Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of different types of crops in the same area over a period of years. It reduces reliance on one set of nutrients and the possibility of developing pests or weeds that are resistant to specific herbicides and fertilizers.
A well-designed crop rotation system also improves soil structure and organic matter. It decreases the need for agrochemical inputs and reduces erosion.
Whether you’re growing your cannabis in soil or hydroponics, you need to make sure that the right nutrients are supplied at the correct time. These nutrients are essential for healthy growth and production of high-quality buds.
There are two types of nutrients that your cannabis plants need to grow: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Nitrogen is one of the most important plant nutrients for a number of reasons. It provides the energy needed for growth and helps your plants synthesize amino acids, chlorophyll, nucleic acids, proteins, and enzymes.
Phosphorus is another nutrient that your plants need in large quantities during the vegetative phase of growth. It supports overall plant health by activating dozens of important enzymes for protein synthesis, sugar transport, N and C metabolism, and photosynthesis.
Potassium is also important during this stage of growth, helping your plants develop strong, healthy plant tissue. It also contributes to flower production and bud response by activating a number of enzymes responsible for sugar transport, N and C metabolism, and photosynthetic processes.
Other nutrients that your cannabis plants need include calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. These nutrients are necessary for the cellular walls of your plants, helping to improve water penetration and nutrient absorption.
Some of these nutrients can be found in the soil naturally, while others must be added in supplement form for optimal health support. Adding them to your soil will help your plants thrive and increase their yields.
For example, adding calcium to your soil will reduce the amount of mineral salts that accumulate in the substrate and promote healthier growth. Likewise, magnesium can help stabilize the cell wall and support carbohydrate metabolism and photosynthetic processes.
A few trace elements are also essential for healthy cannabis growth, including copper, boron, zinc, chlorine, iron, manganese, and molybdenum. These minerals are found in the soil or can be introduced through organic fertilizers.
There are several different kinds of weed seeds available, and each has its own unique requirements for a successful harvest. Keeping these factors in mind when planning your next grow will ensure that you’re growing the most robust crop possible.
Soil erosion is the denudation of the upper layer of soil by various erosive agents – water, wind and tillage – thereby causing its degradation in the long term. Erosion is a serious problem that affects the quality and quantity of crop production, as well as the health of the soil, ecosystems and environment.
Agricultural activities can lead to significant soil erosion by removing trees, clearing land for crops, and the use of machinery. Grazing animals can also cause soil erosion by tearing grasses and other vegetation away from the soil, churning up the soil and spreading fine particles that can be carried by the wind.
The erodibility of soils depends on their physical characteristics (texture) and other factors such as structure, permeability and organic matter levels. Sand, sandy loam and loam-textured soils tend to be less erodible than silt, very fine sand and certain clay-textured soils.
Weather conditions can increase soil erosion by increasing the erodibility of the soil surface, especially during periods of low infiltration rates. In addition, excessively drained or drought-stricken soils release fine particles of dirt for transport by wind. Snow cover that is brown during winter and a lack of wind breaks (trees, shrubs and crop residue) can further increase erosion.
Erosion of the topsoil is the primary cause of soil loss for many crops, but it can also impact the underlying soil and contribute to poor yields. The amount of erosion that occurs is affected by the varying degrees of protection that different crops provide.
Perennial crops, such as perennial grasses, have a great potential to prevent soil erosion. In fact, research has shown that combining a perennial crop with a non-perennial crop can reduce the rate of soil erosion by up to 80%.
However, these crops have the disadvantage of leaving the soil bare for longer than non-perennial crops. As a result, the soil loses its protective cover during erosive rainstorms, making it more susceptible to erosion.
Some of the best ways to protect the soil from erosion are incorporating cover crops in the crop rotation, contour farming and strip-cropping. Moreover, using high-quality fertilisers, mulches and other conservation practices can help prevent soil erosion and improve the nutrient levels of the soil.
Pests and Diseases
Cannabis plants, like any other crop, are susceptible to a range of pests and diseases. These insects and fungi can affect plant growth, reduce quality and cause health problems for those that consume the finished product.
Many pests and diseases have natural predators that will help keep infestations to a minimum. However, these animals have also been known to die out over time, which can lead to a build-up of insect and disease populations.
The effects of these pests and diseases on cannabis plants include changes in leaf color, foliar lesions, reduced yield and lower quality. Some diseases can even kill plants.
Another common disease is root rot. This fungus can rot plants at the root, making it difficult for them to grow and flower properly. It is most common in overly wet environments, such as hydroponic setups and those that are too dry for proper aeration, but can also occur in soil, substrate, and other organically based growing media.
It is also possible for spores to survive long periods in soil, substrate, and hydroponic reservoirs, allowing them to re-infect other plants. This can be very frustrating and difficult to manage.
Similarly, fungus gnats are also an issue for indoor and outdoor growers. These tiny pests are known to eat the leaves of plants, causing them to curl and turn brown or yellow. They can also cause rot to the roots of plants, which is why it is important to catch them early and get them off your plants as quickly as possible.
They are especially problematic for hemp and other outdoor crops, such as flowers and seeds. The eggs of fungus gnats can stay dormant over winter, which makes them hard to control.
The most effective way to combat pests and diseases is with Integrated Pest Management strategies, such as planting resistant strains, using chemical and biological controls, and following sanitation practices. These strategies are all critical in minimizing the potential for pests and diseases to spread and affect your cannabis crop.
Having healthy soil is an important component of producing high-quality cannabis. The right blend of nutrients, minerals, compost, and beneficial bacteria will help your plants thrive. Whether you are growing indoors, in a greenhouse, or outdoors, the right soil will help your crops grow strong and produce high-quality buds.
The type of structure that the soil has is determined by how the individual soil particles clump together and form aggregates. Aggregates are usually a combination of different sizes of sand, silt, or clay particles. Some granules may break up into smaller pieces and some may remain whole.
Soil structure determines how water and air are able to move through the soil and how the roots can penetrate. Soil that is too compact will make it difficult for the roots to penetrate, which can inhibit growth and lead to lower yields.
Fortunately, there are many ways to improve the structure of your soil, including adding organic material such as compost and inoculating with beneficial bacteria and fungi. Compost, in particular, has many benefits for the cannabis plant including helping it perk up and hit its peak, improving the taste and aroma of the resulting buds, and providing valuable organic nutrients to the soil.
A well-structured soil allows for water to move quickly after heavy rain and also drains easily. This means that it will not be waterlogged for long periods of time, minimizing the likelihood of temporary water logging in the soil, which can inhibit plant growth.
In addition, good soil structure can prevent the formation of clumps of soil that block access to the surface for oxygen and water. This can be especially problematic in soils with a blocky or granular texture.
Soils with these characteristics will need to be cultivated regularly in order to maintain a proper balance of moisture and aeration. Using the EazyGrow System is a great way to ensure this happens, and you can even control the amount of water your plants receive to maximize the health of your crop.
When a plant grows in too compact a soil, it will not be able to develop sufficient roots to provide the necessary amount of water and nutrients needed for optimal growth. This will result in a lower yield and inferior quality product. In contrast, when the soil is more loose, it will be easy for the roots to penetrate and allow the plant to absorb water and nutrients more efficiently.