In this post, I’ll explain the basics of identifying soil types, the main variables in it that you have to concern yourself with, and what’s popular and unacceptable for growing cannabis.
More than any other media, most growers still use use good old fashioned gardening soil. Why?
- Well it’s usually easily available.
- It’s cheap.
- It’s natural with slow maintenance and that absorbs mistakes and a more forgiving way than hydroponics.
Even if plants don’t grow as fast in it, you may remember those overall conclusions from my old soil versus hydroponics guide. But for a lot of you, you don’t have to understand soil much more deeply than simply that to be perfectly honest, cannabis is awfully resilient and it will grow well in a lot of different mediums.
I’ve seen people accidentally grow cannabis just by throwing seeds into a random dirt pile during the rainy season. Also the particular quality and attributes of your soil are not the number one most important factor in your grow room. It isn’t even in the top three behind elements like lighting, temperature and humidity. As a result, the majority of casual growers, I only know that they have to go to the local garden store and get gardening soil, potting soil that’s oriented towards fruiting plants like tomatoes. And that’s it. That’s actually an acceptable level of knowledge. A few people beyond that also know that they should test even store-bought potting soil for deficiencies like incorrect pH or excessive sodium content. That by the way, is any content above 50 parts per million, but there is so much more to learn for those who are interested. So let’s start with what’s in soil, different textures and P H all soil is made up of a mix of air, water, mineral particles, and mix of organic and mineral nutrients, a small amount of living and dead organisms, microbes, protozoa there’s even maybe a few earthworms, all sorts of fun stuff, but the texture of the soil is determined by how physically big or small the mineral particles in it are teeny tiny mineral.
Size of Particles and the Different Kinds of Soil
Small particles result in something really dense like clay, soil, huge particles result in gravel type soil. And in between those sizes or medium particles that create textures like sand and medium small particles that create textures like silt, depending on how these particles are laid out. The soil may not be good for water retention, nutrient retention, or root growth, and hence, no good for cannabis. For instance, soil that’s too. Sandy drains too quickly. The poor water retention means it doesn’t work. Clay soil has sort of the opposite problem where it takes forever to absorb water and then holds it too tightly for roots to uptake it. Chalky soil, as it’s known is prone to dryness and nutrient lockout. Alkali soil is very abundant, but it’s also no good. The reason is the pH it’s above 8.5, which means you got to mix in a lot of additive in order to drop it down. We’ll get into that in a minute.
Peat or Bog Soil
If you live in a very marshy area and have what’s called peat or bog soil, that’s no good in its natural form, either due to the acidity and the low nutrient content, even though there’s nothing necessarily wrong with the texture. Pete is not totally useless though. And it has a lot of upside when used correctly within the quality soil mix. That includes other things, the type of soil you’re typically after his silty soil, what the silty mean? Well, silt is again a relatively small size of mineral particle. So the soil is very fine when silty soil is dry, it’s granular enough to look smooth. And usually it looks pretty dark when moist good quality silty soil will actually be soft and spongy to the touch. And when you gently squeeze it in the Palm of your hand, it’ll stick together to some extent and sponge out a little when you release the grip. Another really good soil type I like is loam.
Loam is actually a mix of sand, silt and clay together, depending on its exact makeup, lone can look a variety of ways, usually more silty than anything else, but what’s important is that it both retains lots of air and the drains water quickly, but not too quickly. So long story, short cannabis enjoys relatively fine, nutrient rich and slightly sticky and spongy with wet type of soil to grow in. The other really important aspect is the pH soil. pH is a measure of the acid to alkaline balance in the soil, both the usefulness of the soil and the availability of specific nutrients in it for uptake by the roots is first and foremost, a function of P H if you think pH doesn’t matter in the, the culture, whether talking soil or water than you have been taught wrong. That’s certainly a school of thought that’s out there and I consider it flat out wrong.
If you buy potting soil at a store, you don’t have to worry too much, as I said about your pH, but if you’re getting soil out of some random spot on your property, be aware that even when the texture seems right, cannabis like soil with a pH of 6.3 to 7.0, and the random soil you picked up could be way out of the rage. That’s also of course, within the range that we correct water and nutrient solution to when we added. So it shouldn’t surprise anybody. It’s fairly easy to adjust the pH of your soil. If it’s totally off, though, the easiest way is to drop the pH by using a little bit over three ounces of finely ground rock, sulfur per square yard of soil to drop the pH by one point decomposed, sawdust, composted leaves and peat Moss, or other things you can mix into.
Cannabis Soil, Wrapping it up:
Acidify your soil. On the flip side, if you need to raise your pH add things like agricultural lime, which also comes chock full of good stuff like calcium and often magnesium, just follow the instructions on the bag for how much to add the final important basic thing to understand about soil is that it doesn’t last forever, or even that long, slowly the inherent nutrient content in it gets drained out by the roots without treatment. It may also require a tumbling or tilling in order to grow multiple cycles of plants in the same soil, though, if I’m being honest, a clean majority of soil gardeners simply get rid of their old soil and replace it with new stuff, every cycle, simply in order to save their most valuable commodity time.