Refresh Checked Unchecked Menu Search Shopping bag Geolocation Person Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube Info Icon CBC Icon CBC Shape CBD Icon CBD Shape CBG Icon CBG Shape THC Icon THC Shape THCV Icon THCV Shape
Advertise on Leafly
Growing

A Simple Super Soil Recipe for Your Cannabis

July 28, 2017
Biodiversity is the key when it comes to building a proper organic medium. Soil life thrives on diversity. That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind with building a soil that caters to growing cannabis.

How to Amend Organic Soil

An organic soil can be amended with only a handful of ingredients, such as the following:

  • Compost
  • An organic base material such as peat moss or coco coir
  • An aerating agent such as perlite or vermiculite

Related

Growing Cannabis Indoors vs. Outdoors: 3 Key Differences

There are many variations to this sample amendment, and picking the right one will depend on what your plants require. For instance, many choose to use vermicompost (worm castings) for their super soil. Subcool from TGA Genetics starts his recipe by incorporating a base potting mix (in his case, Roots Organics potting mix) containing coco, peat, perlite, worm castings, bat guano, and more. He then amends this mix with a handful of other beneficial organics in order to boost biodiversity while also providing key nutrients resources for cannabis.

You don’t have to start with a pre-made potting mix to make a successful super soil . Simply divide your favorite compost, base, and aerator into equal parts and mix together to form your initial starting point. You will, however want to consider adding a few more goodies to the pot before calling it a day.

Related

Sustainable Gardening Practices for Growing Cannabis

1. Begin With Your Base Mix

Combine equal parts compost, organic material, and aeration. How much you begin with will depend on your needs. Consider that this base will account for approximately 20% of the total volume of your mix.

One popular formulation of this recipe that works well is:

  • 1 part compost of your choice
  • 1 part coco coir and/or peat moss
  • 1 part perlite

Related

Why Kyle Kushman Swears by Veganic Cannabis Grow Methods

2. Establish a Fungal Population

A diverse microbiology in your soil will be contingent on many factors, and establishing food to grow a healthy fungal population is one of the most important. Fungi love to develop mycorrhizal relationships with root systems (or rhizosphere), and providing food for them to thrive will help facilitate these tiny little symbiotic friendships.

The result? Friends always like to bring food to the party. Picture your cannabis as the partygoers—they like food! Here are some terrific amendments to build fungal life:

  • Kelp meal: 1/4 cup per 5 gallons
  • Humic acid: 1/4 cup per 5 gallons
  • Mycorrhizal inoculant (endomycorrhizae powder): 1/4- 1/2 tsp per gallon

Related

What are the best nutrients for growing cannabis?

3. Establish a Bacterial Population

Just as important as fungi, bacterial populations can help break down complex sugars and convert them to readily available macro and micronutrients for your cannabis. They also help to establish and maintain the immune system of your plants, making them more adept to fight off pests, diseases, and inclement environmental conditions.

Related

Spider Mites, Fungus Gnats, and Root Aphids: How to Deal With 3 Common Cannabis Pests

These ingredients help bring the bacteria:

  • Vermicompost (worm castings): up to 20% total substrate
  • Bat Guano: up to 5% total substrate

4. Fortify With Micro and Macronutrient Sources

Cannabis, like any other plant, requires a regiment of micro and macronutrients to thrive. In many case, these nutrients are often provided via plant fertilizers. However, with organic super soils they’re instead amended into the base mix to be released and/or broken down into food for your plants over time.

Related

Diagnosing Cannabis Nutrient Deficiencies in Sick Plants

Part 1 of our Super Soil series covered how to find the right soil amendments, but here’s a brief refresher of popular soil amendments to add and their respective nutrient contents:

  • Blood meal (nitrogen)
  • Bone meal (phospherus, calcium)
  • Rock phosphate (phospherous)
  • Epsom salts (magnesium)
  • Crustacean meal (nitrogen, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium)
  • Dolomite Lime (pH balance, magnesium)
  • Azomite (micronutrients)
  • Wood ash/bio char (potassium)

Related

How to Grow Bigger Cannabis Buds Outdoors and Indoors

Keep in mind that there are many ways to amend a super soil, including various methods to concocting the aforementioned recipe. Building a successful organic soil is, in many cases, a trial and error endeavor for the home grower. Subcool himself admits to changing his recipe (albeit very minutely) each year to adapt to the needs of his plants.

Be sure to experiment to your cannabis plant’s liking when mixing your soil, and never be afraid to change things up a bit in the process. Your crop will thank you for it in abundant yields and immaculate flavor!

In Part 3 of our Super Soil series, we’ll go over how to maintain and further amend your super soil.

Patrick Bennett's Bio Image

Patrick Bennett

Patrick lives with his wife and daughter in Denver, where he spends his time writing, photographing, and creating content for the cannabis community.

View Patrick Bennett's articles

4 part series

  • JohnPaul

    Just get Happy Frog potting soil and start growing. I’ve used it for 11 years and it’s never let me down 🙂

    • American Patriot

      I can assure you that Subcools super soil is superior to Happy Frog in every way. Night and day diffence. It’s like going to a Ferrari ‘how to ‘ forum and posting ,’ my Ford Taurus gets me to work every day’. Well, that’s nice,

      • JohnPaul

        K. Stahleier. From what I’ve read Subcool’s super soil is very good but the thing is I wasn’t comparing soils. I just made a statement based on my and other peoples experiences. Happy Frog potting soil is made in Humboldt county, Arcata, California. I grow in a 2 x 4 tent and don’t have the space to be mixing up soil. With Happy Frog potting soil I can feed as soon as the seedling has developed it’s first true leaves. HAPPY GROWING neighbor!

  • JohnPaul

    K. Stahleier. From what I’ve read Subcool’s super soil is very good but the thing is I wasn’t comparing soils. I just made a statement based on my and other peoples experiences. Happy Frog potting soil is made in Humboldt county, Arcata, California. I grow in a 2 x 4 tent and don’t have the space to be mixing up soil. With Happy Frog potting soil I can feed as soon as the seedling has developed it’s first true leaves. HAPPY GROWING neighbor!

  • for freedom not more laws

    This post wasn’t trying to get you away from commercial soil. It was to help people like me who want every aspect of growing medicine to know what goes in from beginning to harvest, plus the benefits from knowing every step was local and organic. Fox farm is awesome, but home made is peace of mind!

  • Heugh “The Eagle Has Landed” J

    How much blood meal and such do you add?

  • MH Cadroom

    Step #1 states “Consider that this base will account for approximately 20% of the total volume of your mix.”
    how do the other amendments or whatever add up to 80% ?
    I am trying to make up just a good DIY replacement for Roots Organics.

  • Greenleaf910

    Just to put my two cents in, this is what I made up and my plants love it. For base soil I too used Roots Organic, then I purchased a 15 lb. bag of worm castings, a bag of blood meal, a bag of bone meal, dolomite lime, a pouch of microbial fungi starter, a bag of perlite, a bag of leeched and dried horse manure. The worm castings should make up no more than 1/3 of the total volume, then I followed the directions on the labels of the other ingredients. Just be careful of the amount of blood meal due to the fact that it is very strong and can nitrogen burn if too much is used. After 3 weeks of vegetative state growing I started using an organic tea that I make, I use this every other watering and it consists of; 3 to 4 heaping tablespoons of horse manure, 2tablespoons of worm castings, a1/4 teaspoon of blood meal, a tablespoon of bone meal. I put all this in a cut off corner of a pillow case, tie it up then tie it to popsicle stick and place the teabag into a 1/2 gal. Mason jar with distilled water at a p.h. of 6.0 to6.5. I then add to the water 1 to 2 teaspoons of sulferless molasses, and 5 ml. of cold pressed liquid kelp. Then the last thing is I stick an air hose from a fish tank pump to the bottom of the mason jar to airate the mix overnight. This 1/2 gal. of concentrated tea is enough for 1 full gal . of straight p.h.ed water. If you fertilize like this you don’t need to flush, or just do a flush a few days before harvest.

  • Charles Barnard

    This article is so poor is so many ways.

    First, any beginner presented with this “simple” recipe for soil would likely just go buy a bag of something, as this is far too complex–my wife spent days trying before letting me look.

    A recipe is: a list of materials, a list of tool and supplies, and the acts needed presented in the order needed. This is badly pretsented.

    I’ve written a spreadsheet that will

    • kikyous_servant_kitsune_shippo

      please share

  • Charles Barnard

    How did this get published?
    It’s not a “simple” recipe–it’s not even a recipe.
    In fact, it only makes less than half of what it should, leaving us to wonder what should be the major ingredient.

  • robWeeve

    “Simple”? LOL! Not a single measurement to be seen. More like worthless.