Seeing Through the Smoke: Time to get dirty

by DGO Web Administrator

Plant life here on planet Earth breaks down to four elements – light, soil, wind and water. It can be a bit complex, but it’s not complicated; like choosing your next meal: you could run by the gas station and grab some burrito; you could go to the supermarket and select your own ingredients, bring them home, and prepare them; or you could go to a restaurant and spend anywhere from 10 bucks to 2/3 of your weekly paycheck.

Growing your own cannabis is easy; well, as easy as being responsible for another living thing for the duration of its natural life can be. You’ll spend time and energy caring for it, thinking about it daily, observing it closely and learning what works and what doesn’t in your specific setup.

So, what I’m going to do here is give you a few things to decide for yourself and another few things to research. Your major decisions will involve choices of light and soil – there is a staggering array of possibility within these two grow components. Because the primary light source will be the sun (with some minor supplemental lighting in the early stages), we’ll start with soil.

What kind of marijuana do you want to grow? The issue at the bottom of this question concerns having control over what you want to put into your body. It may be difficult to figure out if your store-bought lettuce is GMO nowadays, but if you grow your own cannabis, you know what went into it and you can feel 100 percent comfortable that the weed you’re smoking, the edibles you’re passing out to your friends before going to a concert and the buds you’re smooshing into a juicer along with a handful of kale, four apple chunks and a couple carrots are never going to be listed for recall because of pesticide contamination.

If your answer is “the best quality pure, organic marijuana,” you’re going to need to direct your energy toward researching soil. The simplest recipe I found for creating high-quality organic soil included no fewer than 10 ingredients, like worm castings, bone meal, perlite and dolomite. There are websites, forums within websites, books, ebooks, magazine articles, YouTube videos, tutorials, consultants and every stripe of expert out there to consider. Now would be the time to look up your local grow/hydro shop and make friends with the guy or gal behind the counter.

As far as cost, pure organic soil will present you with the highest starting investment, but, as it is reusable and requires little to no nutrient supplementation (just add water), there is a long term cost benefit. After “the best quality, pure organic” soil comes a wide range of possibilities. To rehash the food comparison, think of a range from “Farm Fresh to Fast Food”; there are plenty of options that would fall within the acceptable range and another bunch that you’re probably better off avoiding. Lesser soils require substantial nutrients supplementation. One of the byproducts of this supplementation is the buildup of chemical salts, which create imbalances in the soil and require that it be discarded after a single use.

My bottom line advice when it comes to soil: Save up a bit and get yourself the best combination of soil products that you can afford. Establish a relationship with the employees at your local grow shop; they’ll be invaluable over time to answer your questions, guide you as you make changes, and – this is huge, trust me – help you out when things get wonky (and things will get wonky once in a while). So, DGO, get some dirt on your minds, and be well ’til next week.

Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at [email protected]


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