When it comes to growing marijuana outdoors, the process is a little more complex than purchasing weed seeds and sticking them in the ground. To be successful, you’ll need to learn a thing or two, like what’s the best soil for outdoor weed?
Whether you decide to plant your favorite strain in outdoor pots, beds, or the ground, you must use a high-quality outdoor soil mix for cannabis.
Take the time to prepare, test, and monitor your soil mix for cannabis outdoors. At the end of the day, ‘you are what you eat,’ and the same applies to marijuana.
Providing a home of supercharged nutrient-rich soil with adequate drainage and retention capabilities will boost the quality of your weed and the size of its yield.
Theoretically, it also means your marijuana plant should thrive with little intervention.
Heading to the garden center to pick up your outdoor soil mix for cannabis can put your head in a spin. There are entire aisles of potting media to choose from. Join us as we explore the importance of selecting the right soil for cultivating cannabis and crown the best soil for outdoor weed.
Why is finding the best soil for outdoor weed important?
Soil, earth, dirt, or whatever you call it may not be pleasant to look at or handle but is the foundation of all plant life and overall health. Weed prefers specific types and textures of dirt.
The best soil for growing cannabis outdoors should boast an optimum balance between drainage and retention. As your plants are exposed to the elements, proper drainage lowers the risk of waterlogging, root rot, and pests.
On the other hand, a soil mix for cannabis outdoors needs to absorb enough water to keep your plants hydrated throughout long sunny days. Nutrient retention is key to happy marijuana.
A quality soil for growing weed outdoors will provide your ganja plant with all the nutrients it needs through most of its lifecycle. As a result, you won’t have to interfere as much, making the journey much safer for your plant and simpler for you.
You can buy neutral soil or flush your medium before planting to eliminate possible threats and nutrient imbalances. If you opt for this, always remember to fertigate your soil to avoid deficiencies.
The pH level of your earth plays a significant role in the health of your pot. The best soil for cannabis outdoors will have a pH of around 6.
Many things can tip the acidic vs. alkaline levels, like heavy rainfall, improper drainage, and high amounts of fertilizer. We now know a high-quality outdoor soil mix for cannabis will prevent these threats keeping your soil in the ideal parameters for an impressive harvest.
Which nutrients should your cannabis soil mix contain?
The best soil for growing weed outdoors will contain large amounts of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) over any other nutrients.
These three are the essential macronutrients that form the base of cannabis health and must be present throughout the plant's entire lifecycle.
Low percentages of any of them at any point will cause deficiencies resulting in ill health and low-quality harvests.
The best soil for outdoor cannabis shouldn't need frequent top-ups of all three. However, your weed uses them at different rates so monitoring the levels is key to ensuring balance. You can use fertilizers that boast high percentages of N, P, or K to achieve this when a deficiency presents itself.
Maintaining the balance is easier if you use the container planting method. It's much harder to get a consistent pH of 6 in ground soil, and it determines what your plant can absorb or locks out.
When you start your cannabis growing journey, use the best soil for weed outdoors alongside some inexpensive organic fertilizer over heavy commercial ones. You can add:
- Blood meal or fish meal
- Bone meal or bat guano
- Wood ash or kelp meal
- Dolomite lime
- Epsom salts
You should test your outdoor cannabis soil mix regularly to ensure it's packed full of the stuff your weed needs. Doing so will keep you in the know and allow you to amend it with appropriate fertilizers when necessary.
What is the best soil for outdoor weed growing?
Depending on where you choose to plant your marijuana will determine the best soil for growing cannabis outdoors.
For instance, if you use containers, you’ll need to choose potting soil. Cultivating out of the ground will require topsoils and an understanding of your local earth composition.
There are four common types of soil for growing cannabis. At the most basic level, each holds a mixture of decaying matter, rocks, and minerals. However, some are richer in these elements than others making them more superior as a soil mix for cannabis outdoors.
Soil types also vary in:
- Retention levels
- pH level
- Nutrient percentages
- Drainage capabilities
Read on as we put the different types of soil most commonly found in your backyard under the microscope to determine which one is the best soil for outdoor weed.
Silt is a good choice for weed cultivation but isn’t the best overall soil to grow cannabis outdoors.
Silt is easy to handle and manipulate. It provides plants with enough drainage and holds its temperature. It also contains an abundance of cannabis nutrients.
- Retains water but drains excess
- Supports plants and keeps them sturdy
- Compacts quickly, which can damage root structures and need topping up.
Sandy soil for growing weed outdoors boasts a variety of positives but also comes with some negatives. You’ll need to dig large holes and mix the sand with other potting mediums like peat moss, compost, and coco coir to use it successfully.
If you live in warm regions, you should mulch sandy soil to improve its water retention and avoid overheating the root system.
Sandy soil for growing weed outdoors is also easy to work with, like silt. Its granular texture helps with drainage and allows oxygen into the media. It has a low pH which will need amendments to reach 6, where cannabis is happiest.
- Ideal drainage
- Highly oxygenated
- Doesn’t compact
- Lack of water retention
- Dries out fast
- Heats to high temperatures
- Rainfall washes away nutrients
Clay is the heaviest and hardest soil to work with. You’ll need to prepare this soil mix for cannabis outdoors a few weeks before planting your crop by heavily amending it.
While working with this outdoor soil mix for cannabis, you’ll need to create large holes and add considerable amounts of organic matter. Use compost, worm castings, compost, and any other decaying materials you can get your hands on to introduce nutrients and improve its texture.
Its small granular size compacts densely and prevents drainage and oxygen from passing through. It also has a high pH level, which you’ll need to work at balancing out.
- Packed with minerals that support healthy growth
- Retains water
- Provides a stable foundation for large plants
- Minimal drainage
- Dense texture
- Difficult medium to work with
When we plant straight into the ground, we subject our marijuana to the mercy of local soil, which is usually one of the above mentioned. You must work with what you’ve got if this is the route you choose.
However, the best soil for cannabis outdoors is a composition of all three. We call this soil mix loam, and unlike the others, it's rarer to come by naturally in your backyard. It's more prevalent near rivers, streams, and lakes.
When you squeeze loamy soil, it’ll form loose balls that hold their shape momentarily before large sections break away. In comparison, clay turns hard, and sand crumbles as soon as you release pressure.
Loam soil for growing weed outdoors boasts all of the positives of the other three combined. It's dark and hearty looking thanks to its high nutrient composition but neutral pH level.
- Efficient drainage
- High water retention
- Easy to handle
- High oxygen content
- Hugh nutrient retention
- An ideal habitat for microorganisms