Did you know that the soil is essential for your cannabis to grow beautiful and full of amazing buds? Here, we help you choose the best soil to start planting!
We have reached a crucial point in our cultivation series: the soil. The soil is the key to healthy plants This is where everything we need to survive comes from. If we think of the world as our body, the soil would be like the skin: in addition to being the largest organ we have, it filters everything we put on its surface, and is a living organism, in constant transformation. Every hundred years, only an inch of soil is generated from the erosion of stones. That is why our care and sustainable thinking is so important when dealing with it.
Human development in agriculture has had an impact on the land. In areas that were once fertile, today, nothing can be cultivated due to the impoverished soil. The truth is that we cannot just take it from nature, we also have to give it back. According to the UN, the world loses 24 billion tons of arable land every year. Pesticides, heavy metals, erosion and soil depletion are some of the main enemies in this area, and this degradation can only be combated with good agricultural practices.
Growing – not just cannabis, but even a vegetable garden with your own vegetables – is one of the best ways to start falling in love with gardening. It is one of the most important jobs on the planet, after all, there are seven billion people eating from what the soil comes from.
So, even talking about self-cultivation, we are bringing an understanding of the soil that transcends our own grow, and extends to enter into harmony with nature. Having this information is extremely important to also think about legalization in a sustainable way. The land returns much more when we take care of it with affection.
The study of soils is very complex, as we are not only dealing with a simple account, but with life, nature and the way it acts, there are many variables that we cannot control. But today, we will give you all the basic concepts you need to understand this incredible organism of our Gaia, how to use it to your advantage when it comes to cultivating, and points to take into consideration when choosing!
The essential functions of the soil
Maybe you have already thought about it, maybe not, but the earth is much more than just the ground we walk on. It has some of the most important functions for maintaining life on the planet, such as:
support for plant growth (root);
a reservoir of nutrients and water for plants;
a home for organisms with many critical ecological functions (a handful of soil can contain as many microbes as people on the planet);
recycling organic materials;
regulation of the hydrological cycle (water), since soils can absorb water and reduce runoff;
And so many others.
In addition to all this, we need to think about a very important detail in this context: the wonderful groundwater. Like rivers, they extend beneath all land in immense reservoirs of water. The more pollutants we put in the soil, the more contaminated these reserves become.
There are thousands of curiosities and examples of why we need to treat the land well. The landslides, which happen every year in Brazil and in the world, are a fatal consequence of our own action. They are caused when an area is cleared and exposed to bad weather, which causes soil erosion. Fragile, he gives in; and we know what happens.
We are also, like plants, beings that depend on this structure.
Well, let’s go to practice: first, you need to know if you are dealing with inert soil or living soil. It is a decisive moment in the life of each grower, as he will dictate all other future steps in the life of his plant. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and will work best for you according to your context.
The two have very different characteristics, and we will explain them below.
The inert soil comes as a blank sheet, and you should add whatever you want. Many growers look for inert substrates as they allow you to “play God”, so to speak. The idea is to mimic what happens in nature, but YOU will be balancing this. Among its main advantages, they prevent the proliferation of insects, odors and minimize dirt in the greenhouse. They are great for those who will grow indoors and will have direct control of everything that happens, such as irrigation, light flow and temperatures.
But, as not everything is pink, it will TOTALLY depend on your ability to provide a proper nutrient diet for your plants. This type of soil will give them nothing but support and irrigation water.
Its composition may vary, but here in Brazil, a more common inert substrate is pure peat. More experienced growers usually indicate a mixture of ingredients, with peat, perlite and coconut fiber. Since coconut powder or fiber is cheaper and more environmentally friendly, it’s worth it! Just remember to remove the accumulated salts in the fibers before using it. It is also worth mixing 40% peat, 40% pearlite and 20% hummus – or vermiculite.
You can buy the inert substrate ready to use, but the cost can be a little bit more!
More complex than inert soil, it is basically the opposite: by nature, living soil is full of organisms. It is mainly composed of minerals, water, air and organic matter – which is nothing more than the result of the decomposition of branches, flowers, fruits, leaves and all those little things that you separate from the recyclables in the trash. Oh, and we cannot leave the life forms that it houses: both bacteria and other beings that we cannot see with the naked eye, and earthworms and insects – which can be both beneficial and harmful to your little plant.
The composition of living soil can be influenced by climate, organisms, landforms and parent material – which is the underlying geological material on which the soil horizons are formed. Many believe it to be more challenging, as we have less control than we would have working on inert soil. But, taking good care of him, Mother Nature reciprocates with incredible wealth.
Living soil can be great for growers, as it is already loaded with nutrients, one of the main components is hummus, a concentration in organic matter. It can also be cheaper: for example, if you are going to plant in your own backyard, preparing your own land can be incredible for cannabis.
Dimensions of healthy soil
Healthy soil is an essential concept of sustainability, which needs us to see soil as a living element. But how to identify that it is perfect to receive our plants?
Whether for an inert substrate or a living soil, there are dimensions that help to measure the health of the land that will be cultivated! They are divided into physical, chemical and biological.
Most growers agree that a good soil should be dark and rich, with a loose texture that drains well and can retain water without making it look muddy. You can test with a handful of your soil and see if it:
It looks dark and rich;
It has a loose texture;
Drains well (does not form a pool on top of the ground for more than a few seconds and does not take forever to drain the bottom);
Keeps the water without forming a thick mud.
Also remember to measure the pH.
The pH scale is numbered from 0 to 14. The numbers at the bottom end of the scale (0-6) represent a substance that is considered acidic. Whereas the numbers that are higher in the scale (8-14) are considered alkaline. 7 generally represents substances that are considered pH neutral, or substances that are practically balanced and stable.
There are things that thrive at all types of pH. However, for your cannabis, it must be between 6 and 7.
What is the conclusion of all this?
Everything in life is a matter of opinion: you will find growers that make incredible buds on inert soil, but we are much more inclined towards this holistic view of planting. You treat your land well, and it gives you beautiful things. You give it to the world, and it gives it back. It is an exercise in gratitude and patience to deal with our living soil, but it is rewarding. Our tip is to learn to deal with the soil at your own pace, calmly.
If living soil is not an option for you, know that it is possible to transform an inert soil into a perfect environment for your plants. With attention, affection, and lots of hummus, we know you get there!
Next week there is more cultivation, with lots of love and natural fertilizer to grow the best herbs on this planet – with all the responsibility that we should have with our beloved land.