I am constantly refining and improving my growing methods and over the past 20-or-so years, I have gradually perfected and simplified my technique down to just a few easy solutions, supplements, and additives.
When I first got started, I used a complicated 9-part nutrient line (it will remain nameless) that constantly needed attention, refinement, and storage space. Today, you’d be surprised to hear that I use a simple 2-part nutrient solution and a few supplements but am able to produce colas the size of 40oz bottle.
Part of my success has come from the way I use beneficial bacteria and soil microorganisms to produce a microbial diversity that keeps my garden in fantastic shape from harvest to harvest.
The Microbial World: What are Microbes?
When it comes to plant growth and overall plant health, there’s a hidden world of microscopic organisms at work beneath the surface of the soil. Organic soil in nature is teeming with microbial life and the colony of microbes is essential to the vitality and life of all plants.
Microbes are microscopic organisms including bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa. These microscopic life forms can be found in various environments, such as soil, water, and even the human gut biome.
The most common microbes in soil include…
These helpful bacteria, also known as beneficial bacteria, are vital for breaking down organic matter, producing nutrients, and suppressing harmful pathogens.
Some bacteria, like Pseudomonas flourescens and Bacillus subtilis, help battle disease, toxins, pests, and more. Nitrosomonas europaea and Glomus intraradices are key when trying to boost macronutrient intake. Microbes are dutiful until the very end: when they die, they release biofertilizers that help plants grow. They may be small, but beneficial bacteria are necessary to a plant’s development.
Fungi, like beneficial fungus, are essential for breaking down complex organic compounds and helping plants access nutrients. Mycorrhizal fungi (fungi in the root zone), in particular, form a symbiotic relationship with plant roots, enhancing nutrient uptake and water absorption.
Fungi has been known to make completely infertile soil from chemical disasters fertile again in a matter of a few short years.
Protozoa are single-celled organisms that consume bacteria and other microbes, releasing nutrients in the process which helps maintain nutrient cycling in the soil. Nutrient cycling is great for the soil because it helps keep the nutrient mix in balance, preventing nutrient lockout and other problematic issues.
Nematodes are microscopic worms that can either be beneficial or harmful. Depending on the species, nematodes feed on harmful insects and bacteria or attack plant roots, causing damage.
Microbes in Amplify: Our blend of natural beneficial bacteria
Amplify is our full-spectrum microbial inoculant that is up to 3X more effective than competing brands, proven to drastically improve your plant’s nutrient uptake throughout the grow, boosting yields, and helping your plants reach their full genetic expression.
A diverse blend of highly concentrated naturally occurring plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, the microorganisms in Amplify help increase the uptake of nutrients and water while also helping to protect your plants’ rhizosphere (roots) from harmful pathogenic microbes.
Azotobacter Vinelandii: A Nitrogen-Fixing Powerhouse
If you didn’t know already, nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for healthy plant growth, but without the help of beneficial bacteria, the nitrogen present in your soil isn’t always made available to plants. Azotobacter vinelandii is a free-living, nitrogen-fixing powerhouse.
It makes nitrogen readily available to your plants, in part thanks to three enzymes, known as notrogenases. What’s more, it has the highest metabolic rate of any known living organism.
Help Azotobacter vinelandii to thrive by keeping your soil aerated and full of oxygenated pockets close to your plants’ root systems. You will end up with bigger, healthier plants and more yield than you could’ve imagined.
Bacillus Subtilis: The Plant Protector and Phosphorus Booster
Bacillus subtilis is a rod-shaped microbe in charge of battling plant disease and pests. It is also a key player when it comes to boosting phosphorus intake. He’ll keep your plants safe from anything that could potentially make them weaker. It is a resilient little being, that can survive pretty tough climates, as well as high altitudes. B. subtilis prefers to locate itself in the upper areas of plant soil.
Glomus Intraradices: The Fungal Network Builder for Nutrient Exchange
Glomus intraradices is a fungi that penetrates the cells of plant roots with tree-like structured (arbuscular) organs. This microbe is vital to healthy plant growth and increased yield because it works to actively promote the exchange of sugars and nutrients with the host plant. It is especially handy at helping out with phosphorus intake. Essentially, it builds the “highways” between the plants and the sugars and nutrients available in the soil.
Nitrosomonas Europaea: The Soil Restorer and Nitrogen Converter
The great thing about this bacillus-shaped microbe is that it’s incredibly effective at repairing soil, even when that soil is full of synthetic nutrients, or situated in harsh environments. As a bonus, Nitrosomonas europaea is essential when it comes to nitrification, the process of converting nitrogen found in soils into a plant-accessible form. Remember, nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for stimulating plant growth. So, if you want to increase your yield, you need to have a strong batch of Nitrosomonas europaea working away in your soil.
Pseudomonas Fluorescens: The Friendly Plant Guardian and Toxin Eliminator
To best understand how Pseudomonas fluorescens works, think of your plants as a bed and breakfast, and Pseudomonas fluorescens as a friendly guest. Your plants provide food and shelter, basically all the nutrients and environmental protection needed, and in return, Pseudomonas fluorescens destroys anything that might be potentially harmful to your plants.
This aerobic organism gets rid of toxins and pollutants, like TNT, styrene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and they can multiply very quickly. This means they can rapidly colonize a space and indirectly protect a crop. In other words, they’re like an army of ants. In sheer numbers, they outcompete and outmuscle other harmful microbes for space and nutrients, as well as promoting plant growth.
The Importance of Beneficial Bacteria and Microbes for Plant Growth
Beneficial bacteria and other microbes play a crucial role in promoting plant growth and health. They are relatively cheap to use in your garden and they make a massive difference in your end product.
I always recommend growers of all skill and experience level to use Amplify in their grow because it makes an almost instant impact and it can be added at any stage of the grow cycle. It’s almost like a “green thumbs guarantee”.
You should run Amplify to improve the following.
- Nutrient uptake – You could argue that microbes’ biggest contribution to farming is how it helps plants digest the nutrients found in soil. Cannabis plants eat from what their roots can find in the ground. The thing is, sometimes these nutrients are not available in a form that hemp can digest. This is where beneficial bacteria can help. Microbes help break down nutrients through the release of enzymes and leave them in a perfect state for roots to feed on. Microbes can produce different types of enzymes for the diverse array of nutrients available in the soil.
Phosphorus (P), Nitrogen (I), and Iron are some of the nutrients microbes can unlock for hemp plants. Ion exchange is another method beneficial bacteria uses to do this: they release acid compounds into soil and this leaves P, for example, ready for hemp to digest.
- Disease suppression – The helpful bacteria and fungi produce antibiotics and other compounds that can suppress harmful pathogens, protecting plants from diseases.
- Enhanced root growth – The Rhizosphere is not made out of only soil but roots live there as well. Beneficial bacteria repels toxins and competes with pathogenic microbes: they fight them off by releasing compounds such as salicylic acid, lipopolysaccharides, and siderophores, or take up all the space pests and viruses need. Like doctors, they take care of the roots’ health.
Some microbes colonize certain areas of the roots: some help with nutrient intake, like we explained before, but others help boost the growth of the roots. At the end of the process, you are left with super resistant roots that will grow into bigger hemp plants.
How Soil Microbes Benefit Cannabis Plants
Cannabis plants, like any other plants, rely on soil microbes for optimal growth and health. By fostering a healthy soil microbial community, cannabis growers can improve nutrient uptake, decrease the risk of nutrient deficiencies, enhance plant health, and ultimately increase yields and terpene production.
The easiest way to introduce beneficial microbes into the soil and promote their growth is through the use of soil inoculants like Amplify.
Another method to encourage the growth of beneficial microbes is by using homemade compost inoculants. Homemade compost inoculants are products that contain specific strains of beneficial microbes which are added to compost to accelerate the decomposition process and improve the overall quality of the finished compost.
Learning how to make a homemade microbial inoculant is a cost-effective and sustainable option. By culturing and propagating beneficial microbes from local sources, you can create a unique blend of microorganisms that is tailored to your specific growing conditions and plant needs.
The compost is then added directly to the soil, providing the cannabis plants with an abundance of nutrients and beneficial microbes.
Just keep in mind that homemade solutions can be very messy, time-consuming, and inconsistent in quality. They also require space for storage and can get quite stinky.