Lately, there has been a lot of debate on whether you can or should grow autoflowers in organic living soil. As an organic grower myself, my honest opinion is a resounding yes.
There are many reasons why you can and should grow your autos in soil, but three reasons stand out for me. These include the nutrient demands of the plant, how the plants absorb nutrients, and the requirements needed to grow them.
The Nutrient Needs of an Autoflower
When using organic living soil as your medium for growing an auto, you allow the plant to grow itself, allowing it to take up the nutrients it wants and even needs.
Like any other plant, when you plant in soil, you’re thinking of the soil’s health instead of the plant’s health. There’s a reason for this. In an organic grow, you must maintain bacteria and fungus, creating a soil food web. These bacteria and fungi are essential to the plant’s growth due to the relationship they create with the plant.
Why is this important, though?
The short story is that bacteria and fungus will help with the breakdown of amendments, making the nutrients available to the plants. Not only do they help with that, but they also help regulate nutrients in the plant. The bacteria will, in turn, be fed by the plant, creating a symbiotic relationship.
As this relationship continues, whenever the plant needs a specific nutrient or mineral, the fungus and bacteria make it easier for those nutrients to be absorbed.
Combining this knowledge with the right equipment, you end up creating an almost self-sustaining organism.
The Best Environment for Autoflowers in Organic Soil
Most people know that not all plants will grow in all environments. This plant is no different. That’s not to say they won’t grow almost anywhere; they are technically weeds. Get it? Weed? Corny joke, I know, but it still holds true.
This plant is versatile and adaptive, so you don’t need that much equipment. A good light, heater, fan, humidifier/dehumidifier, and a grow space in which you can control the temperature, and you are all set.
This is extremely important for growing in organic living soil. You want to maintain an environment that will allow all those bacteria and fungi to thrive and the plant. These plants tend to like warmer climates, as does the micro life usually associated with growing cannabis. The more stable the environment is, with the correct temperature and humidity, you will notice that you won’t need to water nearly as much as if using inorganic or salt-based fertilizers.
This allows for vigorous growth of not only the plant itself but the roots as well. If you were to dig up those roots, they would be thick, with many hair-like offshoots on all the roots. That’s your fungal network. You will also notice that the soil will stay moist longer. Eliminating the need for waterings you need to do.
How an Autoflower in Organic Soil Absorbs its Nutrients
So, living soil is excellent for plants, but how is it better for autos? Let us look at it differently. When you plant the auto-flower into the soil, you allow the plant to feed itself and take up the nutrients it wants. This helps in multiple different ways. One thing this helps with is the pesky nutrient lockout. This isn’t saying you can’t overfeed, but it shows toxicity in soil, which is extremely easy to eliminate.
You just let the soil do its thing and water on your regular watering schedule, adding just a little fulvic and humic acids to help break up the toxicity. Unlike using hydro-like nutrients, you’re not force-feeding the plant. You will notice thicker cell walls and complete cellular development and production when this happens.
The plant will also develop a more natural immune system. The immune system is another thing you can help aid the plant by feeding the soil alfalfa, an excellent bacterial tea, or adding rice hulls as a mulch. As it breaks down, it gives the plant a consistent amount of food that doubles as an aid to the immune system and the bacteria and fungus I talked about earlier. There’s even more to growing in living soil. Though things must go through a breakdown process, it helps the plant develop a better, less harsh terpene profile (one I feel is more complete with comparison grows that I have done) and a much richer amount of trichomes.
This is since you can achieve a much more vigorous growth that can be even more than inorganic or salt-based nutrients. I have found that I have gotten more significant growth of not only the plant but the flower sites as well when growing an auto in living soil. They seem much healthier. This leads to my conclusion, how long the medicinal effects last. I have smoked autos grown in coco with hydro nutes, compared to my living soil.
The effects of mine, people felt that they lasted longer, by roughly two hours over the one grown in coco with hydro nutes. I have noticed this through multiple grows, especially since I was once coco and hydro grower myself.
When it comes to growing auto-flower genetics, in my personal opinion and experience, living soil is a great way to grow. There is much less maintenance when cleaning the system, mainly because you’re working with a pot of dirt. When your plant can take up its own nutritional demands, you see a more vigorous plant.
Combining it with the right equipment will show even more robust growth and a much healthier plant. You will be able to see firsthand the difference in how the plant grows, noticing how much easier it is to develop the plant compared to a more inorganic increase. So, try out a living soil grow for your next grow with an auto-flower plant. It is almost guaranteed that you will not be dissatisfied with the growth.
And you never know. You may even want to turn it into your new style of growing. Just give it a shot, and remember to stay lifted.