Do you grow weed outside? Check out our ultimate guide on the best soil for outdoor weed, which nutrients to use, how to maintain the earth, and more! Additives that will help you improve soil quality, resulting in better growth cannabis. What to consider when it comes to growing weed in organic soil. Been trying to figure out what is the best soil for cannabis? Not sure where to start? Read on to learn more about different soils and what's right for you.
Best Soil for Outdoor Weed
You’ve got your seeds ready and feel excited about growing your first cannabis crop. What seemed like an easy task has turned into confusion, and a lot of questions pop up. What is the best soil for outdoor weed growing? Which nutrients work best? How do you maintain the ground?
Preparing the dirt the right way makes a massive difference to the quality and size of your weed. Not every plant is the same, and cannabis has specific requirements regarding the texture and type of earth.
You’ll need to develop the perfect outdoor cannabis soil mix for big, beautiful buds to flourish.
We understand that you might need some guidance to get things right the first time. We know you’re picturing yourself lighting up that first fat joint and don’t want you to be disappointed.
We’re here to help! Read on to learn everything you need to grow top-quality plants using the best soil for outdoor cannabis.
Starting to Grow Weed Outdoors Using Soil
There are many benefits to growing weed outside, including:
- Lower costs
- Big yields
- Environmentally friendly
- Fun and relaxing
Choosing the best soil to grow cannabis outdoors means you’ll need to stay on top of monitoring the acidity, texture, and pathogens (pests in the ground).
If you opt to make your own soil or purchase sterile earth, you’ll have complete control over the acidity, nutrition, and texture.
You need to be aware that planting weed in the ground gives your plants exposure to all the living organisms in the dirt, which is more challenging to create in a pot.
The container you grow your marijuana in is fundamental to the life cycle and harvest of your plant.
Wherever you decide to plant your weed, a well-prepared outdoor cannabis soil mix is crucial to mitigate any issues throughout the different growth stages. As long as you nourish the earth properly, your plant will thrive, and you won’t need to intervene.
Ultimately, excellent soil is the gateway to a healthy plant, which means an optimum harvest for you to enjoy to the fullest.
Soil Texture and Composition
The best soil for growing cannabis outdoors is light, loamy, and drains well but retains enough moisture. Loamy means a mixture of sand, silt, and clay with a ratio of around 40:40:20. The following make up the composition:
Cannabis plants need a specific type of soil to grow and flourish. You cannot just use whatever substrate you find. Even the standard garden soil sold in local stores will not suffice.
Ideally, the chosen mix should feature an optimal blend of light and heavy materials. This facilitates adequate water and oxygen intake. On top of that, it should contain a host of organic matter, making it hospitable to the microbial populations.
Soil can be broken down into four core components.
- 45% minerals (sand, silt, and clay)
- 25% water
- 25% air
- 5% organic matter
Sand is light, coarse-grained, and fast-draining. It primarily contains tiny fragments of rocks and hard minerals, such as granite, quartz, and limestone. The high porosity helps enhance the drainage and aeration of the mix. On the flip side, sand has poor moisture retention and little to no nutrient content.
Note: It is called “sandy soil” if it contains at least 85 percent sand and up to 10 percent clay.
Silt feels powdery when dry but slippery and mud-like when wet. It mainly consists of loose sedimentary material and rock particles that are much smaller than a grain of sand. It is not well-draining but has fantastic water retention properties. More than that, silt is also rich in nutrients and other essential minerals.
Note: It is called “silt soil” if it contains 80% or more silt and less than 12 percent clay.
Of the three types, clay has the smallest particles. Each grain is tightly-packed, leaving barely any airspace in between. The result is a heavy material that could store water and nutrients well. It is also highly fertile and contains a range of essential minerals. At the same time, though, being compact also makes it hard for moisture and air to pass through it. If there is too much clay, for example, the soil mix will not drain properly and may even turn concrete-like when saturated.
Note: It is called “clay soil” if it contains over 25 percent clay.
Water comprises about 25% to 30% of soil. It is not just plain water, however. Instead, it is referred to as ‘soil solution’ – water containing dissolved gases, salts, minerals, and organic matter. More importantly, it holds ions – the form of nutrients that the roots can absorb.
Just like water, nearly 25% to 30% of soil exists in a gaseous state. These gases fill the pore spaces in the soil. Note that soil naturally contains high amounts of carbon dioxide – but low levels of oxygen. That is why it is important to boost aeration in the root zone. Remember, plants need oxygen to convert sugars into usable energy – a process known as respiration.
Soil is made up of about 5% organic matter or carbon-based compounds. That refers to any living material – including plant and animal debris – at various stages of decay. Although the organic content is relatively small, it still plays a critical role in the quality and quantity of the yields.
The millions of microorganisms in the soil – such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, arthropods, and nematodes – are responsible for breaking down the once-living biomass. In other words, organic matter serves as the food source of these microbes. Along the way, it produces and synthesizes nutrients, making them more available to the roots. At the end of the decomposition process, what you get is humus – a dark, spongy material teeming with nutrients.
The main benefit of organic matter is that it enhances soil tilth – the soil’s physical condition, especially its ability to support plant growth. In particular, it boosts aeration, water absorption and retention, and drainage, among others. It also serves as a nutrient reservoir.
What exactly is loam, and what is so special about it?
Technically speaking, loam refers to soil containing less than 52% sand, 28% to 50% silt, and 7% to 27% clay. For gardening purposes, the most popular sand-silt-clay ratio is 40:40:20. The proportions, though, may vary, resulting in different soil subtypes.
|Types of Loam Soils||Mineral Composition|
|Sandy loam||Sand: 43-85% Silt: 0-50% Clay: 0-20%|
|Silt loam||Sand: 0-50% Silt: 50-88% Clay: 0-27%|
|Clay loam||Sand: 20-45% Silt: 15-53% Clay: 27-40%|
|Sandy clay loam||Sand: 45-80% Silt: 0-28% Clay: 20-35%|
|Silty clay loam||Sand: 0-20% Silt: 40-73% Clay: 27-40%|
The unique mineral composition of loam soil significantly impacts its texture, drainage, and water retention – in a good way.
As a combination of sand, silt, and clay, loam soil contains multi-sized particles. If you run your hands through the material, it should feel dry, soft, and friable. More importantly, it should maintain this consistency when dry and wet, making it easy to handle and work.
When compressed into a loose ball, loam should retain its shape for a moment before breaking up into chunks. That is a sign that it has an optimal texture – neither too compact nor too loose. Having enough airspace in the soil is critical as it allows the roots to grow through it. At the same time, it also boosts oxygenation while promoting drainage.
Having sufficient drainage helps prevent overwatering, which could drown and suffocate the roots. And without enough oxygen, the roots will starve and begin to decay. Eventually, this leads to nutrient deficiencies.
Loam soil has enough sand to make it well-draining. That is because the gap between the particles allows water to percolate through it. After watering, the pool on top of the medium should drain within a few seconds. Neither should it take too long to trickle out of the bottom holes.
Water Retention Capacity
The main concern with sandy soil is that it is fast-draining. It runs the risk of drying out, but it could also flush the essential minerals. That means that the plants may not have the moisture and nutrients they need to grow and prosper. If left unaddressed, this could stunt growth and cause other damage, compromising the yields.
Loam soil does not have drainage issues due to the addition of silt and clay – both of which are water-retentive and can negate the high drainage capacity of sand. Ideally, it should absorb and hold onto moisture without getting too muddy.
The Ideal Soil Amendments
Loam soil – regardless of the type – is by no means perfect. Depending on your needs, preferences, or situation, you might find it lacking in some aspects. Or, maybe you did not achieve the optimal sand-silt-clay concentration. At any rate, you will most likely want to improve its physical, biological, and chemical makeup.
Soil amendments – which include both organic and inorganic materials – could help you achieve precisely that. Ultimately, they help maximize plant growth and productivity.
Organic amendments come from materials that were once alive. These include compost, earthworm castings, and animal manure. They increase the organic matter content in the soil, dramatically improving tilth in the long run. Most of these materials have nutritional value, which is why they double as organic fertilizers.
Inorganic amendments, on the other hand, are usually mined minerals, such as perlite, vermiculite, pumice, and limestone. Generally, they improve the structure of the soil, particularly aeration, drainage, and water retention. Others help stabilize the pH or even add minerals.
Here are some of the most popular soil amendments and their specific purpose:
|Primary Functions||Soil Amendments|
|Improve Texture||Gypsum Coco coir Biochar Perlite Vermiculite Pumice Compost Earthworm castings|
|Boost Drainage Ability||Gypsum Coco coir Biochar Perlite Pumice Compost Earthworm castings|
|Increase Water Retention Capacity||Coco coir Biochar Vermiculite Pumice Compost Earthworm castings|
|Add Organic Matter||Biochar Compost Earthworm castings Chicken manure Blood meal Bone meal Bat guano Crustacean meal Fish emulsion Kelp meal Alfalfa meal Mycorrhizal inoculants Humic acid and fulvic acid|
|Adjust or Stabilize the pH Level||Biochar Garden lime Compost Bat guano Blood meal Humic acid|
Note: You have the option of starting with loam soil and amending it with the preferred ingredients. Alternatively, you can also buy organic potting soil from trusted brands. If the product contains any of the above amendments, you can expect that it has a decent texture and composition. Despite having nutrient-rich materials, though, you would still need to use separate nutrients across the different growth stages.
Planting in Pots or in the Ground
Once you’ve got your soil mix for cannabis outdoors ready, you’ll need to determine where you’re going to plant your weed. There are two primary options, pots or in the ground. Both methods have their benefits, so it’s up to you to decide which works best.
If you opt for pots, you have the advantage of using commercial soil, which, luckily for you, tends to be optimized for growing cannabis and is pre-sterilized. This earth keeps harmful microbes away and your plants well-nourished.
There’s a downside, though. Your plants will be constricted within the container and may also require transplants and lots of watering.
If you want to go all-natural, your plant’s roots can spread out and access the maximum amount of groundwater. Your cannabis will grow bigger and require far less maintenance, but there’s always the risk of exposure to pathogens in the soil and contamination.
The seasoned weed growers may make it seem near impossible to create the best soil for cannabis outdoors, but fear not! Marijuana will grow almost anywhere, even on riverbanks.
Make sure to watch your plants as they grow and adjust the soil when needed. Producing cannabis is a learning curve that you need time and patience for. The best way to learn is on the job.
Best Soil for Growing Weed Outdoors
We’re sure you’ve heard the phrase, ‘you are what you eat.’ The same applies to your cannabis seeds and plants, which is why quality soil is essential. The better the earth, the better your final harvest will be, and the more you’ll enjoy it.
What is the best soil for outdoor weed growing? It depends on where you plant your cannabis.
Best Soil for Growing Weed in Pots
When planting your seeds in pots, you have complete control over what goes into the mix. You can buy a commercial branded soil that’s all ready to pop your seeds into, or you can opt for some homemade compost.
For first-time cannabis gardeners, investing in quality potting soil is the best idea. Marijuana outdoors grows with watering alone if you use the ‘super soil’ correctly without having to add any minerals or nutrients.
You can make this earth yourself with a combination of worm castings, bat guano, and other components. Let it sit for a few weeks with some quality soil, and it’ll be good to go. We recommend adding a few stones to help with drainage.
Best Soil for Planting Weed Seeds in the Ground
The best soil for weed outdoors when planting in the ground is loam, which we mentioned is a mix of sand, silt, and clay.
Test your soil with the glass jar method to check the ratio of each element and amend accordingly. You’ll also need to consider certain factors, including:
- pH level
- Water retention
- Nutrient makeup
A clay-heavy soil will drain slowly and won’t hold oxygen well. Dig large holes at least a month before you plant and mix in plenty of compost, worm castings, manure, and other organic matter. This technique allows for aeration, drainage, and lots of nutrients.
Sandy soil is easy to manipulate and drains nicely, but it doesn’t hold nutrients well. You’ll need to dig holes and add compost and peat moss to bind everything together.
Silty soil is ideal because it’s simple to work, holds moisture, drains well, and has lots of nutrients. This dirt is also very fertile and will welcome your seeds well.
Ideally, your outdoor soil mix for cannabis should be a blend of them all. You can add in store-bought earth with added nutrients to help maintain your plants healthy until harvest. Ensure you add fertilizer and sterilize the dirt if you don’t use a commercial brand.
The Best Nutrients for Outdoor Soil Growing
For your seeds to grow to their full potential, your earth will need three essential nutrients. The best soil to grow cannabis outdoors should include the following in the fertilizer.
This nutrient is the most essential for your plant’s growth, food processing, and chlorophyll creation. You’ll notice a lack of nitrogen if your cannabis starts turning yellow and stops growing taller.
When your soil doesn’t contain potassium, leaves will turn light green to yellow. The nutrient aids proper growth and helps with the reproduction of your plant. Potassium also affects the shape, size, color, and taste of your weed.
Playing a vital role for seedlings and young plants, phosphorus helps cell division, promotes root growth, and aids the development of the growing tip.
How to Get the Best Soil Mix for Cannabis Outdoors
As mentioned earlier, you can buy a soil mix or make your own. Here are a few things to consider and look out for in either situation.
Buying Pre-Made Soil Mixes
If you decide to buy the best soil for outdoor weed from your local garden store, you’ll come across a variety of amendments, such as:
- Bat guano
- Peat moss
- Plant food
- Worm castings
- Bone meal
- Fish meal
- Glacier rock dust
If the brand amends the soil heavily, there’ll be a huge list. Others create great structured soil with basic nutrients, leaving gaps to fill yourself.
When looking for something that’ll help you throughout your plant’s life, opt for dirt that offers the correct pH level, balanced nutrients, and a loamy texture. This way, you won’t need to do a lot, if anything, yourself.
If you like the idea of creating your soil mix but would like a little help, purchase a customizable option. With these bags, you can add your topsoil and liquid nutrients when you want, depending on your weed’s needs.
Creating Your Own Outdoor Cannabis Soil Mix
Perhaps you decide to create your mix, so you’ll need to do a bit more work to keep your seeds happy. To make the best soil for growing weed outdoors, you’ll need to assess your current dirt first.
Once you’re satisfied, you’ll need to look for a quality fertilizer to provide your plant with the three essential nutrients. The less nourishment your weed gets, the fewer buds it’ll produce.
These nutrients need to be present throughout each growth stage, which means a lot of maintenance on your part.
Keep in mind that shop-bought soils come already sterilized, which kills harmful bacteria, fungi, and insects. For your seeds to flourish, thorough sterilization is a must.
The process takes a lot of time and effort, though, and there are other ways to control your pests by introducing beneficial microbes and insects into the soil.
How to Feed and Maintain the Best Soil for Outdoor Weed
Once you’ve started growing marijuana outdoors, you need to know how to feed and maintain your beloved plant. Neglecting your cannabis at any stage will result in poor quality weed or, even worse, losing your entire harvest.
Throughout your marijuana’s lifecycle, you’ll have to ensure it gets enough nutrients. You can buy ready-made mixes in a store or create your fertilizer. If you want to make organic food for your cannabis, we recommend these:
- Blood meal or fish meal for nitrogen
- Bone meal or bat guano for phosphorus
- Wood ash or kelp meal for potassium
- Dolomite lime for calcium and magnesium
- Epsom salts for magnesium and sulfur
We advise against nutrients designed for indoor growth as they tend to contain synthetic mineral salts, which are damaging to bacteria in the earth.
If you’re not sure how much fertilizer to use, it’s best to be conservative. You can always add topsoil if you notice deficiencies in your plants. There’s such a thing as too many nutrients, which could cause a nutrient lockout and ruin your crops.
Growing Weed Outdoors in Soil is the Most Natural Way!
By now, you should know enough to prepare the best soil for growing weed outdoors to plant your seeds for optimum growth successfully. Cultivating weed is an enjoyable pastime and highly rewarding when you finally sit down to light up and try your cannabis.
Remember, whether planting in pots or the ground, buying ready-made soil, or mixing your own, have fun and spend lots of time with your cannabis.
Once you’re ready to get started, shop for seeds and begin your marijuana gardening journey. Don’t forget to share stories and let us know how you get on!
Best Soil For Cannabis – What is Good Soil For Growing Weed?
Signs of good and bad soil quality, other additives that help to improve soil quality and what to consider when it comes to planting this year.
- 1. The benefits of organic soil
- 1. a. Organic soil additives
- 2. Other additives that improve soil quality
- 2. a. Coco
- 2. b. Biochar
- 2. c. Perlite
- 2. d. Vermiculite
- 3. Signs of good soil
- 4. Signs of bad soil
- 5. How to make your own soil
- 5. a. Best nutrients for soil
- 5. b. Cheap mix for diy soil
- 5. c. Best soil for beginners
- 5. d. Ph too high or ph too low
- 5. e. Best soil for marijuana
- 6. In conclusion
When growing autoflowering Cannabis plants, it is very important to keep them supplied with nutrients in the form of hard foods, or liquid feeds. The best soil for autoflowers will depend on your environment, fertilizers, and ability to control the pH, so keep this in mind if this is your first grow cycle, knowing the best option in your case can really set you on your way to bountiful harvests.
So if you’re wondering what soil is best for growing weed, below we’ll explain what to know, the signs of good and bad soil quality, as well as what you should consider when it comes to planting this year.
1. The Benefits of Organic Soil
Soil for autoflowers or for any other type of cannabis plant consists of organic material that is in a permanent state of decomposition. Teaming with beneficial microorganisms that are responsible for converting nutrients to the plant’s roots, living soil is Mother Nature’s way of allowing autoflowering plants to work in a symbiotic relationship. As the tiny microorganisms decomposing the organic matter, they make the nutrients available for the roots, which are now able to access all the available nutrients and minerals found within the soil web. Once this symbiosis occurs, then the only real requirement is for the soil to be adequately watered. This is basically the most simple form of organic growing that is perfect for those new to growing, it requires very little maintenance, and labor, as well as allowing the grower to work with a slow buffering organic process, so if you were wondering what is the best soil for growing weed, read along.
Organic Soil Additives
Using organic soil additives or amendments will help increase the number of beneficial microorganisms, improve moisture retention, and help you control the health of your soil. In general, you should be looking at adding these amendments before planting. They will help you create the best organic environment for the root system to thrive, which will result in amazing growth and the full terpene profile maturing.
Bat guano is one of the most widely used additives in cannabis cultivation. It is a fast-acting, highly bio-available organic fertilizer with high rates of nitrogen and phosphorus making it perfect for the vegetative growth stage. It also helps improve the drainage and oxygenation of the soil mix, helps boost the natural immunity against pests, fungal infestations, and disease, and can ensure the best possible terpene production (although there is little scientific evidence to back up this claim).
Be careful with the amount you introduce to the substrate, as bat guano is pretty strong stuff. A little goes a very long way.
It can be used in both its fresh or dry form and is typically sourced in either powder or pellet form. It can be used in many ways other than as a direct additive to the soil. Many cultivators used bat guano as a fertilizing tea, or as a foliar spray. It can also be used as a top dressing by sprinkling it directly around the base of the plant and then watered in. To make a super effective bat guano tea all you need is 15 grams of bat guano, 1 liter of lukewarm water, and an air pump. Mix the guano and the water together well, and make sure the water is only lukewarm. Hot water will kill the microbial life that you are trying to introduce to the mix. Give it all a good mix, throw the pump in and let it aerate for at least 24 hours. This tea can be supplied twice a week throughout the entire lifecycle of the crop.
Worm casting, or worm poo, is literally the most bio-available organic fertilizer with ridiculous levels of both nutrients and minerals. Also referred to as vermicast, this top-shelf additive is perfect for any organic cannabis garden. It not only provides long-lasting, slow-release nutrition to the crop but also increases the aeration of the soil and provides excellent drainage.
You can swap out any potting mix you may use for 100% worm castings, and you do not have to worry about nutrient burn issues at all. Creating your own worm farm at home is super simple and can provide you with an unlimited supply of castings, ready to use at a moments notice, and provide your crop with almost everything it needs to provide you with bumper harvests.
Cow manure makes a perfect slow-release fertilizer. It usually contains a very well-balanced mix of the three main macronutrients that plants need for healthy and vigorous growth, plus manure works as a very efficient soil conditioner and helps increase the amount of microbial life in the soil, while also boosting moisture retention. Keep in mind that some manures may have herbicide contamination, so always check the packaging to ensure it is fully organic. If you live near a farm and can get it directly from the source then even better!
You want to mix the manure in before planting, and make sure there is no heavy rain forecast for the next week or so to prevent the chances of all the goodness being washed away. Chicken manure, on the other hand, is considered to be “hot” manure, meaning it can easily burn the plants if not allowed to sit and mature. In general, we do not recommend using chicken manure for your cannabis crop.
Bone Meal and Blood Meal
Bone meal is made from the ground-up bones of beef cattle and is a fantastic source of both phosphorus and calcium. It is used pretty extensively with outdoor cannabis cultivation but is not recommended for indoor growers. It does come with quite an acidic pH level which needs to be balanced, so keep that in mind. Blood meal is made from, you guessed it, the blood of beef cattle. It is very rich in bio-available nitrogen, but can also easily burn the plants if overused.
It too comes with quite an acidic pH level which must be balanced. Both of these additives can attract the attention of wild animals which can easily wreck the crop, so make sure any plants that use these amendments are well fenced off. It goes without saying that these additives are anything but vegan, so if that is important for you then choose other fertilizing options.
Kelp meal is one of the most desirable additives for cannabis crops, as it is packed full of over 65 different essential elements and minerals, and also contains a very healthy dose of potassium. Many growers are of the thinking that kelp meal provides a huge boost to the flavor and color range of cannabis, which we agree with.
Every single cannabis crop, no matter the method or techniques applied, should have mycorrhizal fungi added. This type of fungi plays a very important role in helping the plant feed on the nutrients by turning them into a more bio-available source. They also help protect the root system from attack by pests, disease, and harmful fungi.
2. Other Additives That Improve Soil Quality
One of the downsides to using soil found in the ground is that it can be very dense once watered. Restricting root growth during the early stages of a Cannabis plant’s life is never advised, so adding other substrates into your living soil can be very advantageous.
By simply adding a 25-50% ratio of coco coir to your cannabis soil, the quality of the mix will become very airy and lightweight. Adding coco will enhance the air pockets present, the wicking action of the medium, as well as encourage a mass expansion in the rhizosphere. Coco is very user-friendly and is well associated with large yields. The best thing about adding coco is the fact it is an inert growing medium, so does not have any nutritional value in terms of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, or Potassium, including trace elements.
- Increases aeration and holds water better: Due to its characteristics, coco fiber can increase aeration in the soil and can absorb up to 10x its own weight in water, making it vital for growers living in dry weather.
- Cheap: Coco fiber is relatively cheap and comes in various forms. You can find it compressed into a brick or already washed and ready to use out the bag, the price may change a bit depending on your preference but it won’t be absurdly expensive.
- Easy to use: Coco is a sterile medium so fungus and other bugs avoid it, making it perfect for growing cannabis. Also, because of its neutral pH, you can use it with soil amendments without worrying.
- Sterile: Because this type of medium is sterile, it won’t contain any of the nutrients your plant needs, even though you can mix it with soil or even amend it, you will have to provide all the nutrients your plant needs if you’re only using coco.
- Needs to be washed: The quality can vary from brand to brand, so depending on the brand, you will have to soak it and wash it a couple of times to remove impurities before using it.
- Hard to find good quality: Even though it’s relatively easy to find coco coir, it can be hard to find good quality coco fiber. This doesn’t mean you can’t use it but you will have to wash it thoroughly and experiment with a couple of brands before you’re 100% satisfied.
An incredible organic addictive that has amazing water-holding capabilities, an enormous surface area, and is a source of pure carbon. Biochar is made by heating wood to such temperatures that the end result is a tiny, charcoal-black crystalline substrate. Due to the fact it is 100% carbon and has a shelf life of thousands of years, organic farmers use biochar with their soil to improve water retention allowing for less watering times, feeding the beneficial microorganisms a rich source of carbon, and helping save the planet.
Organic additives like Coco Coir and Biochar can drastically improve the quality of your soil, improve water retention and not to mention help you to save the planet.
- Increases soil fertility: Biochar can boost soil fertility when used in combination with amended soil because it prevents nutrients from leaking out and provides carbon which increases the availability of nutrients in the medium.
- Holds nutrients and moisture: Thanks to its porous surface, biochar can absorb a lot of water and draws in minerals which are essential for plant development.
- Reduces the need for fertilizers: Because biochar is carbon-rich, it accelerates the decomposition of organic matter which results in more nutrients being available in the medium, a perfect choice for organic growers.
- Can affect yields: Due to the porous characteristic, biochar can absorb too much water and nutrients when used in excess and can end up stressing your autoflowering plants which will show signs of deficiencies.
- Can be contaminated: The quality of biochar is influenced by the material it is made of, so it can come contaminated with heavy metals or harmful compounds that are bad for your autoflowering plants.
- Harmful to humans: If not dealt with caution, you can end up breathing ash which is a concern if exposed to daily, also, it can irritate you if it comes in contact with your eyes or skin for a long period of time.
Perlite is usually used in soil mixes to increase aeration and improve the soil’s texture, by using perlite in the proper amounts you will not only improve drainage but also avoid compaction, making it a better medium for the roots to grow in. Usually, perlite is used in combination with coco fiber and soil to provide the best medium for the roots, while perlite improves aeration, coco fiber absorbs water, balancing those two elements in the best ratio possible.
Perlite can also be used to plant clones in, when you place your cuttings in perlite, the roots usually grow stronger and faster because they need oxygen to thrive and perlite helps provide it.
- Increased aeration: Perlite creates small air pockets in the soil so if used properly, it can improve the growth rate.
- Sterile medium: Because it’s a sterile medium, perlite won’t affect the pH of your medium or increase the amount of minerals in it.
- Avoids soil compaction: Perlite needs to be thoroughly mixed in the soil before using, this will create several air pockets that make the soil fluffier, avoiding compaction.
- Can dry the medium faster: You will need to check your autoflowering plants closely because with more oxygen in the soil you will have to water more often.
- Needs to be washed first: If the brand you’re using does not pre-wash the perlite, it may come with a fine dust that can be harmful if inhaled so we recommend washing your perlite before using.
- Needs to be watered more often: Because the medium will dry faster, you will need to water more and this means you will need to check on your autoflowering plants at least 2 times per day to make sure everything goes accordingly.
Vermiculite can be used to improve the quality of your soil, just like perlite, vermiculite has several qualities that will make your autoflowering plants grow better and faster. This mineral helps aerate the soil, holds water and nutrients while not being toxic or changing the pH.
If your soil is compact or does not drain water properly, you can add vermiculite to provide the roots a better medium to grow in, just make sure you’re using the proper ratio because too much can hold a lot of nutrients and water and end up harming your autoflowering plants.
- Neutral pH: Because it’s a sterile medium, vermiculite will not alter your soil’s pH so there’s no need to worry about checking the runoff every day.
- Can prevent mold: When used in the proper ratio, vermiculite will absorb the excess water, preventing mold and fungus in the soil.
- Improves soil quality: Just like perlite, vermiculite improves the soil’s texture and makes it fluffier, preventing soil compaction.
- Can be expensive: Depending on where you live, vermiculite can be relatively hard to find and a bit expensive because it’s not usually found in regular grow shops.
- Can affect autoflowering plants if used in excess: Because perlite holds nutrients and water, using it in excess can ultimately result in overwatering and overfeeding.
- It’s said to be harmful: When buying low-quality vermiculite, it can contain asbestos and can cause lung problems. Inhaling these tiny fibers can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer if exposed for a long time so it’s essential to buy the best quality possible and wash it before using it.
3. Signs of Good Soil
Due to the process in which soil is naturally produced, there are a few factors to consider if you are going to prepare your own. If buying soil from a well-known brand, or your local garden center’s cheap and cheerful products then there are some things to consider.
- Check the packaging to see the nutritional value of the soil. A good brand will take the time to display a soil nutrient analysis displaying-N-P-K values, amount of perlite, vermiculite, compost, trace elements, and the bacterial and fungi count present.
- Worms aerate the soil as they crawl through eating up organic matter. If you see your soil full of worms then do not worry. Not only will these little helpers aerate the soil but will release beneficial bacteria from their gut as they do.
- Good store-bought soil will have perlite or coco added allowing for the ideal balance of air to water retention. Avoid soils that do not have any perlite unless you are purposely buying pure worm castings.
4. Signs of Bad Soil
- Bad soil will have an unpleasant smell which is a red flag bad bacteria are present, causing the medium to be in an unfavorable acidic state.
- Drainage will be poor, causing the soil to become dense and heavy. This weight can restrict root growth and slow plant development down dramatically. The ratio of water retention, drainage, and wicking capabilities will all be out of balance.
5. How to make your own soil
To make your own soil mix you need to have in mind the conditions that you will have during your growing cycle, things like temperature and humidity may have an influence in the best mix, so make sure you know the conditions before mixing your soil.
Best nutrients for soil
We recommend always using organic nutrients when growing in soil because soil it’s organic matter and contains microorganisms that can greatly benefit your autoflowering plants if taken care of properly. We cannot recommend a certain brand or organic nutrients line but as long as you’re using high-quality organic nutrients and use them appropriately, you’ll be fine. Just make sure the nutrients are 100% organic and keep an eye on the pH level because a drastic increase or decrease can ultimately kill the microorganisms present in your soil.
Benefits of good quality soil and what to keep in mind when you’re looking for the best soil for cannabis possible.
Cheap mix for DIY soil
Even though you can find organic nutrients in your local grow shops, they can be quite expensive so if you’re on a budget there are good alternatives that are relatively cheap.
There are several other methods to make your own organic nutrients such as KNF and Bokashi.
Depending on the space you have available, you can try composting or vermicomposting, these methods allow you to make your own tailored organic soil that will provide everything you need without spending too much.
Best soil for beginners
If you’re a beginner grower and don’t know exactly how things work, here is a general soil recipe that will work fantastically in almost all types of weathers, just remember that as time passes and you get more experienced, it’s ideal you adjust it to your specific needs.
General DIY soil recipe mix:
- 80% organic soil
- 10% perlite
- 10% coco fiber
Remember that you can and should tweak it to your needs, but as long as you maintain a similar ratio your autoflowering plants will grow exceptionally.
PH too high or pH too low
If the pH of your medium is too high or too low, you should check the nutrient solution you’re feeding, have in mind that most additives are sterile and neutral so if you’re experiencing pH problems you should check the water source and nutrient solution.
Best soil for marijuana
The best soil mix for autoflowers or best marijuana soil, in general, will depend on the weather you have throughout your grow cycle, by following the table you can easily choose the one that better suits you.
|Advantages of soil additives when growing autoflowering plants|
|Additive||When to use||Advantages|
|Coco fiber||Use in dry environments or to improve soil quality.||Holds water and helps avoid soil compaction.|
|Biochar||Use in dry climates or when growing in organic soil.||Improve water retention and helps decompose nutrients faster.|
|Perlite||Used to help aerate the soil in humid environments.||Helps dry the soil faster and increases aeration.|
|Vermiculite||Used in dry environments, helps keep the soil moist.||Improves soil quality and helps keep it moist.|
As a general rule, you should always use 70-80% of organic soil mixed with the additive of your choice, always have in mind to use additives with different properties, for example, vermiculite shouldn’t be used with coco fiber because both absorb a lot of water and can cause overwatering.
- 70% organic soil
- 15% perlite
- 15% coco fiber or 15% biochar or 15% vermiculite
For the best soil for autoflower plants, we recommend using 70-80% organic soil mixed with 15% perlite and 15% coco fiber, or substituting coco for vermiculite or biochar, always respecting their properties to avoid having oxygen or water in excess. Remember that for the best growing medium for autoflowers, you should be on the lookout for the tips your plants give you and adjust the ratio if needed.
6. In conclusion
There isn’t a best soil for weed, in general, having all of the nutrients covered is one-half of a top-quality soil for marijuana, however, it should also have the ideal ratio of drainage, air pockets, and wicking action so we recommend looking into super soil for autoflowers.
Once you have found the ultimate balance, you can now confidently re-use your organic growing medium for multiple crops with the understanding the more time the living soil food web has to develop, the greater the results in terms of plant performance and yields.
Learn now how to choose the best soil for growing cannabis
Most weed gardeners know that growing cannabis in soil is a common and effective growing method.
The difficulty is that growers have to peruse through many soil options and may find it challenging to determine the right option for them.
Well, sit tight! In this article, we’ll be showing you how to choose the best soil for cannabis to give your marijuana the best chances of fat buds and a huge yield.
Why is choosing the best soil for cannabis very important?
Soil is one of the three components (including water and light) needed to help a plant
Choosing the best soil is vital as, without it, a plant can’t grow effectively and may end up lacking nutrients or even under developing. Good earth also helps provide plants with the health needed to survive under challenging weather conditions.
Along with learning about temperature and humidity for growing weed, understanding soil is vital. It spells the difference between a plant that didn’t grow to one that exceeded expectations.
The components that make up the soil
Soil consists of several components and is quite complex in its makeup. Let’s look at what these are:
- Air: 25% of soil is simply air.
- Water: A further 25% of the earth is water. It’s vital for moving nutrients to the plants.
- Clay: One of the three primary materials found in soil, clay, like the other minerals, is derived from broken-down rocks.
- Sand: This is one of the primary minerals found in dirt. Minerals, in fact, make up 46% of all soil.
- Silt: The second of the primary minerals found within the soil.
- Organic matter: This makes up the remaining 4% of the earth. Soils high in organic matter are brilliant for plant growth.
Knowing what good soil is
You can identify excellent cannabis soil by looking at a few key indicators.
- Dark and loose: Dark soil is rich soil. It means that they contain plenty of organic matter, sodium, and healthy nutrients. Loose soil allows for better aeration.
- Good drainage & water retention: Good drainage means that the marijuana water can drain to the bottom well. Well-drained earth ensures that your cannabis stays wet for a reasonable amount of time. An appropriate amount of water retention is vital to keep cannabis healthy.
- The correct pH value: The ideal pH value is about 6.0 as cannabis plants thrive better in a slightly acidic environment.
- Organic matter: Organic matter is decomposed material derived from plants and animals. It helps provide nutrients and improves the water holding capacity of the soil. Examples include compost and manure.
Choosing the best soil for marijuana
The best soil depends on the conditions that you’re growing your marijuana. So, for example, what’s needed for outdoor marijuana is different from that for indoor cannabis.
Let’s break it down.
Best soil for outdoor cannabis
The benefit of growing cannabis outdoors is that your plants won’t be as restricted and can further grow their roots.
However, you’ll have to monitor and possibly change the soil’s pH level if it’s not suitable.
Cannabis plants all need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in their soil ‘diet’. These nutrients will be absorbed at different rates and need to be renewed with a good marijuana fertilizer from time to time.
A dark, crumbly loam works best outdoors that’s mostly silt.
Best soil for indoor cannabis
Loamy soil is the best for indoor cannabis. An ideal mixture of 40% silt, 40% clay, and 20% sand offers a loose soil texture for adequate oxygenation and root growth. This mix also offers good water retention, drainage, and an ideal pH level of 6.0.
Best potting soil for cannabis
Firstly, it’s important to note that no matter what pot you use, always make sure that there are holes at the bottom to prevent your cannabis from drowning.
Cannabis can be effectively grown in pots using pre-packaged organic soil.
An alternative is to make what is known as a ‘super soil’ mix. You’ll have to find a super soil recipe or order a mix online. It’s a great option as it self-regulates its pH levels.
Best organic soil for cannabis
Creating the best organic soil for marijuana is tricky, but there are a few components that can drastically improve its health and efficacy:
|Component||What it offers|
|Worm castings||This is a good source of nitrogen. It’ll also give your soil the added benefit of many micronutrients.|
|Bone meal||For a source of phosphorus, this is the way to go.|
|Chicken manure||Chicken manure is an excellent source for adding nitrogen and phosphorus to your soil.|
|Bat guano||This is also a good way to get phosphorus and nitrogen into your organic soil. It also diversifies the soil’s bacteria.|
|Compost||Compost piles can be an excellent source of nutrients such as potassium.|
|Kelp meal||Both promoting microbial diversity and offering potassium, kelp meal is a great component to add to organic soil.|
Best soil for autoflowering cannabis
Autoflower cannabis seeds transition automatically from the vegetative to flowering stage regardless of the light availability.
However, for this type of cannabis, light and aerated soil is preferred. This aids the roots in growing deeper.
You can make the best soil for autoflowers from peat moss, compost, vermiculite, and coco coir.
Store-bought vs. homemade
If you’re not interested in the hassle of putting together your own soil, then you can always stop at a local shop or peruse an online store for some good-quality mix that’s ready-made.
Although homemade soil may lack on some fronts, it does offer certain benefits. Let’s take a look at what those are compared to store-bought:
|Homemade Cannabis Soil||Store-Bought Cannabis Soil|
|Greater flexibility of choice.||Already pre-packaged.|
|Generally cheaper than store-bought cannabis.||More expensive than homemade cannabis.|
|It requires more research to figure out and can be complicated.||The work to put together nutrients and research is already done for you.|
|Easier and cheaper to make in bulk.||Often comes in smaller packaging.|
How to make your own soil
Making your own soil may be preferable for many as ready-made soil mixes can be pretty expensive. Here are a few steps that you can follow to get started:
Step 1: To start with creating your marijuana soil mix, you can opt to find soil at your local gardening store. Alternatively, you can use the soil you have at home.
Step 2: Next, you’ll need to add the building blocks of cannabis: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You can find these components in worm castings, bone meal, and compost.
Step 3: Then, mix the soil. It’s as simple as that, and you’re on your way to having the best soil to grow marijuana.
Improving the soil, you already have
There are several minerals, soils, and nutrients that you can add to the soil you already have to make it suitable to grow excellent cannabis. Here are a few suggestions:
- Coco for cannabis: Coco-coir is a flexible growing medium made out of coconut shells that grants your plants the ability to grow even faster than they already are.
- Perlite: This can help loosen and provide excellent aeration to the soil and also aids in the speed of growth of the plant.
- Vermiculite: This is good for dampening the soil and raising the pH level of your cannabis.
- Worm castings: These are great for resolving nitrogen cannabis deficiencies. This nutrient-rich manure is perfect for any weed soil mix.
- Nutrients: Along with nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, marijuana soil also needs calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and many others.
Before we move on to our FAQs: if you want to know more about growing, be sure to check out our marijuana for beginners guide. It offers a lot of helpful information about costs, climate, strains, and much more relating to growing marijuana.
FAQs related to best soil for cannabis
We’ve scoured the internet and put together the most frequently asked questions to help you find the best soil for growing weed.
What is the best soil for growing cannabis?
Loam is undoubtedly the best soil for growing cannabis. Its pH level is close to the ideal level of 6.0. Regrettably, it’s quite an expensive soil to buy but a worthwhile investment if you want to grow the best marijuana plants possible.
What is the best soil for outdoor cannabis?
Outdoor cannabis grows well with organic soil. You can make your own or opt to purchase a mix online or at a local garden store.
What is the best soil for indoor cannabis?
The ideal is the same as the best overall cannabis soil, which is loam. If you’re not willing to pay the price, though, you can always opt for a nice pre-packaged cannabis soil mix. Just make sure that it’s full of quality nutrients!
What is the best organic soil for cannabis?
You’ll want a soil mix that’s teaming with all the necessary micro and macronutrients needed for your plants. A nice blend of worm castings, rock dust, bone meal, bat guano, and various other soil amendments is the way to go.
What are the best nutrients for cannabis in soil?
The fundamentals are:
- Nitrogen (blood meal, ammonia, or cottonseed meal).
- Phosphate (bone meal, slag, and rock phosphate).
- Potassium (wood ashes or seaweeds).
It comes down to you
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when choosing the best soil for growing marijuana. It depends on the type, where you’ll be growing it, and what you hope to achieve.
There are a lot of great ready-made products out there, both online and in-store. It just takes some time and research to figure out which is right for you.
Do you feel ready to start growing? Peruse the i49 website and decide on the right cannabis seeds for you to start your growing journey today.
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