Cannabis pests. Prevention is better than cure
If you are one of the cultivators who prefer using biological prevention against pests and all type of pests, this article will be very useful for your methods to prevent and win the battle against this type of infestation. Obviously, you always can choose between biological and chemical methods. But if you consider cannabis a medical product, chemistry should be out of the equation.
Before going ahead with this article, we should think about the way pest operate. Most pests are predators. Imagine a herd of gazelles grazing in the African savanna. From a distance a leopard is watching them trying to choose the perfect prey. Predators are more intelligent than preys and they always spend some time deciding which one is the weakest animal. They know is much easier to catch a weak prey than a strong one.
When it comes to plants, the pests behave exactly like any other predator. They always attack the weakest plant. Therefore, it is very important to grow healthy plants, which is something that must start from the very beginning.
Allow me to illustrate this article with an example of something I personally saw while cultivating in a little culture cabinet. I had an infestation of red spiders and I bought a product made of small predators that were meant to eat the spiders. I dropped the animals in my culture cabinet and I remained there watching. It was quite shocking because I was expecting a massive attack but what happened was a real strategy.
The little predators began to spread all over the cabinet walls without trying to attack the spiders. They spent there a little bit and later the fight began. Why did they not attack immediately? Because the predators were watching the number of prey in order to decide how much food they had and, therefore, how much they could reproduce. Once they knew the number of prey, they began the attack.
As we said, the best way to fight pests is growing strong and healthy plants. For this purpose you must have a good substratum. If you are planning to grow few plants (outdoors) I recommend you to dig big holes (50 liters) and fill them with very good soil. But in case you are planning to cultivate many more, you will have to amend the soil unless you want to spend a lot of money in substratum.
Since the agriculture began, human beings know that in winter they have to prepare the soil. For this purpose, every winter the remove the ground to make a fallow land. During the coolest months, the soil gets frozen. The ice expands and it crushes the soil. This way it becomes very loose and spongy. This is the first step to get a good soil.
Moreover, the roots of the weeds get rotten and become compost. These roots are full of minerals that we don’t want to waste.
Unfortunately, when it comes to cannabis this praxis is not enough to grow excellent plants. We must add certain products such as compost, bone meal, fine sand, straw and humus.
The fine sand is to make the soil more loose and spongy. If we don’t do it, the soil will be too hard for the roots to penetrate it. Your soil must be as loose as possible. The action of ice plus the compost and fine sand will turn the worst and hardest soil in a spongy and soft one.
There are many enemies of our plants. And most of them choose summer to infest our cultures. The warm weather and the climate are perfect for them. In order to fight them back we can do two different things: prevent and/or fight. Prevention is always the best way.
It is well know that worm humus is the best prevention against most pests. Humus contains several microorganisms that either directly attack the pests or prevent the expansion. Therefore, when you prepare the substratum where your plants will be grown, don’t forget to add a good quantity of this precious material. Moreover, it is an excellent fertilizer, very rich in nitrogen (N), which will help your cannabis plants to grow more and better.
Purin from nettles and garlic
Nettles and garlic are two natural products that repel most pests. Preparing purin doesn’t take too long but it smells very bad. Use a barrel (100 liters) of water without chorine. Fill it with as many nettles as you can. Cover the barrel with a lid. But don’t close it hermetically because the purin needs some oxygen circulation to be effective. Move the water at least twice a day and wait for ten days (minimum). Add garlic (three heads of garlic) and keep removing the product two more days.
After this period, the product is ready. But the EC will be too high to use it directly in your plants. Dilute the purin 1/3 (1 part of purin and 3 parts of water). Once it is diluted, spray the leaves of your plants with it. And nothing else. You can be sure the pests will hate the smell and substances contained in this product.
The purin of nettles plus the worm humus create a powerful synergy to fight any potential insect able to harm your culture.
Companion planting is an old technique that uses beneficial plants close to our cannabis strains to help to protect them. Some of these plants repel pests and others attract insects that eat the pathogens. The list to choose from is quite large. Some plants work to deter pests because of their aromas. For instance, basil is excellent to repel Aphids, beetles, mosquitoes, moths and whiteflies.
Lemon is perfect to repel mosquitoes and gnats. Dill and coriander have always been used to protect plants from spider mites, aphids, beetles and squash bugs.
There are other plants that we can grow close to our cannabis strains in order to attract insects that feed on the pests. For example, lavender produces a fragrance that attracts several insects that feed on larvae of many pest species.
Chamomile attracts honey bees and repels all kind of flies. Companion plants are very useful for cannabis growers in order to keep pests away. And moreover, they contribute to keep biodiversity and improve the health of the soil. There are our best allies in our cannabis garden. Rosemary, thyme and garlic are perfect to repel many pests too.
The three enemies of our cannabis plants are: insects, viruses and fungi. The subject is too big for a single article. In cannabisground.com we will show you the different possibilities you have to fight these problems using biological methods.