How to get started growing indoors organically - No bottles

COorganics

Member of the Month: Nov 2014
I hope folks with knowledge on the subject will contribute to this thread and that others will use it to learn, grow, and develop skills as organic cannabis gardeners. I will draw from personal experience as well as the work of others to compile information here for everyone at 420magazine's benefit.

If you believe that organics uses bottled nutrients then you certainly have the right to that opinion. However, it is not an opinion shared in the living soil community. Feel free to follow along, but discussion of using bottled organic or organic "based" nutrients is not welcome on this thread. Start a new thread and invite me, I will gladly discuss it with you there. Thanks.

Whether you have never grown a plant before and are interested in doing so with organics or you are a seasoned veteran synthetic grower looking to make the switch to organics, this thread is for you. Feel free to ask questions, just make sure you are doing the required reading. Although potentially intimidating at first, growing the highest quality organic cannabis is fairly simple. In order for this to work for you, you must first completely shed the synthetic mindset, and go organic all the way, there isn't really any such thing as an organic based grow, or using some organic items and some synthetics. It just doesn't work that way, period. Organic growing is all about the soil food web (SFW). The soil food web is what we humans (as the organic gardeners) are cultivating. The SFW is in turn cultivating our cannabis plants that we plant into our containers. Understanding that last few sentences is understanding organic gardening in a nut shell. The soil food web is fascinating. Best to let Dr. Elaine Ingham explain it rather than paraphrasing her detailed explanation.
Soil Food Web | NRCS
Please read thoroughly.

How bottled nutrients work
Please note that I am not differentiating between bottled organic nutrients and bottled synthetic nutrients. Fact is, they operate the same way. Yes, even stuff with OMRI label, all bottled nutrients work the same way, bypassing the SFW and force feeding our plants. This leads to all sorts of complications. This is the reason absolutely no bottled nutrients are recommended for organics. Bottled nutrients work through chelation.
http://www.agroservicesinternational.com/Articles/Chelates.pdf Please read thoroughly.

How Living Organic Soil works
We, the humans, mix together a proven master soil mix containing multifaceted amendments with the full array of nutrients. Everything is in the soil, we tend the soil, and the SFW makes nutrients readily available for plant uptake. Tending to the soil is a huge deal, in fact that's really all we do. At some point soon you will need to understand mulching, top dressing, watering without wet/dry cycles, organic IPM (integrated pest management), SST's (sprouted seed or enzyme teas), using dynamic accumulator plants, botanical nutrient teas, compost teas, vermicomposting, thermo composting, and the list goes on...

...but you don't have to understand all that stuff to get started. To get the ball rolling all you need to do is get some soil mixed up per the recipe ill post shortly and get it put into the containers you wish to use (larger is better and many folks like geo or smart style pots). Sourcing the various amendments is a pain in the ass, but worth it. Before planting any cannabis into the containers it is recommended that you give the soil a period of 2-4+ weeks to process or "cook". Longer is fine. It is a good idea as soon as you put the soil into containers to plant some cover crop seeds. This helps with preparing your soil and keeping it healthy. As the grower, you have a choice to make, whether to do a no till approach with your containers or a recycled, amended approach. Its up to you, and both will start out the same so it something you can research and ponder. I can promise you there is no throwing away Living Organic Soil, and that it gets better with time, in addition to starting out growing the fire! This is a big long term money saver. Also worth noting is that this style of organic growing relies very heavily on organic matter. Quality humic inputs are a must and can be very costly (imo) to purchase. It is best to start vermicomposting and composting right away. The sooner you get started with that the more money you will save on premium worm shit and compost. The "expensive" quality humus sources I'm speaking of can also be scavenged in nature in most areas of the country, just don't ruin the resource, be selective in what you take.

Try not to feel like you need to use things you already have laying around for your soil mix. Its best to resist that temptation, you are starting out so follow the leader at first at least. There is no reason to throw away things like guanos and bone meal and other things you may already have but no longer need. Compost them! I slowly run all my old TLO bullshit through my worm bin. I'm not into wasting, no one should be.

Clackamas Coot soil mix:

"Equal parts of Sphagnum peat moss, some aeration deal (pumice, rice hulls, lava rock - whatever is sitting in the garage) and finally some mix of humus - my compost, worm castings some black leaf mold I bought from the local 'worm guy'
To each 1 c.f. of this mix I add the following:
1/2 cup organic Neem meal
1/2 cup organic Kelp meal
1/2 cup Crab meal (or Crustacean meal when available - it has Shrimp meal with the Crab meal. It's a local product from the fisheries on the Oregon & Washington Coasts)
4 cups of some minerals - rock dust

After the plant is in the final container I top-dress with my worm castings at 2" or so and then I hit it with Aloe vera juice and Comfrey extract. Or Borage. Or Stinging Nettle. Or Horsetail ferns. Whatever is ready.


The Rock Dust Recipe
4x - Glacial Rock Dust - Canadian Glacial (Gaia Green label)
1x - Bentonite - from the pottery supply store
1x - Oyster Shell Powder - the standard product from San Francisco Bay
1x - Basalt - from Redmond, Oregon (new product at Concentrates - about $18.00) ."


I believe that this recipe allows for some substitutions and that the biggest thing is to stick to the 1/3 SPM, 1/3 aeration, 1/3 humus and the amendments at the specified ratios. I have seen people (including myself) vary the actually "rock dusts" but don't if you can help it, and certainly don't omit the oyster shell flour in place of something else.

Living organic soil is very rewarding to grow in, give it a try, no one has ever looked back after going this route.
 

COorganics

Member of the Month: Nov 2014
If you are serious about growing cannabis, and you are serious about doing it organically then you need to seriously look at the information I'm sharing with you here. This isn't just another organic soil mix, it is the best organic soil mix.
 

Marzbadrock

Plant of the Month: Sept 2015 - Nug of the Month: Jan 2016, May 2018, Aug 2020, Oct 2021
I understand what your saying CO, and agree to an extent unless you can set me straight. I'm here to learn, we can all learn, so please don't take this the wrong way. I compost manure, food scraps, garden scraps.... I use happy frog soil, add compost, add 1*0*0 EWC, and great white. I also use bottled nutes containing cold pressed seaweed, humid acid, potash from some glass factory, molasses, malt and maybe something else but can't remember off top of my head. My well water is about 150 ppm, and 7.5 pH. After adding my bottled nutes my ppm is 400 and about 6.8 pH. I don't check my pH unless in coco, then I just use earth juice grow to pH my water. My plants grow flawlessly all the way until I flush before harvest. I guess my question is am I not organic growing?
 

COorganics

Member of the Month: Nov 2014
hey marzbadrock,
glad you came by with the questions. I have seen your plants and I agree they are incredible looking! I have a friend who grows in a very similar fashion to you, he also flushes and produces a very nice end product and extremely respectable yields. He and I agree to disagree I guess you could say.

Is your grow organic? I think the answer is technically "yes" if every input you use is organic. Technically has to be, right? Organic doesn't always mean responsibly sourced, doesn't have anything to do with sourcing local amendments inexpensively or even growing your own (dynamic accumulators), etc. Organic listed inputs can damage the soil food web and can be used in a manner of growing very similar to the hydro model. The full genetic potential isn't going to be achieved without relying on the SFW. Living organic soil is superior in flower quality, operating cost, and sustainability. Come down to my mountains and ill smoke some with you next summer, that will be 4th or 5th no till run by then. I'd love to sample some of your buds as well. I won't have hurt feelings if you disagree with me, you must agree that this living organic soil is much less expensive to run than bottled organics? I think that's gotta at least be a given.
 

Marzbadrock

Plant of the Month: Sept 2015 - Nug of the Month: Jan 2016, May 2018, Aug 2020, Oct 2021
I'm not sure on the price honestly, I can buy everything I need to run a 3 lb. Crop for $50. Well then $75 more with soil and amendments. I've been fascinated with living soil though, its hard to change everything when its running so smoothly. So I don't disagree with you but I agree with me to. I've been really tempted to just not feed one and see what happens, if I feed over 400 ppm it burns them. I've been researching and reading to figure out why, the best awnser I can find is I'm feeding the soil now instead of feeding the plants?
 

Marzbadrock

Plant of the Month: Sept 2015 - Nug of the Month: Jan 2016, May 2018, Aug 2020, Oct 2021
Oh, n hell yes I'm going to your mountains in about 6 months and 20 days. I've got some hibrids that have to be out of this world, the genetics are there for something special! If you like my genetics I've created I'd love to share n see what a great grower could do.
 

COorganics

Member of the Month: Nov 2014
jeez, you crush it man. Cost isn't worth debating anyhow, I don't know what much costs other than those big bottles of advanced nutes type stuff at the hydro stores. I point them out to my wife if we stop in there and she is amazed by all the stuff people use and what it costs. I think it very fair to say you have it way more dialed than most though. I think your style of organic growing is what people refer to as soup style organics. And I agree you have your system dialed to the max. It would be hard to make any changes. It would be cool though, if you ran a no till container next to your other ones. You are likely better and more experienced at growing than myself, I believe you would do a good service to the no till containers by journaling that. (a fella can always hope, lol)

Im going to see if I can find some more information about soup style organics versus true living organics vs living organic soil for you. and me. and anyone else curious.
 

danishoes21

Well-Known Member
Im all ears :thumb:

Im what I like to call an "Organic grower", now If you review my last and current grow, I have only used Blossom Booster Jack's Classic 10-30-20 as a supplement during flowering, 1 serving every 15 days. Now when I faced aphids, PM and other sorts of pest and bugs I didn't use pesticides, I managed to use home made infusions, fruits and vegetables as natural repellants/insecticide/fungicides. As soil I used local composted Soil, mixed with sheep manure and worm castings, All local products. Also used organic supplements like molasses, and crushed egg shells.

I never check for PH balance because I have no salt build ups, therefore no nutrients lock outs. I consider my grows organic to a certain extent. For me its all about using locally manufactured products, that are gonna leave the minimal chemical deposits in your buds which means more natural sweeter tastier buds.
 

COorganics

Member of the Month: Nov 2014
Im all ears :thumb:

Im what I like to call an "Organic grower", now If you review my last and current grow, I have only used Blossom Booster Jack's Classic 10-30-20 as a supplement during flowering, 1 serving every 15 days. Now when I faced aphids, PM and other sorts of pest and bugs I didn't use pesticides, I managed to use home made infusions, fruits and vegetables as natural repellants/insecticide/fungicides. As soil I used local composted Soil, mixed with sheep manure and worm castings, All local products. Also used organic supplements like molasses, and crushed egg shells.

I never check for PH balance because I have no salt build ups, therefore no nutrients lock outs. I consider my grows organic to a certain extent. For me its all about using locally manufactured products, that are gonna leave the minimal chemical deposits in your buds which means more natural sweeter tastier buds.

nice! sounds like your on the right path. I don't know what jacks blossom booster 10-30-20 is but im sure you don't need that stuff in your mix. Try using your search engine like this product name;MSDS and post your findings on the jacks product you mention. I find the labels misleading and often your can learn more about a product by viewing MSDS report. sometimes you cant find anything out and they just say its a proprietary formula, Boo to the manufacturers there. anyway, glad to have ya. I don't mind discussing why not to use bottles, this is great.
 

COorganics

Member of the Month: Nov 2014
here is a post microbeman made on another forum that is relevant to the topic, I will include a few more in a minute. Bong time.

"Those who think that growing organically or naturally is dependent upon some product labelled as organic are short of the understanding of what growing with living soil is about. The member who referrred to One Straw is more on track.

Living soil growing is not dependent on certain ingredients but on sustained life in the soil. It is amusing to me that certain soil mixes, calling for water only, have been referred to as living soil. What makes a soil come to life is, time, structure (porosity) and organic matter. That, along with a certain volume. Once soil is sustaining life it produces with very minor organic matter input.

If one is referring to organic as in using labelled products, as mentioned, this can be of lesser harm but as pseudo pointed out can also contain harmful ingredients. It is important for the grower to check the labels and research the company. I encourage making one's own liquid amendments but not everyone wants to.

If it were true that synthetic fertilizers could be ' flushed completely' do we not think this would have been applied by the tobacco growers when confronted with the fact that the residues of phosphorus are stored in the glandular trichomes of the plant? As a prophet of what is to come, I hypothesize that this is only the tip of the iceberg and that in the future, many harmful residues caused by synthetic fertilizers will be found stored in plant tissues."

I don't know jack...yet. but microbeman does. For those unfamiliar with his work, he is the leading authority on all things compost tea, an experienced organic farmer and cannabis grower, and a source of immense organic wisdom.
 

danishoes21

Well-Known Member
I have some wonderful results using natural remedies and infusions to attack common problems like Aphids, PM, white flies, spider mites... I see you focus on the Soil mix as your primary source of organic intakes, but (this is my point of view as a professional cook) keeping it Organic, to summit up, is the minimal use of chemical compounds to achieve a successful harvest. Keep in mind you have to battle pests, fungus and insects, its not just about suppling N-P-K. But there is a way to it without using all the nasty chemicals, that end up in your fruit (buds).

So Count me in for the discussion about growing organically and keeping it organic along the way.

Very constructive thread CO
 

COorganics

Member of the Month: Nov 2014
Cool you are using natural remedies and infusions to combat pests in your garden. You should read the azamax breakdown I did on my other thread, its crazy, like less than 2% rosemary and clove essential oil, a source of sapponins and inert ingredients (read: water). That is just a plain rip off at the price they sell it. Or wait.. it was neem, either way. The hydro companies are preying on the ignorance in the canna culture. Bummer. Fact. Its not right. Im not a fan of any big business at all really (surprised?), and I especially am no fan of the hydro industry.

Ive recently been able to completely eradicate a quick growing aphid infestation and put fungus gnats at bay using simple homemade organic methods. Organic IPM (integrated pest management) is a key component of a healthy garden. Creating an IPM schedule out of the gate and continuing in it is very important. The synthetic mindset is "wait until I have pest's and bomb with chemical to eradicate", the organic mindset is to be preventative and harness the power of nature. Sounds like you got it going on. IPM should not be overlooked, save the hassle, and prevent anything from ever happening in the first place. Bugs are everywhere. Pretty darn cool if you ask me. And forget about NPK, you can toss that into the soon to be dusty bucket with all the PH pens and TDS meters.

This is an organic IPM discussion that everyone should listen to. You can effectively deal with all pests for pennies on the dollar if you apply this knowledge. Pipe it through your speakers and listen while ya garden.

S1E37 Organic Integrated Pest Management w Clackamas Coot + Jeremy Silva - The Adam Dunn Show - YouTube
 

COorganics

Member of the Month: Nov 2014
here is a c/p of a post made by a gentleman named Von back in 2010.

"So, I think this came from my earlier comment. First, I would like to say that I do not judge anyone for the style or type of growing. This comment was directed towards an industry not any individual.

Pseudo Organics.......it is a term I use for the way the word Organic has been marketed. These marketing professionals have done this to all of use. CC defined organic in his grow thread.


Quote:
or⋅gan⋅ic
  /ɔrˈgænɪk/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [awr-gan-ik] Show IPA

–adjective
1. noting or pertaining to a class of chemical compounds that formerly comprised only those existing in or derived from plants or animals, but that now includes all other compounds of carbon.
2. characteristic of, pertaining to, or derived from living organisms: organic remains found in rocks.

Ok if that is the definition of Organic then I can run down to Wal-mart and buy some Miracle Grow Organic sludge in a plastic bad, then run over to the nutrient isle and grab some Alaska Fish Emulsions..........hell the emulsions has an OMRI certification right on the bottle! Damn! I am Organic! I head off to the house with the thought that now I can have organic weed because the marketing pros sold me the word Organic.

Sold US the word.......Organic.

This also applies to almost all nutrient companies these days. They are marketing a method most people do not understand. I am talking every day folks. WE as a group are defining the term Organic our way and not being sold any shit. We might argue and piss and moan but we are getting it done right here.....right now.

IMO, I think that the type or growing that most of us are following at this current time is Natural. Now that term came from Jaykush some time ago and I think it fits the best. It is more specific. Organic is blanket term use to loosely. It s being applied to everything just to grab more sales. And we are the victims. All of us who in the past or currently believe in the bullshit the commercial industry sells us. No offense to you CT.

To sum this up Pseudo organics to me is many or all of us at one time or another falling victim to this marketing ploy to believe the bullshit they sell us is actually organic. If we use the broad definition given by CC of organic then their sales pitch holds water so to speak.

True Organics.....some one who uses natural occurring or custom made products derived from plants or animals. The rule of thumb with this is that these types of growers feed the soil and not the plant. They work with bacteria, fungi, protozoa etc. and work with a series of Natural checks and balances in the soil with the various types of organic compounds added. As, Microbman has stated that it is widely believed that over 50 liters as a minimum constitutes a `Living Soil`

That to me is True Organic.

And of course the outdoors.......cannot beat Mother Nature.

There are some great posts in this thread. Good job folks!

V"

although some of the terms people are using have changed in the last 4-5 years, I think this is an awesome post and very relevant to our topic at hand, getting started growing organically with out using the bottled nutrients.
 

Marzbadrock

Plant of the Month: Sept 2015 - Nug of the Month: Jan 2016, May 2018, Aug 2020, Oct 2021
Well either way thank you for the compliments,I've spent 5 years tweaking things and researching to get where I am today. I think in order to run one through without bottled nutes I'll need to up size my pots, I only use 2 gallon containers. I grew some autos outdoors, I only feed the 3 times with molasses and they grew fine.
 

conradino23

Grow Journal of the Year: 2017 - Grow Journal of the Month: Sept 2017
A key to no feeding or very minimal feeding is a rich, but not too hot soil mix and inoculation of the root.
 

COorganics

Member of the Month: Nov 2014
Well either way thank you for the compliments,I've spent 5 years tweaking things and researching to get where I am today. I think in order to run one through without bottled nutes I'll need to up size my pots, I only use 2 gallon containers. I grew some autos outdoors, I only feed the 3 times with molasses and they grew fine.

Bigger pots would be better for a build the soil, bottleless approach.
 

Cannabelle

New Member
Aloha ka kou, COorganics. Mahalo for sharing your knowledge of living soil.

I am new to growing cannabis and look forward to supplementing my limited knowledge of cannabis cultivation on :420:.

I have grown botanicals, herbs and bonsai since I was a little girl alongside my grandmother back in Hawaii. I don't know much about living soil recipes. I just mix soils according to what I think the different plants need with whatever material is locally available and stuff I already grow like aloe, rosemary, willow, ficus, clover, alfalfa and moringa. It's the Macguyver way of peasant resourcefulness which I learned from my grandmother.

One of the paramount ingredients I add to aid in conditioning my soil mixture and stimulating a healthy rhizosphere (root zone) is Glomus intradices, an endo/arbuscular mycorhizzae that works well with my Japanese maples and bunching green onions. Glomus intradices also works well with cannabis.

I think some of the most pricey, premium cannabis soil mixes use the endo mycorrhiza Glomus intradices although I don't understand how they keep spores alive in plastic bags stored outside in the sun at nurseries. The spores need to be kept in a cool, dark place if they have no living root host to latch on to. I can't afford premium soil mixes and don't want to throw money at buying soil that is improperly stored. (Yet another reason to mix your own living soil . . .)

Glomus is perhaps the most ubiquitous beneficial fungi in nature and is often used by forestry agencies and municipalities to help reforest barren soils that have been poisoned by irresponsible strip mining, agriculture and factory practices. However, Glomus tends to deactivate in high nitrogen conditions, which is why I also avoid high nitrogen chemical fertilizers.

I don't know if you use beneficial fungi and bacteria in your living soil mix. I think your living soil mix may have enough of the right stuff to sustain your cannabis strains and may not require the flora microorganisms I use. I am not familiar with "dynamic accumulator plants" which you mention in your original post but I suspect it is related to some of the stuff I already grow with my mycorrhiza to condition the soil and stimulate plant growth.

Currently, I am stuck with annoying Miracle Grow perlite and vermiculite to aerate my coir based soil. I can't make it out to the country yet to get farm feed supply to swap out the Miracle Grow perlite and vermiculite because I have severe auto immune sun sensitivity issues. The Miracle Grow impregnated perlite and vermiculite tends to stunt cannabis seedlings. I have to correct this soil imbalance by growing Allium fistulosum - L. (bunching onions) with the cannabis to stimulate the mycorrhiza and release alleopathic chemicals to the cannabis rhizosphere. (I'll go more into more detail about bunching onion, mycorrhizae and the alleopathic relationship with cannabis, tomatoes and rice when I get around to writing and sharing an article about this funky, organic partnership.)

I am so happy to encounter someone with your in depth knowledge of organics.:yahoo:
 
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