The more we learn about microbes, the more it becomes apparent that supplementing them is crucial to supercharging our gardens. Microbes are responsible for transforming raw elements into usable forms of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, iron and other crucial chemical compounds for sustaining plant growth. Beneficial microbes can also act as a defense for plants by suppressing pathogenic microorganisms and by breaking down pesticides or other harmful chemicals that make their way into a plant’s root zone. The main types of beneficial microorganisms for plant growth are bacteria, fungi, protozoa and actinomycetes.
Bacteria are single cell organisms that are the most abundant microbe in soil or hydroponic systems. If supplemented properly, these tiny creatures can multiply rapidly. Fast colonization is key to increasing nutrient uptake and overall plant performance. Tarantula by Advanced Nutrients contains the highest population of bacteria per dosage and is my favorite bacterial supplement. Tarantula now comes in liquid form, making it a snap to add into hydroponic reservoirs. I like to add my beneficial bacteria twice throughout my vegetative stage and once more at the beginning of my flowering stage.
Beneficial fungi, known as mycorrhiza, form a symbiotic relationship with a plant’s roots, both internally and externally. Many strains of beneficial fungi use sugars excreted from the plant’s roots for food and in exchange help break down nutrients or supply enzymes that are beneficial to the plant’s rhizosphere. When supplementing fungi, I prefer Piranha because it comes in a liquid form. Other beneficial fungus formulas on the market are messy powders and are tailored to a wide range of plants. Piranha contains the optimal ratio of endo/ecto mycorrhiza specific to medical marijuana.
Protozoa are single celled microbes that feed on bacteria. Protozoa release nutrients as a result of feeding on bacterial biomass. It is also thought that Protozoa can promote microbial diversity in the rhizosphere and can affect root foraging ability and architecture.
Actinomycetes are types of bacteria commonly misidentified as fungus. They are necessary for breaking down components of organic matter. Some sub-species are known as nitrogen fixing bacteria.
The rhizosphere of a plant is teeming with microbial life whose functions are imperative to a plant’s growth and health. By supplementing beneficial microbes, medical marijuana growers can produce an environment to help their plants flourish. Remember, microorganisms are living and breathing creatures, so they need to be fed properly in order to thrive. Although most of their food is obtained by the relationship they have with the plant’s roots, gardeners can supplement carbohydrates to ensure the population of microbes is thriving. By sticking with a solid fertilizer regiment and sporadically supplementing beneficial microbes, there is no limit to where your plants can grow.