Get Your Fertilizer
What fertilizer should a beginner use when growing cannabis in soil? The first fertilizer I recommend growing with is Dr. Earth, because it is a simple top dressing fertilizer that is organic, OMRI listed and it just needs to be watered in. Fragrant, frosty, and healthy flowers are to be expected using this product in your home grow. Dr. Earth fertilizer works by enriching and feeding the soil to feed your plants. There’s a bag option for VEG phase called Home Grown and a bag option for FLOWER phase called Flower Girl. Dr. Earth is not directly marketed for cannabis cultivation, but don’t let that stop you from growing high quality cannabis with it. It’s affordable, accessible, and easy to use. Dr. Earth is made up of amendments like fish bone meal, alfalfa meal, feather meal, soft rock phosphate and mined potassium sulfate.
To use Dr. Earth, just spread the product onto the top of the soil and water it in. Or you can mix it with your water, shake and stir vigorously, and pour in. You can use add Dr. Earth every 2 – 4 weeks. Use 1 – 2 tablespoons per gallon of medium. A 5 gallon pot/medium would take 5 – 10 tablespoons. Every strain is a little different in terms of “how much is too much,” so pay attention to your plants and follow the “least to most” strategy to play it safe.
If you want to go above and beyond the call of duty, you can add some silica to your Dr. Earth regimen. Silica helps plants grow stronger and Dr. Earth just doesn’t have enough of it. You can add silica to your water every time you give your plants a drink.
IMPORTANT: If you’re growing cannabis in premium soil like Happy Frog or Ocean Forest, you do NOT need to add any additional fertilizer to the medium / plant for 30 – 40 days. If you’re only in VEG for 30 – 40 days and flip to flower, you don’t need the VEG fertilizer bag, you’ll only need to get the FLOWER phase bag.
More Fertilizers and Nutrients For Cannabis
Some cannabis fertilizers are dry powder and some are liquid. Some are considered synthetic, while others organic. Some are designed to make nutrients immediately available to the plant, and others are designed to feed and nourish the soil, which allows the plant to access them when it needs to naturally.
Interestingly, just because a fertilizer is “synthetic” doesn’t mean there aren’t natural ingredients involved. It just means it doesn’t classify as completely organic-based or organic.
My favorite fertilizer is Earth’s Original Organics which has two different bags to grow cannabis with. One is called “Tony’s Magic Mix” for your VEG phase and the other bag is “Tony’s Magic Flower” for your FLOWER phase. These organic-based dry powder fertilizers were invented by Tony Sarah to make fertilization simple and easy for gardeners, including cannabis growers. Although the label doesn’t mention cannabis, the fertilizer is ideal for it. To use it, just spread the product onto the top of the soil and water it in. Or you can mix it with your water, shake and stir vigorously, and pour in. By feeding the soil with this product, your plants will be able to access what they need as they need it. The cannabis flowers I’ve grown using Earth’s Original Organics smell and taste better than anything else I’ve ever grown with.
Although the label on Earth’s Original Organics doesn’t include cannabis application recommendations, I’ve written them down here for you.
Instructions for growing cannabis with Tony’s Magic Mix and Tony’s Magic Flower:
If you are growing with a brand new bag of fresh potting soil, wait 30 – 45 days before adding any fertilizer to it.
Apply every 2 weeks (Tony’s Magic Mix in VEG phase or Tony’s Magic Flower in FLOWER phase)
Apply ⅓ cup to a 2 or 3 gallon pot
Apply ¾ cup to a 5 gallon pot
Apply 1 cup to a 7 gallon pot
Apply 1 ½ cups to a 10 gallon pot
You can start with the above mentioned ratios and go up from there based on the plant’s needs. In between fertilizer applications, I add 1 – 2 tablespoons of Tony’s Magic Mix or Tony’s Magic Flower to water applications, shake vigorously, and water it in. You can do this too!
Earth’s Original Organic’s can be hard to find depending on where you live. Order Tony’s Magic Mix and Tony’s Magic Flower from Green Carpet Growing today!
The most well known organic dry powder fertilizers are from Down To Earth. Unlike Earth’s Original Organics, you’ll need to purchase each ingredient in a separate box, and there are several to choose from. 13 different boxes are available for you to concoct your own recipes for VEG and FLOWER. You’ll need to know which boxes to get, and the right quantities to use in VEG + FLOWER. I don’t recommend using Down To Earth as a first time grower, but don’t let me stop you if you really want to do it.
Down To Earth Application Regimen:: Apply Down To Earth every 2 – 4 weeks.
Roots Organics has dry powder fertilizer bags for cannabis cultivation. Like Down To Earth, you need to know which bags to get and the right quantities to use in VEG + FLOWER. Certain bags are sometimes hard to come by, so its a crap shoot.
Roots Organics Application Regimen: Apply Roots Organics dry powders every 2 weeks.
Lotus Nutrients offers a synthetic dry powder fertilizer for growing cannabis at home with their Lotus Nutrients 3 pack starter kit. The kit has 3 containers and overall Lotus Nutrients utilizes 14 unique raw components including seaweed extract. Add the proper amount to your water, mix it up real good, ensure a proper ph, and apply to the soil.
Lotus Nutrients Application Regimen: Apply Lotus Nutrients dry powder every other watering, up to every watering.
Lastly, I’ll recommend a few liquid fertilizers, if you’d like to go that way. Be forewarned, preparing liquids will be messy. Liquid fertilizers for cannabis include feeding charts with a recommended “seedling/clone” ratio, a VEG week 1 ratio, VEG week 2 ration, VEG week 3, 4, 5, 6 and so on. Some ratios are small like 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water, or you might see 6 tablespoons per gallon of water or even more. As a rule, always “ph” your water/nutrient solution after you’ve mixed them thoroughly. You’ll learn how to test and balance ph in another chapter.
Some liquid fertilizers to consider growing cannabis with include the Roots Organics Master Pack, Fox Farms Liquid Trio, General Hydroponics Trio, or the Foop Organic Biosciences Kit. Other more complicated liquid fertilizer kits are available, but I am recommending just the simple ones for brand new growers. Each product has specific application instructions on their respective labels. Follow them accordingly and remember The Golden Rule of Fertilization. FYI, The Fox Farms, General Hydroponics and FOOP kits can be used in hydroponics as well.
The Golden Rule of Fertilization
Whenever applying new fertilizer, give less than the recommendation on the label.
The Golden Rule of Fertilization always applies, even with my recommendations above. No matter what new fertilizer you try, always give less than the recommendation on the label and work your way up. If you give too much, it can cause toxicity and “nutrient burn” — a common problem for growers. One of the signs of nutrient burn is leaf tip burn. If you notice the tips of your leaves browning, dial back your fertilization. Different varieties of cannabis will respond differently to application strengths, so what works for one strain may not work for another.
How much is too much fertilizer?
Adding too much fertilizer is bad, so don’t do that. If you see the tips of the leaves become brown and discolored, you’ve used too much fertilizer. This is often referred to as nutrient burn or leaf tip burn.
If you see that your leaves are very dark green, it can be an indication there’s too much nitrogen being fed to the plant. A lighter green color is a healthy color for fresh new growth as a rule of thumb.
If you feed your plant an exorbitant amount of extra nutrients, you can definitely kill it. It’s called nuking your plant and it will turn all kinds of crazy colors before it dies completely. Don’t nuke your plant!
Marc Eden’s DIY Cannabis Cultivation Book For Beginners: Learn How To Grow Cannabis Indoors Using LED, Tents, and Soil
Published by Green Carpet Growing, Inc. San Diego CA 92103
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