Soil type is an important area to consider when growing cannabis. In fact, it is the most important part of the decision process.
After factoring in the tips presented in last month’s article, you need to consider the type of soil to grow in. The decision will reflect the level of commitment in the grow project and the amount of time that can be put into the soil. It is kind of like looking for a car: do you want one from the factory, fully loaded and ready to go, or are you looking for a project car to build from the ground up?
Pre-bagged Soil. In today’s market, a grower can find pre-bagged soils offered by multiple companies. Most of these soils require little attention at first. They are a great choice for those who don’t have a lot of time, and they will deliver good results.
Premixed Bulk Soil. This kind of soil is the same as pre-bagged, but is available in bulk. Soil companies pre-mix different soils and amendments to create a premium growing blend that is built around the plants’ growing needs. This is also a great way to go. Although it is more expensive, most of the work is already done for the grower.
The only caveat is that the bulk soil company must protect the soil from bugs and contamination. To ensure that this occurs, always investigate how the soil is cared for. Look at whether the soil is on a clean, concreted floor, and not directly on the ground.
If you choose either pre-bagged or bulk, pre-mixed soil, at some point down the road, new amendments must be added back into the soil, putting life back into it. Soil life does not last forever, and depends on how the soil was treated through the grow season. At some point, be prepared to bring fresh bagged or pre-blended soil into the grow or replace or re-amend the original soil.
Living Soil. My favorite is living soil. This is similar to the project car that requires lots of time and work. The benefits are huge, in the long run, and I believe that the results will surpass those of any other soils out there on the market. This is an area for experienced growers and horticulturists.
For those who are new to the area, I recommend that you take the time to do the research and to get an experienced person to help teach you how to build the soil correctly. Those who choose to teach themselves as they go should be be prepared for failure. That is part of the process, but out of that failure will come experience, knowledge, and, hopefully, success. Using living soil takes a lot of time, hard work, research, determination, and a positive attitude.
Living soil is cheaper in the long run, and I believe it provides a better product overall. If used properly, this method leaves a zero footprint and, in fact, gives back to our environment. It’s a take-and-give process to balance the surrounding environment.
Amended Built Soil. The second most common soil used today is amended, built soil. It is made by purchasing a base soil, such as good potting soil, as a foundation and simply mixing in amendments to give the soil a variety of food types that it will provide to the plant. I used to grow this way and have grown a lot of great crops with this method. This method does require some attention, but not as much time. It is essential when growing this way that you do the research and know about the amendments and how that plant absorbs those amendments.
Make sure that all amendments are blended into the soil really well, to avoid pockets (or as we call them hot pockets) or concentrated areas, which can have a seriously negative effect on the cannabis plants. The downside to this method is the impact on the environment if not done correctly. It is important to understand how to minimize that impact by take the proper steps to avoid runoff from the soil. Proper planning and setting up proper buffer zones around the garden will reduce the damage.
Check out the April issue for Part 3.