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In this guide you will learn
If you are determined to grow happy and healthy marijuana plants, you probably have already been thinking about how to fertilize your soil. Fertilizers of some sort (whether organic or otherwise) are very important to making sure your plants are receiving all the nutrients they need.
You have probably heard various facts and figures about composting and other ways of fertilizing your plants, but you’re not sure of what to do next. We can help you with that. Not only will we give you advice on how and why to fertilize your plants, we also sell the Bergman’s Plant Booster, and Bergman’s Plant Protector to help your plants thrive.
Tip: make sure to download my free Grow Bible for more information
This article will give you an overview of the best compost and fertilizers for outdoor plants, paying special attention to the organic way of doing it with compost.
Compost and fertilizer
Because the composition of soil is so important to your harvest, it is key to take care when choosing what exactly to put in it. Every grower encounters one main, important choice when deciding what they want their soil to be like. Do you want to use chemicals, go organic, or go wild? There is no single solution to this question – it depends mostly on your values and how much time and effort you would like to devote to it.
Using chemicals means buying fertilizers in-store. Organic can be anywhere from natural fertilizers to actively composting. And “going wild” refers to simply throwing the cannabis seeds wherever, and waiting to see how they function on their own. The one with the best result is generally the organic option, although it is definitely not the easiest way to go. You will be rewarded for your efforts: the taste and look will be very much improved.
If you are not willing or able to put in a lot of time or effort in your marijuana harvest, you might want to go with a chemical soil or store-bought fertilizers. Our friends at Dealzer have some great nutrients. It is more user-friendly, making it the easy choice for people who are growing marijuana for the first time, and the package of soil even comes with a list of instructions and advice.
The package should be informative and useful in the decision-making process, as they inform you of the exact amounts of the different nutrients. Chemical fertilizers are also a reliable option for people who are doing container growing. The confined space of the pot or bucket means that it is essential to maximize which nutrients are there, so in this case store-bought soil is the best bet.
Although the soil bought in stores is supposed to be of a balanced pH level, this does not mean that you don’t have to check it throughout the season. Even if it starts out with a pH value of 7, it can easily change within one season, making it necessary to test it every now and then (read the article How to measure pH levels in soil).
Some store-bought soils are even way too acidic from the get go. Depending on how things go, don’t be surprised if you find your plants and soil are lacking in a specific nutrient or two sometime during the growing season. Growers with lots of experience already know that, if they use soil bought in the store, they will most likely have to use organic soil amendments in the end anyway.
Composting is inexpensive and relatively simple, as it uses things you would normally just throw away anyway. It creates the environment similar to a nice, fertile soil so your cannabis plants can grow healthily. You can include anything from plant clippings to fruits and vegetables to animal manure. It should not include animal fat or meat, however, as it simply will attract maggots and parasites. You also shouldn’t include manure from your cat or dog, and consider not using pine needles because they lower the pH and don’t break down as quickly as other compostable items.
You should break down all of your compost ingredients into small pieces in order to accelerate the breakdown of your compost mixture. There are plenty of different ways to go about it, and there are plenty of reasons for doing it in a new way.
There are several important factors you always need to remember. For instance, it is a good idea to layer your compost pile, and you should always make sure that air is able to flow through it. The last thing you want is a compost pile that has very little or no air circulation. Just like with any soil or fertilizer, you should also be testing the pH level of your compost pile to make sure it remains balanced. If it is too acidic or alkaline, you can simply put in some lime or bonemeal to adjust the balance in both ways.
Unless you live on a farm, you probably will need a long amount of time to collect enough diverse organic matter to form a useful compost pile. Allow a few months to gain enough items to form a usable mixture. The result is worth it, however, as your mixture will be much more fertile than most of the available store-bought items you can find.
The most often encountered reason for growing cannabis organically is that there is almost a zero chance that you will burn the marijuana plants. Too much chemical fertilizer can be a bad thing, since it is highly concentrated and may leave salts behind in the soil. The roots rapidly absorb the chemical fertilizers and, like someone who eats too quickly will experience a negative reaction. This could include the death of your marijuana plants.
Usually what happens is that too much of one nutrient prevents the uptake of others, leaving your plant deficient and dying: When fed organic substances, marijuana plants will only take in the nutrients they need, leaving the rest in the soil. The remaining nutrients are broken down slowly, which ensures a steady supply.
The major drawback to organic cannabis growing is the knowledge needed and the preparation that may be necessary to deliver the nutrients to the marijuana plants. Composting takes time and should be started months in advance. It requires a space in which to accomplish this, preferably far away from people since it can carry quite an odor. Also, depending on your security needs, it may be impossible to get the composted soil to the grow site, since where you compost and where you grow cannabis may be very far apart. In cases like these it is best to add individual organic matter to the existing site and bring that soil up to par.
The idea behind composting is that organic matter decays with the help of bacteria created in the decomposition process into a brown, loose blend called humus. This is the same process that natural soil uses, though in nature it takes much longer. You accelerate this process through composting because the mixture of things added increases the presence and activity of bacteria and microorganisms. In good, fertile soil there are untold millions of microorganisms in every gram, as well as earthworms, which are attracted to good soil and improve it by living within it.
Make your own compost
Even if you are using chemicals to grow your marijuana plants, you probably will still need to include some organic compost additives at some point. Below you will find a list of the various types of organic additives, and what they can do to help you with the specific elements your soil and fertilizers are missing. You need these to make your own compost.
There are plenty of other available additives as well, but this is a basic list that will help you make it through most seasons. Read carefully, for some of the items on the list include valuable information, such as the exact ratios of Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous that they contain, plus which season they are the most useful in.
Bonemeal is a phosphorous rich additive that is best used for your cannabis plants’ flowering phase. It also releases nutrients slowly, making it especially useful in some of the final vegetative growing phases of your plants. Buy bone meal here
Even chicken manure makes a great fertilizers. Organic slow release chicken manure compost increases yields and promotes healthy plants. If you do not have a chicken at hand, DankoDirt makes great organic fertilizer. Learn about the benefits of ChickenFuel compost.
As repulsive as it sounds, fish emulsion is a mixture that includes decomposed fish. It is the most effective when applied to young cannabis plants, due to the fact that it is not as harsh as some other fertilizers, and its nutrient content is fairly balanced. Buy fish emulsion here
A utility fertilizer that can be useful in any situation, worm casters are extremely balanced in their nutrient content. In addition to nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous, they also have micronutrients that provide a general nutritious value to the soil, helping it to remain nutrient-rich and healthy. Buy worm castings here
No two types of manure are the same since different animals produce waste that has different fertilizing properties. In general, your best bet is to use either rabbit, cow, chicken, horse or bat manure. They are all great additives for compost – don’t put them directly in your plants’ soil, however.
These are most useful when you need to change the pH level your soil or compost to be more acidic since coffee grounds have an extremely acidic pH content. The right pH of the soil is very important to grow healthy marijuana plants.
The answer to coffee grounds, eggshells can make your soil or compost more alkaline. They should be ground down and included in your compost pile.
Lime is another efficient way of increasing your soil or compost’s pH level. Plenty of organic marijuana growers swear by it when their soil is too acidic. Not everyone loves it, however since its reaction and breakdown time is very slow. Because of how long it takes, you should consider using it only early on in the growing season, or add it to your compost if you think the soil might be too acidic for some reason. Buy lime here
This additive is a simple and very fast way of increasing the pH level. It also has lots of other health benefits and micronutrients for your soil.
Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in growing naturally be sure to read my complete guide to growing naturally.
Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free grow bible
The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]