Published 1 June, 2020

The acid pH in the water is usually a very common problem for most of growers. Since although pH 7 is considered neutral (neither acid nor alkaline), it is not the optimal pH for irrigation waters in indoor or outdoor crops. The recommended pH range of irrigation water for cultivation depends on the variety to be planted. In general, the correct pH for irrigation ranges from 5.2 to 6.8. If the pH of your water is higher, then you may need to treated it before using it in the crop. pH is the measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of a solution (how acidic or alkaline it is) and varies from 0 (the most acidic value) to 14 (the alkaline value). In most places the tap water contains substantial amounts of calcium (Ca) that gives it its characteristic hardness. These calcium levels can cause several problems, which can be relieved by performing some kind of pre-treatment of water.


There are several methods to soften the water and the safest is by using a reverse osmosis system, which completely eliminates calcium and bicarbonate. For horticulture, calcium bicarbonate is best neutralized by adding small amounts of concentrated acid to the water. Reverse osmosis neither changes nor alters the pH, this will remain the same although, it will lower the EC eliminating most sediments and above all, removing chlorine from the water.


  • The availability of micronutrients such as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu) and boron (B), and plant growth, can be drastically reduced using an acid pH value.
  • An acid pH in the water can cause that the salts that fertilizers contain and that are used to fill the storage tanks, precipitate (crystalyze)
  • Water with an acid pH can also reduce the effectiveness of insecticides. Since most of them keep their properties active for longer in solutions with a low pH.
  • Much of the available calcium does so in the form of calcium bicarbonate, which can be precipitated both at the bottom of the tanks, different parts of the plant (trunk, roots, foliage), different tools (pots, trays, scissors) and accessories (humidifiers).
  • A continuous use of hard water for irrigation can also lead to a build-up of lime in the substrate. This is a problem of many long-season greenhouses where the accumulation of irrigation, leads to a high pH accumulation in the soil.
  • Many species of nurseries are sensitive to lime and pH accumulation in the soil and can be very harmful.
  • Using acid water in humidifiers can cause a white layer to appear on the leaf surfaces, reducing photosynthesis.
  • It is also very typical to block pipes and nozzles in automatic and hydroponic irrigation systems.


Alkalinity is the ability of water to neutralize acids. Dissolved bicarbonates such as calcium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate and magnesium bicarbonate, along with carbonates such as calcium carbonate, are the main contributors to alkalinity in irrigation water. Most laboratories assume that total carbonates (TC) are equal to alkalinity, but in fact in most waters, bicarbonates account for more than 90% of all alkalinity present. To be sure, it is best to perform a water analysis and see if the total of carbonates that are displayed in percentages or in number figures for each element.


Adding the right amount of acid will reduce the pH of the water. If you’re in an area with hard water and decide to acidify the water, you may need to decrease the amount of calcium in your crop mix to match the new alkalinity levels. If your pH drops, you may need to increase your calcium content.

Concentrated nitric acid (60%) also provides some nitrogen (N). For every 100 ml of concentrated nitric acid added to 1.000 l of water, 22 mg/l of nitrogen is being supplied. From a series of hard water samples analyzed, it was found that the amount of acid required varies between 50 ml and 200 ml of concentrated nitric acid per 1.000 l of water supply.

Therefore, it is essential to accurately assess the amount of acid needed in each case. If a small amount of acid is added above what is required, the pH of the water will become very acidic. The amount of acid required is best evaluated by the evaluation process. Using the graph as an example, a water sample containing 100mg/l of calcium requires 275 ml of concentrated nitric acid to bring pH to 5.9.


Apart from citric acid, some acids used for water acidification also supply nutrients in combination with hydrogen. The nutrients supplied may be beneficial for plant growth (whenever it is not realized in excess) but it also can react with the salts contained in fertilizers with a high concentration or with pesticides, if they are mixed in spray solutions.

Also, you’ll need to adjust the nutrient plan if your water is being acidified. For example, if phosphoric acid is to be used, reduce phosphorus (P) levels. If the result is a very high alkalinity in the water, it is not feasible to acidify with phosphoric acid.

If you use nitric acid, consider the additional nitrogen supplied from the acid. The use of nitric acid (67%) to acidify a water containing 6,0 mS/l of alkalinity would supply 67mg/l of nitrogen in each irrigation.

Citric acid is ideal as an acidifier for nutrient solutions and pesticide solutions because it is much less likely to react with salts or pesticides than the other three acids. Although is much safer to use, its cost may make it less desirable for large growing surfaces.


Concentrated acids are dangerous chemicals and should always be handled with care. Staff who work with them must be adequately trained, have all the necessary personal protective equipment and work ideally in pairs. Respirators and facial masks are recommended as fumes and vapor can be a real health hazard. Acid manufacturers provide on labels the safety data sheets for their products. Therefore, people who will use it should become familiar with the details of each and everyone of them.

Always add acid to water, not water to acid. Acidified water is corrosive and can devour the metal components of your irrigation system in the blink of an eye.

Published 18 May, 2020

Water is vital for plant nutrition, especially in cannabis plants as it participates in photosynthesis, helps maintain the internal temperature of the plant and most importantly: it transports all the nutrients present in the soil to the roots so that the plant can absorb the food it needs. Therefore, the type of water we use significantly affects plant nutrition and as such, we must make sure to water using the highest quality water possible. This is especially valuable when we want to produce large buds rich in THC (and/or CBD).

Currently, most growers water plants with tap water, but do you know that it contains different substances and unwanted elements? Do you know what they are? And the essential thing: Do you know how to eliminate them?


To begin with, tap water contains, in greater or lesser amount, CHLORINE. Chlorine is a man-added chemical and is used primarily to kill bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses from drinking water. In addition, during the hottest season chlorine levels are increased to prevent the proliferation of these microorganisms.
In addition to chlorine, water contains other dissolved substances such as mineral salts and HEAVY METALS. The term “heavy metals” refers to a set of metals that, without being essential, have a toxic effect on living beings.
Elements such as cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), copper (Cu), cobalt (Co) and lead (Pb), among others, can accumulate in the plant and pass to humans through consumption.


There are different qualities of water, depending on the concentration of mineral salts it contains: soft and hard. Its classification is based on the concentration of minerals they contain and the unit of measure for this purpose is: 
1 mg of contaminant/l = 1 ppm.
It is defined as hard water that which has a high content of dissolved minerals. Mainly, it contains a high content of calcium and magnesium. To measure its hardness, we observed how many milligrams of calcium salts are in a liter of water.
The range between 200 and 400 mg/l is the given range for hard water while between 400 and 550 mg/l is for very hard water. In general, tap water usually ranges from 170-400 mg/l. While not dangerous to humans, consuming this type of water is harmful to cannabis plants.
On the other side, soft water contains very few minerals. According to the water hardness scale, less than 150 mg/l is very soft water, while between 150 and 200 mg/l is simply soft water.


Let’s say that an Indica variety, can support EC levels between 1.4 and 2.2 mS/cm, depending on the development phase. If we provide a water with 1.0 mS/cm of EC, the amount of nutrients that we can give to our plants will be between 0.4 to 1.2 mS/cm (the difference) to reach the desired levels. Instead, if we provide a water with low EC levels, the amount of nutrients that we can give to our plants will be much higher: starting from a pure base water, the plants will not absorb any unwanted elements, so we will increase to 100% the efficiency of the nutrients and fertilizers that we use; we will know at all times the amounts of what and how much plants eat, as well as help stabilize the pH.
So, now that you know what type of water exists and what’s in your irrigation water, you can now add a water treatment system to your set up. Depending on the quality of your water you only have to choose the system that best suits your needs:




If you want to know the 10 REASONS TO LOWER THE EC AND REMOVE THE CHLORINE FROM WATER, click here.

Read the Spanish version


Published 12 May, 2020

Micronutrient management in plants is well known to the most experienced growers. Because although they are not needed in high doses, they help your plants achieve better performance. New growers, on the other hand, often overlook all the micronutrients their plants require to grow.

Plants need, in addition to NPK macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), micronutrients in order to provide them with sufficient food. Finding the perfect balance between macronutrients and micronutrients in the soil will help you get healthier and more vigorous plants.

Nutrient categories

There are three different nutrient categories: primary nutrients, well-known macronutrients, or NPK (*did you know that water and air are also macronutrients?), secondary nutrients (those that plants need in smaller quantities) and micronutrients (those that are still needed in less than secondary ones). Among them they form the ideal diet of plants. And they are not even less important in the different phases.

If we think it and apply logic, it does not differ much from the ideal diet type for humans. Right?

*Water and air provide the necessary Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H) and Oxygen (O) throughout the plant cycle.

Secondary nutrients

Secondary plant nutrients are calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S). These elements, although not needed in such high quantities, are necessary for good plant health. Sulfur helps develop vitamins, helps seed production and is an integral part of amino acid formation. Magnesium is a key component in the production of chlorophyll and helps plants use phosphorus and iron. However, in cannabis plants calcium plays an extremely important role.

Micronutrients reduction

Over the course of days and irrigation, it is normal for the arrangement of micronutrients in the soil to decrease, even following a specific fertilizer program. For example, in cases of high yield crops, where there is usually more time than normal in the growth and vegetation phases.

Another reason is that some fertilizers, such as NPK, contain lower or non-existent amounts of micronutrients as they focus on nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium macronutrients. Also, we can meet it in case of not arranging a fertile or quality soil.

Identification and functions

Each of the nutritional elements required for plants performs several functions. There are even some that help plants to properly absorb others of these elements. Since it is the case with hydrogen (H), which needs oxygen (O) from water and carbon (C) from the air to provide the basic components for plants to produce carbohydrates.


Iron (Fe) is an essential micronutrient for healthy plant growth. It is used by various enzymes and proteins during photosynthesis for the manufacture of chlorophyll. It helps with lignin formation, energy transfer and nitrogen reduction and fixation. It is responsible for the function, structure and maintenance of chloroplasts (components of plant cells and algae).

It also plays an important role in the breathing process, an essential function of life. Actively encouraging the production of chlorophyll and preventing leaf discoloration commonly found in dying leaves.


Boron (B) plays a very important role in bringing stability to plants. It helps cell membranes with their development, reinforcing their structure and is vital to regulate a plant’s metabolism. It is extremely important for plant growth, directly involved in germination, pollen formation and flower retention. Low boron plants can show hollow fruits and stems, as well as weak leaves.


Copper (Cu) activates some enzymes in plants involved in lignin synthesis and is essential in various enzyme systems. It is also required in the process of photosynthesis, is essential in the breathing of plants and helps the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins in plants. In addition, it also serves to intensify the flavor and color in the vegetables and the color in the flowers.


Zinc (Zn) mainly helps to produce chlorophyll. Without zinc, the growth of plants is atrophy and the leaves are discolored due to zinc deficiency. This discoloration is called chlorosis, which causes tissues between the veins to turn yellow while the veins remain green, which usually affects the bottom of the leaf near the stem. 


Manganese (Mn) is a metallic element and one of the 13 natural minerals in the soil. It is the backbone of the photosynthesis process and is the reason why the leaves have their green color. Chlorophyll cannot capture the energy of sunlight for manganese-free photosynthesis. Soils rich in organic matter are also richer in manganese, but manganese can leach from lighter soils such as sand. Soils rich in organic matter are also richer in manganese, but manganese can leach from lighter soils such as sand. For this reason, manganese deficiencies are often quite common in light soils or with limited organic matter.


Nickel (Ni) helps the conversion of urea in plants, as it is a vital component of the enzyme urease. It is also believed to help with nitrogen fixation. To obtain a complete fertilizer for your plants, it may be helpful to choose one that includes nickel.


Chlorine (Cl) is a valuable plant micronutrient that helps with photosynthesis and the way plants use energy. More than chlorine, the plants that they use are chlorides that come from the chlorine that is present in the salt of the soil. Keep in mind that chlorine is very harmful to plants, so to be able to absorb it, they must be in a chloride compound.

And remember, to get the most out of your fertilizers (primary, secondary and micronutrients) in your crop, it is important to take into account the quality of the water. If we do not have a good quality inlet water, it is highly advisable (if not mandatory) to use a water treatment system. Available options are: Filtration Systems (REMOVE THE CHLORINE) or Reverse Osmosis Systems (LOWER THE EC).

Published 2 January, 2020

Isn’t salt a bad thing for plants? As gardeners and growers, we are very aware of the damage caused by soil or excessively salty water. However, guess how long a plant could live without salt. The answer is not very long …

A plant can only absorb a nutrient when that nutrient is in the form of ionic salt. This is because there must be a membrane potential (positive versus negative) to provide energy and move the nutrient toward the cell cytoplasm.

Therefore, proper administration of nutrients is necessary for healthy plant growth. Knowing how these factors balance will greatly contribute to maintaining a healthy crop.


Let’s take a look to an organic nutrient; We will use nitrogen as an example. Plants need nitrogen to produce leaf growth (among other things), however, root systems can’t absorb nitrogen directly.

In chicken manure, approximately 80% of the nitrogen content is organic and must be mineralized or converted to ammonium or nitrate to be available for plant absorption. For some forms of nutrients, this process usually takes up to a year. Time, temperature and bacteria are required to perform the conversion.

This is the main reason why organic nutrient applications do not overfeed or burn a plant. The nutrient is simply not in a form that the roots absorb. It is after this conversion process that the nutrient becomes salt and is available for absorption.


Most of the nutrients found in organic fertilizers are not yet in salt form, so the plant cannot absorb them. So, is there any benefit to this? Yes.

Let’s see the nitrogen again. There are different processes to convert nitrogen sources into ionic salt, and these coincide with the basic types of fertilizers. The first of these processes is hydrolysis, where nitrogen is converted by water.

The second is mineralization, where the microbial action of the soil converts the nitrogen source. The temperature completes the mineralization process. The processes or reactions that must occur in order for nitrogen to be available to the plant is quite complex.

During the mineralization of an organic nitrogen, the bacteria, in particular with the protozoa, are put to work consuming the nitrogen and converting it into nitrates, ammonium and other by-products. These nitrates are immediately available to the plant. This process takes time and increases the temperature and goes slowly, so the availability of nitrates is gradual and safe.

After nitrogen, phosphorus also requires the same type of reactions to become a salt and, therefore, available for plant absorption. Plants mainly absorb phosphorus as primary and secondary orthophosphate ions with negative charge.

Some prepared nutrients may have these already within the fertilizer compound, while organic forms require that mineralization processes occur first. This again makes the release of nutrients slower.

Granulated salt


During the transformation of nitrogen, bacteria in the soil, such as nitrobacteria, along with a multitude of other bacteria and protozoa, feed continuously. As a result, microbes multiply and create a living soil.

The concentration of microbes in living soil can be amazing. A teaspoon of fertile soil can contain 100 million and even up to a billion bacteria. Up to more than 60 km of fungal filaments, or hyphae, can also be present in that small sample.

Living soil is the main basis for creating the vigor and health of plants to help growers obtain maximum yield on their crops. These microbes retain water in their cells that may be available to the plant later. Bacteria eat exudates from plants such as sugars, carbohydrates and applied organic nutrients.

The protozoa then excrete nutrients available to the plants. Beneficial fungi protect plant roots from pathogens and harmful microbes while forming a symbiotic relationship with the roots for greater nutrient absorption.

Mycorrhizae are an example of this. If you have ever used a soil impregnated with this beneficial fungus, you already know how much vigor, foliage, flower and additional fruit can be obtained from the plant.

In all cases, the mineralization process builds the life and health of the soil. The amount of benefits of living land is overwhelming, and this is the reason why many gardeners prefer to use organic nutrients.


When reading “nitrogen“, on the label of your fertilizer, you can see what percentage of the product is nitrate, ammonium nitrogen or urea soluble and insoluble in water.

Because many fertilizers use at least some, if not a large amount, of urea, it is useful to analyze this characteristic. Like organic forms of nitrogen, the mechanism of urea release is mineralization. Urea usually takes up to a month to be available to plants. However, there are several different types of urea and each has considerably different release times.

Cold water soluble urea becomes available to plants in a couple of weeks, while hot water soluble becomes available in 2 to 3 months, depending on soil temperature. Water-insoluble urea can take several years to release.

Because these nutrients can be available at such a variable rate, you can see why it is difficult to know if your crop is being fertilized in excess. Care must be taken and periodic soil tests can help you know if additional nutrients are needed. In addition, it is always better to read the label to know the assimilation characteristics of plant nutrients.


However, there are circumstances in which adding mineral nutrients ready for absorption to an organic nutrient base may have its advantages.

In cases where a plant shows signs of insufficient nutrition, sources of organic nutrients may be too slow to correct this deficiency in time to avoid a reduction in several desired crop characteristics. Adding the right amount of inorganic nutrients to the soil, or even a foliar application, may be the solution.

In many mineral fertilizers, the nutrients they contain can be absorbed immediately by the root system, or at least they will be available very quickly. For example, the form of nitrogen nitrate that is often provided in synthetic fertilizers is immediately available (which facilitates excessive fertilization of a plant).

While mineral nutrients do not sterilize the soil itself or feed the soil microbes, these microbes will still reproduce and do a good job as long as organic nutrients are present. It’s only when the producer depends solely on inorganic nutrients that the soil will gradually become sterile by starvation of the microbes.

Knowing the right amount and the right reason to add mineral nutrients is the key to success. In addition, during certain phases of growth, a stream of phosphorus or extra nitrogen can create several desired effects. Micronutrients, those that can add flavor, may also be necessary at a specific time during the growth and flowering cycles.


In the end, remember that using organic forms of nutrients will build the soil while feeding your plants. This should be a priority for any grower. So try to keep an open mind about the use of mineral nutritive salts (fertilizers) in situations where they can benefit your crop.

Published 2 December, 2019

The complexity, beauty and incredible diversity of orchids are unrivaled in the plant world. These exotic gems comprise the largest family of flowering plants on earth, with more than 30.000 different species and at least,  200.000 hybrids.

Within this large number of varieties and hybrids of orchids, there are many that are perfectly happy growing in the hollow of a sunny window or under artificial lights.

To obtain greater possibilities for success, choose one of the least demanding varieties that suits the type of growth conditions we can provide. Choose the most mature plant that the place has (young plants are much more difficult to please) and, if possible, choose one in bloom to know what we will strive for.


 Orchids can be classified by their native habitat, which gives an indication of the temperature, humidity and light levels they prefer. Orchids can be found in the equatorial tropics, the Arctic tundra and everywhere in between. The reason for this diversity lies in the incredible ability to adapt to its environment.

With so many different orchid varieties that thrive in so many different growing conditions, it is relatively easy to find an orchid that adapts well to the conditions we have.


Most cultivated orchids are native from the tropics. In their natural habitat, they adhere to the bark of trees or the surface of other plants. Its thick white roots are specially adapted to absorb moisture and dissolved nutrients. Because these tropical orchids generally grow in high places in the trees, instead of on the forest floor, they are accustomed to good air circulation and lot of light. They prefer a 12-hour day throughout the year and require a high intensity of light, almost the same as in summer conditions in temperate regions.

Native orchids in the humid tropics, such as phalaenopsis and paphiopedilum, prefer daytime temperatures of 20°C to 30°C, with 80 to 90 percent humidity. They are happier in a window located to east or southeast where the light is not too intense.


Warm-weather orchids, including cymbidiums and dendrobiums, are used to an average temperature of 13°C to 21°C, a constant supply of moisture and good air circulation. They are generally happy in a south-facing window, although they may need some shade during the summer.

Cattleyas and some oncides grow where the days are dry and relatively fresh. They are able to tolerate a long dry season with temperatures of 25°C or 32°C, followed by a different rainy season. Their need for light is high, so they should be placed in a sunny window facing south


High altitude orchids, such as masdevallia and the epidendrum, grow in cloud forests where average temperatures are 15°C to 20°C and humidity is very high. These orchids prefer filtered light, which is not too intense.


Orchids are usually grouped into two broad categories that characterize their growth habits: monopodial and sympodial.

Monopodial orchids have a single vertical stem, with leaves arranged opposite each other along the stem. The flower stem appears from the base of the upper leaves. Orchids with this growth habit include genera such as phalaenopsis, vandas and ascocentrum.

Sympodial orchids are the most common. Most of these orchids have pseudobulbs that function as reserves of water and nutrients. The plant supports the pseudobulbs almost vertically and the subsequent growth and development of new stems occurs horizontally, among the pre-existing pseudobulbs. Each new pseudobulb originates at the base of the previous ones and, with its growth, originates new leaves and roots. Some examples are those of the genera cattleya, cymbidium, oncidium and dendrobium.


All orchids need a lot of light to thrive, but nevertheless they do not support direct sunlight. The appropriate location can be near a window where it receives a lot of light, preferably with a curtain or blind. For those windows facing south or in the summer, which can enter direct sun, it is necessary to sift the light through curtains, blinds or canopies.

Another good practice may be to leave them in the shade of other larger indoor plants that withstand direct sunlight. Just as the direct sun is harmful, the lack of lighting is another big problem, which will limit the growth and flowering of the plant.

Some symptoms of not having the necessary light can be a growth of long, thin and yellowish leaves, which fall easily and cause the plant to not bloom. In these cases it is advisable to use artificial lighting.


The irrigation water quality in orchids is very important since they are extremely sensitive and delicate. A water with a high content of mineral salts will block the ability of the roots to absorb food, which is known as a nutrient lookout.

To avoid this problem we must use a quality water, free of mineral salts, which will lead us to discard the use of tap water, unless we have previously treated it with a reverse osmosis system. In this way, in addition to removing 100% of the mineral salts from the water we will also remove up to 99% of the chlorine.


Irrigation and humidity are two other key factors for proper maintenance (and survival) of our orchids. Starting from the base that not all orchid families have the same needs, we should try to find out beforehand to recreate them as much as possible in the location we choose.

Inadequate irrigation, such as excessive watering, can cause the orchids to kill, since their roots are very sensitive and tolerate the lack better than excess watering. In addition, since most of them come from tropical climates and grow on top of trees, without direct contact of the roots with the soil, they are used to extract water from the humidity of the surrounding environment.

If you want to dig deeper into the entire universe of orchids, you can visit this page where you will find much more information in a detailed and specific way according to gender, habitat and habits.

Published 24 October, 2019


Organic farming is a method in which only natural products and mixtures with different types of environmentally respectable techniques are used. No chemicals are used: pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilizers.

This type of crop is a process-oriented production system rather than the products themselves.

The initial investment will make the cost in the different production steps higher than in traditional methods, in return, you get a higher quality end product: tastier, nutritious, healthy and with greater edible durability, characteristics by which the end consumer is willing to make a higher economic outlay.

For a crop to be considered organic, it is imperative to use water, at least, without chlorine.

Hydroponic basil cultivation 


Mineral fertilizers (non-organic) are basically obtained through the combination of different raw elemental mineral salts, while organic fertilizers are made from algae extracts and residues of plant and animal matter. Hence the price difference between the two ranges: the cost in raw materials.

Another of the main differences is in the relationship between the quantity and quality of the final product. Mineral fertilizers usually increase crops by reducing quality. The opposite occurs, almost always, with organic fertilizers: higher quality, but lower production. Almost always, because today, we can say that it is a myth.

With the use of hydroponic systems, new sources of LED lighting and advanced techniques such as SOG, SCROG, LST, robotization and the use of big data, there has been a dramatic increase in quantity, maintaining quality or even increasing it; promoting, above all, the aromas and flavors.


Pesticides are another area that generally confuses people when it comes to organic crops. Organic does not mean you cannot use pesticides. There are a variety of organic pesticides to counteract everything from mosquitoes to dusty fungi that are not toxic and leave no residue that affects the smell or taste (bacteriological fight).

Organic pesticides are also safe due to short safety times. These “safety deadlines” refer to the time required after an application before people can consume the fruits safely.

There are organic pesticides that can also be applied up to days before or even on the same day of harvest, while with non-organic ones they are likely to have a safety period of days or even weeks, which increases the pre-harvest interval from weeks to months.

Organic pesticides are effective and safe, since they have completely disappeared from the plant at the time of consumption.


The main reason why organic matter is better is due to the increased bioavailability of nutrients. Organic nutrients are the livelihood most similar to what plants can find in nature. They are more easily absorbed by the plant, which ultimately results in greater bioavailability.

The reason for this is that when a plant grows in a natural environment, the plant elements and the remains of animal matter that break down to provide food, are transformed by fungi and beneficial soil microorganisms. Mineral nutrients are not as friendly with this environment and as a result you will get a soil that does not contain beneficial microorganisms or fungi, an extremely vital part during the growth cycle. In addition, organic farming encourages the growth of these beneficial microorganisms and fungi, which, in turn, metabolize raw elements in a form that is more easily absorbed by the plant.

There will be growers who will try to complement non-organic crops with beneficial microorganisms. However, the simple fact of the variation in the pH of the mineral nutrients is enough to kill them, which leaves them without additional beneficial microorganisms.


The use of beneficial microorganisms and fungi in an organic crop is also practically mandatory, although not essential. Substances such as mycorrhizae, earthworm humus and bat guano (among others), must be essential components when creating fertile soil.


Mycorrhizae is a beneficial type of fungus that grows in association with plant roots. Unlike most types of fungi, mycorrhizae is beneficial for plants. As a consequence, they are used as soil improvers and enhance growth. The mycorrhizae establish a symbiotic relationship with the roots of most plants. After entering the roots, they connect to each other by sending their filaments (also known as hyphae) and increase the depth of absorption. In return, plants provide glucose to mycorrhizae.


Humus is the organic material in the soil. It is not a form of substrate, but the composting of the decomposed remains of leaves, grass and other organic matter contained in the soil. It is highly nutritious and rich in minerals and microbes vital for healthy plant growth. It also has the property of retaining 80-90% of its own weight in moisture.

Raw organic matter attracts microorganisms that feed on it and break it down, turning it into humus. It can also be created artificially by using a home composting system, mixing with garden soil to provide a fertile bed.


Guano is the fecal matter of bats and is used as a fertilizer, providing essential nutrients and minerals throughout the life of plants. It is frequently found in caves and must age for long periods of time before it can be used.

Guano may be more expensive, but it is one of the most potent natural fertilizers given its high content of phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. It also contains a large amount of micronutrients that drive plant growth.

It can be purchased in several different formats, either in liquid form, similar to tea, or in dry form, from powder, more suitable for working with the garden substrate.


To maximize the bioavailability of nutrients, vegan culture is a very good option … not to mention the optimal and best. As growers look for the most natural methods to grow cannabis, the tendency to work with these techniques is greater.

Vegan culture redefines simplicity and does not use animal products to maximize nutrient absorption. It creates it through the promotion of a habitat that is closest to nature in which fungi and beneficial microorganisms thrive freely.

The vegan crop revolves around the use of compost and compost teas to enrich the soil. Leftovers of grass, vegetables, cannabis leaves or any other green matter, will decompose over time, allowing a lot of compost to form a black mud at the bottom. As it decomposes, compost becomes home to a world of insects, larvae and fungi.

Proponents of vegan culture claim that the bioavailability of nutrients is 100%. Thanks to beneficial microorganisms and fungi, this massive increase in nutrient absorption results in greener leaves, denser buds, better aromas and a residue-free taste left by animal wastes in the typical organic crop. The simple fact of the change in this increase in nutrient absorption already makes it worth experiencing.


The answer is short and blunt: yes and without any doubt. At this point, the important thing here is to understand and plan the needs and possibilities of each one.

In short: mineral fertilizers are cheaper and act, but they are not as effective as organic ones. If what is sought is to produce commercial quantities of cannabis, organic production will be expensive and more difficult to implement; However, for a self-cultivator, organic is the way to enter.

Published 17 October, 2019

We finish with the third and last part of the article in which we will see other determining factors to achieve our objective: a quality harvest.

Finally, we will see the methods of manicuring, drying, curing and conservation.


Manicuring is the process in which the stems and leaves of the buds are removed. We comment on the final part of the last article when it is the best time to cut our plants. Well, once we have made the momentous decision, we must choose the method of manicuring … and if we will do it with the plant material still fresh or already dried!

It is important that you look for a well ventilated place or adapt some method of air extraction, always with a carbon filter or similar, so that the strong odors that are going to be released do not accumulate. They can be very annoying and, if you have neighbors, you already know what this can mean … And even if they are a bit uncomfortable, the use of masks is not too much.


Pruning in green, with the vegetable matter still fresh, is the traditional method. It is a faster process and it is best to do it in a well ventilated place. The best thing to do in this way is that we can have the material ready for curing much sooner than if we let them dry before manicuring. What we usually do many growers when the time comes, is to get together with friends, we laugh, we put on gloves and, with a few scissors, to the mess. Nor is it too much for your compis to bring a work overalls or spare clothes and let them take a shower at the end: the smell can be so strong that even after having showered, the skin may still give off odor.

Scissors in action


This method may not be so used because it is slower and consists of cutting the plants by their main stem and letting them dry. Once the plants are dry, the manicuring work becomes easier and more comfortable, but more tedious, because if we want to leave some buds with top finishes, we will have to devote more time to the scissors. It is very fast by the time of harvest, but slower by the drying process.

You can remove the larger leaves and leave the rest; In this way we will achieve a more homogeneous drying and the buds will be more protected from light and air.


The use of trimmers has become very popular in recent years, making work easier and saving a lot of time. Taking into account the value for money, there are for all pockets (small, portable, industrial) and according to the method that is preferred (manual or automatic), all perfectly perform their function.

There are opposing opinions by the most sybarite growers about the use of these machines because they believe that a lot of resin is wasted … but what if instead of 4 seedlings, do you have 400 or 4000?

               Automatic trimmer                                                 Workstation trimmer


Surely drying is the process that most despairs almost all growers, especially those who are learning: a few months have passed since the beginning and the desire to make the first tasting increases day by day.

To follow an optimal drying process, we must also take into account certain parameters of light, ventilation, temperature and relative humidity, if we do not want all the work done to go to waste and ruin the harvest. Drying will determine the final aroma, taste and effect. Any factor that serves to accelerate the process will adversely affect our goal: a quality harvest.


The first step will be to enable a room for drying in which we can control the maximum parameters. Do not have more rooms or space? You can always recondition the room after having collected or purchased a closet, just for this process.


Avoid direct light. Light degrades the resin and hinders the development process of cannabinoids such as THC, CBD and CBN.

Temperature. The appropriate temperature range is between 15oC and 20oC. With higher temperatures the terpenes evaporate easily and quickly. In addition, if we have a high temperature, it is likely that the plants will be dry ahead of time and cause us a great loss of weight and volume.

Humidity. A suitable range for the relative environmental humidity of the room or closet should be between 60% -65%. If it is higher you must include an exhaust extractor and an intake extractor to renew the air, never use a dehumidifier, since any accelerating factor will adversely affect us in the final quality. If it is lower, try to raise it with damp rags, never use a humidifier.

Ventilation. It is highly recommended to renew the air in the dried room. This does not mean that you use fans, another accelerating factor. Use an inlet extractor to renew the air and if you are going to use a fan, do not let the air flow give directly to the plants, better to aim at the floor or ceiling!


Once we have the drying room ready and the optimal parameters as controlled as possible, it is time to lay the plants: either hanging them or in a dryer.

To mount a clothesline we can hang a few ropes from side to side or mount a folding clothesline. We will leave the flowers still on the branches and hang them upside down. Finding the right distance to avoid being in contact will provide us with a homogeneous drying, preventing mold from forming.

To use the dryer we must eliminate all the branches of the flowers and spread them on the surface at different levels. There are different shapes and sizes, but the essential thing here is that they are all made of perforated mesh fabric for the correct aeration of the buds. Even so, it is advisable to move them and turn them once a day.


                             Vertical drying mesh                          Stackable drying mesh

To know and check when the drying process has come to an end, take a branch and fold it. If this creaks means that the time has come and if it still does not, you should leave them a few more days.


Once we have all our flowers very dry and with the crispy branches, it is time to cure, the process in which the flowers lose the rest of the water, the ripening of the cannabinoids has just taken place and the chlorophyll breaks down. Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants the green color but that you should remove to avoid harmful residues that alter the original aroma and flavor.


The best way to suppress chlorophyll is by starting a good root cleaning before cutting. The reason for watering plants only with water during the last weeks is not only to eliminate possible remnants of fertilizers and supplements, but also to eliminate chlorophyll: when cutting the food supply to plants, they use chlorophyll as one of their Last food resources. Therefore, it is advisable to increase the amount of irrigation water and do it abundantly during the final root cleaning process.


The best method to begin to cure the buds is to keep them in wooden boxes, preferably untreated, of materials such as pine, cedar or oak. There are models on the market designed specifically for this purpose, such as FUM-BOX or 00BOX, with which you can also control humidity. Another effective method is that of a lifetime: in shoe boxes.


Airtight glass boats are also a very good option. Although, you will have to open them to aerate them during the first weeks so as not to let the moisture accumulate that the buds will still shed.


Self-regulating moisture envelopes have appeared on the market for a while. They are composed of a gel with the property of providing or storing the necessary moisture to maintain optimum conservation. Depending on the quantity to be stored we can find different sizes and when they have solidified it will mean that it is time to renew them. If you do not know what is the optimal point of conservation, the introduction of these envelopes in your boats or boxes, is a very good solution.


Boveda conservation envelopes


For the buds to be well cured (and hard as stones) they must be between 6 to 8 weeks (we can not talk about specific days, everything will depend on the conditions in which the cure has occurred), that is when it arrives the most anticipated moment, check the final result: the tasting.


Once we have the buds ready to consume, it’s time to preserve them well, without losing any of their properties.

For this, the first thing is to vacuum pack them in a bag, preferably opaque, so that it does not give them light, in any case.

The second, and that few get to do, is to keep them in a freezer once the vacuum bag is ready. In this way we ensure that our buds do not lose their properties, but in this way, we can keep them for a long time … months, years … it will depend on each one.

When it is time to take it out of the freezer for consumption, it will be enough to leave the bag about 6-8 hours outdoors before opening it and to be able to enjoy that preferred genetics again.


After following all these tips, you will surely get quality crops. If you also want to be good growers, here are the last ones:

  • Start by following a nutrient plan, write down all the parameters of the irrigation day (room conditions (temperature, humidity, ppm if you use CO2), temperature, EC and pH of the water, pH and EC of the substrate, etc.) Over time, you will acquire skills and knowledge with the you’ll be able to create your own tables. In addition, the experience gained will always be useful when you try other varieties.
  • Before entering CO2 into a room, make sure that you always have all the parameters checked continuously, without any power outages.
  • Work for a while the same genetics to learn about it, create the necessary annotations and thus correct the above mistakes. The first thing is the quality, you will have time to optimize the quantity.
  • Test different culture techniques and methods (SOG, SCROG, HST, LST). Do it on one or two floors (or trays) because if something doesn’t go well, you’ll always have the rest.
  • The best method of learning is trial and error. Try and test things, if you always do the same don’t expect to get different results (yes, don’t forget to write it all down, i.e. that information will be valuable to you later!)
  • Be patient, this is the last unbalanced factor!

Published 2 September, 2019

We continue with the second part of the previous article where we will see the rest of the determining factors to achieve our objective: a quality harvest.

We will focus on the importance of choosing a good substrate and characteristics to take into account, small strokes of the SUPER SOIL and its advantages, the types of pots, differences between organic and mineral fertilizers, in addition to the good use of supplements and beneficial microorganisms. Finally, we will reach the moment that all growers crave: the harvest.


Another important factor to consider for a quality crop is the type of substrate that we will choose. The vast majority of substrates available on the market are composed of mixtures of different peat and other elements such as coconut fiber, perlite and vermiculite that help retain moisture, as well as other compounds such as mycorrhizae, bat guano or earthworm humus as supplements. Although each brand has its own mix, or even more than one, all are fine for cannabis cultivation.


Depending on the amount of food it contains, we will talk about neutral lands (without food), light-mix (moderate quantity of food) and all-mix (well loaded with food). Everything will depend on the control in the food that we want to carry during the different phases of the crop.


A light-mix substrate can go very well for growth and then in flowering use the products of your liking. Or on the contrary, there are those who prefer to use as few products as possible and use an all-mix for the whole phase of the crop adding some additive for the increase phase.


Another characteristic in which the most advanced growers are fixed is in the aeration and sponginess of the substrate. This is very important since the roots need a medium with good oxygenation (hence the sponginess) and due to continuous irrigation, all substrates end up clumping to a greater or lesser extent, preventing the roots from expanding and fully developing.

The importance of a well aery substrate


If we are going to grow outdoors we have two options: cultivate in soil or in a pot. Doing so on the ground has the handicap of not being able to move the site plants if heavy rains or hail come, so we must worry about mounting a good roof or protection so that when this happens it does not harm our plants.

For the rest, we will only have to worry about the substrate that we want to use … although then, we also have the SUPER SOIL.



We won’t go too far with this concept (later we will create a more specific and detailed entry). Simply say that it is the term used to create a fertile substrate composed of several elements, which offers everything that cannabis plants need, at the exact moment, and without the need to control their pH or add additional nutrients. There are many, different and varied “recipes” (this is that one of the teacher or guru who has popularized it, Subcool the Dank) to create your SUPER SOIL but doing it well implies that we will need space (to make the mix) and a certain period of time until the mixture matures.

Let’s say we do not have one or the other (or none) it may be a very good option to go to one of the many nurseries that sell high quality composted land. This may be an intermediate option for those who want the benefits of SUPER SOIL, but who are not willing to go through the composting process.

If we really want to get a quality crop, we are not going to consider recycling or reusing the substrate, right?


Beyond the traditional plain black (or colored) plastic pots, there are other alternatives such as Air Pot or Smart Pot textiles.  

The most common drawbacks that occur with the use of traditional pots are the lack of drainage and the lack of oxygen in the roots. This last problem is solved with the arrival of these new models.


First of all, we have the Air Pot pots that are characterized by creating a regular root pruning process, since they are in continuous contact with the oxygen contained in the air. This contact creates oxidation at the tips of the roots (root necrosis) which at the same time causes the stimulation of new shoots at their tips.

Air Pot and Smart Pot pots


Also, the Smart Pot pots. They allow an optimal oxygenation of the roots, enhancing their stimulation during the whole life phase of the plant, so much, that they can even get out of the pots … and gently passing the hands we already have our Root pruning done.

Due to these two factors, they are especially recommended for the maintenance of mother plants where the oxygenation of the roots plays an indispensable role and the task of pruning the roots, a child’s play.


Textile pot where roots begin to stand out


The definition of compost or fertilizer according to the European Union is “material whose main function is to provide nutrients to plants.” And basically there are two types of compounds to feed plants: organic or biological and mineral or chemical.


Bio availability is the measure of nutrients that the plant can absorb. When mineral nutrients are used, electro-conductivity (EC) should be increased to much higher levels to compensate for the lack of bio availability. When mineral nutrients are used, only about 25% bio nutrient availability is obtained. With organic farming, bio availability is doubled.

It has been shown that feeding the plants with organic nutrients, in optimal conditions (which implies working with 000ppm water), can absorb up to 100% of nutrients and the main reason is the increase in bio availability.


The rising increase in the consumption of organic, ecological and bio products in the food sector in general, especially in agriculture and livestock farm, is increasingly tending to abandon the old methods to bet on new processes through technology that you can quickly see the increase in productivity, the reduction of harvest time, a reduced need for labor, the disappearance of the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides, the optimization of resources, and best of all, they help the ecosystem and respect environment.

This trend towards organic is also being reflected in the cannabis sector at different levels: from commercial production of large-scale companies in large infrastructure (such as industrial buildings), small and medium enterprises (family farms and cooperatives) to small grower who seeks to stock up for his own self consumption. And so much that its use is for the extraction of flowers, oils, CBD, terpenes, etc., all of them seek to obtain that extra quality in the final product that will make them move away from their competitors.

Organic nutrients are the closest forms of nutrients to which plants would be exposed in nature and can be more easily absorbed by the plant, which ultimately results in greater bio availability.


If we choose to use a range of mineral nutrition from the dozens of brands available for sale, we recommend you follow the fertilization plan that it suggests. All the tables are tested before going on the market although there is no reason to follow them to the letter. Moreover, in many of them, in the lower part in small, it is usually read that they are approximate quantities since the values given can vary according to the conditions of one crop or another, of the parameters with which we work and ultimately, the genetic variety.

Regardless of whether organic or mineral is used, there are many products and each one will use the one that suits you or likes it but to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients remember to always use water without chlorine.


The use of supplements and beneficial microorganisms are always highly recommended as long as we apply them correctly since misuse will reduce the quality of the final product.

If we want to maximize our harvest, it will be mandatory to introduce these types of supplements into the diet of the plants, usually rich in phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), at the beginning of the fourth or fifth week of flowering. The high concentration of these nutrients will provide us with a drastic increase in size and final production.

To make good use of these products it will be imperative to perform an intense and meticulous cleaning of roots, beginning the process, preferably, about 15-20 days (or even more) before cutting. In this way we will ensure that we do not leave unwanted debris or impurities that affect the appearance and, above all, the taste.


It’s time for the harvest after so many weeks of work and wait and if there is something that puts all the growers in disagreement, it’s this: the correct time to know when to cut.


The first relevant factor to obtain references and know the days needed to cut, we can extract it by consulting the seed bank from which we obtained them. Today, the vast majority of seed banks attach this data either in days (for example, 60-65) or in weeks (9-10). Data that may vary according to the weather and latitude that we may have in outdoor crops or according to indoor growing conditions. As these are not concrete values but rather ranges, we need some more relevant factor to make the transcendental decision.



Looking at pistils colors is another very relevant factor. The plant begins to be at its point of maturation when more than half of the pistils change from whitish to brown. This is the optimal moment where we will retain all the psychoactive properties of THC with very low levels in CBN. CBN is the cannabinoid substance that enhances the physical and narcotic effect. The more days we let the rest of the pistils change color and turn brown, the more potent this effect will be, while decreasing the levels and potency of THC.



Observing color of trichomes is another very relevant factor. We will need the use of a microscope to be able to look carefully at what colors they are. From the moment of their appearance they have a crystalline color and as their life cycle progresses, they become more whitish and milky tones until they catch amber tones, an unequivocal sign of maturation.


As in this life it never rains to everyone’s taste and everything is a matter of taste, for tastes, those of each cultivator! Even after looking at all these factors, there are many growers who also notice the aroma (not to be confused with the smell). During the flowering cycle the plants begin to give off their aromas and as they reach their final live cycle, they acquire different nuances.

In the next and last article, we will talk about drying, curing, conservation and some tips and tricks.