When you’re growing cannabis, it can be easy to get carried away focusing only on what you are going to feed the plants. But you can’t forget about the soil. In fact, maintaining healthy soil is as important as feeding your plants. Without healthy soil, your plants don’t stand a chance. Here are the basic soil requirements for growing great bud.
Good drainage is the first thing you should consider when thinking about soil requirements for your cannabis plants. By “good drainage,” we mean soil that is light, airy, and fluffy. You do not want soil that is compacted, clay-like, or too heavy.
Soil with good drainage accomplishes a few things. For starters, it lets water flow freely without getting trapped in the soil where it could water log your plant’s roots. Similarly, good, light, fluffy soil lets oxygen get to the roots, which is just as important to your plant’s health as water. And finally, soil with good drainage makes it easier for the roots to grow as deep.
It might sound like a bit of a contradiction, but while your soil needs to drain well, it also needs to retain water effectively. The key is to create soil that hits the perfect balance of holding enough water to keep your plants well-fed and happy while avoiding soil that holds water for too long or that gets too heavy or compacted.
Here are some of the best soil amendments you can use to find that balance. If you are growing outdoors in pots, simply mix them into your soil and then fill your pots. Alternatively, if you are growing directly into the ground, use a shovel or rototiller to turn these amendments into the soil before planting.
- Sphagnum peat moss
- Coco coir
- Earthworm castings
- Manure (horse manure, bat guano, chicken droppings, etc.)
- Fish meal, crab meal, bone meal, or blood meal
Many of these amendments have the added benefit of also providing nutrients. Amendments like worm castings, compost, manure, and fish meal simultaneously aerate the soil, help retain good amounts of water, and as they break down, they also release nutrients.
When you have soil with the right texture—it hits the perfect balance of water drainage and retention—it’s time to think about feeding your plants. The most important nutrients for cannabis plants are nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and phosphorus (P). It’s the trifecta of weed plant food. And having enough of them is key when it comes to basic soil requirements for growing killer herb.
The easiest way to ensure enough N, K, and P is to purchase pre-mixed fertilizers. Look for ones that specifically list how much of each element the fertilizer contains. That way you know your plants are getting precisely what they need. You can also make your own, all-organic plant food at home. It’s fairly easy to do and can help you save some money at the same time.
There are other, more specific fertilizers and nutrients you can feed your plants throughout their life cycles as their needs change or as the growing environment changes. But in general, when it comes to basic soil requirements, be sure you have a balance of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
Don’t Forget To Feed Your Soil
It’s important to complete our list of soil requirements with a reminder that your cannabis plants are not the only thing alive in your garden. The soil your plants are growing in is home to billions of microscopic life forms called microbes. And these microbes are what give your cannabis plants a healthy home in which to grow. Simply put, a dynamic and healthy soil is what creates the most productive plants.
One of the best ways to cultivate good soil is to use an additive like Mighty Grow Organics. Products like this replace the minerals and nutrients used by plants as they grow. Additionally, they also give your soil a super boost of microbes so that the soil comes to life. This combination is the best way to keep your weed plants strong, healthy, and happy so they can give you the huge harvests of bud you want.
The Final Hit
Growing weed outdoors can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have less control over environmental factors like humidity, temperature, light, weather, and pests. But on the other hand, it can be a simpler process since you do not have to purchase ventilation systems, lights, and other pieces of equipment. Similarly, many folks believe that outdoor-grown bud is better-tasting and more complex than weed that’s grown indoors.
Whatever your reasons for growing outside, the first step is to get your soil healthy. If you meet the basic soil requirements covered in this article, you will be well your on your way to growing loads of amazing herb. Focus on creating soil that has good drainage, effective water retention, and that has enough nutrients and microbes to keep your plants going strong.
To accomplish all this, you will need to do some work. If you are growing in pots, you can simply mix a variety of amendments, nutrients, and potting soils. If you are growing directly in the ground, you will need to turn the soil and mix in amendments until it’s just right.