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Those who turn to medical marijuana with health concerns typically want to try something that is natural. Others who want to enjoy marijuana recreationally enjoy the fact that it is a naturally grown plant. However, the typical marijuana plant is not as naturally grown as many people would think. Instead, it is grown using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and the growing methods used often take quite a bit of electricity and water, which is not great for the environment.
Many of these practices are not only unsafe for those who consume marijuana, but they are unsafe for the environment as well. Most growers, especially companies that grow marijuana commercially, are not using natural techniques to grow their plants anymore. Indoor operations can provide numerous benefits, but they also demand a lot of resources. Outdoor operations typically require pesticides and fertilizers, with many of the ones used today being synthetic and full of a variety of chemicals.
Those who plan on growing their own marijuana, however, do not have to do this. They can opt to use more natural methods to help their plants grow and have high-yield harvests throughout the year. Read through the information below to learn more about how to grow marijuana without the use of added chemicals and understand how the various natural techniques can make a difference not only in how the marijuana grows but how safe it is for the environment and for those who consume it.
Why Grow Marijuana Naturally?
One question many beginners have is why they should grow marijuana naturally. The truth is simple! Setting up everything indoors can allow them perfect control over how the plants grow and using pesticides can help keep the plants pest-free while they are growing, allowing growers to get a better harvest. However, natural growing techniques do provide a number of benefits.
- Save Money – One of the biggest benefits is saving money. Growing naturally is far less expensive because there is no need to spend a lot on electricity or water, or to purchase synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
- Better Taste – Marijuana that has been grown naturally will have a better taste compared to buds harvested from plants that were grown with synthetic products being used.
- Reduce Carbon Footprint – All of the electricity and other resources used add up and take a toll on the environment. Those who grow marijuana naturally can reduce this, thus reducing their overall carbon footprint.
- Conserve Water – Plants grown naturally, done the right way, will use less water. This helps conserve water significantly, especially if the right watering practices are put into place from the beginning.
- Reduce Toxic Runoff – When plants are watered, some of the pesticides and fertilizers will run off and soak into the ground, eventually ending up in our water supply. Using natural growing methods helps significantly reduce the toxic runoff from plants, which is much better for the environment.
Naturally Versus Organically: The Differences
Growing naturally and growing organically do have similarities, but they are actually very different. Growing organically requires adherence to specific guidelines. If adherence is not met, it is possible to lose the organic certification. This generally applies only to fruits, vegetables, and meats, as certification is done according to federal guidelines, and marijuana is not yet legal federally. In most cases, adherence to organic practices is incredibly expensive, and it may not be the most efficient way to grow plants or the healthiest.
Naturally is what most people think of when they think of organic. Naturally grown marijuana is done with the environment in mind at all times and without the use of dangerous chemicals or other synthetic products that many use when growing. Naturally means sticking with sustainable and renewable methods as much as possible to create healthier plants and higher yields, while reducing the carbon footprint of growing at home. It can be very cost-effective to grow marijuana naturally and does not require specialized equipment or other products.
Indoor and Outdoor Natural Growing
Growing indoors and growing outdoors are two very different processes. When conditions are ideal for natural growing, marijuana should be grown outdoors. This allows growers to take advantage of the natural sunlight, the water from rain, and the nutrients naturally available in the soil. However, it is not always possible to grow outdoors. Some may be required to grow indoors, while others may need to because they want to be able to grow even when it’s too cold outdoors or when the light cycle isn’t long enough to support marijuana plants properly. In these cases, growing indoors is necessary, and there are natural growing methods that can work and be successful.
Tips for Growing Naturally Outside
Growing outdoors easily allows for growers to use natural methods. The main concerns here are the potential for pollution and the amount of water used for the plants. Nutrients and pesticides can contaminate the water running off and will eventually find their way into water sources. Certain strains also require more water, so they can be more resource-heavy, especially in areas that do not see much rain throughout the year. Some tips for growing naturally outside include the following.
- Use Natural Products – Growers who want to grow as naturally as possible will want to choose natural fertilizers and pesticides to use on their plants instead of the synthetic variants. Even though they choose natural products, they should still use them sparingly to reduce the amount of run-off that is possible, so as to do less harm to the environment.
- Water Carefully – Sprinklers tend to be incredibly wasteful, as they water areas far away from the plants as well as the plants themselves. Drip irrigation is a better way to water marijuana plants but can still be wasteful if it is automated. Instead, watering by hand will ensure the water gets where it needs to go, with minimal waste.
- Use Mulch – Mulch, whether it is leaves, shavings, wood chips, or straw, around the base of the plants can help reduce the potential evaporation and keep more water in the soil where the plants can use it. Any type of mulch can be used, depending on the preferences of the grower.
- Plant Closer Together – When weed plants are closer together, it helps keep the soil shaded. This helps reduce evaporation and makes it much easier to water all of the plants at once. However, it is important to provide more nutrients to plants that are close together, as they will deplete the nutrients in the soil faster.
Choose the Right Strain – Those who live in dry climates will want to choose a strain that is suitable for growing outdoors in their environment. Some marijuana strains naturally take less water and still produce a higher yield, so they won’t require as many resources to grow in drier climates like in Nevada or Arizona.
Tips for Growing Naturally Inside
Indoor growing is going to require more resources compared to outdoor growing, but in some instances, it is necessary to grow indoors. However, even when growing inside is required or necessary, there are things that can be done to reduce the impact on the environment and the cost of a grow room setup, whether you live in Michigan or Missouri.
- Use Full-Spectrum LED Lights – Full-spectrum LED lights are often a better choice when growing marijuana naturally indoors. The light from these is closer to what the plants can use, so they waste a lot less light. They also stay cooler, requiring less ventilation than other types of lights, and use a lot less electricity.
- Choose Feminized Seeds – Unless male plants are required for breeding new strains, skip regular seeds, and choose feminized ones. This way, no time or energy will be spent growing plants that will just need to be disposed of once they are discovered to be male.
- Grow Faster Strains – Strains that tend to grow faster will get to the harvest point much faster, which means fewer resources used for each plant. Some strains can grow in as little as eight weeks, saving a lot of resources compared to ones that take 12 or 14 weeks to grow.
- Choose Natural Nutrients – Natural fertilizers are available that provide the nutrients marijuana plants need to grow properly. These plants are not as harmful to the environment compared to synthetic versions, and they will help the plants grow as healthy and as fast as possible.
All About Natural Nutrients
Healthy soil is the best way to ensure pot plants have everything they need to grow. However, the soil does get depleted over time, so it is necessary to add more nutrients to the soil as the plants use it. There are numerous ways to do this, but the easiest way for most people is to simply use compost to add to the soil. Compost is high in organic materials, so it provides numerous nutrients for the plant. It also helps hold in water and air, ensuring the roots of the marijuana plants have a healthy environment to grow in. Compost can be purchased, but it is easy to make at home as well and making it at home can ensure a continuous supply to use on marijuana plants.
Natural Composting Methods
There are multiple different methods that home growers can use to create compost for their plants. The best option is the one that works well for them, and that is easy to do, allowing them to create new compost throughout the year. Some of the options readily available to home growers include traditional composting, creating compost tea, and vermiculture.
- Traditional Composting – Traditional composting uses a large pile of waste that is allowed to break down over time and turn into compost. One pile is usually sufficient, though having two or three can make it easier to ensure a continuous supply throughout the year. To compost the traditional way, create a large pile of at least 60-70% brown material like dead grass, dead leaves, dried stems, and hay or stray, as well as 30-40% green material like kitchen waste, fresh grass clippings, or fresh waste from plants. The pile will need to be turned every six weeks or so, and it will need to be kept moist throughout without becoming too wet. After around three to six weeks, it will become compost. Those who have a single pile can pull out some of the compost and add new brown and green material regularly to ensure a continuous supply.
- Compost Tea – It is necessary to create compost to make compost tea, but this can be sprayed on plants once per month to help boost their growth. To create compost tea, use some of the compost made the traditional way and soak it in water for around 10 days. Then, simply add to a spray bottle and use it on the plants once per month. It is best to start with fresh compost tea each month, so only a small amount at a time needs to be made. This is a good technique to try on one of your autoflowering plants, since they already to do not require a great deal of nutrients to be added.
- Vermiculture can be done indoors or outdoors. Using a plastic tub, newspaper, and kitchen scraps, it’s easy to create a worm home. Red wiggling worms can be purchased online and kept in the plastic tub. They will eat through all of the kitchen scraps, plant waste, and similar materials to turn it into worm castings. While this does not provide as much as compost would, the worm castings are filled with nutrients and provide a way to get rid of scrap plant material.
Companion Planting to Add Nutrients
Another way to add nutrients to the soil is to use companion plants. When growing outdoors, companion plants can help put nutrients back into the soil. Between harvests, when the weather is too cold for marijuana plants, it is also possible to plant nutrient-rich plants in the soil to help create balanced soil before new marijuana plants are ready to be planted.
Chamomile and clover are two of the top plants to use as companion plants for marijuana. Chamomile grows easily and reseeds itself, so it is not something that requires a lot of added care. It can help bring up minerals from deeper in the soil, which then lets the marijuana plants get needed nutrients from them. Clover can also help pull nutrients from deeper in the soil, and it can form a living mulch. However, clover will need to be watched carefully because it does spread quickly.
Cover crops replenish the soil before each new set of marijuana plants. Cover crops can include alfalfa, beans, or other fast-growing plants like buckwheat. Once they have grown and it is time to plant the marijuana again, simply cut down the plants and till them into the soil. As they break down, they will add nutrients to the soil that the marijuana plants can use.
Natural Nutrient Possibilities for Hydroponics
Synthetic nutrients are often used for hydroponics because they are easy to access and use. However, it is possible to use natural nutrients instead. When setting up the system, it is important to keep in mind that the water can become dirty when the nutrients break down. They can also cause clogs that the synthetic nutrients would not cause.
Instead of setting up a single-level system like what would be used with synthetic nutrients, those who want to use natural nutrients will want to set up a dual-level system. The nutrients can be added directly to the growing medium, so they remain separate from the pure water that is below. The top of the roots will absorb the nutrients, and the bottom of the roots will absorb the water.
Natural Nutrient Recipes for Marijuana
Growers who want to stick to natural methods as much as possible will want to make their own nutrient recipes to use as needed for marijuana plants. There are numerous recipes available online that can be used, depending on the needs of the grower. A calcium-phosphate spray or homemade eggshell spray can be used when the plant changes from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage to help support the stems and promote more nutrient absorption. A fast nitrogen spray made of a mix of urine and water can help provide added nitrogen to plants that are deficient when compost tea is not easily available. Fermented stems are another option that can be made at home and is a fantastic fertilizer. It can be sprayed on the leaves or added to the soil.
Natural Remedies for Pests and Mold
Growing outdoors is incredibly beneficial for plants and does allow for natural growing, but there are pests and other issues like mold to contend with. While the first thought may be to grab a pesticide, most are filled with chemicals that can be dangerous for the plant and for anyone who will consume the marijuana after it is harvested and cured. Instead, growers looking for a safer alternative will want to use natural remedies that have proven to be effective over the years, and that can help keep the plants safe from mold, pests, and other issues that commonly occur.
When it comes to pests, the best method is to keep them away from plants in the first place. This can be done with natural sprays or by using companion plants that tend to repel certain pests. Growers will find there are plenty of effective options, so they can choose what works best for them and what may fit their preferences better.
Companion Plants to Repel Pests
Companion plants can be a great way to keep pests away from the garden in the first place. Most are easy to grow, so they do not require a lot of extra work and can be highly effective at repelling pests. Some of the ones that natural growers may want to try out will include the following. Growers in Texas may see lightly different pests in their gardens than growers in Tennessee, but the following suggestions are harmless to try out no matter where you are.
- Cilantro – Cilantro, an herb, can be used to repel aphids, spider mites, and potato beetles, all of which can destroy marijuana plants if they are given a chance.
- Dill – Dill is another herb commonly planted in home gardens that can help keep spider mites away. It can be replanted yearly and can be used in the kitchen once it has grown.
- Garlic – Garlic helps to keep away many different types of pests, including aphids, root maggots, and snails. It also has a natural fungicide, which means it is perfect for preventing fungus growth around marijuana plants.
- Marigold – Marigolds are another plant known for being a pest repellant. They look pretty, but they release a chemical into the soil that most pests do not like, so they tend to stay far away from the flowers.
- Peppermint – Peppermint is an excellent addition to any garden. It smells minty, which most harmful bugs will not like. However, many beneficial insects do like the smell of peppermint, so it can help attract them.
Pesticide Sprays with Natural Materials
While companion plants do help repel pests, there may be times when natural 710 growers notice that pests have made it to the marijuana plants and are causing damage. Instead of grabbing a chemical spray to get rid of the pests, there are natural sprays that can easily be made at home. A chili spray is great for getting rid of spider mites, while a tomato leaf spray can be used to get rid of grasshoppers and whiteflies.
One of the benefits of making a natural pesticide is that growers can use any ingredients they prefer. This allows them to customize a spray that repels or kills a number of different pests, allowing them to tackle the common issues for their area. Some of the ingredients that can be used include garlic, onions, neem oil, chili peppers, dish soap, tomato leaves, and tobacco. Certain ingredients, like dish soap, do need to be used sparingly, but otherwise, the ingredients can be mixed and diluted with water, then sprayed on the plants.
Natural methods for growing marijuana can help reduce your budget when growing, help minimize the resources needed, and help ensure you grow healthy plants that can be consumed without worry, whether you’re using them for medical or recreational purposes. At weed-seeds.com there is a variety of cannabis seeds to choose from, including the bulk sale of wholesale seeds. It does not need to be difficult to get started growing naturally, either. You do not need to jump all-in and start using natural methods. If you are just starting out, using natural methods from the beginning may be easier. If you are already growing plants at home, try switching to a natural method one at a time until you are using more natural methods to grow your plants. This could enable you to make the whole switch easier to do as it breaks it down into smaller pieces.