Home Forums Cannabis Cultivation Microbes/Microbial life in the garden

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    • #2808
      Cannabliss
      Participant
      Points: 4,164

      This contribution is brought to us vis RQS & Luke Sumpter

       

      The term microbe is used to describe microscopic organisms that cannot be seen by the naked eye, such as forms of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. When it comes to soil and plant health, it appears microbes are absolutely key. Us humans sometimes like to take an isolationist approach to things, separating parts of nature from one another in order to obtain a greater understanding of their functions and characteristics.

      However, in doing so, we often underestimate just how connected the web of life really is, and how organisms depend on each other and sometimes form vital symbiotic relationships to assist in one another’s survival.

      This kind of symbiotic relationship very much exists within the soil between microorganisms and plants, and such interconnectedness can be utilized by cannabis growers in order to build healthy soils and to grow plants full of vitality.

      This quote by soil microbiologist and soil biology researcher Dr. Elaine Ingham details the importance of healthy soils teeming with microorganisms, “If we want clean water, we have to get the biology back in our soils. If we want to grow and harvest crops, we have to build soil and fertility with time, not destroy it. The only way to reach these endpoints is to improve the life in the soil”.

       

      Plants and microbes: a symbiotic alliance
      Although plants don’t have brains and, as far as we know (although we could be wrong), are not conscious, they do have chemical mechanisms that allow them to alter and shape their external environment, with a lot of this magic occurring within the soil. Sometimes, soil is seen as a mere source of nutrients for the plants that inhabit it, but it’s actually been discovered that it is a complex and mind-blowing ecosystem buzzing with microbial life.

      Plants and microbes aren’t just minding their own business within the soil environment, they actively interact and even work together to make life slightly easier and boost the chances of survival. Microbial activity can enhance the growth of plants by way of various mechanisms, including changing hormonal signaling, repelling or outcompeting pathogenic microbes, and boosting the bioavailability of nutrients.

       

      Nutrient uptake
      All of these mechanisms are advantages to cannabis growers, especially those who are raising their crop outdoors where conditions are harsher and biodiversity is much, much greater. Most cannabis growers will be aware of the nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK)—the three macronutrients required by plants in order to ensure healthy and proper growth.

      Soil microbes can be of great assistance to plants in helping free up nutrients within soil to make them easier to absorb. Soil microbes can metabolize locked-up nutrients such as NPK, which are bound within inorganic molecules, and make them more available for plants to utilize.

      Various microbes within the soil, such as some bacteria and fungi, have the ability to break down these forms of nutrients, and in doing so, release them into a form that plants can benefit from. It has been reported that these microbial allies are key drivers of plant growth within natural settings. It’s clear that both the indoor and outdoor cannabis grower could benefit massively from microbes within their soil.

      How the bond is made
      This relationship is by no means all give and no take. The plants benefit from more access to vital nutrients, but the microbes also receive something in return. Plant roots release a variety of substances into the soil, called exudates. Some of these exudates include sugars, amino acids, and organic acids, which microbes can use as a source of nutrition.

      These exudates effectively contribute to the establishment of the microbiome of roots. These nutrients may also attract pathogenic microbes, but some beneficial microbes even have defense mechanisms against these to offer in return.

      Mycorrhizae
      Perhaps the most interesting of all of the plant/microbe alliances is that of plants with fungi. A type of fungi, known as mycorrhizal fungi, are known to bind with plant roots. The underground portion of fungi, which can be seen as roots, are called mycelium. The mycelium of mycorrhizal fungi act as extensions of a plant’s roots, allowing it to absorb nutrients from a larger area than it could cover with its roots acting alone.

      Mycorrhizal fungi form this alliance with plants by surviving off of sugary plant exudates. In return, the fungi provide additional moisture and nutrients gathered from the soil via the mycelium.

      Mycorrhizal fungi are found in two primary types; ectomycorrhiza live on the outside of roots as sheaths, whereas endomycorrhiza actually live within the plant itself. As a cannabis grower looking to utilize the power of fungi to boost the nutrient uptake in your plants, you should be aware that the addition of excess fertilizers and the use of fungicides can damage and reduce the effectiveness of these organisms.

      Beneficial Bacteria: Rhizobacteria
      Several species of bacteria are also an important component of the soil food web. Not only do they play a key role in the food chain and the recycling on nutrients, but they also interact directly with plant roots to provide impressive benefits.

      Easy Roots Rhizobacteria introduces numerous species of such beneficial bacteria and algae into the growing medium. They help plants uptake nutrients and fend off pathogens. The bacterial species produce growth promoters that play important roles in fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere and making key nutrients available to cannabis plants.

      These microscopic guys also help decompose organic matter and liberate nutrients that plants can then absorb easily. What’s more, after living a purposeful life of batting away bad microbes and freeing up nutrients, these little fellas die and release even more plant-nourishing goodness into the root zone.

      The algal component of the mix helps maintain the health of the good bacteria. These organisms protect bacteria from fertilizer irritation and pH fluctuation while supplying plants with 60 key trace elements required for optimal physiological function.

      Root defense
      Mycorrhizal fungi go above and beyond their ability to provide plants with additional nutrition. They can also act to protect plants against types of nematodes. Nematodes are microscopic worm-like creatures, with thousands of them occupying only a handful of soil. There are over 20,000 documented nematode species, making them the most numerically abundant animals on Earth.

      Some nematodes may be beneficial to your cannabis plants, which we will explore later on. However, some of them can be rather detrimental. Plant-parasitic nematodes will feed on the roots of your cannabis plants, affecting their health and growing potential.

    • #2924
      Brad104
      Participant
      Points: 754

      Great thread

      • #2925
        Cannabliss
        Participant
        Points: 4,164

        Thanks. I will be adding more info as I pick up on it.

    • #7836
      Brad104
      Participant
      Points: 754

      Bro I’d forgotten about this post I was going to create a new one but I searched so anyway that is why I’m here did you see these gals last week it looked worse but it’s only 24 hours since I used the recharge and wow at the color coming back into my girls I’m so thankful for the beneficial microbes thanks 

    • #7862
      IamN2pot
      Participant
      Points: 961

      First a shout out to SoCoOrganics here in Pueblo, CO where they have “microbial Monday”. Every Monday you can drop in with a gallon jug and they will fill it for free for you from there turbo tea maker.

      My lack of knowledge on this subject is monumental, so let me start with a simple question. I hope the answer is simple, LOL! How can you tell if your compost tea is alive and active or dead. I mean when I first discovered the free tea, I ask about applying it and was told that without constant aeration, it should be used within an hour. I was also told it could be stored overnight if refrigerated. Sounds good, but how do I tell if the tea is “alive” or not. Common sense tells me if it starts to smell rancid, it is, but is that the only way to know if it’s ‘dead’ microbes? That said, I’ve never had a jug smell rancid. Perhaps it doesn’t smell bad when not aerated?

      I also discovered that the tea is around 7.5pH. I’ve been pH’ing it down with lemon juice to drop the pH into the 6.0-6.4pH range. Should I use it straight? Should it be pH’ed down.? I’m hopefull that lemon juice doesn’t kill the microbes, but how would I tell? See, I told you I don’t know squat about compost teas. 😆

      N2

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by IamN2pot.
      • #7878
        Brad104
        Participant
        Points: 754

        I am happy to hear, that they are filling up free buckets of compost for the patrons, for I think 💬 that is just great, especially during these troublesome times abroad.I unfortunately can’t answer your question as to how to tell if your compst tea is dead or alive, The extent of my knowledge on it is to keep it refrigerated that is what I have always been told at my local hydro shop,but thanks.Im sure someone else with a knowledgeable answer will hopefully weigh in on this and explain so we will all know the proper way to keep microbial compost tea alive while stirring other than what we’ve heard about refrigeration.

      • #7882
        Somatek
        Participant
        Points: 6,637

        The only sure way to know how the microbes are doing and if it’s “alive” is to use a microscope to look at the different microbes present to identify them.

        I personally wouldn’t adjust the pH as most microbes living in a particular range so changing it could affect them.  I’d rely on the soil’s buffering agent instead as it’s more reliable.

        Do you know if it’s a microbial or fungal dominant tea?  That directly determines what you need to feel the soil to keep them thriving.  If they don’t have the food they need adding them will have minimal effect.

    • #7883
      Somatek
      Participant
      Points: 6,637

      Great thread but something  that’s important to point out is microbes can only make nutrients available that are in the soil, if your soil is depleted then they can’t magically make them appear.  Which is a common myth in “living soil” growers, I can’t remember how many people have told me they don’t worry about nutrients as they leave the roots in the soil to break down, oblivious to how many are removed in the biomass harvested and consumed that’s not returned to the soil.  Think of the soil as a bank, every time the plant grows it’s taking out a withdrawal.  When harvested and consumed the bank is that much poorer unless you add more resources to keep it stocked…

    • #8134
      IamN2pot
      Participant
      Points: 961

      Well spoken, @Somatek. I do understand that they do not and I’m told can’t burn your plants. THey only make what’s in the soil more available to the plant. In ‘rich’ soil that’s alot, in poor spent soil, it’s little.

      Here, this link will tell you all about the Micro Monday. https://socoorganics.com/what-we-offer/organic-hydroponic-growing-supplies/

       

      • #8227
        Somatek
        Participant
        Points: 6,637

        The Intelligent Gardener by Steve Solomon really drives that home; that you need to start with properly balanced soil as well as proper composting methods to keep soil fertility high.  Just because you’re using organic methods doesn’t mean nutrients magically appear.  Energy is constant, it isn’t created or destroyed but just changes form.  If you harvest a lbs of biomass from your “living” soil then you have depleted the soil of that much and need to replace it.

    • #8300
      Brad104
      Participant
      Points: 754

      i do thank you for the book ,to study on the subject you mentioned @somatek

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