Super soil is the filet mignon medium for nearly any kind of cannabis plants. Unlike regular soil, super soil provides the most type of weed plants an optimal environment to thrive.
What makes an organic super soil a great medium for cannabis? Let us show you the different characteristics of super soil and the ingredients in creating this medium at home.
Characteristics of an Organic Super Soil
Before going through what a super soil is, we need to know what cannabis plants need out of a medium for healthy growth development. This includes water retention, soil pH value, and more:
1. Water Retention and Drainage
The soil needs to hold enough water to keep the medium from drying and still be able to get rid of excess moisture to avoid drowning the plants. A good drainage rate also provides air circulation to the roots. Your cannabis plants need oxygen in its roots to turn sugar or carbohydrates into energy.
2. Soil pH
The acidic/alkaline value of the soil can affect the cannabis plant’s nutrient intake. Soils that have a low pH value can make phosphoric acid, magnesium, and calcium unavailable for the plant. On the other hand, alkaline soil can make iron, zinc, copper, and manganese unavailable within the medium. You want a soil that has a pH value of around 5.5 to 6.5 for the plant to thrive.
3. Micro and Macronutrient Content
Cannabis plants require a wild array of nutrients for different purposes. This includes nitrogen for growth development and phosphorus for bud production. While fertilizer can give your plants a specific amount of nutrient at key periods of their growth cycle, these can dangerously increase the nutrients within the soil to toxic levels. On the other hand, compost within super soils releases the nutrients through the decomposition of organic materials. This makes the nutrient available at regular intervals without overwhelming the plant.
Steps in Creating Organic Super Soil
You will need a large container placed in your yard or garage where you can mix big amounts of soil and other medium components. Tools you will need is a rake to mix the medium as well as a tarp or stainless steel cans to hold the super soil during the cooking process if the container does not have a cover. For the best type of organic super soil, you will need the following ingredients:
- 450L of organic potting soil
- 1L of earthworm castings
- 2.5 lbs of bone meal
- 5 lbs of blood meal
- 5 lbs of bat guano
- 2.5 lbs of fish bone meal
- ½ cup of azomite
- 1 cup of agriculture lime
- ¾ cup of Epsom salt
- 8 quarts of perlite
In a large container, pour in about ¾ or 75 percent of the organic potting soil. Pour in the fish bone meal and bone meal in. With a rake, mix the three ingredients together until you get an even color on the surface. Pour the azomite, agriculture lime, earthworm castings, and half of the leftover potting soil to the mix. Rake the ingredients once more to mix them properly. We add and mix in the rest of the potting soil as well as perlite. Finally, add the bat guano, blood meal, and Epsom salt to the soil. Mix all ingredients until the top has an even color.
For one week, use a shovel to turn over the soil to one side until the top shows the same color. Add some water to the soil and mix it. Water it until the soil is moist, but not too damp that it is dripping wet. The water will kick-start the microbial process within the soil.
The next step is to cook the organic super soil. This involves placing the container with the medium in an area that is under constant exposure to sunlight. This will continue the microbial process that will enrich the soil. You will also know the process is going when the soil becomes hot to the touch. It is important to keep the soil from drying out as this can stop the process. Allow your super soil to cook for one to two months while keeping it damp.
It is a good idea to add some earthworms to the soil. Worms will create a network of tunnels that aerates the medium and enrich the soil with nutrients. These small creatures will also not harm your cannabis plants.
Picking the Container for the Super Soil
With a large batch of super soil in hand, select an appropriate container where your cannabis plants will grow. You have several options to pick for your cannabis plants, which are categorized into three containers.
Regular containers consist of traditional ceramic pots that you often see in gardening stores. Other variants are made of durable plastic. Almost every regular containers will have a drainage hole at the bottom and a saucer to catch the runoff. This type of contains has a high water retention rate that can decrease the chances of your plants from drying out. However, the lack of drainage can lead to overwatering the soil, which can drown and damage the roots.
Air containers have a series of openings on its side as well as the bottom. This container is the opposite of regular ones in terms of high drainage and ventilation rate due to the numerous holes around the pot. Another benefit of the holes is the allowance for the roots to grow outside of the container. This prevents the plant from getting constricted and choking within a pot. The main problem with air containers is its low water retention rate. You will need to provide the plants with more water to keep the soil from drying out.
Smart containers are fabric pots that provide a balance of both the regular and air pots. The fabric material allows excess water to seep out of the pot while keeping a significant amount within the medium. This material even allows oxygen to reach the soil via the side of the container. Much like air containers, smart pots do not have the same water retention rate as regular pots. This means that you will need to use more water on your plants to keep the soil from drying.
Overall, smart and air containers are a good choice if you want to avoid overwatering the plants. Using either of the two will mean using more water throughout the growth period of the plants.
Germinate the Cannabis Seeds
Before your cannabis seeds can get the most out of your super soil, you will need to germinate them first. This process is when they sprout their taproot out from the shell and grow their first set of leaves called cotyledons.
Like the containers, you have many options to germinate your seeds. The key criteria to germinating seeds are moisture and warm temperatures. Both of which will encourage the seeds to grow their taproot.
One method is to use starter cubes or germinating cubes, which are available in various online seed banks. To use, soak the cubes in water for an hour before placing it in a grow tray. Grow trays are mini pots that will hold the seedlings along with the cubes. You can find these trays in online shops or use an egg carton to create a makeshift tray.
Place the seeds into the opening at the top of the starter cubes and slightly pinch it to secure the seed in place. You do not need to push the seed farther down the cube for better results. Apply water to the grow tray and place it in a warm humid area. You can boost the progress of the seed’s germination stage by placing a heating pad below the grow tray. Check on the seeds daily to make sure there is still water in the tray.
After several days, you will see roots sprouting out from the walls of the cube with a set of leaves growing at the top. This is a good sign that the seeds are ready to enter the next phase of their growth cycle. If you are using the starter cube, you can transplant the seed along with the cube to the super soil medium. The roots and the plant will grow out of the cube medium to form a much larger root system in the main medium.
Using the Organic Super Soil
Even after one or two months, the super soil should still be hot to the touch. This indicates that the microbial process is still happening. While this is great for growing plants, the super soil might be too much for younger ones. Young plants that are entering the vegetative phase might burn out due to the overwhelming amount of nutrients available within the soil.
You can alleviate this problem by filling with one part super soil at the bottom and one part potting soil at the top. This will give the young plants just enough nutrients to grow its roots. As it matures, its developed roots can handle the number of nutrients within the super soil.
Cultivating your cannabis plants with super soil still, require the same effort as growing any weed strains on potting soil. It is important to be watchful for the nutrient needs of your plant by catching any signs of deficiencies throughout its growth cycle. This includes yellowish hue on the leaves during its vegetative phase due to lack of nitrogen. If you see this type of sign, amend it with supplements.
Remember that the plant has most of the vitamins it needs from the organic super soil. Adding any kind of supplement may lead to nutrient toxicity, which can result in low-quality buds. Only add supplements if there are signs of deficiencies on the plant.
Lighting will be an important factor in the health and growth cycle periods of your plants. This is barely a problem for outdoor areas because of the natural light source. On the other hand, the yields of your plants growing in an indoor garden will depend on the light fixture you use.
You can choose an economical route for your indoor garden by using fluorescent lamps. Fluorescent bulbs emit a large range of light spectrum that your plants can utilize and they produce less heat. If you have the budget and want to produce high-quality buds, high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps that produce red to orange hues, which are beneficial for flowering plants. Another is metal halide (MH) lights that give off blue lights to encourage healthy growth during the vegetative phase. The issue with both HPS and MH lamps are its heat, which requires ventilation to cool the fixtures.
Homemade or Garden Store Super Soil?
Mixing your own organic super soil at home lets you know what goes into the medium. This includes the use of organic materials and potting soil.
This is not to say that store-bought organic super soil is less effective to homemade ones. Pre-packed super soil contains most of the necessary components to a medium that any cannabis plants will thrive. Even professional breeders will choose to buy super soil from a garden store instead of spending time and effort in creating a batch for themselves.
The disadvantage of buying store bought super soil is its price tag. If you compute the overall cost of the ingredients in making your own super soil, you may find that the total amount is much cheaper than pre-packaged ones you find in the garden store. On the other hand, you may find the price of garden store super soils to be reasonable if you do not want to spend a considerable amount of time mixing soil and other ingredients.
By now, you should have a clear idea on the ideal of organic super soil as well as how you can make your own at home. Always remember to water your cannabis plants to avoid drying out the roots and to only give them vitamin supplements when signs of deficiencies appear.