Jun 22, 2016 9:25 AM

Companion Planting: How to Improve Your Cannabis Yield With Help of Other Plants

Traditionally, cannabis is grown as a sole crop. It may end up growing near other plants accidentally, or because a grower lacks proper space, or because taking care of different types of crops is difficult for them, or it can be that a grower simply does not know anything about companion planting. At the same time, this way of growing cannabis can benefit the whole process, whether you grow indoors, or outdoors.

Companion Planting: How to Improve Your Cannabis Yield With Help of Other Plants

What are the benefits?

Companion planting is a part of permaculture, an agricultural practice that uses the patterns of the natural ecosystem. To increase the productivity and quality of the crop, you can use pesticides or chemical nutrients. Permaculture offers the same or similar results by using natural resources, so the final product becomes cleaner compared with the common growing techniques.

People started to use artificial compounds to protect or enhance the crop relatively recently, while permaculture is an integral part of agriculture that has been used for ages all over the world. And now, when the contamination of pesticides became one of the vital problems of the food industry, the tradition is relevant again.

The problem is not that synthetic nutrients are evil substances; in fact, they are preferable in certain contexts, especially when it comes to commercial growing of non-edible crops. However, recreational and medicinal cannabis growers are more likely to switch to a more eco-friendly and organic way of treating their gardens.

If you have a look at the natural fields, you will not find a single monoculture, this is absolutely and totally the invention of humans. Without additional help, this kind of crop has no chances to survive. Even human help is not always almighty: weather can change, and unwelcome pests or animals can ruin your whole project.

Companion planting helps you grow your cannabis smarter. With such a variety of different companion plants, you can find the best solution to any possible problem you might face. Not to mention, some of those plants can be really delicious!

How does it work?

The main beneficial idea of companion planting is associated with the fact of the existence of beneficial bacteria. This kind of bacteria can protect plants from other bacteria that cause diseases.

All these bacteria live in soil, and using artificial nutrients and pesticides may destroy the natural ecosystem. Instead of the symbiotic relationship, using non-natural products can give you unconnected and unprotected environment.

So the first step of switching to the eco-friendly garden might be caring for the soil. You need to help the ecosystem revive and to recreate the valuable synthesis of fungi, yeasts, and bacteria that will turn your crop from average to exceptional.

Luckily, this is not something impossible, there is a certain technique that can do the job, and it is called layering. It works equally well both for an outdoor garden and your small pots for growing indoors.

So, how do you do it? Basically, you should start covering the soil with layers of anything that is 100 percent organic. Find some natural material that has not been in contact with any chemicals and put it on the soil. You may find this kind of material in a forest nearby or any unplowed field. It can be straw, fallen leaves, cut grass, moss, just anything you find on the ground. You can also put another layer of leftover food (organic food, of course!), just do not forget to check all the materials for unwelcome pests that accidentally get trapped there unnoticed.

Companion plants: optimize feeding for your cannabis

While sunflowers may suck lots of needful components from the soil, other plants can instead provide some extra feeding.

Chickweed is good for providing additional nutrients, and due to its small size, it is not space-consuming. Though, if it grows too large, you can trim the plant.

Clover, apart from delivering nutrients to the soil, can also protect the soil in your cannabis garden from erosion and improve water distribution.

Lucerne, or alfalfa, can be used in several ways: as a companion plant due to its capability to produce nitrogen for the soil and as a nitrogen-rich layer for the soil in which you grow your cannabis. You can benefit from both ways if you trim lucerne from time to time and do not remove the fallen parts from the ground.

Starflower, or borage, works pretty much like alfalfa, providing minerals and nutrients via roots, but this plant requires much more space. It grows fast and becomes bushy, so it may be really space-consuming. Do not be afraid to trim it and, just like with alfalfa, you may leave the leftovers on the ground.

Companion plants: increasing productivity of your cannabis

While the plants mentioned above are good for the growing period, the following ones will serve you well by increasing the yield of your cannabis crop.

Chamomile releases calcium and potassium that makes the stems of the nearby plants stronger and the flowers bigger. Chamomile also increases oil production in the plants that grow nearby. Moreover, these white flowers also release sulfur, a chemical that repels insects.

Stinging Nettle can have a very positive influence on the resin content in the cannabis flowers, but the great disadvantage is that the leaves of the plant sting, and the older the plant, the more painful it is. At the same time, you can use it for your benefit: just plant the stinging nettle all around your outdoor garden, and curious passers-by will have no desire to hurt themselves by going further.

Yarrow can also increase the oil production of your cannabis, plus, its root system can protect the upper layer of the ground from erosion.

Companion plants: protecting your cannabis from pests

If you have tried to grow a cannabis garden, you probably already know what pests you should monitor. If it is your first time, do not be afraid to go to a flower garden and ask about the common dangerous pests in your area.

Basil is not only a nice supplement to your meal, it also repels a great number of insects, snails, and slugs, which is especially vital if you live in a humid climate.

Chrysanthemum, whether it is the expensive decorative version or the cheaper kind with small flowers, can help your cannabis combat damaging nematodes and insects due to its unique compound called pyrethrin.

Cilantro, or coriander, is great for aphid control as its flowers attract beneficial insects that use aphids as basic diet elements. The same job is done by anise, cumin, fennel, and dill. They can protect your garden against not only aphids but also wasps, spider mites, and caterpillars.

Costmary will help you with moth infestation.

Digitalis, or foxgloves, also attract beneficial insects, Dicyphus Hesperus in particular. This is a tree predator bug that kills spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies.

Garlic can be a real savior to your garden. It acts as a natural fungicide and also repels a great number of pests, including root maggots, Japanese beetles, snails, slugs, and aphids. Moreover, it can even scare away small animals.

Marigold works differently: it releases a special chemical directly into the soil, which makes not only the flower itself but also the plants nearby repellent to pests.

Peppermint, apart from having a nice smell, can be useful in attracting beneficial insects and repelling aphids.

Sunflower can also be used as a pest repellent, but we would recommend you to be careful with this plant as it exhausts the soil. Instead of planting sunflowers together with cannabis, you had better plant this golden giant around the garden so that it also serves you as camouflage.

You can also use some other plants for camouflaging the scent of cannabis, for instance, mint, jasmine, lavender, southernwood, or any other plant that has a strong aroma.

Whatever you choose to plant together with your cannabis, treat the plants with care and respect. Help the plants grow in the best environment and provide them with all the support you can.

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