A question I get asked all the time is “what fertilizers should I use for my outdoor plants?” I created this cannabis fertilizer guide to help answer that question. The following list is a variety of products we use in our outdoor garden.
How to Measure Nutrient Levels in your Soil
There are a number of ways to evaluate nutrient levels in your soil. Here at Balance, most if not all of our plants are grown in raised beds. Occasionally, we will grow a plant or two in a large pot. Over the years, we have noticed that each strain generally requires a different amount of nutrients throughout its life. To help us with our problem, we have tested several different brands of garden sensors. You connect via your smart phone through an interactive app. They are inexpensive and provide important information like light levels, soil moisture levels, nutrient levels and more. They great and provide a lot of help with determining when to fertilize so you won’t make any silly mistakes.
Cannabis Fertilizer Guide
For us, the most important part are the organic nutrients we give our plants. A successful gardener must create a situation where their plants can maximize their genetic potential for vigorous growth. You can create this type of environment by providing an excellent growing medium and feeding your plants regularly.
We often get asked “How much fertilizer should I give my plant?” Our answer is always the same; whatever fertilizer you use, follow the directions on the label. Another question we get all the time is “What brand of fertilizer do you use?” We use a lot of different fertilizers depending on the situation. Most of the fertilizers we use are cheap, organic and available for purchase at either Home Depot or on Amazon.
Blood meal is another great amendment to add to your growing medium. This organic fertilizer is also high in nitrogen, usually around 12-0-0. It should be applied during vegetative stages only. Be careful not to over apply as this fertilizer can burn your precious plants. Before every grow season, I reapply blood meal in all my raised beds. I have also used for potted plants as well. Simply mix it in with the top portion of your soil and water full afterwards. It works great and provides your plants with a quick nitrogen boost. Blood meal can be purchased at almost all garden locations. I’ve used Down to Earth and Miracle-Gro blood meals interchangeably depending upon availability. Both are organic and very affordable.
5-1-1 Fish Fertilizer
5-1-1 Fish Fertilizer is easy to use and a favorite in our garden. We probably use this fertilizer more than any other; and mostly during the vegetative stage because it is high in nitrogen. We generally apply at a rate of 2 TBSP per gallon and feed every two weeks during vegetative growth. It is great if your plants are yellow and need nitrogen as it is absorbed quickly. This fertilizer can be purchased at Home Depot or on Amazon. It is cheap, organic, OMRI certified and won’t burn your plants! A must buy if you ask us!
Applying bone meal is great for transitioning your cannabis plants from a vegetative state to a flowering state. It provides a balanced fertilizer profile that still has enough nitrogen, but also prepares your plant for flowering with higher phosphorus and potassium levels. Bone meal comes as a fine powder. It should not be inhaled and wearing a mask is advised when applying. Miracle-Gro’s Bone Meal has developed some great packaging for applying their fertilizers. Their packaging make it easy to apply by simply shaking it out. Way better and easier than the old way, trust me!
Dr. Earth Bud & Bloom Fertilizer
There is no doubt in my opinion that Dr. Earth has one of the best product lines. Their entire line up from top to bottom is solid. We have used their soils and fertilizers for years. One of our favorites is the Bud and Bloom Fertilizer. Just like the rest of the fertilizers we use, it works great and comes at an affordable price. Two weeks into flower, we hit our garden with this fertilizer. It’s high phosphorus level really helps our buds swell up. We use it throughout the entire flowering cycle.
Jamaican Bat Guano
Jamaican Bat Guano is our closer. We finish our plants off with this fertilizer. Probably the most expensive fertilizer we use, but definitely one of the best. Not all Guano’s are the same either. Don’t be fooled when purchasing guano’s as there are two different types. Some guano’s are high in nitrogen, but Jamaican Bat Guano is high in phosphorus. We don’t use Guano’s that are high in nitrogen because we have other fertilizers for that. However, bat guano’s that are high in phosphorus are known as super bloom fertilizers. They are great for flowering plants and should be applied during full flower. I recommend any bat guano brand high in phosphorus, but Jamaican Bat Guano is one of the best because it contains small amounts of nitrogen and potassium as well.
Other Natural Amendments We Use
If you are looking to take your garden to the next level, this section will provide some great soil amendments we use. These amendments are not required by any means, but using them will improve your harvest drastically in our opinion.
Azomite is a natural product mined from an ancient mineral deposit in Utah and typically contains a broad spectrum of over 70 minerals and trace elements. This volcanic ash is used as a soil re-mineralizer for plants. The trace minerals have been reported to improve root systems, yields and general plant vigor in a variety of field crops and garden vegetables. We added it to our garden because it had great reviews. So far so good!
Granular Humic Acid
A successful outdoor garden is one teamed with microbial life. Humic Acids are derived from the ancient remains of decomposed organic plant materials. This complex mixture enhances nutrient uptake, provides drought tolerance and stimulates soil microbial life. Because of its vegetative origin, this material is very rich and beneficial to plants today. Humic acids increase the availability of nutrients in our fertilizers and helps lower the pH of your soil to a more neutral level. Definitely one of the best amendments you can add to your garden. You can apply it in all grow environments including pots and raised beds. Humic Acid is very affordable and is highly recommended! We use it with all our plants.
Have you ever noticed how fast life springs into action after a recent forest fire? Fires create a rich deposit of carbon in the soil and this increases soil fertility and encourages microbial activity. The use of fire in agricultural is a practice that has been used by humans for over 2,000 years. We try and recreate this natural event by using BioChar in our gardens. BioChar is a fine-grained, highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water. It is arguably one of the most important amendments you can add to your garden. It will save you money because nutrients won’t leach out and will stay in the root zone longer.