In hydroponics, Cannabis plants will never have to wait for nutrients since they are being dissolved into the water and provided immediately. The central aspect that makes growing with soil easier than in other growing mediums is that you do not have to think about nutrient lockout as much as in different growing mediums.
This soil-less mix contains materials like peat, bark, perlite, or vermiculite to give it its structure. There are two main benefits to growing with a soilless medium:
It’s free of weed seeds and other pests
You don’t have to germinate your seeds in another medium before using it
The main disadvantage is that soilless growing mediums are acidic, so you may have to use lime or dolomite to bring the soil PH back to between 6.0-6.5 pH for your cannabis plants’ optimal growth.
You also risk over-feeding your roots if you’re not careful. It may take a little extra effort to ensure this soil is aerated correctly and retains moisture, but overall it’s pretty easy to use for your first time growing with soil.
What you’ll need:
Soilless mix (preferably organic)
pH tester kit (optional)
Lime or dolomite (optional)
Aeration tool (optional but recommended for beginners)
Seeds or clones (optional)
Step 1: Prepare your soilless growing medium. If you bought the soilless mix in a bag, dump it into a large pot. Add water to it while mixing until all the material is moist but not soaked. If your growing medium contains bark, add more water and mix well. You should be able to compress the mix into an easily shaped ball that will hold together if you squeeze it in your fist. It shouldn’t fall apart when shaken gently from side to side.
Step 2: Prepare your growing containers. Suppose you plan on using any container apart from a pre-formed pot, drill or poke drainage holes in the bottom of it with an aeration tool (see picture). This step is significant for good plant health since excess water can kill your plant’s roots by either drowning them or by rotting their roots. If you are using a pot with pre-drilled holes, skip this step.
Step 3: Lining your planters with weed control fabric and mulch. Cut pieces of weed control fabric to fit the bottom of your containers. This will prevent unwanted sprouts from popping up around your plants and help retain moisture.
If you’re using a soilless mix, spread mulch over the weed control fabric to hold it in place and retain soil moisture when necessary. If you’re using another type of medium, skip this step.
Step 4: Planting your cannabis seedlings. You can either use seeds or clones for this step. If you’re using sources, plant them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep in the soilless mix and keep them moist until they germinate.
If you’re using clones, trim all but the top two sets of fan leaves before planting them into your pre-prepared medium.
Make sure to keep the soil moist but not soaked during this step. Check on your plants daily to ensure they aren’t drying out, and spray them down with a mister if needed.
Step 5: Fertilizing and water containers:
Once your plants have sprouted, you should start feeding them light doses of nitrogen-heavy plant food. These include initial amounts of 20-20-20, fish emulsion, or other nutrient-rich organic fertilizer that can be used in its raw form.
Please don’t overdo it when feeding your plants with fertilizers. A little goes a long way when growing cannabis in soil.
Also, ensure to water your plants with pH-adjusted water at least once a week. If your water is too acidic or alkaline, your plants will suffer and display signs of nutrient deficiencies or burn even though you’re feeding them constantly.
Step 6: Watch and wait: Your plants should start growing new growth after about two weeks. Once new growth appears, stop all fertilizing until the plant has finished budding. You can also add things like crushed eggshells or bone meal to your soil during this step to further boost the strength of your plants. Suppose you’re using the organic soilless mix. In that case, it should contain all the necessary nutrients for growing vigorous cannabis plants, but feel free to experiment with different kinds of fertilizers if you have any doubts.
Your plants will be ready to harvest after about three months, but you can leave them in your containers for up to six if you want a more resinous product. I hope this article helped you get started growing your cannabis! If you follow these simple steps and allow around three months for harvesting, it should be worth it.
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