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How To Create Your Own Cannabis Super Soil Mix

Your buds are only going to be as good as the plants that bear them. And the best way to grow big, healthy cannabis plants is to use homemade super soil rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other vital nutrients.

Making a homemade cannabis super soil mix is much more rewarding than buying store-bought soil and bottled nutrients—and it’s not that difficult to make.

  • 1. What are the pros and cons of making your own super soil?
  • 1a. Pros
  • 1b. Cons
  • 2. Understanding soil and cannabis nutrition
  • 3. How to prepare your own cannabis super soil mix
  • 3a. Buy your base soil
  • 3b. Enrich your soil
  • 3c. Wash your super soil (if you want to plant right away)
  • 3d. Don’t plant directly into homemade super soil
  • 1. What are the pros and cons of making your own super soil?
  • 1a. Pros
  • 1b. Cons
  • 2. Understanding soil and cannabis nutrition
  • 3. How to prepare your own cannabis super soil mix
  • 3a. Buy your base soil
  • 3b. Enrich your soil
  • 3c. Wash your super soil (if you want to plant right away)
  • 3d. Don’t plant directly into homemade super soil

Store-bought soil works fine for growing cannabis, but it’ll only get you so far. To grow the best cannabis at home, we recommend always preparing your own soil. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to prepare your own cannabis soil mix.

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF CREATING YOUR OWN SUPER SOIL?

Like many aspects of growing, there are a number of pros and cons to creating your own cannabis soil. The pros, however, far outweigh the cons, and we encourage every grower to try preparing their own soil at least once.

• Good-quality homemade soil is rich in both macro and micronutrients, meaning you’ll be less reliant on chemical fertilisers.

• Growing with homemade soil gives you complete control over where your plants get their nutrients from. If you’re looking to grow organically, this is the way to go.

• Bud grown without chemical nutrients delivers a big, natural flavour like no other. A tastier, smoother smoke can be expected.

• The chemicals found in nutrient solutions create harsh runoff that can have a devastating effect on the local environment. On the other hand, using your own, homemade soil is completely sustainable and environmentally friendly.

• Preparing your own soil takes time, which is a luxury not all growers have.

• Preparing your own soil requires a larger initial investment than if you simply bought regular soil and a few nutrient solutions. Keep that in mind if you’re growing on a budget, but also remember that the results are definitely worth it.

UNDERSTANDING SOIL AND CANNABIS NUTRITION

Soil plays two key roles in the cannabis cultivation process. First of all, it weighs down your cannabis plants, keeping them rooted and protected against the wind. Secondly, and more importantly, it serves as a medium to transport nutrients and water to your plants’ roots. To better understand soil and how we can use a homemade mix to fertilise and nurture our cannabis plants, it helps to understand the basic nutrients cannabis plants need to survive and thrive.

Besides water, cannabis needs three main nutrients or _macronutrients_: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). When you buy fertilisers, you’ll find products with varying concentrations of these nutrients designed to be used during different stages of the grow cycle. Here’s a brief rundown on how these nutrients help cannabis plants grow:

• Nitrogen is one of the main components of chlorophyll, and an essential building block of important amino acids.

• Phosphorus is essential for the production of ATP and phospholipids, which are used to build cell membranes.

• Potassium helps enable photosynthesis, regulates CO₂ uptake via stomata in a plant’s leaves, and helps strengthen cell walls.

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium make up the bulk of the nutrients in most fertilisers you’ll find at a gardening store or grow shop. However, there are many other nutrients, known as micronutrients, that also play key roles in keeping your plants healthy and helping them produce the best possible buds.

Some of these micronutrients include calcium, iron, sulfur, zinc, boron, manganese, and copper, which you’ll find naturally in things like bat guano, worm castings, molasses, kelp, coffee grounds, and more.

When you prepare your own super soil for cannabis, you have the opportunity to prepare a rich medium for your plants ahead of time, rather than feeding your plants on an as-needed basis using chemical fertilisers. The hard work and effort you put into preparing your own natural and organic soil before sowing your seeds will pay off big time in terms of flavour and quality come harvest.

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR OWN CANNABIS SUPER SOIL MIX

Preparing your own super soil might sound daunting, but it really isn’t. The concept is, in fact, pretty simple; you’ll start off with some good-quality organic soil and enrich it with natural ingredients ahead of time. Once it’s time to sow your seeds, you’ll have a rich growing medium ready that will provide your plants with everything they need to produce beautiful, aromatic buds.

STEP 1: BUY YOUR BASE SOIL

Picking the right base soil for your cannabis plants is super important. Remember, cannabis likes well-aerated, permeable, and slightly acidic soil (pH of 6–6.8 is ideal). If possible, you’ll want to opt for an organic soil containing natural ingredients like worm castings, compost, coco coir, sand, and more. While these soils are generally more expensive, they’ll make a notable difference to the health of your plants and the quality and size of your harvest.

Some other ingredients to look for in organic soils include:

• Peat moss
• Guano
• Manure
• Rock dust
• Sand
• Coco fiber
• Natural fertilisers (like K-Mag)
• Pine castings
• Perlite
• Vermiculite

If you can’t find a good-quality organic soil with at least some of these ingredients, don’t fret. Simply go to your local nursery or gardening centre and buy a neutral potting soil. Again, opt for something slightly acidic if possible.

STEP 2: ENRICH YOUR SOIL

Start by placing your soil in a big container; break it up with a graip to ensure it’s well-aerated. Once it’s nice and loose, you’ll want to get to work enriching your soil with more natural ingredients to create a rich growing medium for your cannabis plants.

Some things to add to your soil include:

  • 1. Worm castings
  • 2. Coffee grounds and/or tea leaves
  • 3. Eggshells
  • 4. Vegetable and fruit peels
  • 5. Compost
  • 6. Coco coir
  • 7. Perlite
  • 8. Vermiculite
  • 9. Sand
  • 10. Bone meal
  • 11. Blood meal
  • 12. Rock phosphate
  • 13. Epsom salts
  • 14. Lime
  • 15. Dolomite
  • 16. Organic fertiliser pellets
  • 1. Worm castings
  • 2. Coffee grounds and/or tea leaves
  • 3. Eggshells
  • 4. Vegetable and fruit peels
  • 5. Compost
  • 6. Coco coir
  • 7. Perlite
  • 8. Vermiculite
  • 9. Sand
  • 10. Bone meal
  • 11. Blood meal
  • 12. Rock phosphate
  • 13. Epsom salts
  • 14. Lime
  • 15. Dolomite
  • 16. Organic fertiliser pellets

Simply add these ingredients to your soil and use your graip to combine everything properly.

The “correct” amount of each ingredient you use in your super soil will depend on the quality of your starter soil and how much time you have before planting. If possible, prepare your soil at least six months before you plant. That way, you’ll be able to use more of the ingredients listed above as they’ll have time to break down properly.

Once they do, they’ll create a rich topsoil for your plants, similar to what they’d have in nature. This super soil will be rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as all the other micronutrients we mentioned earlier.

This process, however, takes time. Compost, for example, can take anywhere from a few months to years to be ready, and you’ll need to take that into account when planning your grow. Vegetable or fruit scraps alone can take a few months to break down.

If you want to plant straight away, you can still use some of the ingredients listed above. You’ll just need to be more careful as you’ll be at risk of creating a really nutrient-rich (or “hot”) soil that can actually burn your plants. As a general rule of thumb to get you started, try using the following ratios of soil and other ingredients:

– 4 parts starter soil
– 1 part worm castings
– 1 part coco coir
– 1 part perlite/vermiculite (for extra drainage)
– 2.5–5% guano
– 2.5% bone and/or blood meal

When adding micronutrients like epson salts, azomite, lime, and dolomite to your soil, always read the package instructions. These nutrients are really strong and can cause nutrient burn when not used properly.

STEP 3: WASH YOUR SUPER SOIL (IF YOU WANT TO PLANT RIGHT AWAY)

If you don’t have months to prepare your own super soil, here’s a simpler, faster way to prepare your own cannabis soil at home.

In the pots you plan to grow in, combine:

– 3 parts organic starter soil
– 1 part perlite
– 1 part worm castings
– ½ cup greensand
– ⅓ cup guano
– ½ cup dolomite lime

Mix everything together using your graip, then soak the soil for at least two days in pure water, keeping it wet all throughout. This will ensure your soil isn’t too hot for your seedlings. Allow the water to run off and the soil to mostly dry before planting. Once you do plant, make sure to use just plain water for at least the first three waterings.

STEP 4: DON’T PLANT DIRECTLY INTO HOMEMADE SUPER SOIL

It’s really important to note that homemade super soil is very nutrient-rich and shouldn’t be used for seeds, seedlings, or clones. These young plants are very delicate and will suffer from nutrient burn in such a hot medium. Instead, you’ll want to germinate your seeds and keep your young plants in neutral soil for at least the first few weeks, only transplanting them once they’ve officially started vegging.

Stop growing weed with crummy store-bought soil. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to easily prepare your own cannabis soil at home.

Organic Super Soil Amendments | Definitive Guide To All-Natural Plant Food

The right organic soil amendments will breathe new life into tired super soil both during a grow and when you recycle your substrate. By replenishing nutrients when your plants need them most, you can ensure your organic grow results in a huge yield of crystal-coated buds with superior potency.

Contents:

By design, organic super soil has everything your cannabis plant needs to thrive. However, even the best mix may need to be replenished or amended from time to time. This is especially true when you start off with a store-bought mix, cultivate heavy-feeders, or reuse your soil.

Here’s a list of organic soil amendments that will keep your plants happy and productive, as well as those to avoid:

ORGANIC SOIL AMENDMENTS TO USE

1. WORM CASTINGS

With minimal effort and expense, a worm farm can provide an unlimited source of worm castings for your garden. You can also buy worm castings by the bag at most greenhouses and nurseries. Worm castings release nitrogen into the soil faster than virtually any other organic soil amendment. They also add healthy bacteria and a wide variety of micronutrients.

2. CRUSTACEAN MEAL

Made from ground-up shells from crabs, shrimp, and other sea creatures, crustacean meal is naturally high in nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, and chitin. It’s a slow-release amendment, and it has a bonus feature: The chitin supports microbes that kill harmful nematodes that would damage roots if not kept in check.

3. BAT GUANO

This natural amendment has more nitrogen and phosphorus than any other natural substance you can add to your soil. Bat guano will also add a diverse community of bacteria and microbes to your plant’s root zone and support consistent plant growth.

4. BONE MEAL

This blend of ground beef bones is a great source of phosphorus, as long as you keep your pH level under 7. Outdoor cannabis farmers will need to fence off their plants if they use bone meal. Some animals are so attracted to bone meal’s aroma that they’ll dig up your garden to get at what their nose tells them is buried there.

5. BLOOD MEAL

Blood meal is similar to bone meal, except it’s made from dried cattle blood. This amendment is very high in nitrogen and can burn your plants if you use too much. It will also lower the soil’s pH level. Blood meal is thought to repel deer, squirrels, and moles, but it can attract dogs and other carnivores. Think carefully before you use it in an outdoor garden.

6. CHICKEN MANURE

Chicken manure is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, but it’s really strong. It’s considered a “hot” fertiliser that can burn your plants if it hasn’t been properly treated and allowed to mellow for a period of time. Use this soil amendment with caution. Rabbit manure is a good substitute if you own a bunny or know someone who does; it’s plentiful, cleaner, and not nearly as hot.

7. ROCK DUST

Rock dust is exactly what it sounds like: crushed rock. It’s a slow-release source of phosphorus. If you recycle your soil, you’ll only need to add it every couple of years. Rock dust requires a pH level of around 7 to work.

8. KELP MEAL

Made from dried seaweed, kelp meal adds potassium to the soil, as well as over 60 essential elements and minerals, to help support the microbes in your soil. It’s thought to increase sweetness, boost flavour, and enhance colours—things that most cannabis growers desire.

9. COMPOST

Compost isn’t exclusive to the realm of organic weed growers. All farmers love this “black gold”. It’s generally made by layering soil, leaves, and household food waste, so it’s as good as what you put into it. If you’re using it for potassium, make sure you include banana peels and fruit rinds. Eggshells add calcium, and all compost contains beneficial microbes. Always make sure the compost is fully broken down and decomposed before adding it to your plants; it should look like rich, black soil when it’s ready to be used.

10. COMPOST TEA

If your plants look like they need a quick pick-me-up, try a compost tea. You can make this by aerating a mix of clean water and a small amount of compost. The air activates the microbes and causes them to multiply at a rapid rate. Within a few days, you’ll have a nutrient-rich compost tea that you can use as a liquid soil amendment throughout your grow.

11. WOOD ASH

Wood ash is a great source of potassium and lime, as well as many trace elements that cannabis needs to thrive. However, you should use this soil amendment sparingly or combine it with compost. It’s known to quickly raise the soil’s pH level to the point where it could lock out other nutrients.

12. MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI

Without beneficial fungi, organically grown cannabis plants will struggle to thrive. These microorganisms create a bridge in the root zone that helps plants absorb nutrients and water. They also protect the roots from damage by shielding them from harmful microbes. To add mycorrhizae to your soil, use a tube of inoculant.

13. PERLITE AND VERMICULITE

Cannabis likes air in its root zone. That’s why it’s important not to overwater or let your plants sit in standing water. It’s almost as bad to let the soil get too dry. Using perlite and/or vermiculite as soil amendments can help. Perlite is made from volcanic glass; it’s white, hard, and porous. Vermiculite is made from mica; it’s scaly, lamellar, and pale brown in colour. Both are very light in weight compared to their volume, and do a great job controlling moisture and aerating the soil. You can use one or both as a soil amendment.

14. GARDEN LIME

Also known as sweet lime or dolomite, garden lime is made from limestone. It contains a significant amount of calcium and magnesium. Although it actually raises pH, this type of lime is often used as a buffer to keep pH levels stable and prevent fluctuations. When liming your plants, always use dolomite lime and not agricultural or hydrated lime.

15. EPSOM SALTS

Magnesium sulfate, commonly known as Epsom salts, is a natural source of magnesium and sulphur that plants can readily use. Always use pure magnesium sulfate purchased from a pharmacy, and not a bath product that’s had oils or scent added to it. You can amend your soil by adding the crystals when you water your plants or by mixing them into a foliar spray.

16. AZOMITE

Derived from volcanic material, Azomite replenishes the soil with more than 60 water-soluble trace minerals. Those are the kind that can get washed away when you water your plants. This amendment can raise pH level, so it’s another one to use sparingly.

ORGANIC SUPER SOIL (NUTRIENTS) 1. WORM CASTINGS 2. CRUSTA- CEAN MEAL 3. BAT GUANO
NITROGEN (N) X X
PHOSPHOROUS (P) X X
POTASSIUM (K)
MAGNESIUM (Mg) X X
CALCIUM (Ca) X
BORON (B)
ORGANIC SUPER SOIL (NUTRIENTS) 4. BONE MEAL 5. BLOOD MEAL 6. CHICKEN MANURE
NITROGEN (N) X X
PHOSPHOROUS (P) X
POTASSIUM (K)
MAGNESIUM (Mg)
CALCIUM (Ca) X
BORON (B)
ORGANIC SUPER SOIL (NUTRIENTS) 7. ROCK DUST 8. KELP MEAL 9. COMPOST
NITROGEN (N) X X
PHOSPHOROUS (P) X
POTASSIUM (K)
MAGNESIUM (Mg)
CALCIUM (Ca)
BORON (B) X
ORGANIC SUPER SOIL (NUTRIENTS) 11. WOOD ASH 12. MYCOR- RHIZAL FUNGI 14. GARDEN LIME
NITROGEN (N) X
PHOSPHOROUS (P) X
POTASSIUM (K)
MAGNESIUM (Mg)
CALCIUM (Ca) X X
BORON (B)
ORGANIC SUPER SOIL (NUTRIENTS) 15. EPSOM SALTS 16. AZOMITE 17. GREEN- SAND
NITROGEN (N) X
PHOSPHOROUS (P) X
POTASSIUM (K)
MAGNESIUM (Mg) X
CALCIUM (Ca)
BORON (B)
ORGANIC SUPER SOIL (NUTRIENTS) 19. MULCH
NITROGEN (N) X
PHOSPHOROUS (P) X
POTASSIUM (K)
MAGNESIUM (Mg)
CALCIUM (Ca) X
BORON (B)
ORGANIC SUPER SOIL AMENDAMENTS (SPECIFIC NUTRIENTS)
NITROGEN (N) PHOSPHOROUS (P) POTASSIUM (K) MAGNESSIUM (Ma) CALCIUM (Ca) BORON (B)
1. WORM CASTINGS X X X X
2. CRUSTACEAN MEAL X X X
3. BAT GUANO X
4. BONE MEAL X X
5. BLOOD MEAL X X
6. CHICKEN MANURE X
7. ROCK DUST X
8. KELP MEAL X
9. COMPOST X X
11. WOOD ASH X
12. MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI X X
14. GARDEN LIME X
15. EPSOM SALTS X
16. AZOMITE X X X
17. GREENSAND X
19. MULCH X X X X

17. GREENSAND

Greensand looks like it sounds: like greenish sand. Its chemical name is glauconite, and it’s a rich source of potassium. It also contains calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, and 30 or so trace minerals that help plants grow. Greensand also improves the quality of the soil to better control moisture levels. In sandy soil, it decreases the drainage rate. In clay soils, it does the opposite, loosening the soil so it drains faster. Greensand is slow to break down and release its nutrient content, so you only have to add it to soil every few years.

18. HUMIC ACID AND FULVIC ACID

Use these two soil amendments together for best results. Humic acid helps the roots absorb nutrients more effectively, while fulvic acid makes the nutrients more bioavailable to the individual plant cells. Together, these two acids help the plant make the most of the available nutrients while minimising deficiencies.

19. MULCH

Mulch serves two purposes; it helps your soil retain moisture, and microbes like to eat it. Don’t mix this into your soil. Add a few centimetres of straw, compost, or wood chips over the surface of the soil. Replenish it monthly. Compost doubles as a top dressing and will gradually release nutrients as you water your plants.

SOIL AMENDMENTS TO AVOID

Urea is a component in urine; it’s what the kidneys make when they remove nitrogen from the body. You can also buy pure urea. It’s a cheap source of nitrogen, but not a great choice if you’re growing cannabis. Urea changes quickly to ammonium, which transforms the nitrogen your plants can use into toxic nitrites that plants don’t use or need. Next, the ammonium will turn into ammonia, which will evaporate and release a nasty smell.

SAWDUST

Sawdust contains nitrogen, but it contains even more carbon (50x more). This combination will lock out all nitrogen and starve your plants. You would have to allow the sawdust to age nearly 3 years to give the carbon enough time to decompose to the point it wouldn’t cause nutrient lockout. Don’t be tempted to mix sawdust into your soil to aerate it or increase its ability to hold moisture.

NON-COMPOSTED LEAVES

If you amend your soil with non-composted leaves, they’ll become fodder for harmful bacteria as they decompose. As these bacteria proliferate, they will compete with your plants for nitrogen—and they usually win.

A FINAL WORD ON SOIL AMENDMENTS

By nurturing your organic substrate with the right soil amendments at the correct intervals, you can grow healthy, profit-yielding cannabis plants with big, resinous buds. When you enjoy the fruits of your labour, you’ll also take comfort in knowing they weren’t exposed to any harmful chemicals or toxic pesticides.

However, it can be easy to overdo it and burn your plants—even if your amendments are 100% natural and organic. Take it easy with richer add-ins until you see how your garden reacts. It’s always easier to add than subtract from the soil. Soon, you’ll be able to anticipate what your plants need, giving them exactly the right amendments at exactly the right time.

Even the best super soil requires replenishment from time to time. In this helpful guide, we'll teach you what to use and what to avoid.