You may be sitting at home right now thinking about starting your own Outdoor cannabis grow and you begin reflecting on those formative years when you learned about what it takes for a plant to grow. On that list includes one of the most important and often overlooked ingredients necessary for Outdoor growing success, the SOIL.
Now I am not talking about your run of the mill dirt. I am talking about nutrient rich breathable organic living soil in your backyard. You may be thinking to yourself, “What is the difference? Aren’t dirt and soil the same thing?”.
Well, I am here to teach you that they are not one in the same and that understanding the difference between the two will exponentially increase your Outdoor Cannabis growing success.
A Little Story about Soil
The first lesson one must learn in order to be a successful Outdoor cannabis grower is the difference between soil and dirt. Dirt is the ‘non-living’ cousin of soil. It has been neglected and battered to the point that it can no longer harbor the SECRET ingredients that differentiates the two medias. You now may be wondering “What are those vital ingredients Redfern is talking about?”.
Those Secret Ingredients:
– Life (The ‘Living’ aspect of the soil that mutually works with your Cannabis plant)
– Nutrients (The ‘Food’ aspect of the soil that feeds your Cannabis plant)
– pH (The ‘Chemistry’ aspect of the soil that allows your Cannabis plant to uptake its food)
– Composition (The ‘Media’ aspect of the soil that gives your Cannabis plant a place to root)
Those 4 Factors are essential and make up the key differences between Dirt and Soil. By having a balanced combination of those 4 key factors, you can attain a great soil which will translate into a large healthy Outdoor Cannabis growing experience.
Your Soil Essentials
You have now taken the next step and have decided to grow your cannabis Outdoors. You have a backyard or a little plot around your home that you think is going to be “the spot” for your Outdoor cannabis grow. Great! What Next?
Now that you have decided where, here is a list of what you will need from your local garden center or eCommerce retailer in order to be successful.
1) A Good Planting Area
We recommend getting a soil test in order to really dial-in and understand what you are working with. You can find your local state agricultural extension office who can provide you with information on how to obtain a soil test. These tests are usually low cost and will provide you with information on the pH, nutrition, and composition of your soil at home. It will also note what you need to add/subtract to be successful.
Now if that isn’t in the cards for you and you want to get started right away, look for a spot in your landscape that has several inches of rich brown soil. If this is hard to come by, we suggest making a raised bed area which you can learn about on Youtube.
We recommend purchasing several bags of quality topsoil to add to your Outdoor grow area. Depending on your preference, you can figure out how many cubic feet of topsoil you will need by looking it up on a search engine or eyeballing 3-4 inches deep.
We recommend purchasing several bags of quality compost to add on top of your topsoil and/or selected outdoor planting area. You will only need 0.5-1.5 inches deep of compost. In this case, less is more and too much of a good thing can be bad in certain cases.
We suggest well aged-composted manure, worm compost, homemade compost, leaf mold compost, or garden center bagged compost.
Remember the better-quality compost, the greater chances of Outdoor Cannabis growing success.
4) Rock Dust/Minerals
We recommend adding some form of rock dust/mineral to your Outdoor cannabis growing area between your topsoil and compost layers. You should be able to find inputs such as Azomite, Granite Dust, Green Sand, or Volcanic Rock Dust at your local garden center or online retailer.
These amendments will add electromagnetic conductivity into the soil, which is vital for all living things including plants. Additionally, as these particles breakdown, they will release essentially macro and micro minerals/nutrients into the soil which your cannabis plant can use.
– Apply one cup of rock dust per 2 sq. ft. of growing area.
We recommend adding a layer of mulch in order to retain moisture around your cannabis plant as it grows. You can purchase bags of natural hardwood mulch, pine needle mulch, or pine bark mulch from your local garden center or online retailer. We suggest a 3–4-inch layer on top of all layers mentioned above.
Tip: Don’t mix in the mulch layer into the soil below, it will tie up the nitrogen in your soil which will result in your cannabis plant not being able to absorb nitrogen through its roots system.
6) Compost Tea ‘The Life Aspect’
We recommend routinely adding that ‘Living Factor’ into your soil which will promote a laundry list of beneficial outcomes. By inoculating your Outdoor cannabis grow with compost tea, you are adding the beneficial biology back into the soil which will help your plant absorb more nutrients, fight off disease, and live an overall healthier life.
You can obtain these inputs via a homemade source, local garden center, or online retailer.
How to Layer the Soil
Layer 1: Natural Soil Layer at your chosen grow site
– Choose a location with several inches of decent rich brown soil
Layer 2: Topsoil purchased from local garden center or online retailer
– Apply 3 to 4 inches deep
Layer 3: Rock Dust/Mineral Amendment
– Apply 1 cup per 2 square feet
Layer 4: Compost
– Apply half to 1.5 inches deep
Layer 5: Mulch
– Apply 3 to 4 inches deep
You have checked the Outdoor Soil Box off your list and now you need to focus on what is next. Are you looking for more Beginner basics or are you experiencing problems as your grow? Our Grow 101 education platform we have created is here to help you be a better Cannabis Grower! An array of Cannabis Growing information ranging from Beginner to Expert is at your fingertips and the best thing is that it is all FREE!