The 4 Benefits of Using Cover Crops for Cannabis
Using permaculture techniques in your marijuana garden is the biggest step forward towards healthy, organic plants. And the most common way to go about it is by using cover crops. They are plants that can be used in between seasons or during the cannabis season to make your soil healthy, feed your plants nutrients and keep pests away. Fight pests the old-fashioned way with the cover cropping techniques we suggest in this article!
- 1. Nutrient fixation
- 2. Cover crops help maintain healthy soil
- 3. They invite microorganisms into your soil
- 4. A natural form of pest control
- Different cover crops for different seasons and reasons
- Hairy Vetch
Cover crops, along with companion planting, are methods that have been used in agriculture for years. Marijuana plants are heavy eaters who like to get a lot of nitrogen on their plates. Along with helping your plants get ample nutrients to eat, cover crops can also help to regenerate the soil that your plants grow in.
In general, cover crops are low maintenance plants that can grow in almost any weather condition, making them suitable for any kind of grower.
Cover cropping is used in between seasons to keep the soil working and “alive”, while regenerating it with nutrients. Some cover crops are even “phytoremedial”, meaning they clean the soil of toxins in between seasons.
In this article we are going to talk about the benefits of using cover crops in a cannabis garden and will list a few recommendations!
1. Nutrient fixation
The number one reason that growers use cover crops is for their ability to fixate nutrients into the soil. While the air is rich in Nitrogen (which marijuana plants love), it is not a form of nitrogen that can be absorbed by plants. This is where cover crops come in to do some magic for your cannabis garden.
Many cover crops, legumes in particular, convert the N2 gas in our air into ammonium or nitrate, which are forms of nitrogen that marijuana plants can eat. Legumes are special in this regard because they are the hosts of a special microorganism in their roots. The role of this microorganism is to convert the nitrogen in our atmosphere into usable nutrients.
Most of the time, microorganisms and bacteria in the soil help to decompose organic material, turning it into nutrient rich food for plants. However, if these microorganisms aren’t present, then plants rely on the very slow process of natural decomposition. Which doesn’t really work for a plant with such a short life cycle as marijuana.
2. Cover crops help maintain healthy soil
Because of cover crops’ magical ability to fixate nutrients, they are great doctors for soil that has been exhausted. Growing marijuana outdoors season after season can leave your soil infertile, and if you want to continue to grow in the same spot, it’s important to address this.
Interestingly, the hemp plant is one of these cover crops and is often used by farmers to regenerate the soil in between harvests (such as tomatoes and other vegetables, for example). Hemp, along with sunflower, Indian mustard and willow, are all phytoremediation plants. They assist in maintaining healthy soil, detoxifying and assisting with nutrient fixation.
Cover cropping in between seasons gives the soil an opportunity to regenerate using the organic matter that cover crops attract. Plus, they assist in retaining moisture so that your soil doesn’t get dry and erode.
If you’re looking for a solution to pests, weeds and unhealthy soil, cover cropping might be your answer. Learn more in this article.