Get Your Grow On: Finding The Best Soil For Growing Cannabis
When it comes to growing cannabis, one thing that is just as important as the seed is the soil. This is where everything starts for your plants and will remain the main source of nutrition throughout the growth period. In general, the two most popular ways to grow cannabis indoors are using water (a hydroponic system) or soil - and there are pros and cons for both ways. Soil is the easiest place to start because it doesn’t require extensive technology, just the knowledge when it comes to the best soil for growing cannabis.
There are a number of different factors to consider when searching for the ideal soil for growing cannabis, all of which we will address in this article. Water drainage, pH level, texture and the presence of nutrients are all factors which contribute to creating the perfect environment for your marijuana plants to grow. Finding the best soil for growing cannabis doesn’t have to be hard, but it does require that you pay some close attention and of course, make advised choices!
If you put your cannabis seed in any old soil, something is probably going to grow there. It’s a weed, remember? Kind of the same way tomatoes just grow anywhere that it’s hot. But you’re not just growing any old houseplant for decoration. To grow a marijuana plant that’s really going to be boss, covered in trichomes and rich in cannabinoids, the soil needs to be perfectly balanced.
A soil that is rich with microbial life means that your plants should be well fed with nutrients throughout their grow cycle, without you having to make too many adjustments. This is important for first-time growers, too. As a basic indication, you want the soil to have:
- Good drainage and good water retention (it might sound strange, but the two are actually compatible)
- Correct balance of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus
- A good balance of fungi and bacteria
- The perfect pH, which for cannabis is between 5.8 and 6.3
- The right texture
So, let’s talk a little bit more about the kind of texture the best soil for growing cannabis will have.
As you might have noticed from previous gardening adventures or even just from being in nature, different environments have differently textured soils. And different plants will thrive in different kinds of soil. Soil types are usually categorized in three ways:
Sandy soil: very granular, has good drainage but dries out very quickly.
Clay soil: has very small grains, is highly compactable, retains a lot of water with poor draining and has a high pH.
Silt soil: is very dark in color, contains nutrients naturally, has poor drainage qualities.
None of them seem like the ideal growing medium for cannabis, do they? That’s because they aren’t. The best soil for growing weed is, in fact, a combination of all of these three types. This concoction is called loam. Loamy soil has a very rich natural nutrient profile, is easy to work with, retains water and microorganisms love to live in it! Its pH is almost neutral, which makes it easy for growers to manage the pH of their plants accordingly.
Choosing The Right Soil
Actually, the best soil for growing cannabis is made at home with composting methods. But if you must buy a potting mix from the gardening store, make sure you pick a cannabis appropriate soil. The most important things are that it is organic (you’re going to be consuming this) and that it has no slow release nutrients. Nutrients that are slowly released could end up putting the wrong nutrients in your soil at the wrong time, which could be completely disastrous for your crop.
A good quality potting mix will contain nutrients, microorganisms and other compost-like materials that help you to create the ideal medium for growing weed. The kind of additions that cannabis plants love are:
- Worm castings
- Bat guano
- Peat moss
- Bone meal
- Blood meal
- Coco coir
- Dolomite lime
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a potting mix that contains all of these ingredients, but any combination of the above is good for your marijuana plants.
Here are a few soil brands that are recommended by cannabis growers that have tried and tested.
Roots Organic 707
This soil blend is designed to have great water retention qualities. However, they lay off too many of the ingredients listed above so that you can liquid feed your plants as you wish. This soil is probably not ideal for first-time growers who aren’t overly familiar with nutrient feeding, but it provides a great base for more experienced growers.
Black Gold Organic Soil
Black Gold make a great, all round organic soil that you can start potting right away. It contains some delicious ingredients that your cannabis plants will eat up, such as worm castings, pumice, compost and peat moss.
Fox Farm Ocean Forest Mix
The Ocean Forest mix created by Fox Farm is among some of the best soil for growing cannabis for beginners because it’s jam-packed with nutrients. You’ll find all kinds of treasures in the ingredient list, including oyster shell, bat guano, composted forest humus, sandy loam, Norwegian kelp and granite dust. It doesn’t make for a tasty lunch in my opinion, but marijuana plants seem to like it. However, it does require some pH adjusting.
Whichever soil you end up choosing, just remember it's ok to make mistakes when you're starting out. As you progress as a grower, you will figure out the best soils for the cannabis plants you want to grow and the learning process will evolve from there! Good luck, growers!
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