Soil and Pot options when Growing Cannabis

Cannabis has been grown and throughout history in some sort of soil medium much like any other kind of agriculture. Even to this day, most outdoor weed is usually grown big-sized pots that hopefully contains good quality soil. Indoor marijuana growers have debated the pros and cons of using a hydroponic setup versus using a soil medium for their plants.

What does good soil for growing marijuana look like?

The soil you should use for your cannabis garden should look like it is rich in texture, loose, not muddy when wet, and slightly acidic (pH 6.0). When you are watering your marijuana plants, the soil should be capable of retaining water as well as draining excess water. You do not want to over water your cannabis plants as they will start exhibiting sluggish growth with droopy leaves. You want the roots to extend out and search for water that is retained in the soil in your grow pot. To check the pH of your soil, you will need a pH digital reader or at least some litmus paper.

Pros of using Soil versus Hydroponics for Growing Marijuana

Growing marijuana in soil should be more intuitive especially to people that have some kind of gardening experience. Soil is a little more forgiving for cannabis growers that have not yet dialed in their nutrient regiment. Using nutrients for your marijuana will be different for hydroponic versus soil because hydroponics will have no nutrients to start with unlike soil. Some marijuana growers also have noted that cannabis grown in soil has a better taste than that grown in hydroponics. With that being said, we want to stress the importance of flushing your cannabis plants with straight water towards the end of your harvest.

Pros of using Hydroponics versus Soil versus for Growing Cannabis

An apparent disadvantage that cannabis growers see using hydroponics is that their plants will typically see a faster rate of growth during the vegetative phase. Many fans of hydroponics will tell you that they have a bigger yield than they would have if they used soil under the same growing conditions. As far as set up for a hydroponics system, it is a little more involved and complicated than using soil. A disadvantage of using soil is that  you should not be reusing your soil for the your next cannabis grow as that old soil will most likely contain pests like mites.

What can you add to the soil so your marijuana plants grow healthy?

Coco Coir

Coco soil is made from broken down coconut husks. You can buy coco in the form of potting mix or in the form of Coco bricks. If you decide to use the Coco bricks, you should know that you need to get them wet to break them down into a looser medium. Coco is a good thing to have in your soil because it really helps with water retention and is still airy enough so the roots on your marijuana can expand quicker.

Perlite

Perlite is a white volcanic rock that retains oxygen and water which will really benefit the root system of your cannabis plants. It should be added to your soil to make the soil a little bit more loose and airy. Perlite also has many little pockets that can trap oxygen which is needed under the ground as the oxygen will sustain the healthy beneficial microorganisms that you want present in your root system. At the same time, it also improves the drainage ability of your soil. You will want to add about 30% of perlite to your soil mix.  Adding more perlite than that might create a soil medium that will leach out nutrients faster than you want.

Mycorrhizae or “Myco”

Mycorrhizae is a type of soil amendment that contains something called “beneficials” which are beneficial microorganisms that helps promote healthy root growth. This beneficial is actually a fungus root and it helps break down nutrients into bite-sized chunks to your cannabis plants can readily absorb in a process known as chelation. Adding myco to your soil will really make your plants a lot healthier because it will also reduce other root-related problems and pests that are harmful to your cannabis plant growth.

Other Soil Amendments such as Worm Castings, Fish Bone Meal, Blood Meal, and Guano

Worm castings are basically worm crap. It does have high level of “beneficials” that your cannabis plant will love. Blood meal or fish bone meal is ground up and contains a lot of nitrogen which will be helpful at the beginning of the vegetative growth phase.  Guano is basically bat crap. It is used as commonly as a fertilizer for growing cannabis because it contains a lot of phosphorus and nitrogen that your cannabis plants will need at the beginning of your grow.

Ideal Pot Size for Growing your Marijuana

Pots are bags or containers that you will finally plant your marijuana plants in. The general rule is that the bigger the pot size that you are growing in, the bigger your root system will get for your cannabis plants. Bigger root system equals bigger marijuana buds and higher yields from your grow. Most of the root growth for your cannabis plants happens during the vegetative phase and will help set up for bigger buds and higher yields.

As an indoor cannabis grower, I like using 5-gallon pots and I can fit 32 cannabis plants in a 4 X 8 foot grow tray without overcrowding my plants.  If you are growing outdoors, it is not uncommon to find 100 gallon pots that will sport huge marijuana plants. Regardless of the pot size you decide on, the pots should have holes at the bottom for good drainage. You do not want stagnant water and too much water will slow down the growth of your cannabis plants. The soil in your pots should be moist but not saturated with water.

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