If you’ve had good luck with your outdoor soil when growing plants in the yard and garden, you may question why you can’t use that same soil in a pot. Unfortunately, container plants have different requirements than do garden plants. According to “Fine Gardening” magazine, garden soil doesn’t hold enough air, water and nutrients to sustain potted plants. Garden soil is more heavy and dense than potting soil mixes and may become too compacted to create a hospitable environment for container plants. It may also be depleted of essential nutrients and fail to hold enough water — or hold too much water — for your plants’ needs.
The University of Illinois Extension advises that container plants require soil that provides proper aeration and drainage while still retaining enough moisture to sustain the plants. They also require a careful balance of nutrients to feed the plants as they grow. By choosing the proper soil mix, you eliminate unnecessary problems, such as the inadvertent introduction of weed seeds, pests and diseases to indoor plants, which can occur when you use garden soil. Commercial potting soils are specifically formulated for the needs of container plants, and the mix can be tailored to the type of plant you’re growing.
Soil Mix Benefits
Oftentimes, potting soil mixes do not contain any soil at all and are known as soil-less mixes. Artificial media, another name for soil-less mixes, are typically a combination of several ingredients suited to helping indoor plants thrive. Perlite and vermiculite add aeration to the mix, peat moss and sphagnum moss aid in moisture retention, and sawdust and shredded bark provide a soft bed for the roots and stem of the plants. Plants in potting mix usually require supplementary feeding with fertilizers formulated for potted plants.
When you start an indoor container garden, you may be tempted to save bucks and a trip to the store by using garden soil from the backyard to fill your pots. Unfortunately, no matter how fertile and rich the soil, it isn’t suitable for use with indoor plants. Instead of using soil that’s already on hand, take the time to select the proper potting soil mix for the plants you’re going to grow, so you can give them a healthy head start.
Garden Soil Drawbacks
If you’re determined to use garden soil for planting container plants, sterilize the garden soil first by spreading it in a flat layer in a glass or metal baking pan and placing it in the oven and heating it to a temperature of 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure that the soil stays at that temperature for 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool before use. Use the soil to create a potting mix by combining one part each of soil, peat moss, perlite and compost.
Espona Organic Potting Mix is found in many stores in the US, and works for growing cannabis!
Signs of Good Cannabis Soil
Generally, anything labeled as an “organic potting mix” will work. This type of mix hasn’t been amended with chemical slow-release nutrients, which is one of the main things you want to avoid with soil for cannabis. I know it sounds like heresy, but even the Miracle-Gro version of “organic potting mix” will work okay, because unlike their original potting mix it doesn’t contain chemical nutrients (though it still has poor drainage and moisture retention – almost any other type of organic potting mix is better!).
Organic Potting Mix
The “micro-herd” in the soil delivers nutrients directly to your plants. As long as you’re using decent water, you usually don’t need to worry about pH or other things that can disrupt nutrient absorption in regular soil.
Selecting soil for your cannabis plants is one of the most important decisions you make as a marijuana grower. If you’re one of the budding 21 thousand United States businesses in the industry, then determining the best soil can be a bit overwhelming. There are significant benefits of using compost for growing cannabis. We unpack the benefits of composting, both for your plants and the environment as a whole.
Once your compost is ready to use, the amount you’ll need comes down to the nutrient levels and quality of your existing soil. For most, occasionally topping off the area around the plant is enough to boost the health of your soil and create ideal growing conditions.
Why Should You Use Compost for Cannabis?
Fertilizers and compost can work together, but they have different impacts on your plants. While fertilizers more directly feed the plant, compost promotes an overall high-quality environment for plant growth. If you’re just getting started, you can purchase a compost mix or make your own compost. Adding grass clippings, coffee grounds, tea bags, kelp, and other green material can encourage the production of nitrogen, which provides protein for the beneficial microorganisms in the compost. Other variables, including water retention, aeration, and fungus balance, will also impact your plants.
A lot of variables come into play when choosing the best soil for your cannabis plants. Nutrient content, micronutrients, and pH levels all play a role in the health of your plants, but so do other factors such as whether you’re growing outdoors or indoors. Although cannabis is known for sprouting just about anywhere, marijuana users are becoming more aware of different flavors and strains and developing their own preferences. Additionally, consumers as a whole are more concerned than ever about ensuring their food and cannabis come from natural, healthy cultivation processes.
What are the Benefits of Using Organic Compost?
One of the most significant benefits of keeping your soil full of organic matter is that your marijuana plants will only absorb the nutrients they need. Cannabis growers should be aware that it takes months before you’ll have ready-to-use organic compost. For many, the benefits of organic soil and composting outweigh the challenge of getting started. Not only does it create healthy soil and plants, but composting is also one of the most responsible ways to dispose of your waste.