Build an organic soil perfect for growing cannabis, in 4 steps
- 1.1 Step 1: find out what's in your soil
- 1.2 Step 2: Find an adequate floor
- 1.3 Step 3: mix your soil
- 1.4 Step 4: Prepare your soil for the next season
Build an organic soil perfect for growing cannabis, in 4 steps
Growing cannabis in organic soil allows growers to increase quality without the intervention of chemical nutrients that can burn or kill plants. To create a soil that provides the perfect environment, you will need the necessary nutrients to help your plants thrive. It's important to really understand what you want in your soil so that you can produce your own custom blend that costs less and contains all of the essential nutrients (NPKs). Follow these steps to better understand what makes the ideal soil for your own growing medium.
Step 1: find out what's in your soil
When purchasing a potting soil, you will see a list of ingredients and information on the nutrients available. If you are hoping to use soil that is already present in your garden (or other source), it is impossible to know what is actually in that soil. To remedy this problem, you can submit a test that will allow you to understand the nutrients in it.
Also, you can work the soil with your hands and learn to recognize it. Is it compact or soft? Sandy or clayey? Does it contain moisture or is it dry? Are there worms and insects present in this one? These are all the things you can consider just using sight and touch.
Step 2: Find an adequate floor
Once you've learned how to recognize the nutrient levels and texture of your soil, it's time to add the necessary changes. The basic building blocks for healthy plants are based around NPK nutrients. It means nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). To build healthy soil, nutrients must be readily available to your plants (in terms of absorption).
Nutrients rich in nitrogen (N)
The earthworms: Regular intake of earthworms increases the food available. This kind of potting soil provides a quick release source of nitrogen for your plants while introducing healthy bacteria, and many micronutrients depending on where they come from.
The crustaceans : The mixture of sorbates and benzoates in all cooked crustaceans and molluscs is slower to release in your soil. But this adds nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium to your soil. The microbes will be invited to eat the shell residue. This will help keep nematodes (parasitic worms) at bay.
Bat Guano: Bat droppings will provide the highest levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. Bat Guano works wonders, while also diversifying bacteria and microbes in the soil.
Nutrients rich in phosphorus (P)
Bone meal : Bone supply generally comes from bovine bones, and it helps maintain phosphorus levels. Keep in mind that your soil should be at a pH below 7 for bone meal to be more effective.
Chicken manure : Chicken manure is a great way to introduce both phosphorus and nitrogen. Choose high quality manure that is fully processed. Make sure you modify the manure in your soil with enough time to let it cool.
Rock dust : Rock dust is a slowly releasing source of phosphorus, which can be effective in the soil for years. But it does not work well in soils with a pH greater than 7.
Nutrients rich in potassium (K)
Kelp powder : Kelp flour is made from dried seaweed from the marine environment. It is an excellent source of potassium which promotes microbial diversity in the soil. A water soluble modification, kelp can be applied with water or by hand directly into the soil.
Ashes of wood : Wood ash can be used to increase potassium levels in your soil. But be aware that it usually increases the pH. Be sure to test the pH of your soil regularly.
Compost : Your compost bin can be a great source of potassium for your garden, especially if it contains banana fruit and peel.
Additional enrichments to NPK
These three basic NPK configurations are the most important, but there are also micronutrients that will help your plants thrive. Products like gypsum, azomite, and kelp meal can add many micronutrients to strengthen your soil. A great diversity of nutrients creates flavorful nuances, and additional effects in your final product.
You should also consider modifications that restructure the soil density, its aeration and its water-holding capacity. For example, perlite and peat can improve drainage and water retention. The introduction of a population of (healthy) worms, seeing fungal colonies will also help improve the soil, and its structure. Healthy soil is maintained, and living organisms reap and share the benefits of healthy soil with your cannabis plants.
Step 3: mix your soil
To create your soil, apply the previous modifications and start digging or use a rototiller (or tiller). It takes time, but make sure everything is mixed well and all corners of the pot or your growing medium have been hit. Once you've mixed everything together, wash your soil well. This process will need to be repeated for a few days until the soil is cool to the touch. At this point, the soil is ready for your seeds or clones.
In addition, annual plowing is necessary. It consists of breaking down a complex network of mycelium, of cavities created by beneficial organisms in the soil. However, by cultivating your soil every year, you can easily add modifications and break down the crops making sure that all the nutrients in the soil are well mixed and readily available. Try to analyze soil samples at the start and end of the season to determine annual tillage.
Step 4: Prepare your soil for the next season
To protect your soil for the next season, remove the stems and roots from previous cannabis plants. You can compost them and reapply them to your soils once they have decomposed. Then, introduce a cover crop in your soil to maintain it during the winter (kind of radishes). Legumes sequester and retain nitrogen while radishes have long roots that help aerate and release deep, compact soils. These cover crops must be destroyed before they multiply. This can be achieved by tilling the soil and what is left of your cover crop.
In the off season, you can add nutrients to your garden. The addition of compost, manure (or other), allows precipitation to bring nutrients into the soil. So it's a great way to improve soil quality in the off season. Building your own soil is a rewarding investment that will only strengthen your understanding of gardening. With a quality floor, you will save time and money. You will also find that the soil becomes a sanctuary for other living things as you improve the environment around your garden. The soil is incredibly diverse and complex, and we still have a lot to learn to achieve perfection.