The Importance of Substrates
Substrates are used for the cultivation of all sorts of plants and they normally don’t receive the relevance they deserve as most of us see it as just some soil in which to plant something. However, the substrate is much more than that, as a matter of fact, it is the main substance in which the plant is going to root, grow, feed and strengthen its structure to promote flowering and pollination and keep descendants active or produce large buds and enjoy their flavors and effects later on (without seeds).
Substrates’ Properties and Characteristics
A high-quality substrate suitable for marijuana grows has to gather certain physical and chemical conditions that are acquired by mixing different materials. This makes choosing the right substrate kind of difficult, as there are a lot available options with varied compositions for sale. For this reason, the first thing is to find out which properties should substrates include.
A good quality substrate should be porous, spongy, have great water retention capacity, and shouldn't compact easily.
Chemical properties would include low or medium cationic exchange, a certain amount of assimilable nutrients and good ph stabilization with ph levels between 5.5 and 7.0.
So far, and explained in a simple matter, these are the properties a good substrate should have. If we enter into a more detailed and scientific explanation, we would have to address things like bulk density, real density, porous space, water absorption capacity, aeration, available water and cationic exchange values (C.I.C).
Most of the substrates available at GB The Green Brand gather the minimum characteristics to be considered as suitable for cannabis growth. This means that all substrates available here are capable of offering great results, although taking into account cultivation methods, time of the year and personal technique, it is possible to be more inclined for certain brands rather than others.
Suitable substrates are classified according to some criteria, although, when it comes to cannabis cultivation, they are divided into inert or active and their origin, which can be organic or chemical.
Inert substrates are the ones that need a constant flow of nutrients because they don’t include any in their composition and their mineral retention is very low. Active substrates are rich in nutrients and have the capability to release them slowly during their decomposition, among other factors.
- Expanded clay pebbles
- Blonde peat
- Black peat
Best substrate for outdoors marijuana
When it comes to buying the substrate for an outdoors marijuana grow, certain aspects should be taken into account, regardless of the growing place (pot or straight into the ground), such as ambiance factors involving areas with high humidity levels or frequent rains, areas with more stable climates and zones with high temperatures.
A good substrate for rainy areas should have an aired structure and medium-low water retention. These characteristics prevent the soil from flooding; thus, roots won’t suffocate and fungi will be kept at bay. Canna Terra Professional is perfect for these surroundings.
In areas where weather is relatively stable, the substrate should offer a medium-high water retention that at the same time enables progressive aeration, which would dry the soil in case of rain but would also retain moisture during sunny days. In this case, the best alternative is BioBizz Light Mix.
If the grow is located in a zone that lacks rains during the year, then it is best to work with substrates that offer high water retention and low aeration capacities to try to retain as much moisture as possible and avoid it drying completely in a few hours. These circumstances call for Plagron All Mix.
What is the best substrate for indoor grows?
Indoor grows require a careful selection of the substrate as well. Same as for outdoors, the climate of the zone should also be taken into consideration, without forgetting the conditions offered by the grow tent or room. Another important aspect involves the fertilizing frequency and the chosen strains. Hereunder we are going to give a brief resumé of a couple of substrates suitable for indoor grows.
Top Crop Complete Mix is a great quality substrate that can be used in any circumstances due to its characteristics, although it suffers a bit with low environmental humidity. However, this small inconvenience can be sorted out by monitoring moist levels frequently and keeping them within proper ranges.
Janeco Light Mix by Atami is another great option for indoor crops. This substrate has an amazing texture and retains humidity more successfully than Top Crop Complete Mix. As a final conclusion, it could be affirmed that Janeco Light Mix is more suitable for areas with high outdoors temperatures and low humidity levels, while Top Crop Complete Mix is perfect for those areas with high humidity levels and low temperatures.