Organic Vs Fertilizer Salts: This one is sure to make people salty

Updated: Aug 27, 2020

Let me preface this post with the fact that I have extremely limited experience in a chemistry lab in front of a microscope. I would have a hard time explaining most of what is going on a molecular level. Scratch that, I would fail miserably at explaining that. What I can offer is far more valuable to the average grower, which is hands on experience with these topics in a real world setting.

Although the vast majority of my time has been spent in the monumental world of hydroponics I am quickly developing a love for organic living soil. The processes and applications i have learned in the past few years have been eye opening to say the least. First off let me say that I love both, but the older I get I feel strongly about doing not only what is best/safest for the end user, and also the environment. Hydroponics is amazing fun and extremely rewarding, but it's environmental impact is tremendous. I don't want to get all "hippy" on you guys but producing and using a lot of these chemical salts is definitely not a good thing for our planet. That being said, I love me some fertilizer salts and hydroponic growing! It works amazing and produces top quality harvests when done correctly. When done incorrectly you might as well have tossed your money down the wishing well. The bottom line is this when done correctly either method will produce outstanding cannabis/hemp.

If you choose to go down the hydroponic rabbit hole keep this in mind......Companies like to make you think you need a million different products in order to grow the best product out there. I can tell you firsthand that is false and couldn't be further from the truth. The simple truth is that some chemicals can and can't be mixed in concentration. That is why most liquid fertilizers have at least a part A and a part B. There are a few other products that are incompatible as well, but for the most part my general rule of thumb is that you don't need more than a couple bottles on your shelf to grow amazing stuff. That being said, if you look at my nutrient shelf i have TONS of bottles. Most are an accumulation over time and now go unused. Also keep in mind that if your nutrients are in a jug you are paying for water/convenience. I mix my own nutrients from powders at a fraction of the cost of bottled nutrients.

It was recently explained to me how the living soil food web works, and one of the speakers said something that made a whole lot of sense to me. In a properly functioning natural soil food web the plant produces exudates from the roots(think sweat from humans) in order to attract certain types of bacteria and fungi to the root zone. Each particular bacteria and fungi that the plant lures into the root zone serves a symbiotic relationship with the roots/plant and is responsible for certain processes in the plant at certain times. The point is the plant is in control of what it wants, when it wants it. Fertilizer salts kill off beneficial bacteria and fungi, leaving us to interpret what the plants want and when they want it. Sometimes we get lucky and sometimes we misinterpret the data. In hydroponics it is easy to give the wrong thing at the wrong time if we don't know what we are doing. Again, I am not bashing hydro because I love it, but you absolutely cannot be lazy when growing in hydroponics. Attention to detail is everything.

If you choose to go down the soil rabbit hole you can do so as simply or as complex as you choose. From 100% organic, heavily amended soils that need water and teas only, to mixing and creating your own indigenous microorganisms and fermented inputs, cultivating worms and mushrooms in your soil beds, etc. The realm of soil has been rapidly expanding over the past few years. There are tons of recipes for soil mixes out there, but speaking from experience almost none of these products can be bought locally here in Yuma.

If all of this has left you more confused than when you started, that just means I got you thinking about the important aspects of choosing the right one! Either one can be done amazingly or terribly. What's important is that you have fun while doing it right.

See what I mean by overwhelming options? Variety is the spice of life!

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