Grow Mediums

Ok!  You are certain you want to grow marijuana and you are committed.  Just like before we have to ask ourselves how serious we are about this adventure.  If you are curious about starting a new hobby and are excited but need to stay in a low cost budget, then growing in soil in best for you.  If you are an enthusiast who has the ability to develop a budget to spend, patience, has a strength in being task oriented and solutions focused, we are going to grow hydro.

Captain Sunshine’s personal passion, joy, and excitement comes with growing hydro.  Otherwise, our teams favorite is to grow organic outdoor greenhouse using mixed lighting.  Our teams favorite to smoke is organic greenhouse using mixed lighting because of our zero carbon footprint with that garden, as well as, the purity, attention, and love put into the life of the cannabis.  Ask yourself, why do I want to grow cannabis?

I enjoy cannabis, want to experiment, and want to keep costs lowest?

  • Grow in soil
    • Do not focus on organics
  • Grow with healthy clones
    • In Southern California we have the Strainbank available for healthy clones and feminized seeds.
    • Do not trust craigslist or weedmaps.
      • Purchasing unhealthy clones, whether having fungus, spider mites, or other insects, promotes the spread of disease and harmful propagation of destructive organisms.
      • Purchasing from a licensed, accredited, and reputable gardener is of upmost importance if you are going to engage in the cannabis community.
      • Use a T5 for the whole life cycle, seed to harvest.
    • Oscillating fan
    • Nutrients
    • Dehumidifier
      • Most important environmental control to monitor and alter is humidity.
      • Strongly recommend purchasing a dehumidifier if able even in a bare bones setup.
    • Air purifier
      • This can be cut as a cost if the smell of cannabis or white vinegar is of concern.


I have allergies, I have a physical medical challenge, I have a mental medical challenge, I have a practice in mindfulness, are vegan, prefer to smoke cannabis over drinking, and I want to keep costs low.

  • Grow in organic soil, veganic soil.
  • Grow with healthy clones
  • T5 or Light emitting diodes
  • Dehumidifier
  • Oscillating fan
  • Nutrients
  • Air purifier.


I have some money to spend, but I really want to see if this is something I really want to dive into.

  • Grow in organic soil, veganic soil.
  • Grow with healthy clones
  • Ceramic metal halides
    • From clone to harvest
  • Ph tester
    • The IQ150 pH meter is distributed by
    • Looks like a cooking thermometer.
      • Tests the soils root zone and monitor adjustments.
      • Provides accurate temperature and pH values for liquids and soils.
    • Oscillating fan
    • Nutrients
    • Air purifier.


Cannabis is a part of my lifestyle; whether for medical purposes that cannabis increases your quality of life, or for recreational purposes where cannabis increases your quality of life. I am committed to growing cannabis and I need someone to help me have a consistent harvest (shit does happen in life, like insects or fungus) so that I can maintain a healthy quality of life.  I need to keep costs low to moderate.

  • Grow in organic soil, veganic soil.
  • Grow with healthy clones
    • Grow from seeds if in your budget
    • Cannabis from seeds done correctly will provide a higher quality medical cannabis than clones, as well as, psychoactive genetic potential in a plant.
  • Equipment
    • Oscillating fan
    • Dehumidifier
    • Nutrients
    • Co2 tank
      • Can be done manually to keep costs low
      • Can be put on a trigger and scheduled with a timer


Cannabis is a part of my lifestyle, I have experience, it is okay if it takes me a couple cycles to learn the technology, I am a caregiver and need to increase my yield for patients, want to be able to contribute to your local collective, enjoy having a good amount of cannabis on hand, enjoy being able to share cannabis with others when you want.

  • Grow in hydroponics
  • Captain Sunshine recommends learning the Ebb and Flow system for indoor growers in this category.
    • Otherwise, Captain Sunshine recommends for greenhouse growers to incorporate the Dutch Bucket
  • Equipment
    • Oscillating fan
    • Dehumidifier
    • Co2 trigger
      • Co2 tank
    • PH tester and Parts per million (PPM) tester
      • Common brands
        • Handheld ph and ppm testers/ generic
          • These are most cost effective
        • BlueLab Guardian Monitor
          • Costs go up
        • BlueLab Pro Care Kit
          • Costs go up
        • H2o2
          • 1 gallon from 25-35 dollars
        • Water Chiller
          • Depends on the size of the setup, location in the world, basement, attic, indoors or outdoors, and insulation.
        • Nutrients
          • Bountea Organics
            • Simple directions
          • Air purifier.


I have capitol, patience, experience, and have the ability to learn technology or I want to know how to produce the most scientifically advanced marijuana on the face of planet Earth.  Welcome, you are about to adventure into a world of opportunity, a world of potential disaster, welcome to the power of science.

  • You will grow using Captain Sunshine’s favorite method, which is Deep water culture.
    • Fortunately for you, Captain Sunshine is going to give away his secrets for free, why you may ask, because the information is not for ours to keep, light does not hold onto itself, light moves forward and freely.
  • Equipment
  • Automated computer systems
    • Autogrow
      • Intellidose and Climadose
        • Intellidose
          • Monitors PH, total dissolved solids (tds), and water temperatures
          • Needs selenoid valves or paristalic pumps to control nutrient dosing.
        • Climadose
          • Monitors air temperature, humidity, light, Co2 and controls lights fans, dehumidifier, and Co2.
        • Amazing customer service.
        • Customer service is better than Agrowtek
        • Horrible software, outdated, does not perform as advertised for cataloging and saving garden statistical data.
      • Agrowtek
        • Has better software than Autorow.
        • More expensive than Autogrow for a completely automated system.
        • Customer service is lacking and other hydro stores and gardeners I have spoken to who have used Agrowteks services have been treated with “Rudeness,” and sense of “Superiority,” and “Belittling.”
      • Co2 sensor
        • Has to be purchased separately with Autogrow and Agrowtek
      • Co2 Generator
        • Sentinel or Titan
        • Tap into a gas line if able
          • Most efficient
        • Air purifier.
      • Current Culture pre-assembled system
        • Amazing customer service, will walk you through your challenges, help you learn to grow like Captain.
      • Otherwise you can build the system yourself
        • Order High-density polyethylene pipe (HDPE).
          • American National Standards Institute (ANSI) /National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) 14 and 61.
          • NASI/ NSF 14: Establishes performance and health requirements for plastic piping.
  • Applies to thermoplastic and thermoset plastic piping.
  • Applies to resins and blended materials in plastic piping.
  • Plumbing industry standard and the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) requires plastic piping observe NSF/ANSI 14.
  • National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) Standard 14 is the cornerstone/ benchmark for National Sanitation Foundation Plastic Certification Program. All National Sanitation Foundation inspected facilities and their manufactured products in compliance with National Sanitation Foundation 14 requirements has finished a manufacturing audit. National Sanitation Foundation 14 requirements are listed on NSF’s website as well as all products passing inspection.
  • National Sanitation Foundation Standard 61 (NSF-61) are national water treatment standards for drinkable/ potable water or systems assisting production of drinkable/potable water.
    • The water tests for leaching of the plastics into the water and extraction of plastics into the water.
      • This is critical as plastics are scientifically proven to be a known source of cancer to humans.
    • High-density polyethylene pipe (HDPE) is an insulator, transfer of heat is minimal.
    • Does not corrode easily resisting corrosive effects of effluents, in our case nutrients, cleaning products like H2o2, the pipe withstanding a pH range from a very acidic 1.5 to a very caustic 14, does not rust, designed to carry drinking water, wastewater, chemicals, hazardous wastes, and gases.
    • Resistant to biological residue and buildup, does not tuberculate.
    • Couplings
      • Will join the piping to the bucket
      • You will need to order the coupling directly from Current Culture or go to your local hydro store and place an order
      • Captain Sunshine has searched far and wide to drive down costs and couplings was one of his projects and he could not find an alternative to Current Cultures couplings. Please share if you find a more cost effective solution.
        • Coupling come in sizes for 2 inches and three inch piping.
      • Air Pump
        • Always install the air pump outside of the garden.
        • This allows you to bring in fresh Co2 or oxygen from outside the garden.
      • Water Pump
      • Water Chiller
      • Dehumidifier
        • If hooking up to an automated system make sure the dehumidifier can be turned on by a trigger.
      • Air Conditioner


  • Vital Earth
  • Harvest Moon
  • Root Organic
  • Urbn Dirt
  • Bio Vega, Bio Flora, and Bio Boost.
    • Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) certified 100% veganic nutrients.
  • The roots of cannabis will extend out into the soil as the plants grow and nutrient availability depletes within that region of the soil.

When cannabis spends energy on growing the root system of the plant then the cannabis is not focusing available resources on leaf development, growth of the stems, flowers or buds.

  • Our goal for indoor cannabis is to develop smaller root systems.
    • Nutrient availability for the cannabis plant will be provided by the gardener by mixing water and liquid nutrients.
      • Some nutrients do come in powder form and are mixed with water.
    • The mindful gardener monitors the temperature of the root zone.
      • The root zone needs to be at a nominal temperature of 68 degrees in order for the root system to thrive.
      • The mindful gardener monitors moisture in the soil, water absorption, Ph of the soil, parts per million/ nutrients, and oxygen availability.
        • Indoor gardeners are recommended to grow in Smart Pots.
        • They are cloth pots which allow more rapid wet dry cycles in the soil.
        • This is due to greater oxygenation of the soil, access of oxygen to the root zone, increases cannabis transpiration/ sweating, therefore increases growth rate and water absorption rates, increasing feeding schedules/ watering’s.


  • Soil will and does change the taste of cannabis based upon the ingredients in the soil, compost, and appropriate flushing.
  • Buildup of salts are naughty.

Soil requires space for storage, requires the gardener have the ability to lift 35-50 pounds.

Insects may come in the soil purchased from your local nursery, hydro store, or has been sitting out in a friends garden.

  • Treating the soil is an option.
  • Gardeners heat their soil for the most effective treatment to kill insects.
    • Messy, requires time, oven.
  • Gardeners also use nontoxic soaps.
    • Excessive and lots of water.
      • Soap needs to completely absorb into the soil because the soap has to be absorbed into the cell membrane of the insect or invader.
      • When soap penetrates the cell membrane of the organism they will die, become inert, or go into hibernation.
    • Captain Sunshine will use nontoxic soaps, and neem oil if threats of insects appear in the garden.
    • Captain Sunshine also uses predators of the specific insect to seek out and destroy the invader.
    • Captain Sunshine never uses harmful chemicals to the Earth or our bodies.
    • Captain Sunshine would rather destroy and infected garden than produce toxic cannabis.
  • Soil needs to maintain a nominal level of water in order to provide time to absorb the water and nutrients available in the root zone.
  • An excess of water will create an environment which stimulates fungal growth, algae, and may cause root rot and threaten the health of the cannabis.
    • Turf, sphagnum moss, vermiculite , and perlite adjust the retention of water in soil.
  • Overwatering of cannabis is a common theme with new gardeners. It’s ok.
    • We need to remember that we are going to make mistakes, and that is why also learning is so fun! To see how cannabis responds to our mindfulness of the plants and how cannabis responds to our affection and love.
  • The top layer of the soil will be dry or has little moisture before the next watering.
    • Observe the leaves.
      • Are the leaves drooping down or reaching for the light?
      • If the leaves are droopy then the cannabis is thirsty.
      • You are encouraged to water when the plant says “Hey! Look my leaves are droopy, can I have some water please?”
      • Then your like, “But, of course!”
      • Captain Sunshine mixes nutrients in the water when the plants says, “Hey!, I’m hungry.”
        • Spotting in the leaves, yellowing in the leaves.
      • Each soil blend will be different. Because of soil diversity Captain Sunshine recommends to new growers to only feed the plants once the cannabis says it’s hungry.
      • Learn when to feed cannabis based on how the cannabis communicates.
      • You will observe patterns in a particular strain, the particular soil, the water, and develop your pattern.

You are the Game Master.

  • Beginning levels
  • Level 1: Mindfulness of droopy leaves.
  • Level 1: Mindfulness of burning on the tips of the leaves.
  • Level 1: Mindfulness of yellowing.
  • Level 1: Mindfulness of spotting.


Rooted clones into soil

  • Often do not require nutrients for 3-4 weeks dependent on soil diversity.

Pre-teens/ teens transplant into soil.

  • Often do not require nutrients for 1-2 weeks dependent on soil diversity.
  • Vegetative phase,
    • Cannabis feeds on equal parts nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) and is known as NPK (20% each).
    • When feeding Cannabis dilute the nutrients to quarter strength and work up to half strength.
      • Inexperienced growers often overfeed their cannabis and cause nutrient burn.
      • I’m not into overeating, don’t we just feel gross, and lethargic?
      • So, why would we do that to our cannabis?
      • Learn your strain, learn a soil, learn your water, and stick to that one style until you have learned your pattern.
        • Then Level 2.

Create your own blend of soil

  • Recommended for experienced growers.
  • Level 2+
    • Level 2: Understand optimal ph for cannabis roots zone.
      • Nominal pH levels are 6.0 to 6.5, cannabis is functional in pH zones 5.5 to 7.0.
    • Level 2:Understand nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).
    • Level 2: Understand turf, sphagnum moss, vermiculite , perlite and adjusters to the retention of water in soil.
    • Level 2: Understand optimal root zone temperature, optimal air temperature, optimal humidity, optimal Co2.
  • Soil and compost need to complement the growing medium and the gardeners diverse expectations and lifestyle.
  • Never purchase time released soils, composts, and fertilizers.
    • Cannabis is unique in its needs and does not thrive in a time released environment.
  • Soil ratios
    • Requires mindfulness.
    • Seedling/ clone/ infant
      • Equal proportions of worm meal, perlite, turf.
    • Vegetative and flowering
      • Equal proportions of compost, worm meal, and turf.


  • Level 3+.
  • Captain Sunshine’s favorite nutrient blend on Earth, for taste, smell, effect, and Karma.
    • Bountea
  • Requires Levels 1 and Level 2 Mastery.
  • Plant derived nutrients are bio available.
  • Environmentally sustainable, and 100% non-toxic.
  • Veganic provides a nexus of living soil for a web of food availability.
    • Creation is brought to the nexus through the use of beneficial enzymes, fungus, and bacteria.
    • Cannabis will leave behind salts in regular soils, whereas, veganic soils waste produces complex carbohydrates in the root zone.
    • Complex carbohydrates nourish the nexus of beneficial microbe colony.
  • Marijuana soil container size
    • Cannabis containers size effects the size of the root system.
    • The more space roots have to grow the less stress the cannabis will feel.
      • Too small of containers cause root lock when the cannabis roots become root bound or cannot grow any larger.
      • Root bound or root locked cannabis can enter into flowering too early.
    • Captain Sunshine and team recommend seeds and clones go into 1 gallon containers.
    • Teens go into at least 7 gallon containers.
  • Cannabis loves carbon dioxide
    • See graphs and charts for nominal Co2 levels.
    • Low cost Co2
      • White vinegar produces carbon dioxide when added to baking soda.
      • Can poke a hole into the cap of the white vinegar and hang it so that it drips into a bucket.
    • Most cost effective is the Co2 burner.
    • Co2 tanks get the job done, yet increase costs per unit.



2 thoughts on “Grow Mediums

  • February 24, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    WOW! This information is perfect. So niche! I’ve been wanting to get into this business for awile now, as I can’t afford to keep buying from the overpriced shops in Southern California. I was not sure how to start, or where. This is a great place for beginners info, and the author keeps posting almost EVERY DAY! I always check back and read up on the new info. My babies are 3 weeks old now and looking great! I decided to go with vital earth soil and they are very happy in it. Had some drooping early on, but I found out how to fix it with the info that i found here. Cant wait to keep coming back and watching this site grow with more and more info.

  • August 2, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Hydroponic systems involving growing marijuana plants without any kind of soil at all, most often using one of the other types of media listed above.


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