In the modern grower’s world, the conversation of going either with organic vs synthetic nutrients is a hot topic.
Walking into all the best grow shops in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban, there’s bound to be two growers having a heated discussion!
Mother Earth is the best assistant for any plant. We must all go organic!A made-up grower from behind the lentil curtain
While someone from further north will be like:
Nutrients is nutrients. I think I’ll use whatever works the best. Also, Mother Nature can be a POE-….A made-up grower from behind the boerewors curtain
Anyway! Enough of that! Let’s define what is what!
What does growing organically mean?
Let’s put this simply, when anything goes through as little processes to get to the final product it is considered more organic.
We’re not going to discussed genetically modified seeds and GMOs blah-blah-blah. NO! We’re going to just define what growing your crop organically means.
This means you’ll be utilising soil. Which should be free of any inorganic substrates.
While you might be wondering what can you use in the soil? Well, worm castings, living microbes, and rock dust, or gypsum.
Your biggest challenge will be creating a healthy eco-system. This should include a healthy balance of:
- Organic Matter;
- Soil Nutrients;
- Micro Organisms;
- And healthy bacteria.
At Zootly, we stock a number of organic products to help you maintain this balance with craft soil. After all, we’re the best grow shop in Cape Town.
Benefits of using organic!
For those wondering what the benefit of using organic nutrients is, well, the main benefit is they are slow releasing when compared to their synthetic counterparts. Which is good.
And there is less of a chance you’ll cause nutrient burn. This route is perfect for newbies. Not to mention that natural products are better for the environment.
This means, for some, the taste of the final product is better and the soil is healthier.
While, this may all seem great news, and why would anyone call on the help of science… we’re here to say,
Mother nature isn’t always flawless! Look at the badly evolved Panda. It’s a bear that decided to change its coat to become highly visible and then thought it was a good idea to only eat bamboo! A nutritionally bad food for an animal of its size. It’s only survived near extinction because humans find it cute!Andrew Macfarlane, writer, gardener, and someone who’d have preferred saving another animal from extinction.
The down side of using organic nutrients?
As mentioned, organic nutrients take longer to absorb! And if you’re growing an autoflowering seed, you don’t have time.
This slow up-take is due to the fact that microorganisms need to break down the nutrients. Like a mother bird chewing up food for its chick.
And if the environment is too cold, this process slows down! Then, the next disadvantage is organic fertilisers aren’t exactly sterile, which means that harmful fungi and algae can develop and attract pests.
Anyway! Enough of this tree-hugging part of the organic Vs synthetic cannabis nutrients argument, let’s talk science!
Unlike organic growing, using synthetic nutrients you can easily dilute them into a hydroponic grow setup.
You can also identify them by the N (nitrogen) -P (phosphate) – K (potassium) ratio on their packaging.
These compounds are all artificially extracted, an example is the fact the artificial nitrogen fixation process is called the Haber-Bosch process.
While the NPK ratio on the packaging will give you an idea of the mixture of compounds in the nutrients, there are other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, to name a few.
As Cape Town’s best grow shop, we stock synthetic nutrients. Like our GHE Flora range.
What are the benefits of taking the synthetic route?
Benefits of using synthetic!
As mentioned, the ratio of compounds in synthetic nutrients is closely monitored.
This means you can be sure that your plant gets exactly what it wants when it needs it. With organic nutrients, there can be slight variations.
Being more precise means better returns of THC. And unlike the natural nutrients, your chemicals tap straight into the roots of your plant without needing additional microorganisms to break it down.
The down side of using synthetic nutrients?
Just because something is available instantly, doesn’t make it better. We mentioned earlier that growers are more prone to causing nutrient burn with synthetic nutrients.
And while in-organic compounds make your plant grow faster, they can cause salt build up over time. Which in turn results in poor quality soil.
And finally, it takes a lot of energy to execute the Haber-Bosch process.
So, if you’re growing outdoors in a shared garden bed, going synthetic might not be wise. Then again, if you’re using a hydroponic grow setup, no real harm done…
To conclude the organic vs synthetic conversation!
As with everything in life, there’s a fit for your specific situation, as always, YOU SHOULD DO YOU!
Words by: Andrew Macfarlane, writer, gardener, and organic nutrient guy (it’s cheaper and his wife doesn’t approve of the chemical stuff on her tomatoes)
z00tly says: “This article gave me a flash back to my mamma feeding me in my Zootly’s Nest…”