Comparing Organic Amendments to Liquid Nutrients

Which is more suitable for your garden?
Those who have been growing cannabis for a long time may have it down to an exact recipe for success, and what works best for their plants. However, new growers just starting out may find it a little difficult to decipher what is a necessity for their grow, especially when it comes to nutrients.
All growers know that the key to growing good cannabis is a good environment, either in soil or soilless, and good nutrients. You need to create an environment that is conducive to plant growth in order to see a yield that’s favorable in size and quality. But with recent legalization, accessibility is easier than ever, and the market has seen an influx of products that promise results for your plants. In this article, we’ll break down some of the basics of plant additives and compare organic and liquid nutrient options so you can make an informed decision.
What are nutrients & why we need them
Just the same way the human body needs a variety of nutrients to survive and function our best, so do plants. Soil can contain the compounds and microorganisms needed for plants to survive, but if you are using a soilless application (hydroponics) you need to recreate those macro and micronutrient systems that your plant’s needs. Some products such as Miracle-Gro try to incorporate extra additives into potting soil however, this is not an advisable solution for growers as it does not cater to the specific needs of cannabis plants.
Instead, the cannabis industry has developed a variety of products that have been tested and created to deliver results specific to cannabis plants that can generally be divided into two categories - organic and synthetic (or liquid) nutrients. Some other product terms that fall under these umbrellas are soil amendments, soil conditioners, fertilizers, supplements, and nutrient blends. All these products contribute to improving the physical properties of the plant and its environment and providing additional resources to sustain the plant’s life and access to nutrients.
Organic versus liquid: what is the difference?
Organic amendments are derived from a living thing, either plant or animal matter. They are mixed directly into the soil (or medium) where microorganisms break it down slowly. Usually, these organic matters help to treat the soil as a whole in order to create strong and healthy roots which increases the plant’s ability to take in nutrients. As the organic matter is broken down it has a beneficial effect on the microorganisms and bacteria within the soil, which creates a healthy system for the plant to grow. By improving the environment, you will see positive results on the health and prosperity of your plants!
Some of the most common types of organic matter used by growers on cannabis plants are compost, worm castings, bone meal, bat guano, fish emulsion, and peat moss. Gaia Green is a great example of a trusted name in organic nutrients that are easily accessible and easy to use.
Liquid nutrients are developed synthetically in order to focus on specific combinations of nutrients and deliver them straight to the plant. They generally focus on the three main nutrients plants need to survive: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium however they do also contain a blend of other important nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. Liquid nutrients also contain other important components such as carbohydrates, sugars, and amino acids in order to give plants a comprehensive “diet” of necessary additives.
Liquid nutrients are generally mixed with water and top-fed to plants that way, or through a reservoir. The focus of these types of products is simply to increase the availability of plant nutrients in order to feed the plant and increase growth. They are expertly created to contain an exact ratio of minerals that becomes instantly available to the plant. Many different brands have designed full nutrient “systems” that are created to work together in specific stages of growth or to target specific zones on the plant with different ingredients. Remo Nutrients Supercharged Kit is a great example of a comprehensive liquid nutrient system that is created specifically for different stages.
What are the benefits?
Whether you choose to use organic amendments or liquid nutrients, both are beneficial to your plant’s growth and will improve your results. Choosing to use organic is a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option, that is also much better for the environment of your garden. Organic nutrients work to improve the soil quality and condition, which means the environment can also be sustainable for your next grow if you’re able to replant in the same soil.
Also, as organic nutrients use microorganisms to break down the amendments, this process happens slower which means the chances of overfeeding your plants are reduced. If you’re new to growing this might be a good option as you can slowly add additional nutrients as you see necessary without overwhelming the plants.
Liquid nutrients are beneficial for their fast-action and quick response abilities. If you’ve noticed nutrient deficiencies, applying a liquid nutrient solution will help correct it in no time. Liquid nutrients are also created with an incredibly specific ratio of nutrients that are often formulated for different stages of growth. This gives a grower a huge advantage in the control of what & how much nutrients their plants receive. It is easy to get carried away with this though, and so the possibility of overfeeding with liquid nutrients is increased.
Increased accessibility and ease of use are other huge benefits to using liquid nutrients. A lot of companies make it incredibly easy to apply nutrients with expertly designed systems that include ALL of the minerals and nutrients needed, there’s no guesswork or mixing and matching involved. Odourless liquid nutrients also make it easy to use in a variety of settings including indoors and in aquaponics.
What you need to consider
There are obvious benefits to working with both types of nutrients, and as mentioned either, when used properly, will bring favorable results to your plants. However, which is better for your situation is dependent upon a few factors:
- Accessibility + affordability
- Familiarity/ experience with growing
- The type of medium you are using
- Where you plan to grow
Choosing an organic regime is better for the environment, and more sustainable in the long run. You have little risk of overfeeding plants and can feel confident in the safety of the product after harvesting. Specific organic items can be hard to source, and it might end up costing you more in the long run. You will also have to be able to keep an eye out to diagnose issues and adjust or incorporate additives as necessary. Organic amendments are also best when used outside as some matter, such as bat guano, can have an undesirable smell.
When choosing a liquid nutrient, you have more control over the application, but you also increase your risk of running into issues such as overfeeding. They are easy to find, easy to work with and come in a range of price ranges to suit all budgets. Liquid nutrients work well with hydroponic setups, and aquaponics but can also be used outdoors as well.
If you are growing outdoors it’s advisable to test the soil before deciding on a nutrient system in order to see what’s already available. Don’t forget to pH test as well, because that has a huge impact on the way nutrients are stored and taken in by your plants.
We carry a HUGE variety of nutrients, both liquid and organic as well as supplements and other additives. If you’re struggling to make a decision or are wondering what might be best for you we’re happy to suggest products that fit within the considerations mentioned above. Please give us a call at 905-509-8420 or email info@treeoflifecannabis.caand we’ll be happy to help you out!