If you’ve never tried some agriculture, you might assume that soil is just that, soil. However, this is one of those issues where “there is more than meets the eye” applies. The soil has different characteristics that either make it ideal or not ideal for growing cannabis and other plants as well. The nature of the soil plays a big role in the final outcome of the plants when the soil is poor, the yields will definitely reflect this. So before you embark on a cannabis growing venture, take some time to educate yourself on how to pick the ideal soil for your grow. This will ensure that your canopy is well nourished, has lots of resinous buds and is less susceptible to pests and diseases.
What Are The Qualities Of Soil?
Different plants will require different soil qualities. That explains why different plants thrive in different environments with different soil types. There are certain characteristics that define soil, they include:
- The color of the soil
- The texture of the soil
- The size of particles of soil
- The pH of the soil
- The nutrients in the soil
- The micro-organisms in the soil
- The humidity of the soil
- The temperature of the soil
Cannabis plants require very specific requirements to thrive. This means that they will require a soil that will accommodate the different requirements during the different stages of growth.
How To Choose The Best Soil for Indoor Cannabis Growing
- Dark-colored soil with medium-sized particles works best
Dark-colored soils are able to hold in moisture and help to regulate soil temperature. They are able to protect the roots from excessive heat and light. Because they have moisture, they will also be able to hold in water and other nutrients. When the plants are watered, loamy soils will hold the water and allow the roots to utilize the water for a longer duration. To the touch, the soil will feel cooler than sandy soils do, because it has moisture. Even when there is no water, the plants will last longer without drying up.
Clay soil has very tiny particles that are almost powdery. When they oak in water, the particles clump together, this is perfect for modeling. For plants, medium-sized particles are ideal because they can retain water and nutrients but allow for aeration at the same time.
Sandy soils have large particles and are light-colored. This makes it hard for sandy soils to retain moisture or water. As a result, water will run through the soil as the sand runs through the hourglass, taking nutrients along with it. The texture if sandy soils may arouse sensual sensations as it rubs against your soles, but your plants are better off with rich loamy soils. Loamy soils are dark, airy, and light.
- Test the pH and nutrients in the soil
Cannabis does well in slightly acidic soils with a pH of 6-6.5. The right pH ensures that the roots are able to absorb nutrients optimally. To test pH, you may need to take a small sample to an agricultural lab for testing. You can also buy a pH testing kit and carry out the test at home.
You also want to work with virgin soil that has not been overused. Confirm that the soil is free of chemical contaminants such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers. If you cannot tell the previous farming practices used on the soil, you can take a sample of the soil to a lab for analysis. In the lab, they can test for the nutrient value and presence of contaminants.
How To Improve Your Soil for Cannabis Growing
Sometimes it is difficult to find the ideal soil to grow your cannabis. If you’ve tried and hit a snag, here are a couple of things you can do to make your soil better.
1. Add Perlite
Perlites are small rocks that are added to soil to improve the texture and aeration. They are mostly used on soil with very tiny particles that are not well aerated such as clay soils. Perlite also helps to improve drainage in condensed soils. Adding perlite will help your soil retain sufficient amounts of water, nutrients and have better aeration.
2. Add Coco Coir
Coco Coir works in the opposite fashion to perlite; it helps to bind loose particles of soil. Coco Coir is derived from the husks of coconuts and it helps the soil to retain more water and moisture. When adding coco coir, do not exceed 30% of soil volume.
3. Use Earth Worms
Those little creatures in the soil known as earthworms don’t just make the soil eeew, they are essential for improving airflow, texture, and drainage. It may come as a surprise, but earthworms can be purchased from stores that sell farm nutrients. If your soil needs a little boost in the above mentioned, don’t hesitate to ask for some from your local store and enrich your soil with these creatures.
4. You can make your own soil
Okay, this is not a DIY soil from scratch, but if you have some good old sandy soil you can convert into loam soil that’s good for agricultural use.
Adding pig and cow manure can greatly help in enriching sandy soils. You can also add other organic compost that is not contaminated with chemicals to make rich manure. The compost need to be left to sit until all the matter is broken down. This is then mixed with sandy soil in a ratio of 50:50.
Soil provides a medium for cannabis plants to grow and thrive. It holds the nutrients, air and other essential elements that are delivered to the plant through the root system. Soil also helps to maintain the environmental factors such as temperature, light, and humidity in place. For successful cannabis grow, you need to optimize the soil factors and ensure that all soil requirements are met.
1. My farm education (2012). New farmers guide to soil management. Retrieved from http://myfarmeducation.ca/farming/new-farmers-guide-to-soil-management/
2. Eco farming daily (2012): Farming to Improve Soil Health. Retrieved from http://www.ecofarmingdaily.com/farming-improve-soil-health/