It’s Alive!

Growing bud in containers using organic soil requires a distinct change in mindset from more conventional techniques, which use bottled fertilisers to feed the plants directly with ionic nutrients. This is a living ecosystem we are talking about, after all.

For instance, “Flushing” (or runoff) is never required, as you are not applying any salts to your soil in the process of irrigation/watering. Additionally, if you’re growing your cannabis in well maintained living soil, testing for water pH or EC levels is also not required. The pH will reach something of an equilibrium through the interactions of the plant and the microbes supporting its growth in the soil.

Don’t Panic!

Growing organically in a living soil requires enough volume to sustain a healthy and active microbiological community, which will consistently solubilise organic nutrients into a form available to the ganja plant. This is true throughout the entire growing cycle. The microscopic life contained within the Earth is one of nature’s best kept secrets; even today, this classic method grows toe to toe with the scientifically controlled conditions of a hydroponic setup.

Working Out Specifics

The optimal size of container for your grow will be directly related to the size and age of the plant. A clone placed in a vegetative state for 4 weeks, which is then allowed to flower for a further 8 weeks, will grow to its full potential in a 25L pot. This size will empower the plant to draw from a balanced diet of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

However, put a full-cycle outdoor plant in the same size container, and the growing process will take twice as long. In this case, you may have a situation where the microbiology cannot keep up with the plant’s demands. So, plan accordingly; be sure to give yourself enough soil volume for the size and length of season that you plan to grow for.

We recommend a minimum of 25L pots for a single plant, vegetating for 4 weeks. 50L provides better performance, with uninhibited root growth and nutrient cycling. This can even be used for a no-till setup, where the soil is left undisturbed at the end of each growing cycle. This allows your soil to improves organically over time.

Where to Purchase

Organic soil can be found all over the place, but we at Friendly Aussie Buds recommend the Living Organic Water Only Soil’ from Easy As Organics. The soil goes for $55 a bag; we’ve partnered with them to provide it to our readers on the cheap. Use the code FABEAO2019 for 20% discount on their range!

Other Directions

  • When the plant is chopped and a stump left in its place, about half a cup of a quality blend of organic amendments should be introduced to the system.
  • Top-dress your pot with some worm castings to cultivate a fresh, humic soil biochemistry.
  • Be sure to mulch, keeping a diverse cover crop growing between, or even during crop cycles.
    • This will improve soil structure, water holding capacity, fix atmospheric nitrogen, and return nutrients to your soil when chopped and laid on the surface.
  • When growing in 25L pots, be sure to recycle your soil after 2 growing cycles.
  • Per 50L of used soil add:
    • ½ kg or 2-3 cups of Recharge Blend, or an even mix of ‘neem’ and kelp meal.
    • 10-15L high quality worm castings or compost.
    • Add 10-15L aeration amendment.
  • Then, blend well, and water until evenly moist.
    • Be sure not to soak the soil.
    • Allow the soil enough time to compost and cycle.
  • Fill your container with recycled soil, plant seedlings or cuttings using a mycorrhizal inoculant and mulch.
  • Gently water.
    • When watering, aim for even soil moisture throughout the growing cycle.
    • Don’t let the soil get too wet or too dry.

When all of these conditions are met, your plants will reach their ultimate potential in a nutrient dense, living organic soil. If you followed all of these steps, congratulations! The proof will be in the pudding… or in the plant.

Click these links for our main article on growing cannabis indoors, as well as for more information to help you decide what soil to use in your op. ‘Til next time!

About the author

Joe Lagrasso

Joe is a dreamer, entrepreneur and an all-around good guy. He wants to connect the Australian Cannabis community from businesses to consumers.

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Natasha
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Natasha

Is there a certain depth the seeds should go?

Mitch
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So long as they are submerged below the soil, you should be fine. We recommend a few centimetres. The only concern is not to bury them too deep within the soil – any more than 10cm may be pushing it.

Kirk
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Kirk

I find adding worm castings and molasses (when flowering) to be a big help in maintaining soil microbes

Sumjoeblo
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Sumjoeblo

I never use worm castings. Have live worms in the substrate. My substrate is my worm farm and microbial farm. I never use guano. Only plant and invertebrate based amendments.

Cover crops being diverse is excellent advice. A lot of good advice, however as you become more experienced you know your nutritional needs, soil structure, CEC etc. So you can customise or modify your grow tek to suit your grow environment and reduce environmental pressures.

Insect frass. Rice hulls. 😉

Andrew
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Andrew

Great Article! Can you recommend an Aussie sourced cover crop seed mix? There’s lot of info for North America but scratching to find a local recommendation.