How to Choose a Good Substrate for Cannabis
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How to Choose a Good Substrate for Cannabis

A good substrate is essential for a good harvest: It is the basic fertilizer for the entire life cycle of the plant and provides the minerals necessary for healthy growth and abundant flowering.

Many Options for Growers
There are a lot of different options on the market and this can be confusing. But given the abundance of information available and the attractive advertisements of the brands, it is convenient to stop to analyze what is the real content of the products.

When we opt for a substrate, we do not want to be bullied: Our economy is important and that is why we seek the highest quality. As you know, plants need for their growth the contribution of a long list of chemical elements that are divided into microelements and these marijuana seeds for sale availableat Dutch Seeds Shop. It is vital to take care of the substrate, since the fertilizers add nutritious substances to the soil, which tend to run out as the plants absorb them.

Organic or Biological Fertilizers
Require us to take great care of the life of the land, which is rich in bacteria, and hence the importance of choosing a good substrate. They come from organic sources, are usually lower in nutrients and are more expensive. Lovers of eco cultivation can complement these fertilizers with biological substrates: a good option for this is to mix bat guano with the soil and do a transplant prior to flowering (as long as your substrate does not incorporate guano in its composition). For those growers who prefer to make their own substrate, we recommend choosing it with a light base (which has a low contribution of nutrients) and later enriching it.

Meanwhile, Chemical or Mineral Fertilizers
Productive and effective, but slower assimilation. If you opt for this type of fertilizer, you must take into account its high concentration when choosing the substrate because you could fall into the error of overfeeding the plant. It is also convenient to consider that these fertilizers have the disadvantage if you overdo it before harvesting, they leave a perceptible flavor so it is convenient to wash the roots before cutting.

The substrate we choose will depend on our objectives and the type of system used for its cultivation. For example, the substrate that your plants need in the first days must be spongy and have few nutrients, so that the roots look for them, promoting their growth. To stimulate the root development of the plant, it will be enough to complement it with rooting agents or root enhancers until the product is transplanted (auto flowering varieties cannot afford to lose these two or three days after transplanting).

In the same way, if a grower plans to use a large amount of liquid fertilizers, he should not choose a highly enriched substrate and, on the contrary, if he plans to use less of these products, it is advisable to choose an enriched substrate (commercial preparations are made so that they neither burn nor overfeed seedlings or cuttings). If you want to prepare your own substrate, pay attention to the mixture so as not to overfertilize your plants, since the risk in that case is greater than if you opt for commercial substrates.

How is a Substrate Made?
We were interested in seeing live how and where a standard commercial substrate is born and that is why we have visited a plant where Spanish fertilizers for cannabis are manufactured.

Raw materials are the basis of a good substrate. High-quality, natural raw materials are received at the plant: Baltic peat, Indian coconut fiber, vegetable matter, expanded clay, worm castings or neem cake. These ingredients are processed with the appropriate machinery and the proportions used of each vary depending on the product.

From receipt, the raw material is treated through an automated process that consists of three phases depending on the type of machinery used. In the coconut hydrator they are fluffed and decompressed until they reach the optimal levels of hydration and oxygenation. The rest of the components –such as peat or perlite– are added in two mixing machines where they are homogenized, extracted and unloaded. The last phase takes place in the packaging machine, which leaves the bags of substrate ready for immediate distribution.

These products pass prior controls thanks to the implementation of a raw material traceability system with which compliance with quality standards is previously assured. The mixtures are also subjected to periodic analysis in independent laboratories. Brands make a constant effort to adapt to the constant technological and regulatory requirements required to manufacture, market and compete in Europe.
You can also find more enriched substrates on the market that can be used throughout the entire growth stage, considerably reducing the use of other additional fertilizers. Whether you opt for one alternative or another, it is good practice to also add a bacteria complex, watering it afterwards and leaving it went for a week before germinating the seeds, so that the substrate settles and is ready to receive them in good conditions.

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