Whether you grow cannabis indoors or outdoors, it’s important to maximize yields. Achieving this goal is a challenge, but there are many ways to increase crop growth.
One of the best ways to do this is through crop rotation. Crop rotation combines the planting of different plants on the same plot of land to improve soil health, optimize nutrients in the soil, and combat pest and weed pressure.
Soil health is the capacity of soils to function as a vital living system, within ecosystem and land-use boundaries, to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water quality, and promote plant and animal health. It is a dynamic, interactive system that can be influenced by management actions, environmental conditions and inherent soil properties (Doran and Zeiss, 2000).
Healthy soils provide key services for agriculture and the environment, including resilience against disturbances such as floods or droughts; crop production with suitable nutrient, moisture, and physical conditions; beneficial biological activity that decomposes crop residues, cycles nutrients, forms soil structure, and helps fight disease; and environmental sustainability by filtering pollutants and reducing run-off. In order for soils to perform these functions, they need to be able to balance natural and human-induced inputs.
One way to increase soil health is through crop rotation. This practice can help to keep weeds away from crops, build the health of soil microbes that supply plants with nutrients and increase overall yields.
It can also improve the soil’s ability to retain moisture and control evaporation. This can help to increase plant growth and reduce watering needs, which can in turn reduce your costs and improve your overall crop production.
Using diverse crop rotations can also improve the diversity of soil organisms that can help to control pests and diseases. These organisms are vital for a healthy cannabis crop as they help to prevent harmful microbes from destroying your plants.
Another method that can improve cannabis yields is through the use of organic fertilizers and nutrients. These are generally less immediately soluble than liquid fertilizers and contain more elements that are good for soil organisms. These can be mixed into your soil before potting it outdoors or purchased as commercial soil blends.
Aside from using these methods, there are a number of other things that you can do to help your soil be as healthy as possible. For example, you can use compost, monitor and adjust your pH levels, and inoculate your plants with beneficial bacteria and fungi. In addition, you can use different growing techniques to ensure you are getting the most from your cannabis.
Pests & Diseases
Cannabis plants are susceptible to many types of pests and diseases. They have natural defences that can help them to resist some of the attacks but some pests can overwhelm these and lead to serious damage to crops.
Insects, mites and nematodes are the main pests that attack agriculture and horticultural crops. They can cause plant wilting, stunting and disease. They can also reduce the amount of sunlight and moisture that plants receive.
They can be controlled by controlling their populations, but if they get out of hand, they can devastate entire crops. This is where crop rotation comes in.
Using crop rotation can improve cannabis yields by minimizing the presence of some pests and diseases in your grow. It can also help you to achieve optimal germination, flowering and fruiting of your plant.
The duration of direct light at your location is another key factor in determining your yields. Ideally, your plants should be receiving at least 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. This is essential to preventing problems with the development of dew, which can rot your crop as it dries out.
If your grow is based indoors, it’s crucial to keep the area clean and dry. This will minimise the spread of insect and fungal pests and diseases. You should also regularly remove and disinfect hard surfaces and use disinfectant sprays to protect your plants against fungi and bacteria.
For example, you can sterilize irrigation water or disinfect soil and clones to prevent the spread of fungi. You can even test your water supply to ensure that it’s free of pathogens such as Pythium and Fusarium species.
Crop rotation can also help to protect your cannabis from some of the more serious pests and diseases. These include aphids, caterpillars and fungus gnats.
The aphid, for example, is a very common pest that causes leaf damage on a variety of crops. They can be controlled by aphid traps or by encouraging predators such as lady beetles to control their population.
A key part of crop rotation, fertilization involves supplying a plant with a specific nutrient at a certain time. This can be used to improve cannabis yields by making nutrients available for the plant to absorb, which in turn helps them grow bigger and stronger.
Nitrogen is an essential element for a cannabis plant’s growth and development. It is required for protein production and to create ATP, which is the energy that plants use to grow and multiply. Without nitrogen, your cannabis plants will be weak and fragile.
Phosphorus is another nutrient that’s important for a plant’s health and growth. It’s necessary for the production of nucleic acid, which helps the plant build its DNA and RNA, as well as to produce large buds.
It’s also required for the synthesis of amino acids, which are essential for plant cells to develop and grow. It’s also required for the creation of lipids, which help to make cell walls.
Soil is home to a variety of microorganisms that help keep the soil healthy. These organisms also help the soil to maintain a balanced pH level and reduce disease and pest activity.
Rotating crops can be an effective way to prevent diseases and insects from entering the soil during the growing season. It also helps to guard against the return of these pests and diseases the following year.
Crop rotation is an agronomic method of farming that involves planting different crops in the same area over a period of time, such as a three-year cycle. It enables farmers to maximize their land by using it more efficiently, reduces the reliance on one set of nutrients, and prevents pests and weeds from forming resistant populations.
To reap the most benefits from a rotation, it is essential to understand what crop types can be grown after each other and in which season. The optimum time for a crop to be planted is determined by the prevailing weather conditions and the availability of soil nutrients.
For example, wheat can be planted after corn or rice, which adds nitrogen to the soil. This is especially beneficial in areas with poor soil quality and a high number of pests. The rotation also keeps the nutrient balance in the soil and increases the likelihood of producing good harvests.
A key to increasing cannabis yields is to use crop rotation. Crop rotation allows farmers to increase weed control and improve the overall yields of their crops. It also limits the repetitive exposure of weed populations to herbicides.
The selection of suitable varieties and a careful cultivation plan are also key elements in weed management. Variety characteristics including vigorous early growth, fast canopy closure and foliage density can all help to reduce weed competition.
Planting dates can also affect weed pressure in row crops. Delayed planting so that a crop becomes established before weed germination can occur is often possible in areas with frost-free conditions.
Preplant or layby herbicide applications can also be used to control weeds. These applications are usually soil-applied herbicides, and follow the herbicide label recommendations for use rates on different soil types.
Using hand tools to remove weeds from rows of crops can also be very effective. Precision within-row cultivation tools such as torsion weeders, spring hoes and ground-driven spinners and finger weeders can be used to uproot small weeds in the row without damaging the crop plants below.
Another useful tool for weed control is a sprayer or spraying equipment with an atomizer, such as a pump with a nozzle that emits water at a high pressure. This spraying method can be very effective in controlling weeds in areas where the sun is too hot to burn off most weeds by hand or with herbicides.
Weed control can be done through a variety of techniques, including fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides. Weed control is a major concern for growers because it can cause severe damage to their crops.
Biological control is a non-chemical weed control strategy that relies on introducing natural enemies, such as insects and fungi, into the environment. However, it is not a long-term solution since its effects are often limited in duration.
Besides biological control, crop rotation and cultivation are other weed control strategies that can be used to improve the yields of cannabis. These methods are also environmentally-friendly and have the potential to be more accessible to farmers.