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What’s In Your Weed?

It takes some time to find your favorite type of dispensary once you  learn that there are different types of growers with a wide variety of prices and products. It can be hard to differentiate which growers are skilled and which growers methodically apply chemicals, pesticides and flavor enhancers. Skilled growers really know how to interpret what each plant needs, and learn about the nutrient need variances between strains in order to produce the best possible growth and harvest for each strain AND produce this quality product without blasting plants with harsh synthetic chemicals. In fact, the most flavorful and powerful Marijuana is grown using organic (non-synthetic) fertilizers and soil conditioners in the right level of concentration and combination. It doesn’t end at having the perfect diet and balanced nutrition.

Pest control is the more common and more intensified way that harmful synthetic chemicals can end up in your smoke. It is perfectly legal for growers to use harsh pest (insects and fungus) controlling agents, and this decision is made by the head grower of any greenhouse or outdoor operation. Pesticide use ranges from situations where they would otherwise lose large profit in wiping out a crop, to steady and ongoing scheduled sprays for preventative measures. By default, Marijuana crops are grown in groups as monocultures. Lessons from modern sustainable agricultural practices, teach that diversification of crop type and crop rotation are inherent to natural balance of soil nutrient distribution. Lessons from large scale Agri-Business show that monocultures can be incredibly profitable at the expense of product quality.

In produce as in Marijuana, it is up to you what products you want to put into your body, and how much research you want to put into knowing what your growers have put into the products you choose to purchase.

Is this grower organic?

It is tough to know if every source of every nutrient that your grower puts on our plants is from organic sources, and its not uncommon for some growers to use organic products interspersed with some synthetic products. In general, it is usually a safe bet that if the primary ingredients are listed as know organic products, that your grower is at least conscientious. A good rule of thumb is to read the first three and the last three ingredients – that way you learn what products are added in the largest quantity, and what products can only be added in very small applications. For that reason, it is good to know what all common nutrients do to impact the health and productivity of a plant during both vegetative and flowering states, in addition to knowing whenever possible, the origin or creation method of the additives used to promote the growth of the plants you smoke.

Bat/Seabird Guano – The excrement from birds and bats are among nature’s best fertilizers! Particularly high in nitrogen and phosphorus, guano fertilizers are excellent for use around fruiting and flowering plants. They’re also high in trace minerals, providing well-rounded nutrition and they’re great for making growth-boosting liquid teas. Good growers seek out guano harvested under strict, preservation guidelines to avoid disruptions to creatures and habitat.

Kelp – Seaweed is a valuable source of fertilizer and organic pest control all in one natural material. Plants contain hormones that drive growth in many different ways. Kelp is naturally rich in cytokinins, gibberellins and auxins, all of which play a vital roll in cell division and enlargement. Their presence helps Seaweed plants grow as much as a foot a day in habitat, and this level is transferred to soil when Kelp is harvested and applied to the garden. When Kelp is worked into the soil, it aids in the expansion of root systems, because cytokinins come in direct contact with living roots.

Amino Acids – Linked together by peptide bonds (co-NH) forming a polypeptide chain, the building block of protein, enhances root production and cellular growth when applied to the soil or hydroponic solution. Amino Acids also serve as  catalysts when freed of the bond serve as precursors to many important small molecular compounds, including nucleotides, porphyrins, parts of lipid molecules, several co-enzymes and other Biomolecules.

Humic/Fulvic Acid – Humic/Fulvic Acid along with Kelp is a cornerstone of all things good, of all things Organic. Humic Acid (Humates) is carbon and carbon is the building block of all life. Humic Acid stimulates root growth, chelates minerals, promotes more efficient absorption of minerals by the plants through the roots and leaves, removes salts and toxics, pushes soils more fungal (reduction of weeds in turfgrass), provides over 47 minerals, loosens clay soils allowing more oxygen flow and in sandy soils tightens the aggregates together, increases the soil CEC (nutrient capacity) and buffers the pH.

Calcium Nitrate – Calcium nitrate contains two of the basic nourishment elements that plants must have: Nitrate nitrogen and calcium. Calcium nitrate is the best choice for any kind of plants in all soils and climates for top fertilization. Because of the combined intake of the calcium and the nitrate by the plants, there is no residue in the roots as with some other types of fertilization. The positive effected combination of these two basic nourishment elements does not leave the soil salty. The effect of the nitrogen in nitrate form on the roots is such that the water-soluble calcium is more easily absorbed and thus better provides the plant with its calcium requirements. Nitrogen in nitrate form is plants’ preferred form of nitrogen. It helps plants absorb other nutrients in addition to calcium. Particularly in clay soils, ammonium may trap the nitrogen in the soil, thus rendering it unavailable to the plant. Nitrate, on the other hand, does not absorb the nitrate nitrogen to the soil. It remains in the root area in a form that is easy to absorb and in this way allows the plant to quickly receive its nutrients requirements. Calcium is a macro nourishment element that plants consume a lot of. It s compound of cell wall. It is frequently found in soil in a compound form that plants cannot use. It does not transport well in plants. For this reason, it is necessary to do calcium fertilization in addition to other kinds of fertilization. Plants cannot grow without calcium. After nitrogen and potassium, calcium is the next most consumed requirement of plants.

Magnesium Nitrate/Phosphate – Magnesium is the building block of chlorophyll in plants. In protein synthesis, magnesium ions play an important role in enzyme reactions and the formation of vitamins. The first symptoms of Magnesium deficiency are loss of a healthy green color near the veins, followed by yellowing between the veins.  In some plants, magnesium deficiency appears in the form of spots.  In cases of serious magnesium deficiency, the leaves will turn to a reddish-purple color. In extreme cases, the green areas disappear.  Magnesium deficiency is first apparent in the older leaves. Most common in over-leached sandy soil. Plants require a lot of magnesium in low acid (pH) level soils common when ammonium, calcium and potassium fertilizers have been over-used. Magnesium phosphate is an important mineral, often simply known as magnesium.

Mono-potassium Phosphate (MKP) – A nitrogen-free fertilizer, MKP is an ideal source of phosphorus and potassium when nitrogen fertilization should be limited. When used at the early growing season MKP stimulates the establishment of the root system. Application of MKP at the productive stages of sugar-rich fruit crops helps to increase sugar content and to improve quality.

Potassium sulfatePotassium fertilizer is commonly added to improve the yield and quality of plants growing in soils that are lacking an adequate supply of this essential nutrient. Most fertilizer K comes from ancient salt deposits located throughout the world. The word “potash” is a general term that most frequently refers to potassium chloride (KCl), but it also applies to all other K-containing fertilizers, such as potassium sulfate (K2SO4 , commonly referred to as sulfate of potash or SOP). Potassium is needed to complete many essential functions in plants, such as activating enzyme reactions, synthesizing proteins, forming starch and sugars, and regulating water flow in cells and leaves.

Iron DTPA – Water soluble iron most commonly used in hydroponics operations. In soilless media, preplant sources of micronutrients are often added at mixing. In general, the sources in starter fertilizers can include both soluble forms (sulfates) and insoluble forms (oxides or fritted trace elements). Sometimes, water-soluble fertilizers or micronutrient sources are sprayed onto the media at mixing. In general, micronutrients are incorporated in a root medium at low rates and therefore only represent a relatively small percentage of the total amount applied to a crop. The one exception is often iron. Iron sulfate at rates up to 4 pounds per cubic yard (2.4 kg/m3) is sometimes added in a starter fertilizer to supply iron and to help keep the medium-pH low when using irrigation water that contains high concentrations of alkalinity. Depending on the rate used, the effect will probably not last for more than three to four weeks and may need to be reapplied. There are several considerations for using iron sulfate for iron nutrition and acidification in a starter fertilizer. Iron sulfate oxidizes easily, and so it can be difficult to obtain consistent results. Never mix iron sulfate with limestone before incorporation, because the high pH of the lime can cause the iron sulfate to oxidize and become ineffective. Finally, if you are using both iron sulfate and lime in a mix, you may get better, more uniform pH control by leaving the iron sulfate out completely and reducing the lime incorporation rate.

Silicon Dioxide – Silicon falls into the category of a “beneficial element”.  Silicon is not an essential element, so it is not absolutely required for the growth and development of the plant.  But silicon is very beneficial to plant growth since it helps strengthen leaf cells against fungal attack and improves the permeability of root cells to water and minerals.  Silicon acts as a reinforcing agent to plant cells, embedding itself into cell walls in the same way that construction rebars are used to reinforce concrete.  In nature, silica is a component of sand and other minerals, and many plants can take up and accumulate significant amounts. Silicon aids in the uptake of water and nutrients, improving the plants resistance to heat and water stress.  Some of the silicon can be taken up by the plant in the soil water solution, but much of the silicon becomes embedded in the root cells.  With added silicon, the permeability of the roots is substantially increased.  As a result, the flow of water into the roots is enhanced, and the drought tolerance of the plant is improved.

Beneficial Bacteria and FungiMycorrhizal Fungi/Soil Microbes are known as root growth products because of the responsiveness in plant health to the presence of active healthy soils. There are in a healthy soil literally hundreds and hundreds of species of soil bacteria, soil fungi, and many other microscopic soil critters. A single tablespoon of healthy soil might contain over a billion beneficial soil microbes!!! The problem is that most of the soils in the home landscapes of America have a very low population of these valuable and important soil microbes. It is now possible to replenish your soil with these very valuable plant growth helpers. There are products now available, either in powdered or liquid form, that contain dozens of the most important soil microbes. These magical creatures, when in sufficient numbers, perform very important functions for your landscape plants.

Pyrethrins – The pyrethrins are a class of organic compounds normally derived from Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium that have potent insecticidal activity by targeting the nervous systems of insects. Pyrethrin is synthetically made by industrial methods, but it also naturally occurs in the Chrysanthemum flowers, and thus is often considered an organic insecticide, or at least when is not combined with piperonyl butoxide or other synthetic adjuvants. Their insecticidal and insect repellent properties have been known and utilized for thousands of years. Pyrethrins are gradually replacing organophosphates and organochlorides as the pesticide of choice, since these other compounds have been shown to have significant and persistent toxic effects to humans. Because they are biodegradable compounds, pyrethrins are now widely regarded as being preferable to pyrethroids, which is the name of a group of synthetic analogues of pyrethrin that accumulate in the environment. Pyrethrins are considered to be low toxicity pesticides from a human health standpoint.

Neem Oil – Neem oil comes from the tree Azadirachta indica, a South Asian and Indian plant common as an ornamental shade tree. It has many traditional uses outside of the insecticidal traits. For centuries, the seeds have been used in wax, oil and soap preparations. It is currently an ingredient in many organic cosmetic products too. Neem oil can be extracted from most parts of the tree, but the seeds hold the highest concentration of the insecticidal compound. The effective compound is Azadirachin and it is found in highest amounts in the seeds. There are numerous neem oil uses, but gardeners hail it for its anti-fungal and pesticide properties.

 

Do Your Own Grow to Really Know

For some nutrients, like guano, it is pretty likely that you’re getting a wholly organic product. Trace nutrients, and various nitrogen fixes are often so hard to extract that they are more commonly found in synthesized state – and it can be very difficult sometimes to be certain of the source. This is the greatest logic behind growing your own smoke, and for finding a reliable dispensary where the bud-tenders can provide useful information about the grow.

Be wary of the numerous expensive supplements that are popping up at garden supply stores. These products are often designed more to improve the company’s profits rather than the quality of your crop. Growers have been growing great buds for decades using pure water, hydroponics and basic nutrients from reputable manufacturers. Some of the supplements are good, but often not necessary. Try the supplement with a few plants, but leave some of the same variety untested (controlled) because that is the only way to decide the effectiveness of the supplement. Many of the products are nothing more than the very dilute phosphorous and potassium solutions.

Watch out for over-fertilization – its very easy to get unbalanced. Over-fertilization occurs when a plant absorbs more fertilizer than it needs either as a result of excess fertilizing by the gardener or when the soil (or soil-less mixture) becomes saturated with nutrients accumulated over time. The minerals fill extra-cellular space as well as change the chemistry in individual cells. On osmotic imbalance occurs when water is sucked from the plant by salt accumulation in the root zone. There are three common indicatins of over-fertilization; wilting, a darker than normal shade of green in the leaves and “crepeing” – thickening of the leaf tissue causing an effect like crumpled crepe paper. THis does not necessarily cause death to the plant, but will cause plants to stress and underperform (a direct opposite result of the reason to fertilize in the first place). Plants in supplement-rich environments need to be flushed and have their soil/medium ph balanced in an effort to regain cellular performance of the plant. Be wary of nutrient doses stronger than 1200 ppm.

 

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