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Enzymes 101

As the manufacturers of North America’s #1 selling horticulture enzyme formula, we have noticed that although a lot of people know they should use enzymes, they don’t necessarily know what exactly enzymes do for their growing and why they should use them. So we put together a little brief on the who, what, why, when, where, and how’s of enzymes.

Let us know how you use enzymes and what your successes have been!

What are Enzymes?
Enzymes are proteins, made up of amino acids that act as catalysts – they facilitate, energize, and speed up biochemical reactions. Their rate of reaction can be several million times faster than if left un-catalyzed. Put simply, enzymes help break down larger molecules by acting as a catalyst, which allows the micro-organism to complete the task at a faster rate.

How do Enzymes work?
Enzymes are not alive nor are they consumed when they catalyze a biochemical reaction. When the biochemical reaction is over, the enzyme is ready to bond to another substrate unit again. Given the right conditions, the enzyme can catalyze the same reaction time and time again. However, enzymes are highly specific - only when the right enzyme finds the right substrate, does a biochemical reaction occur. No other material or process will be altered or affected with the right enzyme formula.

Where do Enzymes work?
Formulated correctly, enzymes for use in agriculture act as a catalyst that accelerates the speed of natural root zone reactions. It provides a cleaner more vigorous root zone by accelerating the break down of organic debris that may otherwise rot and provide a welcoming environment for root rot to take hold. If you already have root rot in your system, the right enzyme formula can assist in reversing the damage and prevent further development, although it will not act as a cure.

Aside from the root zone, the right enzyme formula will also work through your grow system. In this way, it can act as an equipment cleaner, keeping your system clean and reducing the risk of any buildup blocking your system.

Why use Enzymes?
Enzymes are used in most industries to make some of your favorite things like: tastier beer, softer cloths, better cheeses and juices, and more efficient detergents. In plants, cellulase breaks down cellulose into simple sugars that help stimulate microbial growth. This accelerated reaction unlocks essential nutrients for your plant and increases nutrient uptake in your system. A less clean and vigorous root zone could ultimately kill your plant or, at a minimum, severely impede your plants ability to absorb water and nutrients resulting in poor growth and lower yields.

When to use Enzymes?
Enzymes can be used with every growth stage! Just add the recommended dose of an enzyme product with every watering or nutrient change out. For best results, implement a gradual reduction of all nutrients starting 3 weeks from harvest. On the last week before harvest, flush your system and only feed your plants water.

Who uses Enzymes?
Enzymes are used by everyone from amateur growers who need a little bit of insurance on their growing environment to professional commercial growers who need to maximize quality and yield. The right enzyme formula is suitable for anybody because it can be used in any growing media and system, regardless of the size of your operation … Happy Growing! :grinning:

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As a grower who constantly strives to operate a sustainable cultivation facility while producing the highest quality boutique cannabis (including running a solar array, vermiposting, and utilizing ethical integrated pest management protocols), I’ve found proper cleansing and the re-integration of media is an often tricky, however surmountable challenge for any farmer.

Once upon a time, I was a dirt-bagging, apartment dwelling twenty-something living in Chicago. All the literature I consumed (which was limited at best, and there were no internet forums like The Network in which a grower could lose oneself) informed me that I need to dispose of the peat based substrates I in which I grew immediately post-harvest. Allow me introduce you to my friend: Black Trashbag. Black Trashbag and I became intimately connected. Oh how I loathed Black Trashbag over time, especially when Black Trashbag ripped open and spilled stems, perlite and Sunshine #4 all over my trunk and my jeans. On North Avenue. In front of a bus stop full of watching, waiting people. Black Trashbag and I weren’t friends for long. Waste from cultivation is a pesky issue for the urban farmer.

Flash forward a decade or so. I moved on to coco. I was working for a cultivation facility in Arizona and we managed to amass a giant mound of coco and root balls that was beginning to look a bit like Mt. Everest. One morning we unlocked the facility to discover the pile was aflame and smoldering. Methane gas had built up in the pile and had ignited overnight. I was lucky we didn’t burn down the entire warehouse. Waste from cultivation can be a dangerous issue for the commercial farmer.

A few years ago, I started introducing enzymes into my media cleanse process. Ever since then, my divorce from Black Trashbag has been finalized. No longer do I worry about setting the cultivation building ablaze due to a mounting pile of root balls. Enzymes have been the key to cleansing many items from the cultivation process but specifically have allowed me to reintegrate my media and continue pursuing my goal of sustainable agriculture. I highly recommend to my customers and fellow cultivators the utilization of enzymes as part of daily practice and cultivation maintenance. Your plants will be happy too.

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Thank you for the great story @Growernick! We’re so happy you’ve come to know and see the benefits that enzymes can provide and are sharing your knowledge and experience with those around you!

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Hey @Growernick interesting post. Can you share a little about your regime? Are you using the enzymes post harvest to clean out the dead roots before recharging the substrate as well as adding them to your daily mix?

I met Remo and Sandra from Remo Brands recently and they told me that they had been reusing their substrate for years, just washed it through with enzymes and recharged it with worm castings after each harvest. Incidentally, they also catch all the water from their dehumidifiers and reuse it, so their room requires virtually no input in terms of water and substrate. Mind boggling!

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Hey Dan,
To answer your question: yes, I am using the enzymes to clean the media
post harvest and during my 3 month rest and recharge phase. I am also
utilizing enzymes as part of a daily regimen (post mix, post pH balancing).

Living in the desert provides a series of challenges that differ from
growing in other regions. Water management is definitely one of those
issues. Like Remo and Sandra, I also catch condensate from dehumidifiers
and ACs, filter said condensate, and reintegrate that filtered water back
into my reservoirs for future use. I’ve also managed to close-loop power
and waste in my grow. I’m currently writing some articles for GN describing
my net-zero cultivation facility, check them out.

Hopefully this answers your questions.

Happy growing!

-N

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Thanks Nick,
I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the articles, very interesting. This is an area that I’m keen on exploring as I try to incorporate more sustainable practices into my own gardening. I’ve moved away from using chemicals and am experimenting with different lighting techniques (various LED’s, currently CMH).

Plus, on a professional level, our irrigation system wastes zero water or electricity.

Please let me know when the articles are posted.

Cheers!

Dan

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