When growing cannabis in living soil, it is important to include a diverse ecosystem of plants, microorganisms, and fungi to create a nutrient-rich and self-sustaining environment. Some of the best plants and organisms to consider when building your living soil ecosystem include mycorrhizal fungi, rhizobia bacteria, cover crops, earthworms, and beneficial insects.
- Mycorrhizal fungi improve the ability of cannabis roots to absorb nutrients and water and improve soil structure.
- Rhizobia bacteria fix nitrogen from the air into the soil, making it available for cannabis plants to use.
- Cover crops, such as clovers, beans, and peas, improve soil structure, suppress weeds, and increase nutrient content.
- Earthworms help to break down organic matter and improve soil structure.
- Beneficial insects control pests and diseases and improve the overall health of cannabis plants.
Living soil benefits
Living soil is a sustainable and holistic approach to resin farming that involves using a diverse ecosystem of plants, microorganisms, and fungi to create a self-sustaining and nutrient-rich environment for your cannabis plants.
Hash makers have been preaching the benefits of living soil for years, citing its ability to create robust trichome heads and resin with more diverse terpenes. Living soil is also commonly paired with fully organic growing methods.
Hash and rosin grown with salt-based nutrients have a less diverse range of flavors amongst different cultivars. Feels like it's not the most accurate representation of the plant, and when you're growing for melt, your end product is going to be extremely sensitive to all of your inputs and their impact on flavor.
What to include in your living soil ecosystem
When choosing plants and organisms to include in your living soil, it is important to select those that will complement and support the growth of your cannabis plants. Here are some of the best plants and organisms to consider when building your living soil ecosystem:
Mycorrhizal fungi: These fungi form a symbiotic relationship with the roots of your cannabis plants, helping to increase the surface area of the roots and improve their ability to absorb nutrients and water from the soil. Mycorrhizal fungi are also important for building soil structure and increasing the overall health of your plants.
Rhizobia bacteria: These bacteria live in the roots of legume plants (such as beans and peas) and help to fix nitrogen from the air into the soil, making it available for your cannabis plants to use. Including legume plants in your living soil can help to naturally increase the nitrogen levels in the soil.
Cover crops: Cover crops, such as clovers, beans, and peas, are planted between the rows of your cannabis plants and help to improve the soil structure, suppress weeds, and increase the nutrient content of the soil. They can also help to attract beneficial insects and improve the overall health of your living soil ecosystem.
Earthworms: Earthworms are important decomposers in the soil and help to break down organic matter, improving soil structure and increasing the availability of nutrients for your cannabis plants.
Beneficial insects: Including beneficial insects in your living soil ecosystem can help to control pests and diseases, and improve the overall health of your cannabis plants. Some examples of beneficial insects to consider include ladybugs, lacewings, and predatory mites.
It is important to note that building a healthy living soil ecosystem takes time and patience, and it is essential to carefully monitor and maintain the balance of plants, microorganisms, and fungi in your soil. By choosing the right plants and organisms and creating a diverse and sustainable ecosystem, you can improve the overall health and yield of your cannabis plants.
- "The Role of Mycorrhizae in Sustainable Agriculture." (https://www.sare.org/learning-center/books/the-role-of-mycorrhizae-in-sustainable-agriculture)
- "Rhizobia." (https://www.britannica.com/science/rhizobia)
- "Cover Crops for Sustainable Cannabis Production." (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2019.01401/full)
- "The Benefits of Earthworms in the Garden." (https://www.thespruce.com/benefits-of-earthworms-in-garden-1402723)
- "Beneficial Insects for the Cannabis Garden." (https://www.leafly.com/news/growing/beneficial-insects-for-the-cannabis-garden)