Are you a cannabis advocate? If so, you might be thinking about cultivating it yourself. Whether you intend on using it for your own medicinal or recreational use or to sell to others via a 420 business that you’re intending on launching, if you’re planning on growing your own weed, there’s no doubt that you want the process to go as smoothly as possible and you want to yield top-quality plants.
While there are several factors that will impact your cannabis growing efforts, like light and moisture, there’s another critical element that you cannot overlook: the soil. Soil not only grounds your plants, but it feeds them the vital nutrition that they need to grow.
Sure, you can toss seeds into any soil and you may have luck getting plants to emerge, there’s no guarantee; not to mention the fact that if plants do grow, there’s a possibility that they will be of subpar quality. If you want to up the chances that your seeds will flourish and will yield premium-grade buds, you need to start with high-quality soil. That’s where “super soil” comes in.
What is super soil? What does it contain? What are the benefits of using super soil? Should you try your hand at making it yourself or buying pre-packaged varieties? To find the answers to these questions and more, keep on reading.
What Exactly is Super Soil?
Thanks to the legalization of cannabis use for medicinal and recreational purposes in many states across the US in recent years, a race among weed cultivators has been sparked. That race is a competition of sorts for growers to create big, tasty, kief-rich, premium-grade buds. Due to this pressure, a lot of highly technological treatments and techniques came onto the scene.
Unfortunately, a lot of those treatments were difficult to use, costly, and/or yielded plants that were less-than-great, as they sacrificed potency, flavor, and safety for faster growth and larger buds. That’s because these treatments and techniques involved the use of super-harsh chemicals.
Thankfully, responsible growers took notice of the effects of the so-called “high-tech” and “advanced” treatments that unfortunately had become standard use in the marijuana industry. These conscientious cultivators highlighted that in order to yield the best quality plants, nixing the “cutting-edge” techniques and products and getting back to basics was a must.
In other words, they called attention to the fact that the best way to grow high-grade, healthy weed isn’t with the products that humans created to purposely speed up and beef up cannabis plants, but rather, it’s by using the processes and “products” that God and nature has perfected.
Soil, as mentioned, is one of the key components in growing robust, healthy plants. This fact, combined with the realization that natural products and materials rather than man-made, chemical-laden tools and techniques, is what led to the development of “super soil”.
So, what is super soil? In short, it’s a growing medium that uses natural processes in order to cultivated healthier, more robust cannabis WITHOUT the use of artificial, chemical ingredients. This so-called super soil utilizes the same microorganisms that nature uses to breakdown organic materials and turns those materials into a full-spectrum of micro and macro nutrients.
It was first created by Dave Bowman, one of the most notable cannabis breeders in the cannabis cultivation industry. Bowman composted the first-ever super soil, which delivered the proper nutrients to the plants he grow at the appropriate time for each and every phase of growth.
Sadly, Dave passed away after a long, hard battle with an illness, but his knowledge has been passed on, but his legacy and the mark he had on the world of cannabis cultivation is everlasting and has changed the shape of cannabis cultivation.
What are the Key Components of Super Soil?
The vast majority of plant species – more than 90 percent – develop and benefit from symbiotic relationships naturally occurring beneficial fungi. These fungi allow for the efficient absorption of vital nutrients while enabling them to release sugars back into the soil (via photosynthesis), that the fungi then feeds on.
One of the main benefits of super soil is that it is comprised of live microorganisms that cannabis needs to thrive, like beneficial bacteria and fungi, which help to produce healthier and stronger plants.
Super Soil Recipe
In order to create an environment that offers the beneficial bacteria and fungi that your marijuana plants will need to thrive, super soil needs to feature a few key ingredients. Examples of these ingredients are as follows:
- Blood meal. An organic fertilizer that contains high levels of nitrogen.
- Bat guano. That’s right, bat poop! It’s rich in vital nutrients that cannabis plants need to thrive, such as nitrogen, and feeds the plants throughout every stage of their growth; however, it’s particularly important during the flowering phase.
- Worm castings. Yep, worm castings, as they are believe it or not, a great source of organic fertilizer and contains crazy amounts of nitrogen.
2) Bone Meal
An excellent source of calcium and phosphorous, two vital nutrients that cannabis plants need to thrive. This is something that is hard to produce yourself with a simple organic compost pile as getting the most absorbable bone meal requires grinding animal bone down into finer particulate that can be more easily interspersed within growing medium.
3) Rock Phosphate
Obviously, as the name indicates, it’s an excellent source of phosphorus, another vital nutrient for cannabis plants. This is pretty easy to pick up at your local supplier to add to your own blends/compost but getting the right balance is critical for creating an opportune growing environment.
4) Kelp Powder
Also known as “kelp meal”, it’s a form of brown seaweed that has been dehydrated and is a fantastic source of NPK. This is a great easy plant booster if you live near and ocean and if not, all the more reason to consider purchasing pre-blended Super Soil.
5) Fish Bone Meal
A type of flour that’s made of fish bones (obviously), as well as crustacean shells. It’s packed with phosphorous, amino acids, nitrogen, and calcium. Another easer find if you’re living near an ocean and if not, something worth paying for pre-mixed.
6) Epsom Salt
A natural source of Sulphur and magnesium, which marijuana plants also need to thrive; however, as a word of caution, using too much Epsom salt could be damaging to the beneficial microbes in the soil, so this ingredient needs to be used sparingly, a little goes a long ways.
A super-pure mineral, dolomite aids in the regulation of the pH level of the soil, which is essential for cannabis growth, as it facilitates humidification and creates a welcoming environment for microbial activity. Dolomite is relatively affordable and popular with green thumbs so sourcing isn’t usually much of a challenge if you’re looking to blend up your own Super Soil.
Azomite is the dust of volcanic rock, and it introduced vital minerals and trace elements into the soil that are essential for strong root development. It effectively welcomes microorganism “life” into the soil that are vital for creating a symbiotic relationship with the plants. These microorganisms feed primarily on sugars, but they also like other compounds; trace elements, for example.
9) Humic acid
This ingredient helps to stimulate enzymes in the plant. It also boosts the structure of the ground. This can be harder to find off-the-shelf and also requires care when mixing to have optimal ratios that are not detrimental to the plant itself.
A beneficial fungus, mycorrhiza establishes a symbiotic relationship with cannabis plants, which helps to facilitate stronger root development, which technically speaking classifies Super Soil as a “living soil”, prized among organic growers.
This can be harder to find and costs more than some other more common nutrient types, and it’s also something that is not instantaneous, time needs to pass for the mycelium to spread throughout the soil and establish it’s relationship with your cannabis plants.
Charcoal provides several benefits for plant growth, one of the most notable of which is increasing the fertility of the by increasing acidic pH levels. No you can’t just use Kingsford. However if you have the space you can burn local raw wood and create your own charcoal rich substrate or additive.
Why You Should use Super Soil for Cannabis Cultivation
What are the benefits of using super soil for cannabis cultivation? Here’s a look at some of the key reasons why this type of growing medium can help to jumpstart the growth of your plants.
- Adaptability. No matter if you’re growing outdoors or in, super soil is one of the most vital tools in your cultivation toolbox. That’s because it’s super-versatile and can be used to create the ideal foundation for cannabis in pretty much any type of environment.
- 100% natural. Since it’s comprised of organic-only ingredients, super soil is as close Mother Nature’s soil as you can possibly get. The vital nutrients that it contains, including phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium, work in unison with one another and with cannabis to ensure that the plants thrive.
- Better quality. If you want beautiful, enticing, fragrantly smelled, and brilliantly colored cannabis flowers, then you’re definitely going to want to use super soil. When compared to other kinds of growing mediums and methods, super soil yields much more potent, robust, and visually pleasing plants.
- No flushing needed. Because super soil is 100% organic, your plants won’t be “infected” with contaminants, like chemical salts. As such, you won’t have to worry about flushing out your plants before you harvest them, which will not only save you time, but will also help to save you money. Plus, no contaminants = better quality plants.
- Ease of use. Composting serves as the foundation of a streamlined process that is thought to be a lot easier than utilizing other types of mediums for growing. Super Soil is packed with nutrients, so you won’t have to worry about the headaches and the time that it takes to measure, balance, and maintain nutrient and pH levels in the soil. Rather, all you’ll need to worry about is offering your plants the appropriate amount of water and light and you’ll get a fantastic harvest.
Are There Downsides to Using Super Soil?
As with everything in life, super soil isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. There are some downsides associated with using it, and it’s important to be aware of these downsides so that you can make sure it will really suit your needs. With that said, here’s a look at some of the cons of using super soil for marijuana cultivation.
- It’s pricy. If you’re budget-conscious, super soil may not be the best option for you. Whether you purchase it or make it yourself, it can be pretty pricy; especially if you’re planning on growing large quantities of weed.
- Tedious. Making your own super soil can be a tedious task. It requires a lot of elbow grease, so if you aren’t looking for a physical challenge, using super soil may not be the right option for you. It can also get messy if you’re growing indoors, like closet grows, where limited space and carpet can make maneuvering big bags of pre-mix challenging.
- It’s time-consuming. Composting your own super soil can take a long time. On average, super soil isn’t ready to use for about 60 days. Super Soil can also make the growth process slow; particularly during the vegetative stage. If you’re looking to grow your crops as quickly as possible, using liquid nutrients may be a better way to go.
Which is Better: Self-composted or Pre-made Super Soil?
If you decide that you do want to use super soil, you have two options: you can compost it yourself or you can purchase pre-made super soil. There are some pros and cons to each approach, and here’s a look at some of those advantages and disadvantages.
DIY Composting Super Soil
- You have full control over the ingredients
- You get the satisfaction of knowing that you created your own natural, healthful growing medium
- You can see the fruits of your labor
- If you’re an avid cultivator, you may find a lot of enjoyment in cultivating your own super soil
- It requires a lot of ingredients and you need to make sure that you secure the right quality ingredients
- Mixing the ingredients together can be quite laborious and tedious, as mentioned above. Combing and mixing the ingredients requires a bit of elbow grease.
- You may have a difficult time finding the ingredients.
- It can be quite time-consuming
Buying Pre-made Super Soil
- It’s way less tedious, as the sourcing of ingredients and mixing is done for you
- Saves a lot of time
- Simple and hassle-free
- You have to make sure that you’re purchasing the super soil from a reliable source, otherwise it may not be as high-quality as it’s claimed to be
- High-quality super soil can be pretty pricy, especially if you need to purchase large quantities
DIY: How to Make Your Own Super Soil
If you do decide that you want to use super soil as your growing medium and you’d like to give the DIY approach a try, here’s a look at some easy-to-follow directions that you can use to create your own organic, nutrient-rich soil.
What you’ll need
- Mixing container that can hold up to 100 pounds of soil
- Gardening rake
- Large trash cans
- About 200 pounds of organic soil
- Around 70 pounds of light mix soil
These are the basis of the soil composting mix. You’ll also need the following to feed the soil the vital nutrients and microorganisms that super soil is hailed for.
- 60 pounds of earthworm castings
- 5 pounds of blood meal
- 6 pounds of fish bone meal
- 4 pounds of guano
- 1 cup dolomite lime
- ¾ cup Epsom salt
- ½ cup azomite
Combine the basis for the soil in your mixing containers. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Pour the mixture into the garbage cans, cover, and allow it to sit and compost for about 60 days.
Herb CEO Summary
Overall Super Soil, whether you make it yourself (great if you own your own property, have extra time, and plan to grow for decades vs just a year) or whether you purchase it pre-mixed like from Subcool, you can’t really go wrong in terms of giving your little plants the best possible environment for a copious yield and quality flower production.
The funnest part about soil is you have the ability to experiment and fine-tune ratios to best suit the strain you’re growing, in the unique growing environment you are operating in. No two grows are exactly the same and depending on where you are in the world, whether your indoors or outdoors, what plants you’re cultivating, and what final product you are looking to produce, the sky is the limit in terms of sub-variations of Super Soil unique to your application.
With that said, what blends are you working with these days? Any unique tips or tricks to tweak the classic Super Soil recipe? Let other growers know in the comments below, we’d love to hear them!