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    Super soil for autoflowers

    Autos are great to grow. Amazingly quick. Quite fun actually. If an organic approach is being considered, there are small differences between autos and photos that make a HUGE difference. I prefer to build my soil so i know specifically whats in it, plus i can add what i want. . nice. I built a soil last year geared for outdoor photoperiods. If they are started early enough they can get 3 solid month of veg outdoors. Plus whatever was added by starting indoors. These can be big yielding plants requiring a substantial and comprehensive soil. The case with autos is not quite so. They require less and that is a factor i missed out on. As i start my research and contemplations on this i will post a few of my findings here and see what transpires. I have 2 autos seeds from Apuk and will be growing them. So i need to start the soil soon to be ready for a mid-May planting outdoors. Solstice will be happening as they go in to flower. just like last year, but with a better soil. I appreciate the super soil approach becuz i am inherently LAZY. So the “just water” approach is great for me. Heres my first finding from RoyalQueenSeed site.

    THE BEST SOIL FOR GROWING AUTOFLOWERING CANNABIS
    Autoflowering cannabis strains are known to be hardy and easy to grow. Despite their low-maintenance and photo-independent nature, they can still benefit from optimised soil and nutrients to reach maximum yield and quality.

    Autoflowering cannabis strains are known as the easy option when it comes to cultivating the herb. Their hardy nature, fast growth, and ability to flower without a change in photoperiod make them a prime choice for both beginner and advanced growers alike. These sturdy strains often require little maintenance and allow sufficient room for error; however, when chasing the optimal yield and bud quality, a few boxes need to be checked. One such box is adequate soil.

    Autoflowering strains contain genetics from Cannabis ruderalis, a subspecies that evolved and adapted to extreme weather and light cycles far into the Northern Hemisphere. Such adaptations and the resulting hardy nature of autoflowering strains mean that they aren’t too picky about soil. However, to encourage them to reach their true potential, an optimal soil mix should be applied.

    LIGHT AND AIRY SOIL
    Autoflowering strains favour light and airy soil with less nutrients than photoperiod strains would prefer. It’s best to make your own soil mix as opposed to purchasing a ready-made mix from stores, as they may be too high in nutrients like nitrogen.

    Heavy potting soil will stress autoflowering varieties, preventing their roots from accessing adequate amounts of air. Roots may also have a difficult time penetrating and growing through a heavy medium.

    This basic recipe offers a soil mix that contains adequate nutrients, as well as materials that will help to boost the aeration of the soil medium.

    3 parts peat moss
    3 parts compost
    2 parts perlite, pre-wet
    1 part vermiculite, pre-wet

    Mix Soil For Autoflowering Cannabis

    GO EASY ON THE FERTILISER
    Autoflowering strains are usually short and compact, a genetic trait stemming from the ruderalis subspecies. This characteristic, along with their rapid growth times, means that autoflowering strains don’t actually need that many additional nutrients.

    Most autos will only stay in the vegetative phase for a short period of time, meaning they won’t require a huge amount of veg nutrients like nitrogen. Adding too much can actually burn autoflowering strains, so feed them conservatively.

    During the seedling phase, your autoflowering plants won’t need any nutrients. Growers can start supplementing with nutrients about 2 weeks into the grow, but should do so lightly to avoid damaging the crop.

    Even during the flowering phase, autoflowering varieties don’t need a huge amount of extra food. Bloom nutrients and boosters can still be applied, but with a less-is-more approach. Pay close attention to your crop and apply when you deem necessary.

    SOIL PH
    The pH scale is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The scale features 14 readings, with 7 being neutral, numbers lower than 7 being acidic, and numbers over 7 being alkaline. Soil can vary in pH, with differents plants thriving in varying levels. Autoflowering strains are similar to photoperiod varieties in that they prefer a slightly acidic soil medium.

    Growers should try to keep their soil within an optimal pH range of 6.2–6.5. If purchasing soil, make sure the product is suitable in terms of acidity. If you need to regulate the pH of your soil, there are numerous products available to achieve this.

    PH Soil Cannabis

    MICROORGANISMS
    The soil that your autoflowering plants are growing in isn’t merely a medium that the roots sit in while the plant grows—it’s much more than this. The soil is a diverse and thriving web of life that includes symbiotic organisms and pests alike.

    Whether you are cultivating your plants indoors within a grow room or tent, or outdoors within greenhouses or garden beds, your soil can be supplemented with beneficial microorganisms.

    As all growers will know, especially those who raise their crop in the great outdoors, there are many pests out there with an appetite for fresh cannabis leaves, roots, stems, and flowers. These critters take many forms, and lots of them reside within the soil. Parasitic nematodes can be a problem, eating cannabis roots from both the insides and outsides.

    Growers can supplement their soil with predatory nematodes that feed on these invaders and reduce their numbers within the rhizome.

    Another microorganism that will benefit the soil of your autoflowering plants are mycorrhizal fungi. These type of fungi form a symbiotic relationship with the roots of your plants. The roots of cannabis plants produce exudates, a variety of excretions including sugars. Beneficial fungi attach to the roots and feed off these sugars. In return, they act as an extension of the root system, reaching out over a greater surface area than the plant could achieve alone, ferrying in nutrients from afar.

    As well as helping plants to obtain nutrients from soil, mycorrhizal fungi can help to trap and kill pests, such as parasitic nematodes.

    Pretty informative. I figure from a solid base of N-P-K and micros i will not need to add much. Plus if compost is incorporated, nutrients may not need to be added at all. Hmmm. need to start an experiment with that. Cooked amendments vs. compost. Same seed stock though. This aint the time. The seeds are different so the growth will be different. (Haze & NYC Diesel) If i went the nutrient route i believe i would stick with the Alfalfa Meal – Soft Rock Phophate – Kelp Meal – Azomite. Pretty bare bones with probably not enough nitrogen. I think thats how it is supposed to feel. Like it wont be enough. Fish emulsion can be supplemented if needed.

    Last edited by Patient puffer; 02-28-2019 at 02:10 AM .

    Autos are great to grow. Amazingly quick. Quite fun actually. If an organic approach is being considered, there are small differences between autos and photos that make a HUGE difference. I prefer to build my soil so i know specifically whats in it, plus i can add what i want. 🙂 …nice. I built a soil last year geared for outdoor photoperiods. If they are started early enough they can get 3 solid month of veg outdoors. Plus whatever was added by starting indoors. These can be big yielding

    The Best Soil For Growing Autoflowering Cannabis

    Autoflowering cannabis strains are loved for their hardiness, quick flowering times, and how easy they are to cultivate. And unlike feminized strains, they aren’t photo-dependent. This makes them popular among experienced growers and ideal strains for newbies. But if they’re to provide the yields you crave, it’s vital you know about the best soil for autoflowers.

    Their short growing cycles mean there’s little room for error. Planting your seeds in the right substrate — and maintaining the right conditions throughout the growing process — is imperative if you want your plants to thrive.

    What Type of Soil Should You Use?

    When it comes to autoflowers, aeration is the name of the game. Be sure to use light and airy soil. This increases root oxygenation and allows roots to grow deeper. The more oxygen a plant receives, the faster its metabolic process will be, and the more quickly it will grow. As the vegetation phase of an autoflowering strain tends to last just one month, it’s important to make the most of it. Maximize aeration to maximize your yields.

    It’s also worth noting that autos require fewer nutrients than their feminized counterparts. Cannabis soil that is too nutrient-heavy will stunt their development. As will dense soil that holds excess moisture. We’ll touch on this more below.

    Maintaining the Correct pH

    But first, the importance of keeping your soil at the correct pH. The pH scale goes from zero to 14: pH levels below seven are acidic; seven is neutral; and levels above seven are alkaline. When growing cannabis, your soil’s pH impacts the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients. As such, it has a huge bearing on growth, and symptoms of poor soil pH are often mistaken for nutrient problems.

    The best soil for cannabis growing should have a pH in the range of 6-6.5. Be sure to test it regularly and adjust it if necessary. There’s a wide variety of testing equipment on the market, from digital probes to paper strips, and a number of ways you can treat it. Dolomite can increase the pH level of your soil, while pine needles are an effective natural method of lowering it. If you’re struggling to keep it under control, also check the pH of the water you’re giving to your plants.

    Applying Extra Nutrients

    Overfeeding autos is a common beginner’s mistake. Thanks to their relatively small size and short growth times, they don’t require the same amount of nutrients as feminized strains. Apply supplements sparingly.

    During the seedling phase, autos shouldn’t require any additional nutrients if the soil already contains them. You may begin adding nutrients after a couple of weeks, but only very lightly. The short vegetation phase means it isn’t necessary to increase nitrogen levels in the way it is with photoperiod strains. If you overdo it, you can burn the plant, reducing the size and quality of your yield.

    It can take up to two weeks to recover from nutrient burn. This is a significant portion of the growth cycle of an autoflowering strain — and valuable time lost. When growing autoflowering cannabis, it’s better to take a “less is more” approach to nutrients. Embrace the low-maintenance cultivation process that makes autos so popular.

    Making Your Own Soil Mix

    Given the unique requirements of autoflowering strains, many growers recommend making your own soil mix. Thankfully, this is quite easy. The ideal mix for growing autos can be made by combining peat moss, compost, perlite or coco coir, and vermiculite in the following ratio:

    3 parts peat moss

    3 parts compost

    2 parts perlite or coco coir

    1 part vermiculite

    This simple recipe provides the right balance of nutrients for your plant. And materials like perlite, coco coir, and vermiculite enhance the aeration of the substrate, giving you an effective cannabis soil that you can make at home.

    Other Mediums for Growing Autoflowering Cannabis

    But soil isn’t the only suitable medium for growing autoflowering cannabis. Autoflowering seeds can also be cultivated in materials such as coco coir and worm castings, and using hydroponic systems.

    Coco Coir

    Coco Coir is fibrous peat made from coconut husks. When added to a soil mix, it makes the soil more lightweight, increases air pockets, and wicks away unwanted moisture. It can also be used as a growing medium by itself. In this case, it has the added advantage of coming with a pre-adjusted pH. All of these factors make coco coir synonymous with high yields and an easy medium to use.

    One drawback is that it doesn’t contain any nutrients, so you’ll need to apply them from the first week of growth. But this also enables you to customize them precisely to match your needs.

    Hydroponics

    A hydroponic setup grows plants by soaking their roots in water. Or, more specifically, in water that’s full of nutrients and oxygen. Applying these essential inputs directly to the roots causes plants to grow bigger and faster.

    The initial setup requires some equipment: you’ll need a water pump, an air stone (for certain systems) a timer, and at least two reservoirs. You’ll also need to measure the pH and PPM levels every day. But you’ll be rewarded in the long-run. Once established, hydroponic systems are low maintenance and highly productive.

    Worm Castings

    Worm castings are a fertilizer manufactured from worm excrement. They’re not a growing medium in their own right, but they can be a useful addition to a soil-based substrate. We’d recommend a mix of 50% basic soil (free from additional nutrients), 25% perlite or coco coir, and 25% worm castings. Place the worm castings at the bottom of the pot so that roots can only reach them one they have grown sufficiently. This will provide your plants with a moderate nutrient boost without overfertilizing them.

    A Few Final Pointers

    Now before you get started, here are a few final tips to help you on your way:

    Don’t Let Your Soil Get Too Moist

    Roots only absorb enough oxygen when they’re not wet, and over-watered soil inhibits growth. Only water your plants every second day or when the soil has completely dried out during the vegetation phase. This way, their roots will expand in search of water.

    Don’t Re-Pot

    Don’t stress your autos out if you want to maximize their yields. Plant them straight in their final location to avoid the stress of re-potting.

    Use Pots That Maximize Aeration

    Aeration is key to a healthy, high-yielding plant. And after your growing medium, the most important factor here is your pot. We recommend using a smart pot or an air pot in order to get the best results.

    To Sum Up

    Ultimately, there are just a few fundamentals when it comes to planting autoflowering cannabis. Remember that aeration is king. The best soil for autoflowers will be light and allow plenty of oxygen to the roots. Don’t overdo the nutrients! Autos take less feeding and will suffer if you do too much. Know that it’s possible to make your own effective soil mix. And get the right pot. A container that maximizes airflow and provides good drainage is essential. And finally: soil improves over time. The more growth cycles you attempt, the better it will get.

    When growing autoflowering cannabis choosing the right grow medium is key. Find out more on the best soil to use and how to make your own mix.