Lol not sure what is meant by ‘Hippy Juice’. I googled it and it’s actually an alcoholic beverage recipe. .
Perhaps you are referring to microbial tea, which multiplies the effects of compost and has been shown to produce stronger, healthier plants. Some growers like to use mycorrhizal fungi to facilitate soil root web; or trichodermal fungi, which help to solubalize salts among other benefits. Others will add silica, kelp, molasses, amino acids, fulvic or humic acids, silica or sulphur to their teas or just add them to their NPK. Lots of hydro products contain these ingredients as supplements to their synthetic salt NPK.
So while these options exist, none are exclusive of the other. You can use your Peters 15-16-17 but still add teas and supplements to the mix. Teas are seen as adding expense and effort, but now powdered microbes and large scale brewers that integrate with fertigation systems have changed all that. There is also the question of indoor v outdoor. It’s definitely harder to follow ‘organic’ approaches indoors, and if you do lighting is critical.
The answer to the question seems to hinge on the meaning of the word ‘organic’. Your reference to Hippy Juice underscores how the synthetic fertilizer industry has been successful in turning ‘organic’ into a punchline - even in the MJ world. The perception is that tree-hugging stoners who don’t care about money or quality will waste their time on worthless elixirs that don’t actually work as well as good ol artificial stuff. (Because seriously, who knows more about growing things? Mother Nature or Big Ag? (lol))
So, what is the meaning of ‘organic’ growing (to me)?
- Using biology (microbes) in grow media (*living soil would fall into this category)
- Using fungi
- Using plant-based, carbon-based, plant available nutrients and supplements
- Using supplements to aid in nutrient uptake and regulation
- Employing diversity in terms of both microbes and nutrition
- Using inputs that are benign on the water supply and environment
- Using biochar and soil amendments to conserve water and encourage biology in grow media
Why is it better?:
- It produces a healthier plant. Most proponents of synthetic approaches don’t consider the linkage between nutrition and pest management. How susceptible are your plants to mold, mildew, mites, etc? Do you apply pesticides to deal with those problems? A healthier plant is more resistant to all kinds of pests, while your synthetic plant is too weak to even hold it’s buds up and can’t defend itself against outside attackers. If you’re producing a medical product, what kinds of pesticides are you spraying it with?
- A healthy, happy plant is more productive! How much are you producing in terms of pounds per light or pounds per plant? When done right, an organic grow is not only more productive than synthetic, but less expensive.
- Cost per pound can actually be lower
- Uses less water and fewer nutrients
- You can reuse your grow media. This is a big one! Look at how the entire grow industry goes through so much media because after 1 cycle it has so much salt it can’t be used again.
The data hasn’t been gathered yet, and federal legalization will have to happen before that can be done. We find that some growers are satisfied with what they are doing now, where other growers are interested in improving. No matter what your approach (in life and in growing), there’s always an opportunity to take your craft to the next level. In many cases, adding some ‘organic’ techniques and inputs can help you get there. Hit me up if you want to know more.