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Cultivation: Soil VS Hydroponic

Cannabis Basics EducationCultivation Soil VS Hydroponic By Alecia Weisman Lead Grower and Resident S

By: Alecia Weisman

There are many differences between soil and hydroponic cultivation techniques. When grown properly, indoor, hydroponic plants can yield a more potent product, but soil cultivation yields product with unique flavor that comes surprisingly close in potency.

Hydroponic cultivation methods facilitate precise control over each aspect of the growing process. Hydroponic plants are mostly grown indoors, although it is possible to grow hydroponically in a greenhouse. Growers can use a variety of soil-less media to supply the roots with an optimum amount of nutrients. These media include water, mist, coco coir, rock-wool, a mix of clay pebbles & peat moss, and more. Though hydroponic methods provide the grower with a higher amount of control, they also pose greater risk if something goes wrong. Hydroponic growing is very unforgiving and a slight shift in PH or temperature can be devastating for the plants. For this reason, hydroponic growing is best-suited for seasoned growers. Hydroponic cultivation is also very resource intensive, requiring high set up costs.

Soil cultivation can be done indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse. Soil provides a dynamic root ecosystem and its complexity makes it tough to control; however, the presence of that ecosystem provides an effective buffer for change, making the soil environment more resilient to changes in PH, temperature and water availability. Soil-grown plants rely on air pockets (in the soil matrix itself) and the microbiome to balance oxygen levels and nutrient uptake rates. Soil is much more suitable for beginner growers, as these plants are much more forgiving to change.

Outdoor, soil-grown cannabis can take advantage of the sun and surrounding terrain for a more eco-efficient grow. Much like grapes grown for wine, the cannabis cultivated in soil outdoors also assumes a unique flavor, aroma, and quality reflective of the microclimate that it is cultivated in. The Legion of Bloom is based in Sonoma County, where the warm temperatures, hours of sunlight, and a mildly-arid environment lends itself to quality-grown outdoor cannabis.

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