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Ethno Builds an Organic Soil


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#1 ethnobotanist420

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:39 PM

Hey guys and gals!

 

I had mentioned in my grow log here: https://mycotopia.ne...critical-cure/ that I wanted to build up a nice organic “super soil” for my next run with this strain (and others to come!) so I gathered together the best of what my small town greenhouse had to offer and I want to run this idea for a soil I had past you to see what you think…

 

First lets start off with the ingredients I have and then go into how I’m thinking of using them…

 

First up I have some perlite… essential stuff IMO:

 

Soil 001.jpg

 

I also have coco coir, dolomite lime and an organic “fish soil”

 

Soil 002.jpg

 

The ingredients in the “fish soil” are as follows: Organic fish compost, Canadian sphagnum peat moss, Cinnabar Valley Farms own organic peat soil, Premium aged organic compost and kelp meal.

 

I’m thinking the coir, fish soil and perlite will make up the base of this soil… I’ll get into the ratios a bit later…

 

Next for the amendments I found a nice organic fertilizer by Gaia Green with an NPK of 4-4-4:

 

Soil 003.jpg

 

When you look at the ingredients it seems to have A LOT of good stuff in it and nothing to complain about… the ingredients in this fertilizer are as follows: Alfalfa meal, Steamed bone meal, Blood meal, Glacial rock dust, Mined potassium sulfate, Humate complex, Rock phosphate, Green sand, Kelp meal and Gypsum. The recommended mix on this is 2 TBS per Gallon.

 

I also have some Epsom salts not pictured here…

 

The next thing I have isn’t really a soil amendment… yet:

 

Soil 004.jpg

 

I picked up a pack of alfalfa seeds and my plan with those is to plant a kind of cover crop and let it grow while the soil is cooking for around 30 days… then chop it down and mix the alfalfa right into the soil before I put my Cannabis Plant into the soil.

 

So that’s what I have… here is how I’m thinking about mixing it:

 

50% Fish Soil

25% Washed Coco Coir

25%ish Perlite

That will make up the basic soil… added to that will be:

2 Tablespoons per gallon Gaia Green All Purpose Organic Fertilizer

1 Tablespoon (total) Epsom salt

A sprinkle of Dolomite Lime (unsure of exact measurements)

 

My plan is to wet the soil and mix it up… Plant the Alfalfa and let it “cook” for at least 30 days before use. Then when I’m ready to Plant my Cannabis into the soil… hack down the alfalfa and till it in to the soil. I also have a soil testing kit which will let me test the NPK of my soil as well as the PH… I plan to take a measurement before planting my Cannabis into it and adjust gently if necessary.

 

So guys and gals… How does this sound? Am I overlooking anything? Any recommendations?  I know there are A LOT more things I could be adding to this soil but this is what was readily available to me and I want to keep things fairly simple so I know what to adjust to perfect the soil over time… I’ll be mixing this up tonight assuming you all think it’s a good idea :)

 

Let me know what you think! Thanks for the help!

-Ethno


Edited by ethnobotanist420, 22 March 2017 - 03:41 PM.

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#2 Hash_Man

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 06:36 PM

Ethno I never mixed a soil and I wouldn't know where to start. I can just say somethings I think till someone else comes along.
You didn't mention the amounts of fish soil and Coco for knowing if you other ratios like the epsom salts are right (not that I would know lol)

But I agree the fish soil should be the majority of your base otherwise I'm not sure, thought there should be some worm castings in there and some kelp but i know how it is to find all the shit in one day. So any thoughts further than that I'm lost . . hopefully @Mate0x or someone like onediadem will chime in
: )

Oh, I'd mix the perlite in after the the rest stews not sure if you were going to do that or not . .

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Edited by Hash_Man, 22 March 2017 - 07:31 PM.

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#3 onediadem

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 07:17 PM

Your mix sounds sort of similar to the one I use, except I do not use a premix. I add every ingredient to make sure what is going in is in the quantities desirable. The longer you can perc that, the better because some ingredients need more time to break down. I use worm castings also, and top dress with them. Ironically, not only do they add nutes, they prevent crap from growing on top of the soil. Try to flip the soil and sprinkle water on it a few times a week to make sure everything is incorporated well and there are no hot spots.


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#4 ethnobotanist420

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 07:57 PM

Thanks guys!

@Hash_Man

I'm just going to be making enough to fill a 2 gallon pot to see how it performs... I need to figure out the correct measurements for the Dolomite Lime and the Epsom salt based on the container size I think... any recommendations?

I still think I will mix the Gaia Green fertilizer at the recommended 2 tablespoons per gallon.... I think that sounds reasonable lol

Is there a good reason not to mix the perlite in from the beginning? I will do it if that's what you are suggesting I'm just curious why this is? I know it breaks down but will it go that fast?

@ondiadem

I would like to use something that wasn't premixed in the future as well... I like the idea of controlling exactly how much of what is in the soil. I will be sure to thoroughly mix the soil MANY times before planting any Cannabis in the soil to make sure I don't have any hotspots :)

I want to plant alfalfa as a cover crop so I will let the soil "cook" for a few days mixing daily before I plant the alfalfa... how does that sound?

Thanks for the advice guys!!

I would like to add some worm castings but I can't find any for the life of me right now lol I might have to get a worm bin going in the future! But that's another topic lol

Another question...

What do you think of the cover crop idea and tilling it into the soil before planting my cannabis in it? Does that sound like a good plan to you guys???

Thanks for the help!
-Ethno

#5 Hash_Man

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 08:35 PM

" . . Is there a good reason not to mix the perlite in from the beginning? . . "


Just seems like while the soil is stewing it requires a heat period and it be better to leave perlite out to not interfere with that prosess . . I'm sure someone would correct me if I'm wrong that's the beauty of these forums : )
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#6 ethnobotanist420

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:07 PM

" . . Is there a good reason not to mix the perlite in from the beginning? . . "

Just seems like while the soil is stewing it requires a heat period and it be better to leave perlite out to not interfere with that prosess . . I'm sure someone would correct me if I'm wrong that's the beauty of these forums : )

Oh wow I didn't even consider that but it makes PERFECT sense lol more intimate mixture of the soil components without the perlite... more dense... much better for the composting period!

Thanks for that!!

#7 onediadem

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:21 PM

My first batch I Ieave the perlite out of it, and add after conditioning. I re-purpose soil however, so the perlite is in there. You can get worm castings on ebay. If you would like, I will PM you the recipe. How many plants are you planning on growing? And what size pots?


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#8 fungi2bwith

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 01:00 AM

My mix, not really mine, took it from this guy, minute 5:55 in the vid( https://www.youtube....?v=AePBEztCgek )  , I just changed brands.....

 

I use a mix of FFOF, as a base, then black gold garden compost, black gold earthworm castings, perlite, dolomite lime, and Dr. Earths Vegetable fert. I let it "cook" in a tub until I'm ready to use it, that's been roughly every 4 months....but I used it straight with only a week long "cook" on it, and it worked great.

 

Good to seeya around OD....

 

Sorry, just realized I didn't answer any of your questions....Overall, I'd say your plan sounds good. Especially testing it....I have those little pill kits that measure NPK. I've never tested my said above mix......


Edited by fungi2bwith, 23 March 2017 - 01:09 AM.

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#9 mate0x

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 07:17 AM

I think your plan will work fine. I do have some thoughts for you. Take em or leave em :)

 

Skip the coir - you are reducing your humus content ratio by adding essentially filler.

Skip the epsom salts - dolomite lime should provide what you need. You can always water with some epsom later if necessary.

 

Get that worm bin started!

 

It depends on the cover crop, and your goal for it. You should wait a few weeks after you cut the alfalfa and till it in.

 

Also, I would mix that whole bag up - not just 2 gallons worth. It will provide a larger thermal mass when composting.


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#10 Myc

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 09:45 AM

I'm thinking that your plan to till the alfalfa into the soil is a good idea. It will cause the mix to heat up. But if you plant seedlings directly into that mix, it will likely burn them. Best to let it cook down for awhile. I only use a tablespoon of dried alfalfa meal in a 7-gallon pot. Anything more is just too hot (IME). 

 

Based upon my composting experiments - the larger the batch, the better heat/moisture control you have. It's easier to regulate a big pile (IMO). Small batches may not have enough heat mass to hinder pests. 

 

I've played around with soils quite a bit - and ruined a lot of plants in the garden. It's a blast and very rewarding if you don't mind learning the hard way. 

Good luck!


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#11 ethnobotanist420

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 11:41 PM

Hey everyone!

 

Thank you all for your awesome input and all of your help :)Time I gave an update on what I did and why I did it!

 

Firstly...

 

On skipping the Coir: I was thinking hard about what mate0x said and I have decided to keep the Coir in THIS mix for a couple reasons… the first reason is because I like the way Coir feels and behaves… I like its fluffiness and how it holds moisture. I realize I will be cutting down the humus content ratio and that brings my to my second reason… For this first batch of soil I actually kinda want that lol I would rather have to supplement the soil a bit than have it too hot and kill my plants… this is my first try at building a soil so I want to be very gentle… In the future I may remove Coir from the mix tho.

 

On skipping Epsom Salt: I 100% agree… consider it skipped :) lol

 

On leaving out perlite until after the soil has cooked: 100% agree I’ll be doing just that!

 

On mixing a larger batch: I agree with everyone who said this… mate0x, Myc… but my space is limited severely so I grabbed the biggest pot I can use in my space (3 gallon) and will use that… when it finally warms up here if I decide to make more of this mix I will do it in a much bigger batch outside!

 

All of that being said here is how I mixed the 3 gallons of soil:

 

50% Fish Soil

25% Washes Coco Coir

25% Perlite (TO BE ADDED LATER)

6 Tablespoons Gaia Green All Purpose Organic Fertilizer (2 Tablespoons/Gallon)

3 Tablespoons Dolomite Lime (1 Tablespoon/gallon)

 

I mixed this THUROUGHLY by hand until my arm literally couldn’t take anymore… rested my arm for 15 minutes and repeated lol After I finished mixing all the ingredients together I sprinkled some alfalfa seed on top of the soil and worked it in until most of it sat just under the soils surface…

 

Here is what I ended up with:

 

Soil 006.jpg

 

And here is where it will be staying… letting the Alfalfa grow… until I am ready to use it:

 

Soil 005.jpg

 

As you can see I left a little room in the bucket and I did this so that when I cut down the cover crop I can till it into the soil and let it cook for a while longer in the same bucket… the correct amount of perlite can be added after that just before I am ready to use the soil…

 

So that’s what I did and why I did it… hopefully things work out somewhat to plan lol I’ll keep you all updated once in a while on the growth of the cover crop, cutting it down and tilling it in, testing the NPK and PH of the soil, adding the perlite and so on…

 

Thanks for all the help guys and gals!

-Ethno


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#12 mate0x

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 12:20 AM

Watching with intent :) GL brother. I am sure it will work well.


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#13 onediadem

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 12:37 AM

All my hopes!



#14 ethnobotanist420

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 06:28 PM

Well the Alfalfa seems to be liking the soil!!

 

Soil 007.jpg


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#15 ethnobotanist420

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 06:34 PM

So I chopped the alfalfa down, shredded it up a bit and mixed it back into the soil thoroughly two weeks ago... I ha e some pics but my computer is being miserable at the moment lol

I'll get back in here with some pics and an n-p-k and ph test this week!
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#16 Heirloom

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 07:04 PM

I think that's a good idea , I bet when you put a plant in there it does real good. I tried alfala and a lot of organic growers swear by it. I am working on building my soil increasing beneficial microbes, using organic nutes worm casting and such.
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#17 CatsAndBats

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 08:14 PM

You may want to check out this thread @ethno:

 

https://mycotopia.ne...nic-soil-mixes/

 

Some really valuable info there IMHO, directly relating to your topic/s. I like your use of the sprouts, I started making purees of sprouts after I read @Il19z8rn4li1 saying something about it in a thread somewhere..


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#18 jkdeth

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 08:41 PM

My mil, is anal about her grass cutting, only has a tiny, but she insists on bagging it and hauling it off. There's a half black bag that's been brewing for a week at least. I'm dying to stuff some straw, kitchen vegetable waste etc in there, but I know she wouldn't hear of it, and I have no place to put it.
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#19 jkdeth

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 08:44 PM

Just wanted to mention, one of the things that makes hpoo work so well is its C to N ratio all by itself. Left to compost fully, you'd think it was just potting soil.
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#20 ethnobotanist420

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 06:25 PM

Here are some pictures as promised...

 

NOTE: This all took place 2 and a half weeks ago and everything is almost entirely broken down now!! :)

 

The alfalfa grew very lush:

 

Soil 008.jpg

 

Until I killed it and chopped it up:

 

Soil 009.jpg

 

And tilled it in lol:

 

Soil 010.jpg

 

This has now been sitting for almost 3 weeks and I will be stirring it up again and doing the NPK/PH testing in the next few days...

 

My grow area is just about ready for some new plants ;)


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