My First No-Till Soil - Feedback - Advice - Please

Thread starter #1
Hello Everyone,

This is my first time and a few people have given me guidance and I have done some reading and I should have what I need for a water only garden in which I can start 7 days after mixing roughly -- here we go:

20 gallons perlite
20 gallon peat moss
10 gallons EWC
10 gallons Compost -- still need to find a good one (in Canada)

then 4 cups of each:
- organic neem / karanja
- kelp meal
- alfalfa Meal
- crab Meal

32 cups of Rock dust:
-------- 22 cups of glacier rock
--------5 cups of bentonite ------is there anything else I can replace this with - told it would clump
------- 5 cups of oyster shell

Or I could go with this blend for Rock Dust - 32 cups but more expensive:

Rock blend — Basalt, Carbontite, Oyster, Soft rock and Woolastonite $51/ 10 lbs

Please give me feedback as I want to ensure I am on the right track.
I was told to wet this and mix it and let it sit for a week and then top with 2" of EWC and good to go.

Feedback please :)
 

conradino23

Grow Journal of the Year: 2017 - Grow Journal of the Month: Sept 2017
If you have worm castings you don't need compost as THIS IS compost, so either one but not both. Kelp is unnecessary it also raise potassium too much. Otherwise I'd say you have a pretty good starting mix. Just remember that less is more with cannabis.
 

bobrown14

Grow Journal of the Month: Dec 2017
I like the recipe... it's Coots style pretty much 100% and what I use to grow.

Conradino, regarding kelp meal and P. There's nothing else in that mix that has much P in it at all so I use the kelp meal. It's got a lot of micro nutrients along with Cytokinins, Indoles, Hormones, Auxins, Gibberellins and Alginic Acid.

There's a particular Kelp we like to use called Ascophyllum nodosom. Its native to the east cost USA and is harvested specifically for organic farming.

Ascophyllum nodosom is also harvested in the EU - England and the countries in the North Sea areas... it grows in cold water.

Anytime I have a plant that looks a little "off" I make a tea with EWC and kelp meal ... top water in and usually problem solved in a few days.
 
I have one plant growing in a very similar soil. It loves it.

The bentonite could be replaced with quality biochar like Black Owl if you're looking for alternatives. I assume the reason you are adding bentonite is to increase CEC? But you would need to either buy activated biochar or activate it yourself with fish emulsion or compost tea

I would replace the perlite with pumice or maybe half and half. The advantages of pumice are increased CEC and more water holding capacity. My personal reason for choosing pumice is that I hate how perlite always floats to the top of the soil.

If you're using all peat I would maybe suggest yucca extract to reduce peat's hydrophobic tendencies but that is only a convenience issue and not really necessary.

I don't know what Woolastonite is.
 
Thread starter #5
If you have worm castings you don't need compost as THIS IS compost, so either one but not both. Kelp is unnecessary it also raise potassium too much. Otherwise I'd say you have a pretty good starting mix. Just remember that less is more with cannabis.
Yeah I don't need to use both mushroom compost and ewc but Clackimus Coots formula called for it so I followed
It. Seems he has good reviews. :)
 
Thread starter #6
I have one plant growing in a very similar soil. It loves it.

The bentonite could be replaced with quality biochar like Black Owl if you're looking for alternatives. I assume the reason you are adding bentonite is to increase CEC? But you would need to either buy activated biochar or activate it yourself with fish emulsion or compost tea

I would replace the perlite with pumice or maybe half and half. The advantages of pumice are increased CEC and more water holding capacity. My personal reason for choosing pumice is that I hate how perlite always floats to the top of the soil.

If you're using all peat I would maybe suggest yucca extract to reduce peat's hydrophobic tendencies but that is only a convenience issue and not really necessary.

I don't know what Woolastonite is.
This is my very first grow so not sure what CEC is.
The only reason I did what I did was following a no-till Clackimus Coots formula.
Hoping that my mix works but I'll know going forward after this run

I don't know if starting my seeds in the soil was the best idea.
My friend started at same time and just used organic promix and blew mine out of the water.
I do feel my soil will out perform in the long run since it will have everything the plant needs unlike promix.
 
Cations and Cation Exchange Capacity | Fact Sheets | soilquality.org.au

After your first successful grow I would suggest reading up on soil if that topic interests you. With 10-30 hrs of reading you would have enough knowledge to build your own ideal soil and understand the pros/cons of every amendment you're adding. Soil is very exciting stuff and there is always new information emerging so it never gets boring. Good luck with the grow!
 

bobrown14

Grow Journal of the Month: Dec 2017
Yeah I don't need to use both mushroom compost and ewc but Clackimus Coots formula called for it so I followed
It. Seems he has good reviews. :)

I use compost AND EWC in my mix which is based on Coots recipe. Been running it no till for years with great result. I do not use mushroom compost, well not for containers. I use it outdoors in our raised beds and as top dressing in flower beds. If you want to use mushroom compost you should limit it to 25% of the total volume and be sure it's "aged" and not fresh.

Challenge with mushroom soil is every mushroom house has their own recipe... so buyer beware. I like to use Coast of Main lobster compost which is readily available east of the Mississippi, or Malibu Compose BU's blend for left coasters ... or even better make your own compost.

We do all 3 for container no-til but do not use mushroom soil mainly because I'm not sure what the ingredients are and I used to live in the Mushroom Capitol of the world .. spent many hrs looking at mushroom soil! It's great for gardens for sure.. but for a Coots style mix I want to know everything that's going in so I'm sure I won't have issues.

Try it out... sometimes it's pretty hot even tho it may be aged... I get yards delivered of "old" mushroom compost and it's still thermophilic when I start digging in.. steam and all that jazz.. don't want to burn roots of plants with it.

I just mixed up a new batch of soil with the Coots recipe and my local found ingredients. We covered it outside for a few weeks.. I will get a soil test done to see whats what and post it up. Also testing our outdoor garden soil as well (several samples mixed).

Bentonite is a good addition for upping the CEC game... can also do the same thing with Basalt/granite dust... Bentonite is a clay that is made up of ... wait for it... granite dust among other ingredients.

Wet Bentonite and rub it between your fingers... interesting stuff. A little goes a long way.

Clay ... you could get a doctorate studying that stuff .. and rightly so. It's got a lot of uses.

CEC and clay go hand in hand. Likely you can source good clay local.. near a river bank or even your back yard. I use a mix of rock dusts to add to my soil mix. Bentonite can be added but I would use a tbs or 2 for a 7gal container, so not too much. Much less than the amount of Basalt dust I use. It has a tendency to "cake" or stiffen the soil so best a little at a time and mix with soil thoroughly.
 

conradino23

Grow Journal of the Year: 2017 - Grow Journal of the Month: Sept 2017
I'd use one or mix both providing its content won't go over 20% of total volume, which seems to be good threshold for organic matter in soil. If you have more you might have minor issues like micronutrient deficiencies or more bug pressure, but not necessarily. Do one run and then reuse it, 2nd and 3rd run will most likely be better cause cannabis will suck out the excess of potassium and nitrogen, which will balance the soil out.