Living soils are all the rage in cultivation
Living soil is a cannabis growing term for a type of growing that uses live enriched soil with symbiotic microbes and fungi, as opposed to a “dead” soil medium enriched with bottled nutrients.
Living soils are all the rage in cannabis cultivation. Think this is just a marketing term? Think again: A new study led by Columbia University and a group of cannabis growers compared cannabis grown indoors and hydroponically to cannabis grown outdoors in living soil. The results are astonishing!
Le cultivated cannabis outdoors presented a significantly greater diversity of cannabinoids and a quantity of terpenes. Have we caught your attention? Let’s get to the heart of the matter (the pun is entirely intended).
Living soil practitioners claim that living soil's more natural root zone allows for better nutrient uptake by the roots, leading to more diverse and higher terpene production than living soil. hydroponics. (Many salt-based bottled nutrients kill natural soil fungi and bacteria, potentially reducing nutrient uptake into the root zone.)
Most people confuse soil with earth,” says Dr. Elaine Ingham, one of the world’s leading soil biologists. “But they are two completely different things.”
Devoid of any organic matter, the earth is simply made up of decomposed parent rocks. “They are only a mineral component,” she explains. You may know that your soil is sandy, loamy, or clay, but these three terms are just textural descriptions. When out of balance, they can make gardening difficult, but even when they are in ideal proportions (one-third of each, known as loam), they do not indicate soil health.
Soil, on the other hand, refers to a complete underground ecosystem made up of soil and a whole series of characters (bacteria, fungi and micro-arthropods (nematodes, earthworms and spiders – invertebrates that we can see) that work together to break down matter organic and release nutrients in a form that can be assimilated by plants, a process known as “nutrient cycling.”
“The soil is a very living element”, underlines Ms. Ingham. She calls the action that takes place underground the soil food web.
This is how soil has been built for billions of years. Think of a forest, an incredibly productive environment that uses no synthetic fertilizers. It's the soil's food web that does all the work instead, building richer and richer soil over time.
Some problems with synthetic fertilizers
Many cannabis growers grow their plants in a soilless environment, in coco or rockwool, and irrigate them hydroponically with synthetic fertilizers. The origin and application of these chemicals have proven problematic.
Dr Ingham explains that after the abrupt end of the Second World War, chemical companies had huge stockpiles of TNT, an explosive. Where companies dumped their TNT, weeds grew better. The nitrogen contained in TNT is food for plants. This is how inorganic fertilizers were born. Plants grow quickly when they gorge themselves on nitrogen.
“But this does not mean that plants grow healthy“, explains Mr. Ingham. “All you provide is nitrogen, while your plants need phosphorus, sulfur, potassium, zinc, iron, etc.
An unbalanced diet makes plants vulnerable to disease and destroys the soil. All inorganic fertilizers are, by definition, salts: An inorganic material that dissolves in water. When we think of salt water, we cannot drink it or we will die of dehydration. The same goes for microorganisms in the soil: They are killed by these fertilizers and, bam, you have dead soil, not living soil.
Living soil is more sustainable
Why do farmers cannabis do they turn to the ground alive, apart from the most powerful terps?
“We were impressed that there was no need to throw out the dirt every year,” says Jake Taylor of No-Till Kings. Long Beach farmers recycle everything in their soil. No-Till grinds last year’s leaves and stems into mulch for this year.
“I realized that soil health is by far the most important element. Biodiversity is important. Rhythms are important. Good seeds and genetics are important. But soil health is paramount,” says Benziger, whose plant won a gold medal at last year’s California State Fair.https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSAU5ludwNyqMHBaR1ZfheQ