FREE SEEDS WITH NEW MEMBERSHIP SIGNUP!!!

The Cannabis Horticultural Association is pleased to announce a new perk to joining the CHA, Seeds!

All new members in the Silver, Gold, and Platinum tiers will receive an exclusive pack of non-feminized seeds from a specialty breeding project for 2021 that is selecting for a diverse array of terpenoids and concentrate production. A Slapz (Runtz x Grease Monkey) male plant was chosen and bred into a few select females of Gelonade, White Runtz, and Blood Orange Kush. Members can contact us directly for more info after signing up and to choose varieties and inquire if any new genetics are available. ***Seeds are for novelty use only and are collectors items.

White Runtz x Slapz showcased in gallery below

Green Member $9.99/year

  • Full Database Access

Sign up nowSilver Member $29/year

  • Full Database Access
  • 10 Seeds

Sign up nowGold Member $49/year

  • Full Database Access
  • Advanced Support
  • 15 Seeds

Sign up nowPlatinum Member $99/year

  • Full Database Access
  • Advanced Support
  • Customized Content Creation
  • 30 Seeds

Peanut Butter Breath Bx2 Seeds

Peanut Butter Breath Bx2

Peanut Butter Breath (DoSiDos x Mendo Breath) is originally bred by ThugPug Genetics and is a popular hybrid strain that has gained quite a following among cannabis enthusiasts. It is known for its slightly nutty and kushy with some gassy and floral notes. Some report subtle notes of citrus and pepper. It has a very complex terpene profile. Super relaxing and euphoric. The strain is typically high in THC, with some variations containing up to 28% THC. It is known to produce a relaxing, yet uplifting effect that can leave users feeling happy and euphoric.

If you are looking to grow your own Peanut Butter Breath, CHAnetics™ has now partnered with a breeder in Humboldt who has been working with the iconic PBB for many years now. His backcrossing retains many of the desirable traits of the original hybrid, notably the amazing terpene profiles and lightninh quick flowering times. Check out our seed page for more information on the PBB Bx2 and also all the new PBB crosses!!!



Contact CHA for Wholesale Pricing Inquiries
[email protected]

The Soil Food Web 101:

Understanding the Interconnected Web of Life Beneath Our Feet

The soil food web is a concept that has revolutionized the way we understand the complex and dynamic ecosystem that lies beneath our feet. The concept was created by Dr. Elaine Ingham, a soil biologist and founder of Soil Foodweb Inc., in the late 1970s. Dr. Ingham’s research and experiments led her to the realization that healthy soil is not just a mixture of organic and inorganic matter, but a living and breathing ecosystem, teeming with countless microorganisms that work together to sustain plant growth and nutrient cycling.

The development of the soil food web was a result of Dr. Ingham’s work on the role of microorganisms in the soil. She recognized that soil microorganisms were not just passive players, but active participants in soil health and plant growth. In her research, she identified that microorganisms in the soil could be grouped into functional categories, such as decomposers, mutualists, and pathogens. These groups interact with each other to form a complex food web, much like the food web we see in above-ground ecosystems.

The soil food web is important because it helps us understand how the different components of soil microbiology work together to maintain healthy soil and promote plant growth. By understanding the interactions between microorganisms in the soil, we can develop more effective and sustainable farming and gardening practices.

What is the Soil Food Web?

The soil food web is a complex and interconnected network of organisms that live in the soil. It is made up of a wide variety of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, and other microorganisms. These organisms interact with each other in a complex web of relationships that can be classified into trophic levels based on their role in the ecosystem.

The trophic levels in the soil food web include the following:
  1. Primary producers: These are the plants that are able to produce their own food through photosynthesis.
  2. Decomposers: These are the organisms that break down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves, into smaller pieces that can be used by other organisms.
  3. Detritivores: These are the organisms that feed on the decomposing organic matter.
  4. Predators: These are the organisms that feed on other organisms.
  5. Parasites: These are the organisms that live on or inside other organisms and feed on their nutrients.
  6. Mutualists: These are the organisms that have a mutually beneficial relationship with other organisms.

The different components of the soil microbiology are described in more detail below.

Bacteria: Bacteria are one of the most abundant organisms in the soil. They play a crucial role in nutrient cycling, breaking down organic matter and making nutrients available to plants. Some bacteria are also capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can use. In addition, some bacteria are pathogenic and can cause diseases in plants.

Fungi: Fungi are another important group of microorganisms in the soil. They are essential for decomposing organic matter and releasing nutrients into the soil. Fungi also form symbiotic relationships with plants, helping them to absorb nutrients and water from the soil. Mycorrhizal fungi, for example, form associations with the roots of most plants, enabling them to access nutrients that are otherwise inaccessible.

Arthropods: Arthropods, such as mites, springtails, and beetles, are important decomposers in the soil. They break down organic matter and release nutrients into the soil. Arthropods also help to aerate the soil, improving its structure and water-holding capacity.

Grazers: Grazers are organisms that feed on other microorganisms in the soil, such as bacteria and fungi. They include:

Microbes: Microbes are the smallest and most abundant organisms in the soil. They include bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. They play an important role in nutrient cycling and decomposition, and also help to suppress plant pathogens.

Mutualists: Mutualists are organisms that have a mutually beneficial relationship with other organisms. Mycorrhizal fungi, for example, form associations with the roots of most plants, enabling them to access nutrients that are otherwise inaccessible. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria are another example of mutualists, as they form a symbiotic relationship with certain plants, such as legumes, and fix atmospheric nitrogen into a form that the plant can use.

Nematodes: Nematodes are microscopic, worm-like organisms that play an important role in the soil food web. They can be classified into three categories: bacterial-feeding, fungal-feeding, and predatory nematodes. Bacterial-feeding nematodes feed on bacteria, while fungal-feeding nematodes feed on fungi. Predatory nematodes, on the other hand, feed on other nematodes, as well as other small organisms in the soil.

Protozoa: Protozoa are single-celled organisms that play a crucial role in the soil food web. They are important grazers, feeding on bacteria, fungi, and other microbes in the soil. Protozoa also help to regulate the population of other microorganisms in the soil.

Trophic Levels in the Soil Food Web

As mentioned earlier, the organisms in the soil food web can be classified into different trophic levels based on their role in the ecosystem. The trophic levels in the soil food web are as follows:

  1. Primary producers: These are the plants that are able to produce their own food through photosynthesis.
  2. Decomposers: These are the organisms that break down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves, into smaller pieces that can be used by other organisms.
  3. Detritivores: These are the organisms that feed on the decomposing organic matter.
  4. Predators: These are the organisms that feed on other organisms.
  5. Parasites: These are the organisms that live on or inside other organisms and feed on their nutrients.
  6. Mutualists: These are the organisms that have a mutually beneficial relationship with other organisms.

Functions of Soil Organisms

Soil organisms play a crucial role in maintaining healthy soil and promoting plant growth. The different types of soil organisms and their functions are summarized in the table below:

Type of OrganismFunction
BacteriaDecomposition, nutrient cycling, nitrogen fixation
FungiDecomposition, nutrient cycling, mycorrhizal association with plants
ArthropodsDecomposition, nutrient cycling, aeration of soil
GrazersRegulation of microbial populations
MicrobesDecomposition, nutrient cycling, suppression of plant pathogens
MutualistsSymbiotic relationships with plants
NematodesRegulation of microbial populations
ProtozoaRegulation of microbial populations

Managing Soil Health

Maintaining healthy soil is essential for sustainable agriculture and gardening practices. One way to promote soil health is by increasing the complexity of the soil food web. This can be achieved by reducing the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and by adding organic matter to the soil. Organic matter provides food for the microorganisms in the soil, promoting their growth and diversity.

Another way to promote soil health is by practicing crop rotation. Crop rotation helps to break the life cycles of plant pathogens and pests, reducing their populations and the need for synthetic pesticides. It also helps to maintain soil fertility by alternating crops that have different nutrient requirements.

There are many other ways to manage soil health, but for now we will cover just the basics.

Conclusion

The soil food web is a complex and dynamic ecosystem that plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy soil and promoting plant growth. It was first developed by Dr. Elaine Ingham, who recognized the importance of the microorganisms in the soil in promoting soil health. The soil food web includes a diverse range of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, arthropods, grazers, microbes, mutualists, nematodes, and protozoa, all of which play an important role in nutrient cycling and decomposition.

Understanding the soil food web and the functions of the different types of soil organisms can help farmers and gardeners manage soil health in a sustainable and effective manner. By promoting the growth and diversity of the microorganisms in the soil, we can create a healthy and fertile environment that supports plant growth and reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

In conclusion, the soil food web is an essential component of healthy soil and sustainable agriculture practices. By promoting soil health and the complexity of the soil food web, we can create a more sustainable and resilient ecosystem that benefits both the environment and our food systems.

Beginners Guide to Building a Vermicomposting Bin

Vermicomposting is a method of composting using worms to decompose organic waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. It’s a great alternative to traditional composting methods for those who live in apartments, have limited space, or want to reduce their waste footprint. For those interested in the process, here’s a quick overview to help get you started.

Benefits of vermicomposting include:

  1. Reduction of waste: Vermicomposting helps to reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up in landfills, which can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Improved soil fertility: Vermicompost is rich in nutrients and beneficial microbes, making it an excellent soil amendment that can improve the health of plants. Vermicompost contains essential plant nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, that can be released slowly over time. This helps to reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers.
  3. Improved soil structure: Vermicomposting helps to improve soil structure by increasing the amount of organic matter in the soil. This helps to create more air and water pockets, resulting in better water infiltration and drainage.
  4. Improved root growth: Vermicompost helps to promote root growth by providing a source of organic matter and beneficial microorganisms that can help to stimulate root growth.
  5. Pest control: Vermicompost can help to control pests in the garden by attracting beneficial insects and by providing plants with a healthy root system.
  6. Water conservation: Vermicompost can improve the water-holding capacity of soil, making it easier for plants to access water during dry spells.
  7. Disease suppression: Vermicompost can help to suppress plant diseases by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria and fungi in the soil. This can help to reduce the need for chemical pesticides.
  8. Increased yields: Vermicompost can increase the yield and quality of crops, resulting in a more productive garden.

To build a vermicompost system, there are three popular methods:

DIY Worm Bins from NC State
  1. Worm bin: A worm bin is a container filled with bedding material, such as shredded newspaper or coconut coir, and food scraps for the worms to feed on. The worms will consume the food scraps and produce compost in the form of worm castings. A worm bin can be made out of a plastic container or a wooden box.
  2. Flow-through system: A flow-through system is a continuous composting method where food scraps are added to one end of a bin and finished compost is removed from the other end. This system requires a larger space and can be made using plastic pipes or a series of bins.
  3. Batch composting system: A batch composting system is a method where food scraps are added to a bin and left to decompose until the compost is ready to use. This method is easy to manage and is a good option for small-scale composting.

Worms can feed on a variety of food sources, including:

  1. Vegetable and fruit scraps (e.g. carrot peels, apple cores)
  2. Coffee grounds and filters
  3. Eggshells
  4. Shredded paper and cardboard
  5. Leaves from dynamic accumulator plants such as comfrey
  6. Grass clippings
  7. Herb plant trimmings
  8. Weeds (without seeds)
  9. Manure from herbivorous animals (e.g. rabbits, horses)
  10. Seaweed and kelp

Problems in vermicomposting can include:

  1. Odor: If the compost is not managed properly, it can produce a foul odor. This can be solved by keeping the compost moist and turning it regularly to allow air to circulate.
  2. Pests: Pests such as fruit flies can be attracted to the compost. This can be prevented by covering the compost with a lid and ensuring that the compost is not too moist.
  3. Overcrowding: If there are too many worms in the compost, they can become overcrowded and stop producing compost. This can be solved by removing some of the worms and starting a new compost bin.
  4. Lack of bedding: If the bedding in the compost bin is not adequate, the worms can become stressed and stop producing compost. This can be solved by adding more bedding to the bin.
  5. Poor compost quality: If the compost is not managed properly, it can become too dry and stop producing compost. This can be solved by adding more water to the compost.
  6. Reduced composting efficiency: If the temperature of the vermicomposting bin is too high or too low, the composting process will be less efficient. This can result in a slower breakdown of organic matter and fewer nutrients for the plants.
  7. Reduced microbial activity: If the temperature of the vermicomposting bin is too low, it can reduce the activity of beneficial microbes, resulting in slower composting and fewer nutrients for the plants.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Vermicomposting is an earth friendly way to improve soil health, reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and promote healthy plant growth. It is an easy and sustainable way to garden, as it does not require any synthetic inputs and can be done with just a few simple tools. Vermicomposting helps to improve soil structure, retain essential plant nutrients, suppress plant diseases, promote root growth, and increase water retention. For gardeners who want to reduce their environmental impact and improve their garden’s health, vermicomposting is a great option.

Cannabis Seeds Empowering Education

CHA is dedicated to sharing its knowledge and expertise in sustainable horticulture practices with the world, and it uses its educational platform to promote the use of organic and regenerative methods. Through workshops, online courses, and other educational resources, CHA is working to empower people to grow their own food and medicine in a way that is both sustainable and regenerative.

By purchasing CHA’s high-quality cannabis seeds, customers are not only getting access to some of the best genetics in the industry, but they are also supporting CHA’s mission to educate the world about sustainable horticulture practices. CHA’s genetic breeding program is a crucial component of the company’s success and its mission to educate the world about sustainable horticulture practices. The customers who support CHA by purchasing its seeds play an important role in this mission, and their support helps to ensure that CHA can continue to promote the use of organic, regenerative, and ecological growing methods for generations to come.

Leading the Way to a Regenerative Future

The cannabis industry is growing at a rapid pace, and with this growth comes the responsibility to promote sustainable and environmentally responsible practices. The Cannabis Horticultural Association (CHA) is leading the way in promoting organic, regenerative, and ecological management practices in horticulture.

The CHA was founded in 2016 to promote the responsible cultivation of cannabis and to incorporate the modalities of ALL plant medicine. Including the study of companion planting and herbal medicine in the field of cannabis horticulture is important as it contributes to sustainable and holistic cultivation practices. Companion planting helps to create a balanced ecosystem within the grow environment, reducing the need for synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. The use of herbs in medicine complements the medical properties of cannabis, potentially increasing the effectiveness and versatility of treatments. By incorporating these practices, cannabis cultivators can produce healthier and more diverse crops while also promoting the preservation of traditional knowledge and medicinal practices. The association recognizes the importance of promoting sustainable and environmentally responsible practices, and it is committed to educating its members and the public about the benefits of organic, regenerative, and ecological management practices.

  • Organic horticulture is a system of growing plants that relies on natural processes and minimizes the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Organic practices promote the health of the soil, the plants, and the environment, and they help to reduce the risk of contamination and negative impacts on the environment.
  • Regenerative horticulture goes beyond organic practices and focuses on improving the health of the soil, water, air, and biodiversity. This approach to horticulture emphasizes the use of cover crops, compost, and other organic matter to promote soil health and reduce the need for synthetic inputs.
  • Ecological horticulture focuses on creating a sustainable and interconnected ecosystem in the garden or farm. This approach considers the entire ecosystem, including the plants, animals, and microorganisms, and it works to promote a healthy balance between all of the components.

The CHA is working to promote these practices by providing education and resources for its members and the public. The association provides consulting and educational programs, as well as access to experts in the field. Additionally, the CHA works with government agencies, research institutions, and other organizations to promote sustainable and environmentally responsible practices in the cannabis horticultural industry. By promoting organic, regenerative, and ecological management practices, the CHA is helping to ensure the health and sustainability of the cannabis industry and the environment for generations to come.

CHECK OUT ALL THE NEW SEED LISTINGS!!!

The Benefits Cannabis & Herbal Medicine

Introduction

Cannabis and herbal medicine have been used for thousands of years to treat various health conditions and improve overall well-being. Despite the advancements in Western pharmaceutical medicine, these traditional forms of medicine continue to play a crucial role in healthcare, providing natural and effective solutions to various health problems. In this article, we will examine the benefits of cannabis and some well known herbal medicines and examine their medical benefits. Herbal medicine is a form of medicine that uses plants or plant extracts to treat various health conditions. Cannabis would technically be considered an herbal medicine, although it might rank as the strongest one known. Some of the most commonly used herbal medicines around the world include turmeric, ginger, ginkgo biloba, garlic, elderberry and ginseng.

One of the most important benefits of herbal medicine is its antiviral properties. Some of the most commonly used antiviral herbs include echinacea, garlic, and elderberry. In addition to its antiviral properties, herbal medicine also has powerful antioxidant properties. Some of the most commonly used antioxidant herbs include green tea, ginseng, and goji berries. Herbal medicine also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties as well, making it an effective treatment for various inflammatory conditions, including arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. Some of the most commonly used anti-inflammatory herbs include turmeric, ginger, and willow bark.

Georgia Pie Strain

Cannabis

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. It contains over 100 compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which have been shown to have therapeutic effects on the body. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that CBD can effectively reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality in patients with anxiety disorders. Another study published in the Journal of Pain found that cannabis can effectively reduce chronic pain and improve quality of life for patients with chronic pain conditions.

Tumeric

Turmeric, for example, has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce inflammation and improve joint function in patients with arthritis. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that turmeric can effectively reduce inflammation and improve joint function in patients with osteoarthritis. Another study published in the Journal of Cancer Research found that turmeric can reduce the risk of various types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and lung cancer.

Ginger

Ginger is another commonly used herbal medicine that has been shown to have a range of health benefits. A study published in the Journal of Nausea and Vomiting found that ginger can effectively reduce nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Another study published in the Journal of Pain found that ginger can effectively reduce menstrual pain in women.

Ginko Biloba

Ginkgo biloba, a plant native to China, has been used for thousands of years to improve memory and cognitive function. A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that ginkgo biloba can effectively improve memory and cognitive function in healthy adults. Another study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that ginkgo biloba can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and improve cognitive function in patients with the condition.

Garlic

Garlic is another commonly used herb that has been shown to have antiviral properties. A study published in the Journal of Antiviral Research found that garlic can effectively inhibit the growth of various viruses, including the flu virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Another study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy found that garlic can effectively reduce the risk of viral infections, including the common cold and flu.

Elderberry

Elderberry, also known as Sambucus, is a plant native to Europe and North America that has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. A study published in the Journal of International Medical Research found that elderberry can effectively reduce the severity and duration of flu symptoms. Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that elderberry can boost the immune system and reduce the risk of viral infections.

Echinacea

Echinacea, also known as purple coneflower, has been shown to have powerful antiviral properties. A study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy found that echinacea can effectively inhibit the growth of various viruses, including the flu virus. Another study published in the Journal of Phytomedicine found that echinacea can boost the immune system and reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms.

Green Tea

Green tea, for example, has been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties that can help to protect the body against oxidative stress and damage. A study published in the Journal of Cancer Research found that green tea can effectively reduce the risk of various types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and lung cancer. Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that green tea can improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Ginseng

Ginseng, a plant native to Asia, has been used for thousands of years to improve overall health and well-being. A study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that ginseng can effectively reduce oxidative stress and improve antioxidant status in the body. Another study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition found that ginseng can improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Goji Berries

Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are a type of berry native to China that has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. A study published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology found that goji berries can effectively reduce oxidative stress and improve antioxidant status in the body. Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that goji berries can improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Conclusion

In conclusion, cannabis and herbal medicine are equally as important as Western pharmaceutical medicine. They provide natural and effective solutions to various health problems and have been used for thousands of years to treat various health conditions and improve overall well-being. While Western pharmaceutical medicine has its place in healthcare, it is important to recognize the benefits of these traditional forms of medicine and to incorporate them into our healthcare systems. By doing so, we can provide patients with a more comprehensive and holistic approach to healthcare.

KOFFEE SEED DROP

Koffee Seed List

CHA is excited to offer a bunch of new crosses coming out of the Koffee lineage. Koffee (Alien OG x Alien Kush).

BUY SEEDS HERE

The Koffee originated from Kaya. It was named Kaya’s Koffee and subsequently given to a few breeders. Nick from Greensource Gardens took it all the way to Koffee F8. CHA was able to procure the seeds from Nick directly at a seed swap. The Koffee breeding project through CHA is using the Koffee F8 from Greensource Gardens.

Koffee is a THC dominant variety often chosen to treat conditions such as depression, chronic pain, mood swings, chronic fatigue, and chronic stress. This F8 flower has a super pungent aroma of a chocolate/kushy spice and pine/citrus with mint. Almost smells like Eucalyptus. Very complex, nicely intoxicating

Koffee
Koffee
Koffee Seed List
Koffee Seed List

Main Instagram Account Suspended !!!

@CHA_Humboldt

Instagram is at it again, and has suspended CHA’s main account @cha.education

Please follow CHA’s backup up account: @cha_humboldt

UPDATE

THE MAIN ACCOUNT IS BACKUP!!! 12/21/22

Cannabis Seeds Available Now on CHA Website!!!

Seed List 2022 - Cannabis Horticultural Association

Some of the Best Deals for Elite Genetic Crosses!!!

$100 for 25 seeds

Living in Humboldt County for the past 15 years has provided the CHA access to world class genetics that has helped develop a unique library of flavors for both flower and concentrates. These genetics will contain award-winning phenotypes, it’s up to you to grab a few packs and hunt them out to find the winners. That is why we have included 25 seeds in most packs, this gives you the ability to have a larger group to hunt from. The quality of the flowers will match any other famous breeders but at a fraction of the cost. Some of the pictures below are from our Slapz and Tropaya Lines (photos of outdoor grown flowers) Check out the seeds page to learn more.

Also Don’t Sleep on the Lemon Hashplant Line!!!!

The Lemon Hashplant line was a 2022 project in conjunction with a local Humboldt farmer/breeder. A large number of male seeds were grown out from Bodhi seeds Lemon Hashplant (Lemon G x 88 G13. 2 select males were chosen for smell, structure and vigor and used in an open pollination project with a select group of elite award winning genetics. The crosses that come out of this line are sure to win some awards. These seeds are now available for purchase on the website #CHAnetics

Understanding The Role of Silicon in Plant Health

When most people think about fertilizing plants, they think about the major nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. And there are quite a few other micronutrients that all play important roles in plant health, but arguably there is no other micro-nutrient as important as silicon for optimizing plant health. Silicon plays an integral role in plant health by interacting with several key components of plant stress signaling systems leading to induced resistance. The terminology is confusing because there are differences between silicon, silica, silicic acid and silicate. Sometimes they’re used interchangeably by the fertilizer industry but these terms mean very different things. So, here are the definitions of some common terms involved when talking about silicon in plants.

Silicon: a tetravalent nonmetallic element that occurs combined as the most abundant element next to oxygen in the earth’s crust. It is an element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. The elemental form itself is unassimilable to plants.

Silica: another name for silicon dioxide (SiO₂); found in the mineral quartz and also a major component of sand. Sometimes you will find products that contain micronized silicon dioxide to be amended in or there is even liquid silicon dioxide as well.

Silicates: compounds containing silicon-oxygen tetrahedrons (SiO4)4-that are used as fertilizers like calcium silicate, potassium silicate, sodium silicate and combinations of diatomaceous earth with minerals.

Silicic Acid: any of various weakly acid substances obtained as gelatinous masses by treating silicates with acids. It is a compound of silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen, regarded as the parent substance from which is derived a large family—the silicates—of minerals, salts, and esters. The only form of silicon which is available for entry or uptake into a plant is silicic acid, Si(OH)4

Monosilicic Acid (MSA): Synonym: orthosilicic acid (OSA). MSA or Si(OH)4 is the simplest form of soluble silicic acid. MSA is found universally in seawater, river water and soils at a concentration of a few ppm. Although MSA is in dynamic equilibrium with disilicic acid, it is considered the only bioavailable form of silicon.

What’s the Difference?

Because most of the silicon in the plant’s crust is held in forms plants cannot take up. These include silicon dioxide (silica) and various silicate minerals. While plants can’t take up silica, they can take up another form of silicon —monosilicic/orthosilicic acid. Bacteria can convert other silicon compounds into monosilicic acid. However, this process takes weeks or months. By the time silicon is in a plant available form, the plant might be too far along in it growth cycle for the silicon to be of much value. Therefore, growers often apply silicon in the form of monosilicic acid. https://www.globalgarden.co/knowledge/silicic-acid/

SILICIC ACID VS. POTASSIUM SILICATE

Potassium silicate (K2SiO3) is a salt of silicic acid (H4SiO4).

As mentioned above, silicates are not available to plants. So, plants cannot take up or use potassium silicate. First, bacteria must convert it to monosilicic acid.

Therefore, applying potassium silicate does not have the same effects as applying monosilicic acid. Depending on the level of nutrient cyclying and silica solubilizing bacteria present in the soil or on the leaf surface (foliar application), your plants will not be able to uptake potassium silicate for potentially weeks, it just depends on a variety of biotic and abiotic factors. https://www.globalgarden.co/knowledge/silicic-acid/

Role of Silicon in Plant Health

Silicon promotes plant growth by increasing the growth of cells which leads to faster growth of the roots stems and shoots. A few studies have shown that the application of silicon yields plants with taller and thicker stems. Silicon also helps protect plants from harmful fungi.

Eventually, silicic acid molecules polymerize into insoluble silica, which is deposited in plant tissues, first in the abaxial (lower) epidermis and then, as the plant grows, in the epidermis. It then condenses into particles of hard, polymerized silica gel, also known as phytoliths. It is this silica that imparts silicon’s benefits to plants by strengthening plant tissues and structures.https://www.emeraldharvest.co/wp-content/uploads/WP_Inside_Silicon_Supplements_DOWNLOAD.pdf

Primary Effects on Plant Growth

Mono-silicic acid has three primary effects on plants:

  1. Mechanical – Builds structure and resistance to stress
    Deposits silicon directly into the outer layer of the cell creating a rigid barrier and a more solid structure.
  2. Nutritional – Increased and more balanced uptake of nutrients
    Pressurizes the plant sap to allow a better and more even flow of nutrients throughout the plant circulatory system.
  3. Immunity – Stimulates plant’s immune system
    Triggers the production of immunity compounds, as well as drawing silicon to the point of attack to rebuild and strengthen tissue. https://aptus-holland.com/core-technology-silicon-silicic-acid/

Improves Resistance to Fungal and Bacterial Pathogens

Although it’s not fully known how, silicon helps protect plants against harmful fungi. Some of these fungi include fusarium wilt and powdery mildew. Scientists think one way this element protects plants is by stimulating plant defenses. When you add silicon to your plants, they can better recognize diseases and begin to fight back LINK

Natural Sources of Silicon

So now that we know a little more about the element silicon and its role in plant health, let’s examine where we can find natural source of it.

  1. Diatomaceous earth Diatomaceous earth, also known as diatomite and DE, is the naturally occurring fossilized remains of diatoms—single-celled aquatic algae. It is a near-pure sedimentary deposit consisting almost entirely of silica. https://www.dicalite.com/2021/03/diatomaceous-earth-as-a-source-of-plant-available-silica/
  2. Horsetail The plant horsetail has found extensive application as a source of silica, The results for the silicon concentration in horsetail reached from 2.64% to 4.80% of the dry matter. The lowest amount of silicon was in the range between 1.52% and 2.51%. https://www.scirp.org/pdf/fns_2013050814523966.pdf

Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases provide some reference points to the values of silica and silicon in the plant and shoot tissue of Horsetail – Equisetum arvense (Equisetaceae)

Horsetail Garden Tea

Here is a quick recipe from No Dig Garden for a horsetail extract to apply as a drench or foliar for your plants,

•2 cups fresh horsetail or 1 cup dried

•10 cups water

•Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. Leave to cool overnight – you may want to pop it outside as it isn’t the nicest of smells and can make the kitchen smell a bit peculiar, not quite what you need first thing in the morning!

•Strain through a sieve or colander lined with muslin and pour into labelled bottles. Store in a cool place for about a month. Pour any leftover potion into a compost heap.

•To use as a foliar spray or soil feed, dilute 1 part horsetail ‘tea’ to 4 parts water.

Here is a recipe for a smaller quantity which can be increased as you wish.

2 cups fresh horsetail or 1 cup dried

10 cups water

Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. Leave to cool overnight – you may want to pop it outside as it isn’t the nicest of smells and can make the kitchen smell a bit peculiar, not quite what you need first thing in the morning!

Strain through a sieve or colander lined with muslin and pour into labelled bottles. Store in a cool place for about a month. Pour any leftover potion into a compost heap.

To use as a foliar spray or soil feed, dilute 1 part horsetail ‘tea’ to 4 parts water.

Summary

In summation, Silicon has been shown to elicit these types of effects on plants

  1. Have stronger and thicker branches by depositing silicon directly into the outer layer of the cell.
  2. Carry sturdier and heavier fruits with higher nutritional value and a longer shelf-life.
  3. Silicon induced thermotolerance – Improves plants tolerance to heat extremes.
  4. Are more resistant to stress caused by high concentrations of salts in the substrate (high EC).
  5. Alleviates abiotic and biotic stresses, and increases the resistance of plants to pathogenic fungi.

Other Research Articles on Silicon

Role of Silicon on Plant–Pathogen Interactions

Silicon Influences Soil Availability and Accumulation of Mineral Nutrients in Various Plant Species

Silicon and plant disease resistance against pathogenic fungi

Silicon-induced thermotolerance in Solanum lycopersicum L. via activation of antioxidant system, heat shock proteins, and endogenous phytohormones

The Effects of Foliar Sprays with Different Silicon Compounds

Agriculture increases the bioavailability of silicon, a beneficial element for crop, in temperate soils

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