Marijuana Business Magazine March 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | March 2019 114 C annabis growers aiming to graduate beyond premixed fertilizers and bagged dirt are increasingly seeking out an alterna- tive way to grow healthier plants and save money: living soil. Living soil is often thought of as planting material that centers on compost and has an active microbiology and biodiversity, which can include worms and their castings, protozoa, healthy bacteria, amoebas, kelp extracts and even glacial rock dust. Growers who create a biodiverse growing media skip the need for fertilizers because microbes eat and digest compounds that create bioavailable fertilizers. Plus, they report getting larger yields and better terpenes as a result. Creating your own living soil can eliminate the need for costly bottled nutrients and, some growers argue, lead to plants so healthy that pesti- cides are also unnecessary because robust cannabis plants can naturally fend for themselves. Bringing Soil to Life How to use compost, fertilizers and teas to grow healthier plants and increase yields and terpenes By Bart Schaneman Living soil can create plants so robust they don't need pesticide or fungicide applications. Courtesy of Aster Farms Best Practices | Cultivation Cannabis growers who create their own biodiverse growing media have reported increased yields and improved terpene profiles. Those who want to use compost, fertilizers and teas to build living soil should consider: • Creating your own soil mixtures can save you money compared to buying premixed nutrients. • Worms, dairy cattle manure and blood and bone meal are all good ingredients to consider adding to your grow media. • Growers cultivating cannabis with living soil apply beneficial bacteria multiple times throughout the life cycle of the plant. • Healthier plants will be more resistant to disease and require fewer pesticide applications.