Organic growing has grown in popularity so much that it has spilled over into the autoflower cannabis scene.
More and more people are switching to a more sustainable way of growing cannabis because the results are often superior to if you were to grow with their synthetic counterparts.
If you start with really good soil you won’t need to do much with it until later on in the growing cycle. At some point, you’ll have to make a compost tea soil amendment to create the kind of environment that nutrient-delivering microbes will love.
Yes, compost teas are excellent for your autoflower cannabis plant. Not only is it affordable and easy to create, but it also provides all-natural nutrition which you can see within the quality of cannabis buds. A healthy plant means fewer pests and more buds.
The learning curve can be high if you are new to growing as you are in charge of every ingredient that goes in.
The nice thing is that nature can be forgiving as long as you maintain the balance within a proper range.
What is compost tea?
Compost tea is a form of steeped compost that is designed to feed the microbes in your soil which will then provide high-quality nutrition to your autoflower cannabis plant.
Compost is the result of the natural breakdown of organic waste, this includes things such as eggshells, garden clippings, and kitchen produce scraps. It’ll look like very dark and rich soil that is full of vital nutrition.
There are two types of compost tea that you can make:
- Bacterial compost uses the sugars from molasses to encourage bacterial growth in the soil. This is the quickest method to get sustainable tea.
- Fungal compost teas require the use of humic acid and fish hydrolysate to start growing and generally takes longer for the compost tea to form
You’ll want to steep your compost tea in some water using a mesh bag. Make sure you use an aerator to oxygenate the water.
The mesh should be fine enough that nothing can pass through into it as you’ll be watering your plants with this concoction.
This process will change depending on if you’re using a fungal compost tea or a bacterial fungal tea. It should steep for at least 24-36 hours.
Of course, the efficacy of your compost tea will vary based on the ingredients you are using. The closer to nature you can get, usually the better.
Is compost tea good for autoflower cannabis?
A compost tea amendment is good for both the environment and your autoflower cannabis. With compost teas, you’ll get the benefit of suppressing plant disease by working on creating biological, natural pest control. This results in using fewer fungicides and other compounds to combat infestations or mold.
It’s a natural way to recharge the soil with fresh microbes and reinforce an essential soil structure that’s important for plant health.
This maximizes the nutrient uptake for your autoflower plant which will get you better quality buds without that synthetic smoke.
Use the tea up quickly as the microbes will start to die and it won’t be effective in the soil you’re using.
Letting it sit out also brings the risk of it developing bad bacteria such as algae if left out in the sun.
When should you use compost tea?
Compost teas should be applied throughout the growing process as needed.
It’s important to understand that your autoflower cannabis plant will require different nutrients at different stages of its life. If you don’t adjust your recipe for the plant requirements then you’re going to have problems that can’t be fixed in the short time that autoflower plants live.
For example, for the first 3 weeks of your autoflower growth you can use bat guano which is high in nitrogen.
In week 3 when your plant needs phosphorus as it transitions to the flowering stage, you can use bone meal instead.
Finally, in flower, you can use potassium-rich bananas or squash to supplement any flower building needs.
How often should you apply compost tea?
Your compost tea mixture should be diluted depending on the strength you want the amendment to be.
Autoflower cannabis has such a short growth cycle that you shouldn’t have to add a compost tea solution to your plants more than a couple of times.
You can apply it a few different ways depending on your setup:
- A foliar spray is a possibility if that’s how you are feeding your plants. This is designed to overwhelm the bad bacteria with good bacteria and prevent disease.
- A soil drench is a great way to introduce the bacteria to your soil which will bolster the existing food web with new microbes.
- You can even use it hydroponically by replacing your synthetic nutrient solution with your compost tea. Make sure you strain everything well as you don’t want debris to clog up your pipes.
As you can probably tell by now, you can apply a compost tea watering to almost every aspect of watering that you’d normally add the store-bought nutrients.
Not only will it cost less than buying jugs of premixed nutrients, but it is also environmentally friendly and you can use these skills to transfer over to other aspects of growing, like veggies for example.
Can too much compost hurt your cannabis plant?
There’s a saying that too much of a good thing is bad, and that applies to nutrients used in cannabis growing.
Creating a balanced microbiome will prevent things such as nutrient toxicities; however, you can disrupt the soil balance which can cause issues with nutrient uptake.
The other thing you have to worry about is the PH of your water and if your water has any additional minerals in it that could cause a nutrient burn.
It’s best to ensure your water is PH balanced between 5.9 and 6.4 so that you don’t experience any nutrient lockout during your grow cycle.
Organically grown cannabis is becoming a simpler science that can be learned by even novice growers.
Once you figure out what ingredients can provide and unlock specific nutrients for your plant then the rest becomes easier.