For organic growers, no-till gardening is gaining popularity as a way to garden naturally and sustainably. The no-till method involves cultivating without digging or turning the soil and can be an incredibly beneficial strategy for maintaining soil and reusing growing media. Many cannabis growers are making the switch, so let’s take a closer look at what makes it so great.
What is No-Till Growing?
No-till cultivation is a technique that involves allowing the soil to break down organic matter on its own without turning the ground, much like a natural forest floor. While this sounds like an easy task, it can take some time and effort to get your grow set up for success. Soil health is a huge factor in effectively implementing a no-till grow, which involves mulching, amending, and composting over long periods to ensure that the soil builds up a bank of nutrients and beneficial microbes that your plants can draw upon. In the long run, no-till cultivation reduces the amount of physical labor that goes into the grow and can be beneficial for many reasons, including protecting soil organisms, retaining water, improving aeration, and even preventing weeds.
No-Till Cultivation and Cannabis
No-till growing is becoming more popular in the cannabis industry in particular. A common problem with traditional methods is the need to constantly replace the soil media that is ruined by the salts in liquid fertilizers, leading to rising soil costs each season. Some cannabis cultivators are shifting to no-till growing in soil because this method focuses on keeping soil media for reuse season after season and repairing it rather than disposing of it. An organic dry fertilizer like Geoflora will support your grow by providing a robust profile of nutrients, a boost of beneficial bacteria, and an easy top-dress application that is compatible with no-till systems.
No-till cultivation can be an excellent option for cannabis growers who use other natural methods to improve their grow, such as soil microbes like beneficial bacteria and fungi like mycorrhizae. Because the soil is not tilled or disturbed, the established systems of microbes and fungi remain season after season, improving the uptake of nutrients by the plants and allowing the soil to become a healthy system based on natural processes.
The Best of No-Till
No-till farming’s most significant benefit is preserving the natural web of organisms in the rhizosphere, including mycorrhizae, bacteria, and beneficial invertebrates such as earthworms. Earthworms naturally work through the soil and convert it to usable nutrients. Additionally, mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria interact with plant roots to allow for nutrient exchange at the root zone that the plant wouldn’t be able to uptake on its own.
These organisms naturally enhance the plant’s growth, resulting in higher yields, more robust stems and stalks, and healthier plants. When soil is tilled, these organisms’ structures and colonies are disturbed and sometimes destroyed, resulting in a rhizosphere that lacks these beneficial microbes and the nutrients they bring to the table.
No-till farming involves adding mulch to the top of the soil around plant roots. This creates a spongy top layer of organic matter that protects and insulates the root zone from growing too hot or cold. In turn, this prevents evaporation and allows the growing media to retain water, which reduces costs and allows the root zone to maintain a healthy, more consistent level of hydration.
No-till cultivation also allows for better aeration in the soil. Frequent mulching creates decomposing layers of organic matter. Because the layers are made up of various components with different densities, they don’t become compacted like tilled soil, allowing space between soil layers that results in more air reaching the root zone. Airflow is critical to soil health, as it provides oxygen to beneficial microbes, allowing them to flourish, and kills off many detrimental microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments.
Weeds find it difficult to take root in no-till grows due to the use of frequent mulching. Adding mulch kills weeds that have already sprouted by depriving them of light, keeps the top layer of viable soil insulated from new weed seeds, and allows surviving weeds to be pulled effortlessly from the less-compacted soil that is created by regular mulching. In all, this method of farming results in less time spent on weeding your beds of troublesome pest plants.
Go No-Till for your Organic Grow
The no-till movement is becoming increasingly popular among growers looking for ways to produce organic cannabis sustainably. While this type of grow can be an enormous undertaking, no-till cultivation can be extremely rewarding for cannabis in particular due to its compatibility with organic growing and the ability to protect beneficial microbes that boost cannabis growth, such as mycorrhizae and bacteria. With the right setup, this approach can even make your grow more manageable.
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