Ask this question to growers of hydro and growers of soil and you will start a heated debate. Everyone has their preferred way of growing and their beliefs on growing mediums. Do I go organic or full synthetic? I’ll make a case for “organish” in this article.
Organic gardening often uses raw fertilizers like compost teas, bat guano, kelp, etc which allow the plants to absorb nutrients as they breakdown naturally within the soil. In addition, using organic fertilizers allow fungus like Mycorrhizal to grow within the soil (you have to inoculate the soil to make this happen quickly). There’s plenty of evidence on the benefits of encouraging fungus growth; in short it helps your plants absorb more nutrients, faster.
I have personally seen 15ft tall monster outdoor plants growing with this method alone, but this grower was growing outside and not concerned about harvesting early due to our great weather here in southern Oregon.
Synthetic nutrients operate very differently then organics. They are made to mirror natural nutrients and are usually mined from something not organic, like rock. Most synesthetic nutrients have loads of salt mixed in that essentially force your plants roots to take the nutrients, even when they don’t want it. Some synthetic nutrients are very close to organic and even use food grade materials but almost al will use lots of salt.
Now that you know how both work, roughly, lets break down the pro’s and con’s of both.
Growing Strictly With Organics
- Plants can grow just as big and healthy as any mix of synethics
- Organic flower or produce is ALWAYS worth more to the end consumer
- Organic nutrients don’t cost as much as synthetics when you purchase the raw materials yourself and pre mix the soil
- Organic nutrients allow you to inoculate mycorrhizal fungus into your soil
- Soil can be reused over and over each year by just re amending your soil with nutrients before each planting session
Growing With Just Synthetic Nutrients
- Growers that need to harvest quickly won’t benefit from the fast growth synthetic nutrients provide.
- Nutrient deficiencies found in the plants can take longer to fix
- Growers that have extra cash can just pay for other synthetics to flush their soil of salts weekly and at the end of each grow.
What I Use
For both indoor and outdoor soil gardening I use a combination of organic and synthetic nutrients. Why? Because I want my plants to grow FAST and BIG. Mixing both allows me to treat deficiencies if they show up and I can harvest my indoor plants much faster with the speed of added synthetics.
Certain nutrient lines like Botanicare and Maxsea nutrients have been tested and shown to not significantly harm microbial or fungus life, though I recommend inoculating your plants on the regular with new mycorrihzal.
I only use organic sprays when it comes to combatting pests and bugs and feel that I still provide the best quality produce you can find. In the end it matters what your goals are; whether your growing indoor and need speed of harvest or outdoor and you have the time.
I know lots of people that just stick to organic due to the added prices their customers will pay for Organic produce.