With a Ph.D. in Botany and years of experience as a researcher, she brings a scientific perspective to her captivating articles on cannabis news, recipes, and the fascinating world of psychedelics.

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