So you’ve put in the time to select the cannabis seeds for your next grow and invested in the equipment to maximize your yield in the grow room. Now you’re already to plant and go! Like most growers you will probably be reaching for a bag of soil off the shelf, but there are advantages to gain from preparing your own best soil mix for cannabisplants.
There are many soil products out there, and they all come with their own list of specifications and plant health boosting qualities, but have you ever stopped to consider where that soil has come from? For example, the environmental impact of extracting peat soil has become highlighted in recent years and this has prompted many growers to take a closer look at what’s in their pre-prepared soil. Likewise, many of those ‘special ingredients’ advertised in these soils can be replicated by mixing your own soil at home.
Make Your Own Cannabis Plant Soil And Save Costs
Then there’s the cost. Yes, it’s a lot less hassle to buy a product off the shelf, but that cost can soon add up depending on how many cannabis seeds a grower is planting. There are obvious cost benefits of doing it yourself, especially if you have access to nutritious soil for free, alongside some other essential ingredients that are common in the countryside – such as piles of steaming manure!
Ok, so the urban gardener won’t have access to such natural riches, but the economies of scale will certainly apply by preparing their own soil mix for cannabis plants with not too much extra hassle. As a base, it is possible to use cheap garden center soil (try to avoid peat which has a low pH as well as its environmental impact) and mix it up with some other essential ingredients to turbo boost its performance.
The benefits of Creating a Soil Mix for Cannabis Plants
The best soil mix for healthy cannabis plants needs to provide optimum conditions for growth – a healthy supply of nutrients and the right composition to provide good drainage and aeration in order to promote healthy root growth. A big plus is that a soil mix can be tailored more specifically to a grower’s own cultivation environment.
From small cannabis seeds big trees grow! This vital structure is provided by a good top soil and sand. The base also needs some fiber, in the form of coir, which is coconut husk and has benefits for root production and promoting fast growth. Manure or compost should also be added to the soil to improve structure and aid water retention. Many urban growers will use kitchen compost in place of manure (make sure it is well rotted down) and leaf mold is another good humus boosting property. Worm castings - basically worm manure - are also recommended and they are beneficial for adding a rich source of humus and microbes to the soil.
Good Soil Aeration is Essential for Growing Cannabis
Well aerated soil is a must for healthy plants as it will help those roots to spread and find their way around the pot (or extend deep into the earth). Coir will help with this, especially if mixed with clay pellets or perlite, a volcanic glass that has been heated to extreme temperatures. The result is a product that looks like packing Styrofoam balls, but placed in a soil mix it provides stability plus great aeration.
Mixing Your Own Soil for Better Drainage
The best soil mix for cannabis plants will have enough structure to support healthy growth but it can’t be too compact or else it will cause problems with drainage (ie the soil will become waterlogged). Already mentioned grow media, such as coir, perlite and another volcanic by-product, vermiculite and worm castings will provide a soil mix with good drainage qualities.
Cannabis Soil: Mix Your Own Nutrients
What turns a good basic grow media into a gourmet meal for your plants is the mixing in of some nutritional treats! These include seaweed (kelp) in raw or extract form, guano and a couple of handfuls of coffee grounds, which provide slow release NPK. Another element to consider in your own soil mix is the addition of which has been proven to significantly boost root system formation.
Alter for the pH
When mixing your own soil, it is important to check pH levels. If your soil is too acidic or alkaline, there are products which will alter the levels. To reduce alkaline levels, growers can add aluminium or iron sulphate to the mix, while gardener’s lime will reduce acidity.
Basic Formula for a Great Soil Mix
There are plenty of recipes for making a great soil mix, depending on your growing circumstances, but as a rule of thumb a good basic recipe will include:
2 part topsoil
1 part sand
1 part manure/compost
1 part perlite/coir mix
1 cup of seaweed (raw) or follow seaweed extract instructions
3/4 cup of coffee grains
3/4 cup of guano
Just one last tip... For best results, prepare your soil in advance and let it sit for a few weeks to let all those constituent components settle.