Growing cannabis is not only an interesting process, but also quite laborious. It includes many nuances, subtleties and requires certain knowledge. Today we are going to tell you about one of the most important aspects of growing marijuana – choosing the right soil.
Basic requirements for soil mixture
The soil in which your cannabis bush will grow will have a decisive influence on the quality of your crop and the success of your grow in general. Improperly selected soil can not only cause stress in the plant, but also ruin it in the bud. On the other hand, the right choice of soil for growing will improve the quality of the finished product and affect the amount of the crop. In order to make the right choice, you need to consider four main indicators:
Soil acidity level – pH
Soil conductivity level – EC
Nutrients and their presence in the soil
The basis of the basics is the acidity of the soil
Any soil contains many ions of various substances necessary for the healthy development of plants. Depending on their quantity, the acid-base balance of the soil changes. This ratio is called the pH level. This indicator is measured in the range from 1 to 14. The minimum indicator – 1, indicates a completely acidic environment, while 14 – indicates an alkaline soil environment. The optimum pH for the healthy development of cannabis is between 5.5 and 6.5. Store-bought land usually has a pH label on the package. If you prepare the soil mixture yourself, you should use a special pH meter.
Please note that for the full absorption of all nutrients by the bush, the pH value should not be at the same mark, even if in a favorable range. The acid-base balance should constantly “walk” within the comfortable values for cannabis.
Soil electrical conductivity
The EC indicator indicates the presence of nutrients in the soil, or rather, their concentration. The constant level of electrical conductivity throughout the entire period of development of marijuana eliminates the possibility of deficiency or excess of nutrients, which can cause stress in cannabis. Depending on the intensity of plant nutrition (fertilizer use), the EC level changes. A soil conductivity meter can be found in almost any gardening store. Optimal values for cannabis range from 0.75 to 2.0.
Nutrients and Minerals
It is their presence in the soil that affects the previous indicator. The most important elements required for the development of cannabis are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). It is possible to saturate the soil with these substances with the help of top dressing, but ideally, a certain amount of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen should be contained in the soil mixture at the start. Thus, marijuana will receive all the necessary substances from the very beginning of development.
If you buy soil from a store, then the package usually indicates the proportional ratio of NPK. The indicators can be different, for example, 20:20:20. This means that the soil contains 20% nitrogen, 20% phosphorus and 20% potassium, with the remaining 40% being other elements such as magnesium, sulfur, calcium and iron. They are also needed by marijuana, but to a much lesser extent. Also, in some cases, the manufacturer indicates not the percentage of NPK, but the content of elements in milligrams per liter of soil. For example: N – 200 P – 300 K – 350. In this case, you can navigate by the larger figure to determine which of the substances dominates. Note that at different stages of life, marijuana needs some elements more than others. For example, nitrogen is critically important during the growing season, but loses its importance in color, phosphorus, on the contrary. Potassium is always needed – it is responsible for plant immunity.
A ready-made soil with a correctly selected NPK ratio can generally save the grower from the need to additionally feed the plant. When it comes to fast-growing autos, for example. But in the case of photoperiodic varieties, this cannot be done without it, because they grow for a long time and in detail, gradually reducing the amount of nutrients in the soil. Providing the plant with “food”, the main thing is not to overdo it. The consequences of overfeeding are much more severe than the consequences of underfeeding, and much more difficult to eliminate. To avoid problems, follow the rule of thumb and hundreds of thousands of growers – give the plant no more than 25% of the manufacturer’s recommended dose. If he doesn’t have enough, then he can always increase his concentration.
Different types of soil retain heat and water in different ways. Excess moisture in the soil is very dangerous and can cause rotting of the root system. Lack of fluid will also stress the bush and prevent it from developing normally. Therefore, the soil for cannabis should be loose and well-drained to get rid of excess moisture.
Thermal conductivity plays an equally important role. The health of the roots, and therefore the entire plant, largely depends on how quickly the soil heats up and cools. In hot climates, the soil must cool faster so that the roots are not exposed to high temperatures for too long. In cool climates, the soil, on the contrary, should retain heat well so that the roots do not freeze. Read more in the article – soil temperature for growing marijuana.
There are 7 main elements that can be used to prepare a high-quality soil mixture:
Silt and sand. They are good for drainage, as they dry quickly and do not retain moisture. Usually poured into the bottom of the pot.
Clay. Dense, viscous, coarse-grained substance, consisting mainly of hydrates of aluminosilicates. It is characterized by poor water permeability and poor ventilation. It is used in small quantities so that the soil mixture retains water and nutrients better.
Humus. It is formed as a decomposition product of various organic compounds. It is high in nutrients readily available for marijuana. It is one of the main parts of a high-quality soil mixture.
Coconut fiber. Helps to loosen the soil, promotes aeration and an even distribution of moisture in the pot.
Perlite and vermiculite. Like the previous component, they help the roots to breathe, they also retain moisture, keeping it in the soil longer.
Expanded clay. Used as drainage and / or mulch. In the first case, it is poured onto the bottom of the pot, removing excess moisture, in the second, it is placed on top, ensuring that the temperature is comfortable for the root system.
Vermicompost. This is “humus on steroids”. In fact, vermicompost is a waste product of earthworms. This type of soil has antibacterial properties, and its fertility is on average 4 times higher than that of the highest quality chernozem.
Soil with the right structure and the optimal content of the necessary substances can be easily found in a garden store, but why, if it is much cheaper to prepare it yourself?