What’s The Best Soil For Growing Marijuana?

 Posted by at 5:52 PM on February 18, 2012  Grower Tips
Feb 182012
 February 18, 2012

planting soil marijuanaWhat Is The Best Soil For Growing Marijuana?

Growing marijuana is not easy. There are so many variables, so many decisions to be made, it’s enough to give a marijuana grower an anxiety attack! One thing that I always try to keep in mind when I am growing marijuana is to research and prepare ahead of time. For some reason, a lot of people think that growing marijuana is easy. It’s only when they are weeks in that they realize they are in over their head. In an attempt to salvage the crop, the marijuana grower starts doing drastic things to improve the marijuana plants. Plan ahead, it’s well worth it.

The first thing that you will need to determine is whether you want to grow marijuana hydroponically or organically using soil. I will save hydroponics for another article, since this article deals only with soil. One of the biggest questions that I always get is, ‘what is the best soil for growing marijuana?’ Luckily for readers, I have a recipe for quite possibly the greatest marijuana growing soil of all time. It was invented by the legendary Subcool. Here is Subcool’s Super Soil Recipe which originally appeared on Cannabis Culture:

Subcool’s Super Soil

Click on pictures to enlargeTo me there is nothing like the flavor of properly grown organic cannabis. The subtle flavors and aromas created when using mother earth is over whelming to the senses when done properly.

As with many vegetables a rich Organic soil can bring out the best in a plant. Over the past 20 years I have tried almost every possible way to cultivate our favorite plant and while hydro is certainly faster and the yields blow soil away, I have developed a soil that performs extremely well and there’s very little guess work. I don’t worry about ph or ppm I simply have spent a few years developing a sound recipe and in combination with 7 gallon nursery pots I can run from start to finish using only water. Other than a bit of sweat equity every 90 days or so it takes a huge amount of science out of the garden and puts nature back in charge. This recipe is slightly different from my last and from the one so many use as gospel that I have passed around for years from grower to grower.

I always start with at least 6-8 large bags of high quality organic soil. The selection of your base soil is very important so don’t cut corners here. I cannot begin to discuss all the different products but I will discuss a few in this article. A good Organic soil should cost between 8-10$ per 30# bag. I want you to get a real good idea what I consider a balanced soil to be so take a look at the ingredients of a product called Roots Organic:

Lignite*, coca fiber, perlite, pumice, compost, peat moss, bone meal, bat guano, kelp meal, Green sand, soy bean meal, leonardite, k-mag, glacial rock dust, alfalfa meal, oyster shell flour, earth worm castings and Mycorrhizae.

I have always believed in giving my plants a wide range of soils and additives I figure it’s like a buffet they get all they need

“Lignite, also known as leonardite, mined lignin, brown coal, and slack, is an important constituent to the oil well, drilling industry. Lignite, or leonardite as it will be referred as hereafter, is technically known as a low rank coal between peat and sub-bituminous. Leonardite was named for Dr. A.G. Leonard, North Dakota’s first state geologist, who was a pioneer in the study of lignite deposits. Leonardite is applied to products having a high content of humic acid. Humic acid has been found to be very useful as a drilling mud thinner.”

Another local product we are trying now is called Harvest Moon.

Washed coco fibers, Alaskan peat moss, perlite, yucca, pumice, diatoms, worm castings, feather meal, fishmeal, kelp meal, limestone, gypsum, soybean meal, alfalfa meal, rock dust, yucca meal, and Mycorrhizae fungi.

The Roots produced a more floral smell in the finished flowers while the Harvest Moon generated larger yields.

If you have access to a good local mix like these then I highly recommend starting with these type products. We have also had decent results using commercial brands as well but not as is. The best results we have seen from well known soil that is available nationwide is Fox Farms “Ocean Forrest” soil combined in a 2-1 ratio with Light Warrior. On it’s own the Ocean Forrest is known for burning plants and having the wrong ratio’s of nutrients but when cut down with Light Warrior it makes a pretty good mix for a base soil.

You can also just use 2 bales of Sunshine mix #4 but this is my last choice and plants growing in this may not complete properly with this “Just add water” method of soil growing. The concept to this concentrated soil is to not have to worry with mixing up nutrients after the soil is made. The concentrate is placed in the bottom ¼ to ½ of the container and blended with base soil. This allows the plants to grow into the strong concentrated soil and in the right size container need nothing else but water throughout the full harvest cycle. With strains requiring high levels of nutrients we go as strong as ¾ of the container with Super Soil but this is only with a small percentage of strains.

Here are the amounts we have found that produce the best tasting buds and strongest medicines.

8- Large bags of High quality Organic potting soil with a coco and Mycorrhizae

1- 25-50 pounds of Organic Worm castings
5 lb. Steamed Bone meal
5 lb. Bloom bat Guano
5 lb. Blood meal
3 lb. Rock Phoshate
¾ cup Epson salts
½ to 1 Cup cup Sweet Lime ( Dolimite)
½ Cup Azomite ( Trace Elements)

2- TBS Powdered Humic Acid

This is the same basic recipe I have used for 15 years the hardest ingredient to acquire is the worm castings most people don’t even know what it is. Be resourceful and find it worms make up ¾ of the living organisms underground btw and hold our planet together.

Be careful not to waste money on Soil Conditioner with worm casting but local Pure Worm poop with no added mulch.

There are several methods of mixing this up well.

You can sweep off a patio or garage and work there on a tarp.

You can use a kids plastic wading pool these cost about 10$ and work really well for a few seasons.

Some growers have been known to rent a cement mixer and cut down on the physical labor. As long as you get the ingredients mixed up properly that is all that matters.

This can be a lot of work so don’t pull a muscle if your not used to strenuous activity. This method is good for mind and body. Working with soil keeps me in pretty good shape, but if you have limitations you can simply have someone mix it up for you while you supervise. One of the things I like about this method is I can drop of plants to a patient and all they have to do is water the plants when the soil dries out.

Place a few bags of base soil in first making a mound. I then place the powdered nutrients in a circle around the mound and then cover with another bag of base soil.

Then goes in the bat poop and then more base soil. I continue to layer soil and additives until everything has been added to the pile. So now I put on the muck boots, these help me kick the soil around and get it mixed up well using my larger leg muscles and not my back and arms. Then it’s as simple as my Skipper used to say “ Put your back into it”. This is hard work that I obsess on, even breaking up all the clods of soil by hand. I mix for about 15 minutes, turning the pile over and over until it is mixed well. I store the mix in large garbage cans. Before using the mix the entire load is poured out once more and mixed well. Once placed in the containers I water it slightly adding 3 gallons of water to a large garbage can full. It will make the stirring harder next week but it will activate the Mycorrhizae and I think help all the powders dissolve.

So now we add water and let it cook in the sunshine. 30 days is best for this concentrate.

Do not put seeds or clones directly in this mix. It is an advanced mix used in conjunction with base soil. It is used to place in the bottom of each finishing container and fully rooted established clones are placed in a bed of base soil that is layered on top of the concentrate. As the plants grow they slowly push their roots into the super soil drawing up all nutrients needed for a full cycle. The Super Soil can be used also to top dress plants that take longer to mature.

I will use this mix for a full year just adding like 30-50% in the lower potion of the container and plain base soil in the top portion.

Base Soil means your regular potting soil Like Roots, Harvest Moon, or even sunshine mix without the additives!

Buds from this method finish with a fade and a smoother fruity flavor. The plants are not green when done but Purple, Red, Orange and even Black at times. The resin content is heavier and the terpins always seem to be more pungent.

This method is used my medical growers all over with amazing results. The feed back I receive is really positive with reports of Hydro-like growth and novice growers producing buds of the same quality as life long growers.

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • http://professorgrow.com Professor Grow

    Thanks, Johnny Green – for posting an excellent soil recipe for growing without the hassle of mixing and adding nutrients throughout the grow. It would be nice to be able to offer this solution to our beginning students. We have been teaching people how to mix their fertilizers on a schedule, but I know many beginners have trouble with the complexity of the fertilizer schedule.

    I’m wondering if you ever pick up bugs when you let it “cook” outdoors for 30 days?

    It may not be practical for mmj patients growing in an apartment (not enough room to do your process), but for people with the room, it seems like a good solution.

    I’m going to post a link to this article on our website.

  • Silverado

    Here in the Pacific Northwest we’re blessed being able to buy a fine grade of commercial potting soil known as Black Gold (www.blackgold.bz). Available in many different mixes, I prefer their All Purpose or their Organic Blend. It’s priced right and available in large 3 cu. ft. bags at all kinds of different retailers everywhere. For my perfect blend I add only a dry organic based fertilizer that I found manufactured locally. And there you have every secret I know about growing in good dirt.
    After harvest I try and remove all of the root wad with a generous amount of dirt that’s attached so I can add at least 1 new bag of this Black Gold to each of my two 2 foot by 4 foot containers and again add the 2 cups or so of those dry organic nutrients I mentioned and I’m ready in the time that would take, to be up & running again. Oh sure it’s possible to come up with all kinds of exotic soil mixes and blends and spend all kinds of time perfecting your….grow. But when supplies such as these Black Gold products are available at so many places and they’re priced right at $10 or less per large bag…..I don’t know but I like keeping things simple. And as long as the finished results are so continuously fabulous, that just proves that I have it all dialed in using Black Gold soil. I may not be “organically certified” but that’s the way I grow.
    And finally I always get a chuckle when I read or hear about “how easy it is to grow” and everyone and their brother is now doing just that, especially around here in the land of the sub $200 ounce of premium weed. I have a few friends who have also gotten medi-pot cards and have tried their hands at growing. All are former customers so they know about my decades of growing experience and try to pick my brain once and awhile so that I’ll give them some secret tip I guess. I’ve taught all these people most everything I know (one of them calls me the “walking encyclopedia”) from topping, pinching and bending to probably the most difficult thing to do constantly and that’s to take and make good quality clones. I’ve even shared the importance of using a bloom stimulator, with the how and when too. But even from them now after growing their own I still get comments like, “how come mine doesn’t taste as good as yours”? Or, “yours always look so….healthy and vigorous….how come mine don’t look like that”? Or, “you could root a pencil, how come all my clones don’t make it like yours seem to do”? Etc, etc… I just blush and act flattered (which I am) and then remind myself that not everyone can do what I can do (mostly because they don’t or won’t LISTEN to you), which always brings up that little smile of self satisfaction. You can tell what someone knows by taking a critical look at the finished product. And I always welcomed that….with a smile. :-)

    • Frog

      hi could you tell me more about Black Gold. Im trying Indoor Organic because I have cancer. But there is so much confusing info out there that I liked the way you made it seem easy with Black Gold. I really do not want to mess upthis grow. I need help.

      ngaservices@gmail.com

      Pls email me and tell me more

  • Upandadam45

    This recipe works great! I have used something similar in the past. I live in Portland but heard a rumor that a company is mixing and bagging super soil. The name of the company is Better Urban Dirt, B.U.D haha! Has anyone tried this yet? I am skeptical…

  • Xandershon

    I think I’ve found the new super soil in Portland but it’s been tough getting it! An oregon mix that’s organic by a company called either Heart and Soil  or Heart Soil. Not sure. It’s a beautiful one that I got samples of from a friend, and stuff GROWS in it :))  If anyone knows where to get a decent supply of these please post

    • Stevecrop33

      Better Urban Dirt produces and bags a super soil that I use and it is crazy good. I was recently at a presentation the owners put on at the Salem Cannabis Resource Center, that is where I buy it from but I think it is in stores in the Portland area?? Â

  • Thebudnetwork

    dude, great article. i am going to save it for future reference. Since am a total newbie to soil and have limited area (and desire!) to mix up a batch, i am simply going ‘pre-mix’. I am also a total newbie to hydro but have gotten phenomenal results on just my second grow!! I purchased a bubbleflow bucket system here:

    http://www.hydroponicgrowrooms.com

  • Ray Huntjr

    is there an otc soil that can produce these results???

  • BigGrowDaddy

    I dont know if anyone else uses “Basement Mix”…but its extremely good soil. I grow indoors and have a room being top fed and a room EBBnFLO…and this soil works great with both methods. I yielded 12lbs3oz in the top feed room and 15lbs12oz on the EBBnFLO room, both rooms using 8-1000w bulbs and ballasts. Also, Im growing a med-low yield OG Kush! Ive never yielded this much with coco fiber or Miricle Grow. I definately suggest Basement Mix

  • http://www.facebook.com/nadeem.alhasan Nadeem Deemo Al-hasan

    How many plants would this amount of mixture provide? As in how much soil?
    Im looking to build a mass grow box and use this mixture to fill it but am wanting a mixture that can provide for 99 plants…..any help would be much appreciated, thank you!

  • michael p

    Thank you so much !

  • Fasterjet

    OK I am using this recipe with my own added pelican guano which I harvest from their natural habitat an adding only 1 pound of sun dried pelican guano to this recipe. Awesome yield and flavor in my OG strain

  • Candy Kush

    May I repost this on my blog please? I will link and credit you and your site!!! http://www.greenthumbgirls.com

  • hydroforsale

    ill ship no more than a oz to a customer the first time… and then more if you’re trustworthy!!!!! i sale each oz at a whopping discount of 250.oo for 28 grams….. everything is cheap and very discreet…. i double seal and wrap again…. i used to train drug dogs so i use my own dog to see if he can smell anything…. it is shipped media mail that way it doesn’t go thru x ray machines…. when you email me everything is kept confidential!! i like repeat customers so please don’t screw me over… any questions then just ask hydrosales@hushmail.com

    • hydroforsale

      only reply to my email… not on here

    • hazydaily

      not techy enough to find you can you call 9035361435

  • Hempie_The_J

    Here is how I do it: Let’s just say, growing pot to me, is like Hank Jr. said: ‘Family tradition.’

    Soil:

    56 Liter bag Landscape/growers mix (peat moss, little bit of perlite, and pine fines)
    8 qt bag Perlite
    4 – 8 qt bag Vermiculite (aids in keeping magnesium and potassium loss down)
    5 – 10# Sand
    ½ bag mixed in Ironite+ (has N-P-K and the micronutrients, except Ca and Mg)
    1 C mixed in Egg shells (96% Calcium carbonate)
    ¼ C mixed in Epsom salts (hydrated magnesium Sulfate, need I say more)
    1 sm. To med. bag of mycorrhizae fungi

    Foliar feeding: To be mixed with seltzer water instead of plain tap water
    Liquid iron and Blossom end rot:
    1st through 3rd month: once weekly
    4th through 6th month: bi-weekly
    7th through 9th month: weekly

    Fertilizing:
    1 C ironite+, egg shells, and Epsom salts every
    2 months