Start with at least six to eight large bags of high-quality organic soil. This is your base soil—i.e., your regular potting soil without the additives. The selection of your base soil is very important, so don’t cut corners here. I can’t begin to discuss all the different products out there, but I will mention a few in this article. A good organic soil should cost you from $8 to $10 per 30-pound bag. Since I want to give you a very specific idea of what I consider to be a balanced soil, take a look at the ingredients in a product called Roots Organic:
Lignite, coco fiber, perlite, pumice, compost, peat moss, bone meal, bat guano, kelp meal, greensand, soybean meal, leonardite, k-mag, glacial rock dust, alfalfa meal, oyster shell flour, earthworm castings and mycorrhizae.
Another local product we’re trying out now, Harvest Moon, has the following ingredients:
Washed coco fibers, Alaskan peat moss, perlite, yucca, pumice, diatoms, worm castings, feather meal, fishmeal, kelp meal, limestone, gypsum, soybean meal, alfalfa meal, rock dust, yucca meal and mycorrhizae fungi.
So far we’ve found that Roots Organic produces a more floral smell in the finished buds, while Harvest Moon generates larger yields.
If you have access to a good local mix like these, then I highly recommend starting with a product of this type. We’ve also had decent results using commercial brands, but never “as is.” The best results we’ve had to date using a well-known commercial soil has been with Fox Farms’ Ocean Forest soil combined in a 2-to-1 ratio with Light Warrior. Used on its own, Ocean Forest is known for burning plants and having the wrong ratio of nutrients, but when cut with Light Warrior, it makes a pretty good base-soil mix.
You can also just use two bales of Sunshine Mix #4, but this would be my last choice, since plants grown in this mix may not respond well to my “just add water” method of growing.
After choosing your base soil, the Super Soil concentrate is placed in the bottom one-third to one-half of the container and blended with the base soil. (With strains that require high levels of nutrients, we’ll go so far as to fill ¾ of the container with Super Soil, but this is necessary only with a small percentage of strains.) This allows the plants to grow into the concentrated Super Soil layer, which means that in the right size container, they’ll need nothing but water throughout their full cycle. One of the things I like best about this soil mix is that I can drop off plants with patients, and all they have to do is water them when the soil dries out.