One day I was surfing the web looking for information on soils. I came across this quote by Dalai Lama, “The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for the goodness.” That quote cannot be any closer to the truth of the roots of the cannabis plant in the soil where it’s planted.
If you have good soil that is happy and thriving, then the roots will be happy, thrive, and grow. The appreciation of good soil and the appreciation of the roots will symbiotically create a healthy, beautiful plant that will produce at its peak abilities.
The question are: What is good soil? How do I know I have good soil? Is this the right soil for my grow?
You really have only a few choices in terms of soil, which I will discuss throughout this article:
1. Built soil
2. Blended, custom-mix soil
3. Pre-bagged soil
4. Original ground (OG) soil
Focusing on outdoor grows and soils. Most of those who grow outdoors today buy soil only once and continue to build that soil over a years-long process.This is one of the most common practices used by professional growers today. It is a more cost-effective approach than the others. It’s called built soil.
Some growers buy new soil every harvest or replace it every year or every few years. This is a more expensive route, but is a common practice.This is blended, custom soil, or pre-bagged soil. The most common reason for this is option is that the soil is contaminated, of poor quality, bug-infested, and/or lifeless, and has been stripped of all the nutrients the plant needs.
The last option is OG soil. Some growers just have good soil that they can plant directly into the ground and amend with the key nutrients or macronutrients that it are lacking. To determine how good the OG soil is where you plan to grow, get a soil test done.That is the starting point. From there, work with the testing company and review the results.
A few things to look for in OG soil is dark color and good drainage.Then look at the environment and plant life around the area. If you see healthy, thriving plants, there is a good chance that you have some good, free soil right at your fingertips.
Finding the right soil. Whether starting fresh, bringing soil in for the first time, or replacing the current soil, here are some tips to consider first:
Climate: Know the climate and growing conditions. This is a commonly overlooked area and is very important to consider when choosing soil. Consider temperatures, season changes, season lows, and weather patterns. A lot of grow operations have failed because the growers did not know the climate of the area in which they were growing.
Cannabis plants prefer specific climates when they grow outdoors, and so do good soils. It’s important to have a good climate for the soil. Heavier soils tend to do better in hotter climates and lighter soils do better in colder climates. Experienced growers can use almost any type of soil in any condition; they just need to adjust their growing style and feeding program to those conditions.
Talk to representatives from local soil companies and local nurseries in the area about good soil types.
Hours of the day, lighting and locations: This is another overlooked area. For some, this is not a problem at all because they are in a big, open space with full sun. For those who are not in a big, open space, take the time to see how much sunlight a grow canopy will get in a day. Make sure that plants get enough light to grow and finish. As the seasons change, the light hours change. The pattern of the sun changes, as well; it will slowly move. While an area may get good sun in July and mid-August, as September approaches that spot may not get as much light and, in fact, will lose light. Light is very important to the development of the plant and the roots in the soil.
Check out March’s Issue for Part 2.