Guide for Nutrients & Soil for Growing Cannabis

In this guide we discuss the right nutrients and fertilizers you need for a successful grow of marijuana.

The Best Soil for Growing Your Cannabis Plants (h2)

Growing marijuana in soil will produce flavorsome buds and yield a great crop. Soil is a very forgiving medium when you compare it with other things such as hydroponic substrates. It can be difficult to figure out the best soil to use for your cannabis plants so we have to break this down for you to make it easier for you as a grower.

There are several factors which you need to keep in mind about soil and growing cannabis. You need a suitable cannabis strain for the climate that you are in and whether you want to dig into the soil. You must think about the soil specifics before you start plowing a field. if you have a balcony you probably going to want to use containers and pots that you can move around easier. If have a plantation that gets plenty of sunlight you’re going to have to move a lot of dirt around to create soil that is fertile enough to grow cannabis plants. the soil that you grow your plants in will have to have a pH of around 6.0 to 7.0 to ensure effective growing.

Auto-flowering Vs Photoperiod (h3)

Many cannabis super soils are not suitable for auto-flowering strains. The best super soils are going to be strain specific. The right mix is developed over many years of experience and experimentation to cultivate the same strain each and every season when cuttings are taken. You get consistent and quality product time after time. The colonies of mycorrhizae which are beneficial to the plants need time to grow in the soil. A super soil is a nutrient-rich medium and this is best for an experienced organic grower that is growing photoperiod strains of cannabis. this type of soil is a long-term investment and it’s not something that you can do quickly.

An auto-flowering strain of cannabis needs a non-fertilized auralite soil mix. There are too many nutrients in a super soil for an auto strain. For an auto-flowering or a young photoperiod plant, you need around a 50-50 mix of light peat based soil and coco coir as well as lot of perlite for drainage. When you’re in the seeding stage, you don’t want to use too much fertilizer. Start by using some small pots and then you can transplant into the ground that is more for tile or use larger containers filled with heavier soil after a few weeks.

Homemade Vs. Store Bought Fertilizers (h3)

As a new cannabis grower, you want to buy your soil at your local grocery store as even the best organic growers are using soil they bought from a store. Most of the soil is good to go right out of the bag. If you want to increase drainage you should add around 10 to 30% more perlite. This is going to be important if you’re going to be heavy nutrient supplements for your plants.

If you use any sort of homemade soil mixture you’re probably still going to have to go to your local grow store.  To increase variation in the soil you should add around 30% coco coir as this is beneficial to the roots of the plants. If you have compressed coco bricks you have to rehydrate these. You’ll find it a bag of coco coir fibers are lightweight and inexpensive when compared to heavier sacks of soil.

One organic fertilizer that is both inexpensive and an excellent option for your soil is bat guano as this helps marijuana flower. You can add the guano to your soil mix or spread it on the topsoil and then add in the water later but not everyone is going to want to use this sort of thing for their plants so use what works best for you. The nutrition pellets provided by Easy Boost Organic Nutrition are an excellent option as these are time release. You can simply add a cup of these nutrient pellets to the soil and they will feed your plants or the whole life cycle of those plants. For around 2 to 3 cannabis plants, 100g is going to be enough. You just add water and you are set to go. If you’re feeding heavy hybrid plants, you might want to use a nutrient solution as an additional supplement.

No-Till Cannabis Cultivation (h3)

When you use no-till cannabis cultivation this is a long-term project. This means that there’s going to be minimal disturbance to the soil which helps to preserve microbes which are beneficial to the root zone of your plants. You can also apply this to containers but you will have to remove most of the roots mass, fill this hole with some more fresh soil, and allow the rest of the roots to decompose.

No-till works when you reuse the soil after each crop. This will work in theory but when you apply it in practice you usually have to supplement the soil with some organic liquid fertilizer. Just like other plants your marijuana is going to deplete the soil of its nutrients. Make sure you keep your cannabis plants free of weeds so that they have room to grow in the weeds are not feeding on the valuable nutrients that the plants need.

 Getting The Nutrients Right For Successful Cannabis Grow (h2)

If you are not an expert at growing cannabis, you will most likely find it slightly challenging to get the best nutrients for your plants, especially considering the vast options available, including hydroponic and organic nutrients.  However, you can make things easy for yourself by understanding what the cannabis plants need and how they take in and use these nutrients. And this will be our focus in this article.

Nutrient Elements Your Cannabis Plant Require (h3)

The cannabis plant requires the macronutrients group for maximum growth.  These nutrients have been classified into mineral and non-mineral elements. The mineral nutrients are present in the soil, and they include Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur.  The non-mineral elements, on the other hand, are sourced from water and air, and they include Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen.

Knowing the type of nutrients required by your cannabis plant is not as important as providing these nutrients in the right proportion and at the right time.  Cannabis plants have two life stages, and what is required as per nutrients is not the same for each stage.   While there are several excellent products from nutrient companies, it is important to note that they all differ in the methods and formulas adopted in their preparation. 

The differences are usually present in:

  • Nutrient Ratios – each company has adopted a specific nutrient ratio and considers the same as the best for each growth stage.
  • Ingredients – the same nutrient ratios can be achieved by blending various chemical and organic combinations. Thus, it is possible to have two nutrient bottles containing the same NPK ratios offer various levels of nutrients.
  • Soil or Hydro – for best results, you must ensure that your growing medium is in line with your nutrients. Hydroponic nutrients are not the same as soil nutrients.  For instance, coco coir is widely regarded as a form of hydroponic nutrient, and we have specially-designed nutrients for coco coir.

There is also a clear difference between nutrients and supplements.  In cases where you have low NPK ratios, for instance, 0.2-0.2-01, such product will most likely be a supplement rather than a base nutrient.  However, your main concern should be providing your plants with the right NPK and micronutrients through these base nutrients. 

While the use of supplements can be beneficial, it is important not to feed your plants with too much as this may cause your plants to react weirdly or even get burnt.  So it is advisable that you stick to supplements from your base nutrients’ manufacturers.  Also, do not patronize multiple kinds of supplements – just one or two from the same manufacturer is enough.  Although very minimal levels of these elements are required for your cannabis plants to grow maximally, they remain crucial to their full growth and health.

Nutrient Types and Proper Application (h3)

Cannabis growers use various types of nutrients, all of which are applied differently.  The ideal method of application will depend on the method the plants absorb these nutrients.  To understand this better, get familiar with the different mechanisms used by plants in taking in nutrients and water, as well as concepts like active transport and osmosis.

Hydroponic (Soilless) Cannabis Nutrients – Growing your plants hydroponically (h3)

This involves growing your plants without using the soil.  Instead of the soil, the grower uses clay, pebbles, coco coir, Rockwool, or a blend of these substrates.  Most premium “potting soils” you will find in the market today are made by combining these substrates.  Hydroponic growth is commonly used in indoor cannabis cultivation, although growers use buckets of “potting soil,” and water each plant manually. This is why you have most of the cannabis growth nutrients in the hydroponic form.  Such products usually contain high concentrations of mineral salts, and you have them in either the liquid or powdered forms. The powdered forms are eventually diluted in water to achieve the levels required by the plant.

Plants cannot take in nutrients unless they are water soluble.  You will always find liquid products sold in two parts – Part A and Part B – and this is due to the presence of elements capable of precipitating out of the solution, in these products.  When such elements are combined at high concentration, they end up becoming unavailable.  They will only be available for absorption by plants when combined in the right volume of water.

Products are also available in “Grow” and “Bloom” solutions.  The former is required for vegetative growth. Hence it is high in nitrogen, while the latter is required for flower development and thus contains a high concentration of phosphorus.  The variation is necessary, considering that each growth stage in cannabis requires different nutritional composition.

Overfeeding should be avoided when it comes to hydroponic nutrients because it causes damage or death of plants.  For best results, start with about 25% of the level prescribed on the product label, and continue progressively until 100%.  Although soil growers have reported impressive results while hydroponic nutrients, it is not entirely safe for beginners.

Soil Nutrients and Organics for Cannabis (h3)

The basic difference between the soil and the hydroponic media is that the former contains non-inert organic matter such as manure, compost, worm castings, and humus.  And these organic matter are known sources of many micro and macronutrients, usually in non-soluble forms.  They are only accessible to the plant when the soil-dwelling microbes and fungi have broken them down.

You will hardly find non-organic nutrients for soil growing in shops, and this is due to their ability to buildup in the soil, thus causing damages to the soil life and making nutrients and water inaccessible to the root system.

Conversely, the use of cannabis organic fertilizers and nutrients are more beneficial to plants.  This is because they comprise more elements that are useful to soil organisms and the nutrients are not always immediately soluble. Hence, for best results, organic fertilizers and nutrients are recommended for a beginner cannabis grower using soil as their medium. 

Why should you opt for Greenhouse Cannabis Cultivation? (h3)

You can get the best out of greenhouse cannabis cultivation while spending less by sourcing your nutrients from unusual sources.  For nitrogen, blood meal and fish meal are ideal sources.  Phosphorus can be gotten from bone meal and bat guano.  Potassium is present in wood ash and kelp meal.  Calcium and Magnesium are abundant in dolomite lime, and lastly, Epsom salts offer Sulfur and Magnesium. Fortunately, you will find most of these items in your local home garden center, and all you will need to do is mix them in small amounts into the soil prior to potting.  If you get the process right, all you have to do is water your plants while replenishing the soil life by adding carbohydrates.  If you cannot mix these items, you can opt for already mixed soil blends containing these ingredients.

Conversely, you can buy pre-mixed organic nutrient solutions and save yourself from the stress of deciding the right amount of these nutrients for your plants.  Although you may have to spend higher, you get the value for your money considering that you will only need to stick to the feeding schedule prescribed by the manufacturer.  And the results are usually impressive.

Organic Cannabis Cultivation at Home (h3)

The first and most important thing to consider when growing cannabis organically is cultivating soil microbes and mycorrhizae in the soil.  However, all of these organisms must be healthy and of different types.  Several premium soil blends already contain these organisms, and you can also get additive products that offer additional life to your medium, although they are expensive.  Even at that, you will hardly find a better and cheaper option of inoculating your soil than via actively aerated compost tea (AACT).  This method is quite simple, and you will only need a couple of cheap items to get it done.

The biggest advantage of this technique is that it doesn’t require the use of much nutrients or fertilizers. And this is because the soil life eventually converts the soil’s organic contents into easily-absorbable nutrients.

You can grow cannabis using different methods – each method with its advantages and disadvantages.  Organic soil method is the simplest and has the least demands, although the growth is usually slower and yields, smaller.  Conversely, the yields are bigger, and the plants grow faster in the case of hydroponics and synthetic nutrients.  However, your level of success depends on how much efforts you are ready to put in and your level of knowledge. 

If you are just starting as a beginner, ensure that you use only nutritional products that are compatible with each other, while matching your medium and technique.  And the best way to avoid the wrong products and ultimately wasteful spending is to do adequate research before starting.