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Best Soil Mix for Your Grow

Marijuana is a resilient weed that can grow almost anywhere in the world. Outside factors have a major impact on how well a marijuana plant will succeed. A healthy productive plant is the ultimate goal to all marijuana growers. Having good soil is crucial for the cultivation of a productive marijuana plant indoor or outdoors. The best soil mix for marijuana is made up of living and dead organic material, many mineral particles, all incorporated with air and water. The soil is where your roots breathe and feed on air and nutrients. When attempting to grow your own marijuana plants it’s is good to have an understanding of what separates good marijuana soil from bad marijuana soil. Major factors like texture, pH and nutrient content govern the ability for your roots to grow and retain nutrients from the soil.

Soil Texture

A good soil starts with the right texture. The particles that make up the soil are made up of minerals and living and dead organic material. Good soil should have space for the roots to grow. Clay and packed soil are very bad, the roots have nowhere to go, and it doesn’t drain well. Bad drainage means roots will be submerged in water for long periods, this makes for sad suffocated roots. Regular commercial potting soil will work fine on its own for growing marijuana, since it contains all the basic elements of good soil. Also take this into consideration, the faster a soil drains the more often you will have to water your plants. The slower the water drains the more chance for over-watered looking plants and suffocated root systems. In general soil should be “crumbly”. A method to check for good soil texture is to pick up a handful of moist (not soggy) soil and give it a squeeze. It should barely stay together and have a spongy effect.

Soil pH

Marijuana plants flourish when the soil pH is between 6.5 and 7. Things like manure and compost in your soil will act like a buffer and help balance the pH to the correct levels. The pH of most commercial potting soils is usually in the range of 6 to 7, starting with soil in that range is much better than trying to adjust the soil after with commercial products. Measuring and recording the pH yourself is a crucial skill to avoid any problems before they become even bigger problems. There are many tools to measure the pH of soil, some work better than others. Sometimes it can be hard testing the pH of run off water with a litmus or similar test because the water won’t be clear. Because of this, digital pH meters are a good tool to have around. Digital meters work by testing the run off water and displaying it’s pH level on an LCD screen. A lot of great digital pH can be found online. Maintaining the pH level of your soil will facilitate the efficient uptake of nutrients in the roots from the soil.

Chart displaying the nutrient availability at different pH levels
Chart displaying the nutrient availability at different pH levels

Nutrients and Amendments

Perlite - a type of volcanic glass
Perlite – a type of volcanic glass

Nutrients in the soil play a big factor in the success of your plants. Adding things like worm castings, manure and compost can really help your plants grow. These additions contain minerals and fertilizers that your plant will need to feed on while it’s growing. Inert substances like perlite help the texture of your soil by holding water and air. It’s not recommended add water soluble liquid or powder fertilizer directly into your soil mix, this could result in over fertilization and damage your plants. Growers can add Mycorrhiza, a fungus, to their soil mixes. Because of mycorrhiza’s ability to help protect roots and enhance their ability take in water and nutrients, it has been a popular addition in the last few years. Products like Reefertilizer Start nutrients contain Mycorrhiza as well as humates, it makes a great addition to soil mixes when used correctly. Humate materials are the results of the breakdown of animal and plant life over a long period of time. Humates contain a complex mix of concentrated nutrients and compounds that stimulate growth and plant development. There are a lot of things that you can add to soil to help improve your crop. Looking online for what other growers do and be quite interesting. My father swears by adding eggshells to his soil mix.

The Best Soil Mix for Marijuana

There are alternatives to using soil, like coco coir and soilless mix. Most growers usually create their own special mix of soil, nutrients, and amendments that works best for them. As an example, on my last grow I used a soil mix that contained half potting soil and half sheep manure. I also added perlite and Reefertilizer Start soil nutrients. Each one of these ingredients affect the soil texture, nutrient content, and it’s ability to keep the pH balanced. When working on your own soil mixes remember to take into consideration the three most important factors: Texture, pH, and nutrient content. Experiment to to find your best soil mix for marijuana plants.

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