Super soil first gained recognition when famous cannabis breeder Subcool released his recipe in 2009. Here's how to make your own super soil. Growing marijuana in soil is not hard. But to get a good harvest, you must know the best soil to use. Read on to learn how to make your own.
4 Easy Steps to Super Soil for Thriving Cannabis Plants
Creating a rich substrate for your cannabis plants takes a little work up front, but in the long run can provide you with a thriving garden that doesn’t need your constant attention.
There are two ways to feed your cannabis: feed your plants or build your soil. You can buy bottles of fertilizer with impressive labels that you mix up in a nutrient solution for your plants, or you can build up healthy soil that will feed your plants every single time you water. Both ways work, and there are pros and cons to each method.
Bottled fertilizers can be expensive, and you usually end up investing in an entire line of nutrients that need to be purchased again and again. You have to take the time to measure and mix them properly every single time you feed so you have the correct PPM and pH. They are full of salts, so you’ll need to flush your plants on a regular basis. They do a great job, but they also create a lot more work throughout your garden’s life.
When you build up your soil on the other hand, you put in the work up front to create a rich substrate that can sustain your plants through their entire lifecycle and then all you have to do is water. No mixing nutrients, no worrying about pH or PPM levels, and no flushing.
Probably the most well-known and effective soil for your cannabis plants first gained recognition in 2009. It was back then that the late Subcool, a famous cannabis breeder, released his Super Soil recipe in an issue of High Times magazine. The recipe quickly took off with hobby growers. I had many customers at my hydroponics shop come in and show me their successes with his recipe. The results were undeniable.
There are a variety of super-soil recipes floating around the web and passed between growers. However, the general idea behind creating your own super soil is to add enough quality amendments to a soil base to feed your plants throughout their life cycle, and then compost the mixture for up to six months to a year before using it in your garden. This way, the soil and amendments have a chance to break down so the nutrients are readily available to your plants. The soil will feed your plants exactly what they need without you, the grower, having to worry about adding more nutrients or adjusting pH. Just add water.
Super soil can be used indoors or outdoors with excellent results and is completely organic. It is as close to nature as you can get in an indoor grow room and gives your bud a delicious flavor and smooth finish. It is important to note you should not plant seeds and seedlings directly into your super soil because it might burn them. Start your plants in a soilless or less nutrient-dense mix, and then transplant into the super soil once they are a few weeks old.
Step One: Mix Your Base
When building your super soil, you’ll need to start with a base soil. You can buy bags of organic potting soil or make your own. The ingredients and nutrient profile of your base mix will determine which amendments, and how much of them, you’ll need to add next.
If you are making your own soil base, it may be worth getting it tested at a soil lab so that you know its exact nutrient profile and can choose your amendments accordingly.
There are many different soil recipes out there, but a general rule of thumb is to mix one to two parts compost, one part coco coir or peat moss, and one part perlite. Make sure to mix this thoroughly. Tarps and kiddie pools make good containers for mixing soil. This combination gives you a fluffy, rich base to build upon. You’ll need to make enough base soil to account for roughly 20-40 percent of the finished product.
Step Two: Add Amendments
When you feed your cannabis plants from a bottle, you need to mix specific ratios of N-P-K during different stages of development. However, when you feed your plants through your soil, you just need to make sure the soil has enough nutrients to feed your plants during their lifetime. Cannabis needs nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients, so you’ll need to add amendments to your soil that contain all of these.
Nitrogen-rich amendments include worm castings, crustacean meal, chicken manure, blood meal, neem seed meal, and bat guano. Phosphorus-rich amendments include crustacean meal, bat guano, chicken manure, bone meal, and rock dust. Potassium-rich amendments include worm castings, azomite, greensand, kelp meal, and wood ash.
- Worm castings provide a quick-release form of nitrogen and also contain many micronutrients and beneficial microbes.
- Crustacean meal is slower to release nutrients and contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium to your mix. It also contains chitin, which supports the beneficial microbes that kill harmful nematodes.
- Chicken manure is full of nitrogen and phosphorus. It is “hot” and needs time to compost or it can burn your plants.
- Blood meal is very high in readily available nitrogen and can burn your plants if you add too much, so use it sparingly.
- Neem seed meal is a byproduct of the neem industry that is high in nitrogen and it helps to combat soil pests.
- Bat guano provides very high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus.
- Bone meal is a good source of phosphorus and calcium and is usually made from cattle bones, although you can also buy fish bone meal. It needs the overall pH of your soil to be below 7.0 for it to be effective.
- Rock dust is a slow-release source of phosphorus that will feed your plants for years. It also needs to be in soil below a pH of 7.0 to be effective.
- Azomite is an ancient volcanic dust that contains potassium and more than 60 trace minerals. It should be used sparingly as it can raise pH levels.
- Greensand is a rich source of potassium, and also contains calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and more than 30 trace minerals. It releases nutrients slowly over time and improves soil tilth and drainage.
- Kelp is made from seaweed and adds potassium and more than 60 elements and micronutrients to the soil.
- Wood ash is a good source of potassium along with other trace minerals. Use it sparingly because it can raise the soil pH to the point of nutrient lock out.
Step Three: Establish Fungal and Bacterial Population
The key to nutrient uptake and absorption is making sure your soil has established fungal and bacterial colonies. These microbes break down nutrients into forms your plants can use. They also protect your plants from disease. If you are growing in the ground outdoors, beneficial fungi will create an underground network, bringing nutrients to your plants from miles away. Many of the amendments you’ve already added will help with this, such as compost, worm castings, bat guano, and kelp.
You can also purchase mycorrhizal inoculants. These powders are dormant microbes that are reactivated in the soil when watered. The sooner you establish these colonies, the larger they will become and the more helpful they are towards your plants.
Step Four: Compost
Once your soil is mixed thoroughly, you’ll want to add some water and let it sit and bake in the sun for up to a year. Some people recommend letting it sit for 30-60 days, while others recommend six months to a year. The longer you let it sit, the more it will break down, and the more available the nutrients will be to your plants. So, if you have the time, let it sit for at least six months.
Put your super soil in clean garbage cans with a lid and set them outside in a sunny location. Add enough water so that your soil is moist but not wet as this will help to activate the microbes. Be sure not to use water that has chlorine in it, which is common in city water. This will kill your microbes and totally defeat the purpose of making your own soil. If you are on city water, you can set a bucket of water out overnight and let the chlorine evaporate before using it.
If you are looking for a way to lighten your gardening workload and grow organically, building your own soil might be right for you. You can create your own super soil that will grow healthy, flavorful, potent cannabis plants, and all you need to do is add water.
How to grow marijuana in soil
Growing marijuana in soil has many advantages. For instance, it is the best way for buds to develop an excellent aromatic flavor which a lot of people love. Also, most growers still prefer to plant weed using soil. In essence, using the right type of soil, the resulting harvest will be more rewarding.
Information about growing marijuana in soil
While hydroponics allows cannabis to grow efficiently and fast, it also has some drawbacks. One is that it is costly to set up the whole system. Also, it needs a lot of expertise to make the method work. On the other hand, the practice of using soil comes naturally, and it only takes a little research to learn.
So, in this article, we will cover the best soil for growing weed in both indoor and outdoor gardens. It includes recognizing the quality of soil, and knowing what supplies are best to use. Also, we share the recipe for making the best soil for marijuana plants.
In essence, we show how easy it is to assure nutrient balance within the medium. Using the best soil from the start helps lessen the need to pump chemical nutrients into the plant along the way. Also, this increases the chances of a healthy harvest of high-quality buds.
The basics of marijuana soil
Before we get into making the ideal marijuana soil, we will need to learn the basics.
Why grow in soil?
There are many reasons why soil is the best medium for weeds. It is ideal for germinating, transplanting, or letting the plant grow. Here are the benefits, and disasters that could happen with using soil.
Advantages of using soil
The soil is the most natural medium for growing almost all kinds of plants. It means that most people already are familiar with or have experience in doing it. In effect, it is easier and less stressful to use than other modes of planting, which requires a learning curve.
Another advantage is its simplicity in making it work. Just watering the soil is enough for most plants to grow. Also, the supplies needed are few compared to using other costlier mediums.
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Disadvantages of Using Soil
Since soil is an organic material, it is natural for bugs to live in it. Therefore, the plants are more prone to suffer from pest infestations.
There is also the issue of slower growth. In contrast, marijuana grown using hydroponics enjoys explosive growth due to faster and more efficient nutrient absorption.
What is high-quality soil?
The best type of soil can hold an amount of water that is many times its weight. It also holds the water for a certain degree of time before evaporating. Such characteristics are essential as plants need time to absorb the water.
Regarding appearance, we want to look for a loose texture that stays the same when wet or dry. It should also be dense enough for the roots to take hold, but at the same time, allow air to pass through.
What is the best soil for marijuana?
So, what exactly is the best soil for cannabis? The truth is, the plant acts exactly like weeds. It means that it is not very picky when it comes to its medium of growth. In fact, marijuana can grow fairly well in soil that is naturally disturbed. As such, it can pop up and thrive in places where the soil has experienced natural calamity or human movements.
But if the goal is to produce buds with a high amount of THC, the grower has to choose high-quality soil. Veteran producers know that the best soil has the right balance of nutrients and acid levels. Not only that, but soil requirements vary in each growing stage.
To be specific, the ideal soil for marijuana has a lot of nitrogen during the vegetative stage. But as the cannabis progresses to the flowering stage, the need for nitrogen goes down. If the nitrogen level in the soil stays the same, this could result in small buds that are less potent. As such, constant monitoring of nutrients is vital.
When it comes to pH level, most plants can do with 6.0. A range between 5.8 and 6.3 is okay, but too high or too low pH may be disastrous to the crop. As a result, the buds tend to be of poor quality.
What supplies do we need?
To get started, we must find materials that help the seed grow in the right track. It means adequate nutrients and water for germination. For this purpose, it is a whole lot easier if we use peat plugs. But potting mix and composted manure can also do the trick.
Known also as peat pellets, these are small cylindrical seed holders covered in mesh. They give seeds a great start as they come complete with nitrogen and ideal pH level. Any garden shop sells peat plugs that come with a terrarium and small trays.
Since water evaporates fast when using peat plugs, be careful not to let it go dry. Seeds need plenty of water to grow, so it is important to keep the soil moist.
A great option to use when peat plugs are not available is potting soil or potting compost. This material is a mix of different ingredients that provide food for growing seeds.
An important thing to remember when using potting mix is to watch out for clumps. If not removed, marijuana plants may have a hard time rooting. So, make sure the potting soil is light and fluffy. Also, look for a brand that has peat moss, pine bark, and perlite or vermiculite. These things improve the quality of the soil by adjusting its pH level and nitrogen content.
Another option is to use composted manure. It has plenty of nutrients and nourishment. Also, it is effortless to make at home.
While manure is readily available in some gardens, it will take 4 to 6 weeks to turn it into a suitable material. Mixed with soil, it acts as a fertilizer to plants. And unlike other additives, using animal wastes does not build up in the soil. Instead, it helps keep the medium organic.
What is Super Soil?
A new type of soil called Super Soil is fast gaining popularity among cannabis growers nowadays. This medium, made by Subcool, is by far the best soil for growing marijuana.
An advantage of using Super Soil is that it already has the right nutrients and acid balance. As such, all that growers need to do is water the plants. But keep in mind that this type of soil is not suitable for seedlings as it may burn them.
As it happens, Subcool shared the recipe on how to make Super Soil. But while this “hack” sounds very appealing, it requires intense research to make. Also, there are some problems with bugs and pests growing in the soil if not properly done. Moreover, it takes a dozen ingredients to make so it can be quite expensive.
While we can easily buy Super Soil in garden supply centers, there is no harm in trying to make it. Especially since we can use organic materials at home.
How to make Super Soil for marijuana
Ever since the secret about Super Soil came out, growers are using it to produce top-shelf organic buds. While it is ideal for large producers who aim for bigger yields, small-time home growers can also try making it.
In 3 steps, here is what we need to prepare and do to make our own Super Soil.
Step 1. Base
Prepare high-quality organic potting mix. The recommended amount is 8 x 30 pounds.
Step 2. Additives
Here are the things to combine with the potting mix to create a super-charged soil.
This material comes from volcanic rock and contains over 70 minerals and trace elements. Since it contains gold, copper, silver, and calcium, to name a few, its basic use is to remineralize the soil. Having abundant, diverse minerals is a good way to ensure the health of the plants.
The recommended amount is 1/2 cup.
2.2. Bat Guano
Bat feces is a rich source of nitrogen. Also, it comes with an outstanding balance of other minerals such as phosphorous and potassium. Most importantly, it does not leave any metallic taste on the buds like other additives.
The recommended amount is 5 pounds.
2.3. Blood Meal
This additive is not vegan-friendly, but it is an excellent source of nitrogen. Made from the dried blood of mostly cows, it seems like an unpleasant idea for fertilizer. But it is a popular gardening product that increases the growth of cannabis during the vegetative phase.
The recommended amount is 5 pounds.
2.4. Bone Meal
During the flowering phase, the fine powder of animal bones provides phosphorous for more and bigger blooms. Just be cautious of this ingredient if there are vegans who use the buds.
The recommended amount is 5 pounds.
2.5. Dolomite or Sweet Lime
Rich in calcium and magnesium, this mineral rock prevents organic nutrients from escaping the soil. It also keeps the pH level from being too acidic.
The recommended amount is 1 cup.
2.6. Epsom Salt
Magnesium aids in nutrient absorption. It also happens that Epsom Salt is rich in this mineral. Thus, we use it to avoid deficiency. But be careful in adding it. As with all other additives, too much of a good thing can be bad.
The recommended amount is 3/4 cup.
2.7. Kelp or Humid Acid
Fungi are important in the soil’s pH level, so we use kelp or Humid Acid to feed them.
The recommended amount is two tablespoons for humic acid and 1/4 cup kelp meal for every five gallons of the material.