During Earth Month, the New York Times wrote a report on the underground connections of trees in a healthy forest society. A vast network of soil fungi, bacteria and roots creates mycorrhiza: “Thread-like fungi envelop and fuse with tree roots, helping them extract water and nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen in exchange for some of the carbon-rich sugars that trees produce through photosynthesis.”
Organic cannabis grown in living soil is a strong niche market and home growers often opt for outdoor organic gardens. Cannabis plants grown indoors or outdoors in the ground also benefit from an underground network of mycorrhizae. But annual plants only have a year, not decades, to build their soil community.
This is where compost tea comes in. The great thing about worm tea is that it is applied in liquid form so that the soil can be enriched with liquid nutrients during the watering process. The tea itself doesn’t have many nutrients in it, so you don’t have to worry about scorching the soil or adjusting other nutrients.
Compost tea supplements the soil nutrients
Don’t let bad farming practices suck your topsoil away. Use organic compost tea to build up the topsoil and help the roots get into the subsoil.
As the name suggests, compost tea is a soupy mixture of compost, water and microorganisms that is poured into the soil and distributed with each watering. Due to a natural accumulation of organic residues, so-called worm tea is suitable for hand irrigation together with all irrigation pipes that supply fresh water.
There are a number of recipes for making compost tea, but all compost teas follow a simple basic recipe that is adapted to the circumstances. Let 5 gallons of tap water sit for 24 hours to distribute the chlorine, add a cup or two of inoculant (either worm cast, chew, or compost. Add ¼ – ½ cup of a bacterial or fungal source, such as Manure or fish emulsion and stir.
Either vent it with an air pump for a day or two to soak through aerobic mixes, or let it simmer for a week or more while stirring occasionally to create an anaerobic mix. Your nose will help you tell when it’s ripe. Dilute with the same amount of water and use as part of your normal watering process.
Don’t forget to fertilize
Adding compost tea to the soil helps the plant roots bind to the soil and absorb nutrients, but that doesn’t mean the plants can live without additional nutrients. So remember to water and fertilize as usual.
The beauty of this procedure is that a gardener doesn’t have to worry about adding too many natural mycorrhizae to the soil, excess microorganisms simply become inactive. Compost tea can also be applied to the plant by foliar spray to help prevent pest infestation, but you don’t want to apply this with every material that is consumed.
As with anything else, a person can get quite unsafe making compost tea, but for the grower who has a hands-on attitude and wants to promote soil health for green cannabis plants.
Solstice is turning point for the garden
From around June 20 of each year, solar radiation is reduced per day. In about a month, the flowers will show up on the cannabis plant. The males must be culled immediately to prevent them from fertilizing the females and producing seeds instead of flower buds.
This is why it is so important to add compost tea to the roots of your plants now. The mycorrhiza you are providing today will help the plants develop vegetative mass for the next month and then pile up flowers.
This article is intended as a reminder that the time to take care of your garden is and compost tea is an essential element of healthy organic cannabis plants.