1 – Alfalfa and Cottonseed Meal
To correct nitrogen deficiencies in your marijuana garden, adding granulated products made from alfalfa and/or cottonseed to the soil provides protein which counteracts the deficiency. Pressed alfalfa hay and the remaining solids after cotton seeds have been pressed for oil act as slow-release nitrogen fertilizers when combined with the soil. Alfalfa meal or pellets are used as animal feed and is also used as a fertilizer to increase organic matter in the soil. Alfalfa contains trianconatol, which is a fatty acid stimulating growth. Cottonseed meal is high in nitrogen. However, due to the use of pesticides in cotton fields, it is imperative you use pesticide free products on your cannabis.
2 – Cal-Mag (Calcium – Magnesium)
As the name suggests, Cal-Mag contains calcium and magnesium, along with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, so be careful when considering this control method. Do not use Cal-Mag during the flowering stage or the flowers will receive too much nitrogen. This treatment should be applied during the vegetative stage. Cannabis roots absorb calcium and magnesium in a proper pH level (6.5). If the pH is off, calcium deficiency can result in the forming of dead spots in the leaves, then crinkling or spotting. Follow instructions and don’t over-apply or you can end up raising the essential nutrient levels too high.
3 – Calcium Nitrate
This is another option for correcting calcium deficiency. It can be found at larger garden centers as a fertilizer or through scientific supply houses. Calcium nitrate contains fifteen percent nitrogen and can raise the soil pH level if needed. Again, use caution using any calcium correcting control during the flowering stage of your marijuana plant, so as to avoid providing more nitrogen than is needed.
Download my free marijuana grow bible for more tips about nutrients and marijuana plants.
4 – Chelated Minerals
Chelated minerals are those that have been bonded together by organic compounds and are necessary to a marijuana plant’s ability to transport oxygen and nutrients. Because minerals are inorganic, the chelating process facilitates absorption by plant life. They can be used to correct certain mineral deficiencies, while correcting imbalanced pH levels. The most common usage is liquid fertilizers targeting copper, iron, manganese and zinc deficiencies. Many hydroponic formulas contain a blend of chelated minerals. Single metal chelates are also available to address specific deficiencies in the marijuana garden.
5 – Compost Tea
In the beginning of this section we mentioned the importance of amending soil with compost as a preventative measure in preparing the soil for your outdoor marijuana garden. Compost is a rich source of beneficial microbes and micronutrients providing a strong immune system for your cannabis crop. Nutritious soil not only provides a healthy foundation for growth, but supplies many insecticidal and anti-fungal properties, diminishing the possibility of blight thwarting your efforts. We will discuss compost in depth towards the end of this segment.
Obviously, compost cannot be added to a hydroponic system, but the benefits of compost can still be obtained in the hydroponic environment in the form of compost tea. However, special care must be taken when so doing. Compost tea should be used as a foliar spray and should only be added directly in drip to drain systems.
Although compost tea can be applied at soil level in addition to its use as a foliar spray, we hope you are a conscientious gardener and have amended your in-ground or container grown plants with compost. As such, this particular discussion is geared towards the hydroponic gardener.
Compost tea is available for purchase through most hydroponic shops. They will either prepare the tea and sell it fresh, or offer kits to enable you to make your own. Or, if you have a green (brown, in this case!) thumb, we will offer a condensed version to creating this nutrient packed food source for your soil-less cannabis garden. The kits available at your local hydroponic center will come with instructions, so there is no need for this article to duplicate the information provided on the packaging. The following recipe is meant for use as a spray.
To make compost tea, assemble the following:
• 1 one gallon bucket w/handle
• Aquarium air pump with hose and bubbler attached
• 1 nylon stocking
• Organic, sterilized compost (buy at your local garden center if you don’t have a cured compost pile)
Fill the stocking with the equivalent of one quarter the bucket’s capacity. Tie the end of the stocking onto the handle and flip the loaded stocking into the bucket. Fill the bucket with water then place the air hose and bubbler in the bottom. Run the bubbler for a day in order to aerate the solution. When this step is complete, turn of the pump and let the tea settle. The liquid should be dark brown with no unpleasant odor. If the mixture has an ammonia scent or smells rotten, it cannot be used as a spray. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth and add to a spray bottle or add it to the irrigation water. The spray should be applied within hours of aeration or it will lose oxygen, at which point you’ll be defeating the purpose; oxygen is the conductor enabling plants to receive nutrition.
Spread the unused compost on the soil around your marijuana plants (any plants, not just cannabis) and work into the soil or allow it to dry in the sun and return to the compost pile for future use.
6 – Fish Emulsion and Fish Meal
Fish meal, which is the ground up inedible parts of fish into a powdery substance, and fish emulsion, which is the liquid remnant of fish after having been pressed for oil are effective additives available to the marijuana gardener as a correcting measure for nitrogen deficiency. The bonus with fish based treatments is the additional micronutrients they contain which aids in preventing additional nutritional inadequacies.
Both amenities are soil enhancements. Fish emulsion releases nitrogen to your cannabis quickly, while fish meal provides a slower, steady release. Consult your local garden center (discreetly) to see which option better serves your needs, based on symptoms.
7 – Granite Dust
Granite dust is a slow-release source of potassium and may contain other micronutrients that stabilize the alkaline levels in the soil. For it to be most effective, it is recommended to mix granite dust (rock dust) with a fifty percent mixture of compost. Till into the soil when preparing your cannabis bed. When added to the soil, rock dust stimulates the growth of organic matter which feeds the beneficial microorganisms. An added benefit to incorporating rock dust in your plant bed is it results in holding the soil in place and conserving water. Rock dust carries the benefit of revitalizing the soil with minerals.