Soil Preparation for Growing Cannabis
Learn the right type of soil preparation for growing cannabis outdoors once spring comes along. It’s one of the most important things to prepare if you want to produce strong, sturdy, high yielding, potent and intensely aromatic plants. This type of growing technique has been used for centuries when it comes to all types of agricultural activities. We’re going to go through the various benefits that soil preparation has and how to prepare the soil in your garden for planting cannabis.
Soil Preparation | Cannabis Soil Mix Benefits
- When properly prepared, a cannabis soil mix can:
- Improve the texture and air/water ratio in soil
- Increase the amount of nutrients available to your plants
- Improve and increase root growth
- Allow roots to grow deeper
- Improve nutrient availability
- Increase bacteria and microorganisms in root area
- Keep nasty fungi away
- Make plants healthier and stronger
- Produce medicinal, organic yields
- Produce more intense psychoactive effects and deeper aromas
- Increase yield
- Save money on nutrient use
- Save money on not needing to use preventive and pest elimination products
- Adjust the pH in soil
- Improve your soil’s quality year after year
Soil Preparation | How to Prepare Cannabis Soil Mix
Soil is essentially another living part of nature; it’s the base in which the most important part of your cannabis plants grow; their roots. This is why you need to make sure that your soil has the perfect physical and chemical characteristics in order to obtain the best possible results from each of your plants’ stages: germination, growth, pre-flowering, fattening and root flushing.
In order to make sure that your soil is full of beneficial nutrients, microorganisms and that it has an airy, spongy texture as well as a good water/air ratio, you’ll need to know how to choose your growing area properly. You’ll also want to sturdy the soil you plan on using, taking various different measurements such as pH and texture in order to know what nutrients you need to add such as organic, organic-mineral or vegetal products, depending on the results obtained.
This process is interesting and necessary if you want to know exactly what you’re growing in; the soil that people generally have access to in their gardens doesn’t usually contain the right nutrients or characteristics for growing cannabis, such as pH between 6 and 7 and the capacity to absorb water, as some soils are super compact and don’t allow air to flow through. Once you have all of that down, we’re going to go through a list of steps you can when it comes to soil preparation for cannabis.
Soil Preparation | Choosing Where to Grow
The first thing you need to do is choose the area in which you’re going to start preparing the soil. This area should have a few characteristics to start off with, which are the following:
- A sunny area with at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight.
- Flat ground, or as flat as possible.
- An area with plants, even if they’re weeds – this indicates the soil is somewhat fertile)
- Discreet area or some sort of coverage such as fencing.
- Easy access to water.
- At least 30-35cm depth (if the ground isn’t that deep you’ll need to make a terrace)
- An area with healthy plants – no rot or insects.
Soil Preparation | Should you Grow using Terraces?
Once you’ve chosen your growing area, you’ll need to decide if you want to grow in a low or high terrace, or if you want to just grow straight in the ground by simply making a hole. Keep in mind that each of these methods needs to be done differently, and you’ll be able to know exactly how much of your soil you need to clean.
In order to grow your plant up on a high terrace, you’ll need to put together a rectangular 1-1.5m structure that’s at least 30-50cm tall, and as long as you’d like, in order to hold your soil or growing medium – it’s essentially like creating a massive flowerpot for your plants.
In order to put together a low terrace you’ll need to mark out a rectangular area in the ground, just like the high terrace, except this time you shouldn’t need to make a structure, as the unworked soil around the hole act as a structure and wall. You’ll need to find an area at least 30-50cm deep, and if the soil you’re growing in is of high quality you shouldn’t even need to add anything to it.
Growing in the Ground
When growing individual plants in the ground, all you have to do is prepare a small growing area from 1-2m2 and make a hole – it needs to be at least 30-50cm, and it can be as wide as you’d like. You need to empty it, and then pour the soil back in – as long as it’s quality soil. If not, substitute it for high quality soil or substrate. The hole can be round or square, depending on your preference.
Note: before making a terrace or hole to grow in, you need to clean the area. The next section contains an explanation on hoe to clean the area up.
Soil Preparation | How to Clean your Soil
Cleaning your soil is pretty easy, all you need to do is remove any weeds in the area. In order to do this properly, we recommend following these steps:
- Remove weeds by hand a few days after it’s rained – this allows you to pull them out by the root which stops them from coming back and oxygenates the soil too.
- We don’t recommend using herbicides to get rid of weeds – this can contaminate the growing medium and ruin any life in the soil.
Soil Preparation | Aerating the Soil
This is the last and most important step that you need to take in order to finish soil preparation for your cannabis plants. Various different tools can be used to do this, although we simply use a garden shovel. The most important part of this is aerating your soil around 3-4 days after it’s rained a lot – if not, water the growing area a lot and then do it a few days after. This is called tempering, and it’s done so that the soil has the right texture to be worked without ending up super compact.
Note: in order to know if the texture of your soil is right for starting to aerate it, simply grab a small amount of soil in your hand – if you can crumble it without it sticking to your hand or without it turning to dust, it’s perfect. If this happens, wait another couple of days.
Once you’ve chosen and cleaned your growing area, setting the structure up if growing in a high terrace or preparing your growing area if growing in a deep terrace or simply making a hole in the ground. We recommend applying a generous layer of one of the following organic/vegetal ingredients:
Once you’ve sprinkled the manure or any of the previously mentioned products, you’ll need to aerate the soil – the first part of this entails removing a small amount of soil from your growing area in order to have space to work in.
Next, you’ll need to dig your spade in about 30-40cm and move all of the soil towards the area that you emptied out, while breaking up large chunks of soil and removing any foreign objects such as stoned and branches.
Note: when preparing a hole, you’ll need to go as deep as you think necessary; the deeper and wider it is, the more space your plants will have to grow.
Once you’ve moved all the soil around, move it to the front. Next, add back in the soil that you removed for the aeration process.
Once you’ve aerated the substrate you’ll need to flatten the earth using a rake, getting rid of any compact soil left on top. If you don’t have a rake, you can use a hoe or even your hands if you’re patient enough.
Soil Preparation | Preparing Soil for Next Year
When preparing substrate for next year you can considerably increase the amount of nutrients that your future plants’ roots can absorb, as well as the amount of beneficial fungi and bacteria that develops over time. It’ll also have a more balanced pH level. This makes for an environment that’s more than ideal for cannabis plants compared to soil prepared in spring.
If you don’t have somewhere to terrace your plants or an area to grow straight in the soil need to start getting to work and start getting these chores done around mid-winter. If you have a growing area or a terraced area, simply follow these steps around the same dates:
Wait for it to rain or water the area a lot and let it dry for around 3-4 days so that it’s tempered and can be worked properly. It shouldn’t be too compact nor too dry.
Remove any weeds in the area by hand.
Cover the growing area in a layer of cured sheep or horse manure alongside worm humus and guano; this is just an example, you can also use algae, properly worked compost and a long list of vegetal origin products. You have the freedom to make your very own combination.
Mix the layer of manure and other fertilizers; first you’ll need to remove some of the soil from the hole and mix it properly. Once done, add the leftover soil back in.
Flatten the surface with care, breaking up compact bits of peat. Don’t touch your prepared soil until you start growing cannabis in Spring.