The Challenges of Growing Cannabis Indoors vs. Outdoors

Cannabis cultivation is one of the oldest farming trends in human history. Many states now have laws on the books allowing individuals to cultivate cannabis crops. New growers will have to decide whether indoor or outdoor cannabis growing is the path they wish to pursue. Finding success with initial crop yield becomes easier when there is an understanding of the challenges presented by both methods.

Indoor Cannabis Growing Challenges

Cultivating cannabis crops indoors allows growers to shield their product from the outside world while maintaining full control of the environment. That control makes farmers fully responsible for everything related to their cannabis plants. The grower assumes responsibility for adding needed elements to the environment and making sure nothing harmful intrudes into the indoor space.

Proper Set-Up

The first thing indoor farmers need to think about is how they are going to house their plants. The size of the initial set-up does not matter. New growers may want to think carefully about going too large too fast. Starting with a small plot allows room to experiment with the methods used for cultivation.

Farmers need to make sure that the space they start with has room for equipment like ducts, fans, and other items required to keep the environment optimal for cannabis farming. Many new growers underestimate how large their plants will get and do not leave enough room for everything. They may also fail to do enough to block out light during needed dark periods. That can end up disrupting a cannabis plant’s growth cycle and cause the creation of male flowers.

Battling Root Rot

Many growers use deep water culture as their indoor cannabis growing system. While using this method can promote faster growth, farmers need to be careful about monitoring the roots of their plants. Failing to change out the water in the reservoir regularly can lead to root rot and end up ruining the entire crop. Consider using living soil in your cultivation

Getting Your Soil Mixture Right

Finding the best soil for an indoor growth system is an essential part of establishing a crop. It is an easy process to pick up and is more forgiving of human errors like going too heavy on nutrients.

However, farmers need to be careful not to allow the soil to get overly dry. They may also not realize the importance of doing pH checks on the water fed into the soil. 

Outdoor Cannabis Growing Challenges

Growing cannabis outdoors allows nature to assist in providing cannabis plants with much-needed nutrients in the soil. The trade-off for that is the control given up by farmers who must be prepared to continually adapt to environmental changes.

Soil Preparation

Building up a quality base soil is key to getting a successful outdoor cannabis crop established. Many growers find it tempting to use Miracle Grow or other similar products. Plants end up getting deprived of much-needed nitrogen during vegetation and end up getting too much during the flowering period.

Cannabis growers should also be careful about overwatering their crops. Many make the mistake of failing to check the pH or may cycle in nutrients too frequently or unnecessarily.

Dealing With Pests

Outdoor cannabis plants are more susceptible to infestation from pests like caterpillars, spider mites, and grasshoppers. There is also the threat of fungus flies consuming your root system. Birds can drop in and eat new seeds before they have a chance to become established. Farmers who do end up with a flowering crop must then deal with animals like deer who may want to snack on the plants.

Surviving the Weather

Growing cannabis plants outdoors means placing a crop entirely at the mercy of mother nature. Dry weather, rainstorms, and other conditions can end up wiping out an entire field, costing farmers all the time, money, and effort put in up to that point.

Challenges for Both Methods

While indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivation each have unique problems, there are some issues farmers will run into using either method.

Complying With Regulations

Remember, while the laws in a state may make cannabis growing legal, doing so remains illegal per the federal government. Farmers also need to make sure their crop setup complies with local and state laws established around cannabis growing. New growers who fail to do their homework could end up having their entire crop confiscated and face some severe fines depending on where they live.

Controlling Odor

Some strains of cannabis can produce a very pungent odor into the air. That scent may not be something appreciated by everyone living in the area. Farmers can get into trouble if they live in a town or city with strict regulation around controlling the odor from cannabis cultivation. Growers need to have reserves on hand to purchase filtering systems or other devices meant to control the smell.

Establishing Solid Operating Standards

It is essential for growers to set down and follow standards to follow on cannabis crop cultivation. Many new farmers do not bother to schedule and document when they perform specific tasks like watering and nutrient cycling. That causes them to get thrown off-track and do either too much or too little to contribute to the viability of their cannabis crop. 

Get Expert Help With Your Soil

Are you having some trouble finding the right soil for your cannabis farm? SoHum Living Soil® takes a lot of the guesswork out of maintaining soil for indoor and outdoor cannabis growers. Call today at (866) 308-0750 to discuss how we can help you achieve your desired cannabis crop results.

Growing Cannabis: Why Regular Soil Is Not Ideal

cannabis soil

Everyone has heard about people just growing cannabis in their backyard or out in the woods. Yet as with any crop, growing cannabis in regular soil really is not ideal. If you have ever grown fruits or vegetables, you know that different types of plants need different nutritional content. Even growing something as simple as grass requires specific soil acidity levels and fertilizers.

In this article, we will cover why growing cannabis in regular soil is not ideal, what the best type of soil really is, and tips for getting the best grow.

Why Regular Soil Is Not Ideal for Growing Marijuana?

When starting a traditional garden, many gardeners have to spend months enriching their soil. But even enriching soil is not always ideal for growing marijuana. If you have been to a garden center, you may have noticed that there are different blends of soil for things like succulents, flowers, vegetables, and fruits. Different types of plants need different levels of nutrients. Soils tend to differ in five major ways: drainage, nutrients, texture, pH level, and water retention.

What is the Best Soil for Cannabis?

There are dozens upon dozens of different brands of soil. What you will need to look for is soil that has the right blend of attributes for your marijuana plants. Here is what you need to know:

  • Drainage. Some plants will rot readily if their roots are allowed to remain moist. High drainage soils are frequently used for plants such as succulents, in order to make sure that their roots dry out quickly. The addition of things like “perlite” improve drainage. Cannabis does not need high drainage. Moderate to low drainage is fine.
  • Water retention. This controls how long water will be retained in the soil. If you have soil with low water retention, you will need to water your plants more frequently. Cannabis plants like water, which means you want soil with high water retention. Soils that include peat moss are a good choice, as this keeps the soil moist.
  • Nutrients. If you are growing cannabis, it is very likely that you are going to be adding a nutrient base of fertilizer to your soil regardless. That means that in terms of nutrients, you really just want a high quality, general purpose soil. Many prefer organic soils, to ensure that the cannabis that they receive will be organic. Organic soils do not have added chemicals that could be harmful.
  • Texture. The texture of your soil can range from a coarse soil to a very silt-like soil. In reality, this does not matter so much for cannabis: you can choose a soil texture that makes the most sense in your setup. If you are growing in pots, you may want a potting soil that holds together better. If you are planting outside in raised garden beds, you may want a heavier, more clay-filled soil. pH level. This is the acidity or basicness of the soil. Cannabis tends to prefer its environment to be slightly acidic. In general, the best soil for cannabis is going to be between 6 to 6.8 pH.

These are all the attributes of the soil itself. You can alter these attributes through the use of fertilizers. For instance, frequently you may add nutrients such as nitrogen to the soil through a fertilizer. Because of this, getting the right blend for your marijuana plants is actually a bit complex. You may need to fine-tune your soil and fertilizer combination over time, and if there are any issues you see in your plants (such as wilting) they may be directly related to soil, drainage, light, or any other number of factors. Consider taking the guesswork out of having to mix fertilizers or nutrients by utilizing a fully amended living soil, such as SoHum Living Soil®.

Tips for Growing in Higher Quality Soil

Contact us today, and you will be on your way to high-quality marijuana plants.

Why Cannabis Soil Is a Top Choice for the Home Grower

cannabis soil
For large scale dispensary operations and cannabis facility design, the decision to grow with soil or hydroponics is based on many factors. But as cannabis laws and regulations continue to expand ways in which people can legally grow, consume and sell marijuana, home growing operations are becoming more popular than ever. While the average home grower does not need to worry about cannabis licensing and cannabis marketing, they do need to carefully consider what growing medium to use.
 
Three Immediate Advantages to Choosing Soil for the New Grower
 
The choice boils down to hydroponics, aeroponics, and soil. While people tend to picture plants grown in water when they hear hydroponics or aeroponics, that actually refers to plants grown in any medium other than soil, including sand and gravel. So while all operations based in soil growing will have some very marked similarities, there is an extremely wide range of hydroponic systems, each with their own set of factors and concerns. For instance, while all soil growing operations require a grower to take care that their plants are receiving the right amount of water, a grower using a water hydroponic system does not have to worry about watering plants, while someone using a sand hydroponic system must take that into account. And that is one of the big advantages of choosing soil: because soil growing operations are all fundamentally similar, especially when broken down to indoor/outdoor and container and planted in the ground, there are more resources for the soil grower, especially when it comes to initial set-up and troubleshooting, than there are for hydroponics. It is very easy to find a guide for a soil set-up that will meet a home grower’s specific needs and variables, whereas hydroponic systems tend to more unique, as well as expensive.
And while the concept of using hydroponics to grow plants is hardly new; it has been going at least as far back as the time of the Aztecs, for the average home grower, it remains a novel concept. For the person who is just getting started growing cannabis, hoping to apply their previous gardening experience to cultivating marijuana, soil is the clear choice because home gardening experience does carry over.
A final advantage involving initial set-up is the cost, and almost always, the initial set up cost is less for soil than it is for hydroponics or aeroponics. So in terms of getting started, soil has some very clear advantages:
It is easier to find helpful resources to help set up and troubleshoot.
Previous home gardening experience carries over.
Initial set up costs are lower.
The Cons of Choosing Soil
 
With all of these advantages to initially choosing soil, you may wonder why hydroponics remains such a popular choice for marijuana cultivation. For a home grower looking to maximize yield above all else, then hydroponics might be the right choice, but for many home growers, quality is valued much more over quantity, so the ability to cultivate the ‘right’ plant, is more important than having the fastest or largest harvest. Many a soil grower believes that soil-grown cannabis produces a better taste than hydroponics.
There are a couple of other important advantages to growing hydroponically. Pests that can damage a crop tend to live in the soil, so removing that also removes the threat of pests. The soil grower, especially the outdoor soil grower, must be vigilant and take measures to prevent any infestation of possible pests. For a container grower, switching the soil between every planting cycle will go a long way towards eliminating the threat of pests, and has the added advantage of being able to guarantee the grower is able to get the precise mix of nutrients and fertilizer that they want, every time.
Finally, there are those hydroponic growers who believe that their set-ups are the lowest maintenance operations. The lowest maintenance operation is always the one that each individual grower has perfected and best fits their own needs and goals, and for some, this is a hydroponic set-up, but it takes a large investment of both time and money to create a low-maintenance hydroponic growth operation.
So while soil is an excellent choice for the home grower there are some advantages to hydroponics:
Hydroponically grown cannabis may grow faster.
Hydroponic harvests tend to yield more.
Hydroponic plants can be susceptible to pests.
Some well-established hydroponic set-ups are very low-maintenance.
The Long-Term Advantages of Choosing Soil:
There are several long-term advantages to choosing soil that has nothing to do with the experience level of the grower. One of the largest is the taste of the harvested plant. And while that is, of course, a subjective metric, many experts believe that the flavor of soil-grown is superior. Another similar characteristic where soil has the advantage is how much easier it is to do completely naturally or officially organic. Many hydroponic systems require chemicals to be added that are neither natural nor organic and whether it is due to the grower’s personal preference, or having an all-natural product is important for cannabis marketing, that can often be a deal breaker.
Another big long-term advantage is maintenance. While each hydroponic system will have its own level of maintenance, some of which are fairly complex, all soil systems have a pretty even level of maintenance, where the main components occur during planting and in the watering stages. On the whole, the level of maintenance required by a soil system tends to be simpler, more straightforward and more inexpensive than hydroponics. Overall soil systems tend to be slightly more forgiving to inattention on the part of the grower. While having the wrong PH or nutrient levels in a hydroponic system can spell disaster for an entire crop if not quickly corrected, with a soil system, it’s more likely to be salvageable even if not corrected right away. The flip side of this is that problems can be slower to emerge and treat, but for hobbyist growers, for whom this is not a full-time job, having an operation that allows them to forget checking nutrient levels every so often is a worthwhile trade-off.
Whereas the choice to go with hydroponics or soil is an important one to every cannabis grower, when it comes to the home grower, especially the home grower who is just getting started cultivating cannabis, soil has some very marked advantages. Contact us today for more information!