Joel Holland

I have been a cannabis farmer on and off for the majority of my adult life and I always reuse the soil.

Now that spring has sprung and the outdoor planting season has begun I want to help you plan a cost-efficient garden, getting the biggest buds for your buck. Because while growing your own might seem more cost-efficient than going to the dispensary, it can get quite expensive if not planned out ahead of time.

Before we can get into spring planting we have to figure out the budget, decide what style of garden we want and what nutrients to shop for. There are many types of nutrients and your needs depend on the style of garden, your environment, and the types of strains you are growing. For some of us, organic nutrients and sustainability are important, using renewable resources and revitalizing used soil in our gardens is vital to a healthy outcome.

I come from a long line of dirt farmers and digging in the dirt is my preferred method. Digging in the dirt is better known as “In ground gardening”. Since I live in a superfund site, I grow most of my crops in “raised beds” and I also use a method called “container gardening” where we garden in plastic, ceramic, and compostable pots1. I also grow companion plants like geraniums, marigolds, and wild spinach right in the ground. These companion plants help absorb toxins and assist in revitalizing the area and protecting the garden from pests2. Many companion plants have beautiful flowers, are aesthetically pleasing, and help to hide the smell of your cannabis garden while also feeding the bees.

I live in a region where growing cannabis outdoors is prohibited within city limits and all cannabis grows must be located indoors3. I use container gardening for cannabis and swap my indoor soil outdoors every spring reusing the soil for other crops.

Unfortunately, for quality flowers near the end of the flowering cycle, we flush the soil which removes the excess nutrients improving the quality of the final product4.Flushing the soil and then reusing the soil requires mixing additional nutrients into the dirt using quality resources between gardens. Some people test their soil to see exactly what nutrients it needs, while others like myself use observations of previous plant health and gardening experience to determine what nutrients the soil needs for revitalization.

Once the soil has been flushed I try to use organic material to revitalize the soil for the next garden. Due to affordability and access that is not always possible. For optimal plant health, I tend to add the following nutrients back into the soil: alfalfa meal, kelp meal, azomite, langbeinite, bone/fish bone meal, oyster shell, green sand, humic acid, dolomitic lime, perlite, coco coir, peat moss, and cornmeal, to name a few. I’ve found when revitalizing your soil it’s best to mix the nutrients into the soil 30-60 days prior to planting depending on the amount of nutrients used. When growing cannabis sativa and indica you will need to plan for the cost of additional additives to meet your growing goals.

You do not want to be the guy at the local grow store yelling at the clerk because your favorite additive costs $300 and you did not budget it into your garden.

So remember to do the following before planting :

  • Create a budget
  • Figure out the amount of time you have for your garden
  • Decide what style of garden you want
  • Determine what resources you have access to
  • Figure out what your desired outcome is
  • Research the strains that work best within your budget and environment while meeting your needs. Then examine the laws in your state, and plan your garden in a way that is safe and compliant while meeting your desired outcome.

Don’t be afraid to clip coupons: find the best sources for your budget, enjoy the shopping and planning part of your garden, and most importantly have a great time growing your favorite strains.

Happy planting.


1, M. G. (2020, June 23). Different gardening methods and the pros and cons of each. Retrieved April 06, 2021, from

2 Boeckmann, C. (2021, March 1). Old Farmer’s Almanac.Companion planting guide for vegetables. Retrieved April 06, 2021, from

3 Colorado Police, P. (n.d.). Marijuana information: Pueblo,CO – official website. Retrieved April 06, 2021, from,HAVE%20ACCESS%20TO%20THE%20GROW.

4 Badertscher, K. (2016, April 01). To flush or not to flush in cannabis cultivation. Retrieved April 06, 2021, from–not-to-flush/