- Super soil is a type of substrate rich in all the components that plants need throughout their life cycle.
- Using super soil is a key factor in organic growing: not only does it enhance crop quality but it is also beneficial to the environment.
- In this post we explain everything you need to know about this rich soil.
Just a few years ago cannabis growing was an underground activity; due to its illegal nature any information on good growing practices was rare, especially in Europe. The black market favoured the use of fertilisers and other chemical products because it was believed that this increased cannabis' potency and yield, and there was limited information on the numerous risks that these could bring to human health and the environment.
Fortunately, nowadays cannabis regularisation has become a reality in many countries, and cannabis is finally emerging from the shadows of illegality. This means that information on cannabis growing is now more widely available and growers are more aware of the benefits of organic growing. One of the key factors for optimum organic growing is the preparation of a good substrate so that cannabis plants can grow healthy and strong. Here we explain how to do this.
What is Super Soil?
Super soil is one of the most important ingredients in organic marijuana growing. Whether homemade or bought in your regular grow shop, super soil is a type of substrate specifically designed to provide cannabis plants with all the nutrients that they require during their whole life cycle. This rich soil is prepared with organic elements and never with chemical fertilisers or products that are not 100% organic. In a nutshell, super soil contains live microorganisms that help create an ecosystem in the soil that encourages plants' health and also contributes to the preservation of the environment.
Once planted in this type of substrate, marijuana seeds only need plain water with no extra nutrients for their optimum growth and development.
Why use Super Soil?
Super soil is made up of a number of microorganisms that work in synergy with each other. This helps the soil regenerate, remain healthy in a natural way, and maintain a good biological balance which in turn increases yield capacity. Intensive cannabis growing has increased in the last few years in countries like the United States. The progressive wave of new cannabis regulations also brings up new issues such as different growing techniques.
The use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides may seem beneficial in the short term as these facilitate growing and increase production. However, it has been proven that in the long term this practice makes the soil poor and contaminated, resulting in a dramatic decrease in the levels of carbon as well as humic and fulvic acids. This can lead to negative financial consequences as well as to negative effects on our health and the environment.
Super Soil's Pros and Cons
Preparing your own super soil at home may not be very convenient, but it is highly advisable due to its countless benefits. Let's have a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of this choice:
- You do not need to use fertilisers as the super soil contains all the nutrients that plants need for their full life cycle.
- You have full control over the origin of the nutrients that you provide your plants with. Remember that the nutrients that you choose will end up in your organism when you smoke your buds.
- Cannabis grown without using chemical fertilisers exhibits a better taste and aroma. It does not produce that annoying tickle in the throat and shows higher terpene levels.
- By applying these sustainable growing methods you will be contributing to the conservation of the planet.
- The main disadvantage of preparing your own super soil is that it is highly time and energy-consuming. You must take into account that the whole process takes around 4 to 6 weeks, which can be difficult for some growers, especially for those who grow cannabis indoors in their city apartments. You can also buy your ready-made super soil as long as you always make sure that its ingredients are of organic origin. There are also some easier recipes for homemade super soil for indoor growing that we will explain how to make in a future post.
- The initial investment for this may turn out slightly higher than when using liquid fertilisers, but in the long run the cost is fairly similar.
What is Super Soil made out of?
The three essential nutrients that cannabis plants need are known as N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). To provide your super soil with these you can add natural fertilisers such as worm castings, bat guano, bone meal, seaweed powder, compost, etc. You can also add micronutrients that nourish the substrate and prevent plants from lacking certain elements. By adding perlite and/or coco coir the soil will be well aerated, which facilitates drainage during watering and accelerates the plants' metabolism.
Live microorganisms like mycorrhizas can also be added to contribute to the formation of the biological ecosystem mentioned above.
Things to take into account before preparing super soil
If you're considering preparing your own super soil, we recommend you take the following points into account: Check the quality of the soil. If your super soil is to be used outdoors and you want to use the substrate in your garden, make sure that this substrate is of good quality. You can find simple and cheap testing kits in any garden centre to check the nutrient levels. It is also vital that the soil does not contain chemical pesticides or fertilisers from previous crops. If you have no way of checking this, then it is best to opt for bags of substrate.
If you have some experience in cannabis growing, it is also advisable to carry out a visual check of your soil, as sometimes its quality can be obvious to the naked eye. Is it too dry? Is it spongy or as dense as clay? Are there any worms or insects in it? All these factors will give you clues about the quality of your soil.
Prepare the terrain
If you are going to grow outdoors directly on the soil, it is best to clean the space first before adding the super soil, especially if you had a crop in that area during the previous season. It is important to get rid of all old roots, and make sure that the area where you are going to place your new plants is nice and clean.
If you want to find out what ingredients you need and how to prepare super soil step by step, do not miss our next post where we will explain simple and efficient methods to achieve this.