Nonetheless, despite the innovations in pruning, cannabis training, and hydroponics, many professional growers go back to tried and tested methods. Soil growing remains the most popular way to effectively and efficiently grow cannabis in large volumes.
Growing cannabis on soil has become an alternative to doing it by hydroponics. Indeed, the yield from soil growing can match that of other ways to increase yield in plants. Nonetheless, your cannabis crop production can be limited depending on the type of soil.
Choosing the right soil can mean the difference between a bountiful cannabis crop harvest and one that is not. Contrary to popular opinion, not all soil can benefit your cannabis production efforts — at least, not in the same conditions.
In this article, we will talk about the types of soil that can lead to better crop gains. We will also go into the types of soil amendments for your cannabis production.
Ready to get high on the above-mentioned information? Let’s begin!
Choosing Cannabis-Friendly Soil
In general, you can choose between four types of soil when you are planting cannabis. These different types of soil differ in several ways, like in texture and pH.
Let’s go into each one in detail.
Clay is excellent for its mineral content and water retention. The only drawback is its consistency and water drainage quality.
Clay can be challenging to work with albeit being rich in minerals like magnesium. If you go with clay, choose a soil amendment that promotes drainage. The pH of clay can also be higher at above 7.0. So, you will need a biostimulant or additive that lowers the pH to below 5.0.
Loam has all of the advantages of clay and none of its drawbacks. In other words, not only is loam rich in minerals and retains water but it also boasts excellent drainage, ideal pH, and superior aeration.
However, these benefits come at a price. As a combination of different types of cannabis-friendly soil, it can be more expensive than other types.
Sandy soil is popular amongst cannabis growers of all skill levels. This is because sandy soil is loose, allowing for better soil aeration and drainage. Sandy soil’s pH is also the lowest among all types of soil, conducive to acidophilic crops like cannabis.
Before going whole hog on some sandy soil, you need to bear two things in mind. First, sandy soil’s loose structure makes water retention difficult. This means you will have to water it regularly.
Also, sandy soil can easily be washed away, and so can the soil’s nitrogen content.
Silt is a medium-coarse type of soil. This means that it has balanced drainage and retention. On top of that, the pH is somewhere between 5.0 to 7.0, making it a safe option for cannabis growers.
What Makes Soil Ideal for Growing Cannabis?
Cannabis growth relies on several things from the soil. Without certain conditions being met, cannabis crops will either be meager or not grow. To ensure optimal production and plant yields, you will need to keep an eye on the following soil conditions:
Loose and Light Soil Volume and Texture
Cannabis seeds are highly aerobic. What this means is that the seeds need a lot of oxygen. Also, the roots of cannabis need room in which to embed themselves. For these reasons, you want to plant your cannabis seeds in soil that is not too dense or muddy.
Instead, you will likely do well with loose soil. The soil should also be light. These two conditions ensure that the seeds will remain oxygenated and have enough room for the roots.
pH 5.0 to 7.0
You need to err on the side of the acidic when growing cannabis. According to experts, you want the soil to be between 5.0 to 7.0. Any soil pH above 7.0 can stunt growth. The more basic you go, the more you eliminate cannabis flowering nutrients.
The soil pH needs to be measured. You can take measurements in many ways, like wetting soil and placing the sample on litmus paper. For many, an efficient way to measure soil pH would be to use a digital pH meter.
Balanced Water Drainage and Retention
It can be tricky to determine the perfect soil for cannabis growth. Part of what makes determining the perfect cannabis soil difficult is that you need the perfect balance between water retention and drainage.
Cannabis needs to be hydrated. However, in many ways, growing cannabis is like growing cruciferous vegetables — cannabis wilts at the slightest sign of inundation.
The best way to test for the balance is to do the following:
- Gather your desired soil into a pot or any container with drainage
- Pour water on the soil
- Watch for drainage
If water pools on top of the soil for more than a few seconds, it may not be a desirable candidate for cannabis growth. In this situation, you will have two options:
- Choose a different type of soil
- Loosen the soil you have
Doing the latter also addresses soil texture and volume. By doing this, you will be hitting two birds with one stone.
The Presence of Cannabis Flowering Nutrients
Soil needs to contain several nutrients to be conducive for cannabis growing. CannaCon identifies seven macronutrients, including:
You will also need to ensure that the soil has the following micronutrients:
This list comprises merely the tip of the iceberg. There are more nutrients needed. Luckily, many soil and soil amendment suppliers have taken the guesswork out of soil shopping. So, the soil you get will have all of the above-mentioned and more in the proper proportions.
There is one caveat:
As you plant seeds in the soil you choose, the soil’s nutrients will be exhausted by the growing needs of your cannabis crops. For this reason, you will need to fortify your soil periodically to ensure a steady stream of cannabis flowering nutrients.
You can opt for soil amendments. We will talk about what they are and why you might need them later.
In the interim, you can go with the alternative — biostimulants.
The Role of Biostimulants in Plants
Agricultural studies have repeatedly pointed out the detrimental effects abiotic stress has on any plant — including cannabis. Abiotic stress in plants takes place whenever non-biological factors inhibit growth and production.
Abiotic stressors can cause plants to either grow at a slower rate or not grow at all. The following are examples of abiotic stressors:
- Improper drainage
- Lack of sunlight or too much of it
- Poor water retention
- Excessive salinity
- Low or high temperature
Any combination of the above-mentioned factors will be detrimental to your cannabis yield. Although cannabis plants can tolerate these conditions to an extent, growth will not be optimized.
In short, as a professional cannabis grower, you need to minimize or eliminate abiotic stressors. You can do this by optimizing the growing environment to suit the needs of your cannabis plant and soil. Or, you can opt for biostimulants.
According to the University of Massachusetts, biostimulants are any organic substance or microorganism used to improve plant growth and plant health. Biostimulant plant growth is the product of improved nutritional efficiency.
The improved nutritional efficiency from biostimulant plant growth ensures that plants soak up all the soil’s nutrients. This improved uptake of plant nutrition offsets the presence of abiotic stressors.
As a result, biostimulants give plants (like cannabis plants) more resilience, allowing them to tolerate abiotic stressors better.
Depending on the provider, biostimulants will differ in their components. Nonetheless, all will likely contain the following:
- Microorganisms that aid biostimulant plant growth
- Seaweed extracts
- Plant extract concentrates
- Biopolymers derived from shells of crustaceans (e.g. chitosan)
- Phosphates and silicon
- Acids that are byproducts of organic matter decay (e.g. humic and fulvic acid)
If you need biostimulants for your cannabis production that contain all the above-mentioned, try microbial inoculants. These are biostimulants that not only contain all the essentials to stave off abiotic stress but also have these in the right proportions.
Microbial inoculants and other biostimulants increase the resilience of your cannabis plants to abiotic stress. As mentioned earlier, you can either improve plant resilience or optimize soil for cannabis growth.
The soil can already be optimal depending on the one you chose. However, sometimes, the soil will need something extra.
When your soil does, you may want to try soil amendments.
Why Use Soil Amendments? Yield Increase in Plants
The soil is the center of your cannabis plant’s growth environment. Soil amendments can improve the growing conditions of your soil.
Soil amendments work by making the condition of your soil better for whatever plant or crop you are growing. Soil amendments, while leading to the same result, do not work in the same way as fertilizer.
Fertilizers add nutrients to the soil for cannabis. On the other hand, soil amendments are used in order to correct the deficiencies your soil may have. For example, if your soil is lacking in water retention qualities, dry soil amendments like coco fiber husks can be added.
There are many types of soil amendments available on the market. All of them can improve the health of your cannabis yield per crop. The volume at which you can harvest can also increase dramatically with the use of a soil amendment.
The Best Types of Soil Amendments From Soil Amendment Suppliers
The best types of soil amendments will depend on the soil you already have and what the deficiencies are. Here are some to get you started:
Natural Soil Amendments
Soil amendment suppliers are bound to have in their supply a range of natural soil amendments. As the name implies, these types of soil additives come from natural sources.
Natural or organic soil amendments are beneficial to your soil because of their nitrogen content. As mentioned earlier, nitrogen is a key component of soil and plant nutrition. Without it, you cannot expect your cannabis crop to grow in large volumes.
Natural sources of organic soil amendments include the following:
- Coconut husk or fiber
- Grass clippings
- Wood chips
- Composted soil
- Aged or composted manure
- Worm castings
Inorganic Dry Soil Amendments
On the opposite end of the spectrum are soil amendments that are either man-made or extracted through mining. These are inorganic dry soil amendments.
Inorganic dry soil amendments carry most of the benefits of their natural counterparts. However, they also include other benefits like availability and ease of application.
Dry soil amendments have other benefits like longevity. According to Colorado State University, dry soil amendments that are not plant-based have a much longer lifespan. As a result, they do not need to be reapplied as frequently as natural soil amendments.
The only drawback seems to be the salt content of inorganic amendments. While these occur in soil amendments in small amounts, applying dry soil amendments frequently can increase the sodium content of your soil.
This can tip the electrolyte balance of your soil in a way that is detrimental to your cannabis plants.
Here are some examples of inorganic dry soil amendments:
- Sphagnum peat
- Mountain peat
- Clay aggregates
Of the above-mentioned, perlite and vermiculite are the most commonly used. Part of the reason is that these dry soil amendments are easy to find in gardening stores. They are also the soil additives of choice due to their ability to improve soil aeration and drainage.
Choosing the right kind of soil is pivotal to your cannabis-growing efforts. However, picking the right type of soil can only get you so far. With each type of soil having its deficiencies in certain areas, it is equally crucial to pick the right soil amendments and biostimulants.
Whatever you need for your cannabis crops, we at Impello Bio are here to help. Our crop-growing products are engineered to contribute to your soil’s condition and nutrition.
For all your crop-growing needs, choose an experienced and reputable biostimulant and soil amendment provider. Choose Impello Bio!
What are the best nutrients for cannabis in soil? For Veg
The growing methodology for cannabis can be broken into two basic phases: vegetative growth, followed by the flowering phase. During the vegetative phase, plants are typically growing quickly, developing their structure, and branching out. The vegetative phase ends either when the plants are forced to flower by changing the photoperiod (12 hours of light per day) or when they naturally transition to flower due to the plant’s internal “flowering clock”. The cannabis vegetative stage fertilizer should have high nitrogen, low phosphorus, and moderate potassium. The primary role of the vegetative fertilizer is to help develop the plants’ mass and structure. However, since your plants are getting ready to flower, you should also start to include preparatory nutrients that are geared towards supporting healthy flower growth during the coming weeks.
What are the best nutrients for cannabis in soil? For Flowering
Flowering cannabis plants will benefit from a nutrient solution that is higher in phosphorus and potassium. These flowering nutrients help the plant produce more flowers and improve on the essential oils produced for optimal potency.
How to water cannabis plants in soil?
It is essential to water cannabis in soil abundantly and then wait until the substrate is dry. This way, we will avoid making the substrate soggy and we will achieve optimum results. We recommend watering the substrate with RSO water.
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