Nutrient soil is a place to which germinated seed of marijuana are placed. In this medium, the root system of the plant forms and develops. Each experienced grower has already determined the most convenient soil for growing marijuana bushes. If you are just starting to grow cannabis, then I recommend to read this article because it discusses the types of growing media most suitable for cannabis.
To grow cannabis, growers use soil, coconut fibers, perlite, vermiculite, water, and other components forming perfect growing media for marijuana. Do you want to collect a harvest of aromatic cones? Then create the optimum-quality medium! What is needed for that? Just use the required micronutrients and substances without which the root system development is impossible. Create an ideal growing medium and your bushes will bring rich yield.
To grow cannabis, growers use soil and soil-less mixes as well as hydroponic system. Let’s learn in more detail about each growing medium, find out about their disadvantages and advantages.
Soil or manure?
Soil (manure) is the most popular growing medium among growers, both beginners, and experienced ones. This is due to the fact that this medium is natural, simple to use, and available to anyone. Good soil should contain the required amounts of nutrients which will feed the plant in the future. If you are a beginner in cannabis growing, then I recommend to use ready soil mixes. Having gained experience, you may experiment and create optimum growing medium independently.
Sterilized manure without peat is suitable for marijuana growing. Such types of mixes are related to organic ones. By my own experience, I recommend to purchase soil mixes containing 20–30 % of perlite, small white stones. This component plays the role of drainage and keep enough oxygen in the soil which would lead to cannabis intensive growth.
Plants grow slower in soil mixes than in coconut or hydroponic media. However, the cones of the plants grown in soil, are more aromatic and have a bright saturated taste. Use “live” manure soil and get higher quality cones with a powerful aroma and improved taste quality. “Live” soil contains a whole colony of various microorganisms which form a favorable ecosystem for plant growing and development.
Micronutrients and substances present in the manure decompose slowly getting right to marijuana roots. The main advantage of the “live” soil is that you will not have to fertilize additionally the medium with nutrients. In the end, the harvest will be fragrant and tasty. However, the manure has a significant disadvantage: strong smell which is felt especially strong in a closed room.
Advice for beginning growers: use ready soil mixes which are simple to purchase in stores. Such mixes contain useful components, are balanced, and can be used for different plants. It is expedient to order ready soil due to the following:
- the mix is saturated with optimum amounts of nutrients;
- soil promotes air exchange;
- the medium is sterilized, it has no deleterious larvae, mould, or various diseases;
- it has neutral acidity;
- it is saturated with useful minerals and micronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium).
When selecting this or that soil for marijuana growing, be sure to take into account its pH which is related to hydrogen level. Soil with pH of 7 is suitable for cannabis. As a rule, manufacturers indicate pH on the package with soil. Watch pH throughout the whole cannabis growing cycle, otherwise you may experience difficulties with the plant growing. I recommend to measure pH level regularly. For that, you will need to obtain a special device which can be purchased at any store for gardeners.
Now let’s discuss soil-less media composed of inert ingredients. Such media include coconut fibers, perlite, peat moss, mineral wool, or vermiculite. Such ingredients are perfect for weed growing. In this case, the care for the plants is the same as in case of soil mixes. The only difference is that you will need to fertilize the bushes with nutrient solutions. Plants grow much faster in such media.
Coconut cortex. This growing medium is natural and is produced from coconut fibers. Coconut cortex is perfectly suitable for cannabis growing. pH level in this medium is within 6.5–7, which is close to the parameter of unfertilized soil. Using this substrate, you will be able to grow you bushes both indoors and outdoors. I recommend to use this natural material in combination with plain soil. The combination will improve the drainage and aeration of the growing medium. Thanks to its perfect properties, coconut cortex has become very popular among growers.
Today, it is no problem to purchase this growing medium at any store for gardening. Also, this type of mixture can be made independently. For that, select only high-quality coconut fibers and mix them with soil. I recommend to add not more than 20 % of coconut fibers. Having mixed two components, add some manure or ready fertilizer mix. However, I have to repeat: beginners should not experiment but purchase a ready mix instead!
it is perfect to add some perlite to coconut fibers. Ideal proportions are as follows: 10–20 % of coconut fibers, 30 % of perlite, and 50–60 % of soil. Also, coconut fiber may be used as an independent component, or in a mix with perlite. However, this type of medium needs periodic fertilization with nutrients.
Vermiculite. It is a natural material related to hydromica. It is rather lightweight, and thanks to that, is capable of holding water and passing air. However, despite its good properties, it cannot support a plant and its root system properly. I advise to use vermiculite in combination with soil. Such a combination would produce a lighter, loose growing medium with perfect air permeability and moisture absorption. Moreover, vermiculite is used as drainage to protect a plant from excessive watering. In hydroponic system, vermiculite is used in pure form when growing sprouts.
Perlite. Perlite is a formation of volcanic origin. Use these small stones, and you will be able to balance pH level. Perlite holds water perfectly, and its porous structure allows air to get to the root system. The material is very useful for young sprouts, that is why it should be used in case of a plant re-planting. Its main disadvantage is dusty nature. The dust may clog filters of your hydroponic system. Handle this material with care trying not to breathe the dust in. Also, it is advisable to wash perlite prior to use.
Hydroponic method of cannabis growing implies soil-less plant cultivation. Substrate and nutrient solution are used instead of soil. The solution should contain vital mineral substances. This medium is favorable for cannabis bushes since the plant does not have to spend energy finding water and nutrients. Throughout the whole life cycle, all the plant’s potential is devoted to the top development thus increasing marijuana growth speed. The bushes grow fast, get a large size, and produce rich yield.
To ensure fast growth and good, and, more important, fast development, the bushes need to receive all the nutrients and micronutrients. That is why I recommend to use a special solution containing nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, boron, molybdenum, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, and chlorine. Such solutions are easy to purchase at any store for gardeners. Experienced growers prepare nutrient solutions independently basing on their experience in weed growing.
Do not forget to check solution pH and its conductivity. These parameters are of high importance. Acidity level of hydroponic solution should constitute 5.5–6.5. It should be measured and controlled at least 1–2 times a day. Conductivity helps in determining nutrients concentrations in the solution. These parameters should be maintained continuously to make sure the cannabis bushes are not damaged by excessive substance content. Optimal are parameters within a range from 0.7 to 2.0 mmho/cm.
How long does it take to grow cannabis in hydroponics?
The hydroponic method allows to shorten the time of marijuana ripening and increase the yield. If you intend to get the harvest as soon as possible, then be sure to select this growing method. Besides, hydroponics makes it possible to decrease electricity bills. The plants develop and grow fast due to the water medium the roots are constantly in. Water contains all the required nutrients which are much more accessible for the root system. Your bushes will develop rapidly without spending any efforts and energy for fining the vital substances. My personal experience proved that the life cycle of plants may be decreased by 30–50%.