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Noob with possible pH issues, soil

Nunyabiz

Well-Known Member
I'm pretty much sold on the idea of going organically my next grow. The end product seems superior. But candidly, the most appealing aspect seems to be the hands free nature of the grow ( aside from watering on occasion and other misc tasks ). Messing with soil PH, nutrients, and flushing is not desirable - for me, anyway.

I started looking around for super soil recipes. They vary greatly. Is there a good soil recipe / info that you could point me to?

Thanks in advance!
In 20 gallon fabric pots you can do a No-Till grow instead of super soil.

Just add a couple hundred worms to each pot and start a cover crop.
Here's a good recipe for Living Organic Soil. This is the one I use.
You can make this yourself or buy bags of it from Buildasoil.
Oly Mountain Modern Mix 2 soil.

Then a bag of Craftblend to reammend the soil when needed and a bag of Gro-kashi for Veg and a good microbe inoculate, I use Rootwise Microbe Complete.
Also buy a quart of Thermx70 (Yucca extract) to add to your water everytime you water.
This soil in 20 gallon fabric pots, with a cover crop, and a couple hundred worms you shouldn't have any over watering problems, do NOT let this soil dry out, keep it moist.
Also a good idea to add some Rove Beetles to it once established as pest management, they will devour fungus gnats and thrips and probably most aphids to I think.
Plus they help break down the soil, they only live about 3 weeks so a constant supply of little dead bodies to enrich the soil with Chitin plus they poop in the pot adding nutrients.
Part of the whole soil food web.


Base Soil:

  • 2 CuFt Sphagnum moss
  • 1 CuFt Pumice lava rock
  • 1 CuFt Modern Beginning charged Biochar
  • 1 CuFt Rice Hulls
  • 2 CuFt Humus composed of 1/3 Compost(Oly Mountain fish compost) and 2/3 EWC, and
  • throw in a few handfuls some probiotic herbs – comfrey, nettle, dandelion, etc..
Nutrients included in the soil:

  • (Per cu.Ft of Base Soil)
  • 1/2 cup organic Neem meal
  • 1/2 cup organic Kelp meal
  • 1/2 cup organic Crustacean meal
  • 1/2 cup organic insect frass
  • 1/3 cup Gro-Kashi
  • 1/3 cup Karanja Meal
  • 1/4 cup of fish bone meal
  • 1/16th cup of Modern Microbes
  • 3 cups of some Rock/Mineral Mix
  • (Rock/Mineral Mix)
  • 2 part Oyster Shell Flour
  • 2 part Gypsum
  • 1 parts Glacial Rock Dust
  • 1 part Basalt
  • 1 part Calcium Bentonite
 
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Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
It does seem to me to be less work... and I don't mind a little extra prep up front so that a carefully planned 4 month goes without glitches or complications. Nothing like having to check pH and PPM sometimes twice a day, mix nutes constantly, maintain pumps and timers and clogged hoses, flushing... egads, that was a lot of work. My grow goes on autopilot for days at a time when there really is nothing that I need to do.
As you said there are a lot of soil recipes... I have been using the one from Subcool, the 1/4 sized version, for the last 6 years. It does seem to work well.
 

Pbass

Well-Known Member
Nothing like having to check pH and PPM sometimes twice a day, mix nutes constantly, maintain pumps and timers and clogged hoses, flushi
No offense back to you Ms Pot Yoda but Just to be clear to any new folks out there, barely any of this relates to a soil grow. It takes me maybe 2 minutes to mix my feed maybe two or three times a week, and I change my timer once a grow. All that other stuff is related to other growing methods. From a standpoint of ease of startup, need for research and expertise, availability of resources and advice...I'll just say I'm not switching any time soon.
 
Hi All,

I think I've ingested all the info was provided. Thanks again for all the help. But I think I still need some guidance.

My plants have continued to grow. Perhaps a bit slower. But the yellowing of many lower to mid fan leaves has increased quite a bit. Before it was a dozen or so yellow leaves on most plants, but now I have 30+ yellow leaves on most plants. I'll post a pic later (tomorrow since it's late). Basically the leaves are yellowing from the outside of the leaf going inwards. Eventually the leaf turns completely yellow, then brown, and then it shrivels up into nothing and falls off the plant. Sometimes the browns follow the yellow and it spreads through the leaf. In the end they turn brown and fall off. It looks like they are literally getting the life sucked out of them.

Steps taken since last discussion ( some yellow leaves; rust color one some leaves too ):

* I added plant elevators to 7 of my 12 plants. Unfortunately the elevators that I ordered were out of stock. So I made some out of 1x1's ( pine; not treated ) and wire mesh. Not the prettiest things ever built, but they elevate the plants 1" and allow air to get under the pot :) I plan on making the rest tomorrow or this weekend.

* I watered them today ( 40 gallons using General Hydroponics Tri at 100%; ~640ppm; 120ml of CalMag ). For reference the last watering was 4 days ago ( no nutrients - 4/gal plant ). The last time that I added nutrients was 7 days ago. It's been sunny and 85 the last few days. **One thing to note is that I'm only using ~3.33/gal of water per 20 gallon fabric pot.** This water is 80% RO with 20% well water. It's also correct the ph to 6.2.

More on the watering... My goal here was not to water them until they were bone dry. Like many of you have said. But when I went out to my greenhouse today, one of my plants was wilted from the top down. I checked the plant and as you can imagine it was dry. I checked several other plant ( using a small wooden dowel like Emilya suggested ) and they were dry too.

From there I watered ALL the plants and gave them nutes. Mostly because it seems like a Nitrogen deficiency to me, and because they were dry, of course.

Something worth mentioning is that I can now look under 7 of the plants to see runoff during watering ( if any - plant elevators recently added ). Which is nice since I could never do this before. I watered really slow like Emilya recommends ( it took me over an hour to water 12 plants which is much longer than usual ). Once I finished I saw very little dripping at the bottom of the 7 plants with elevators. Maybe a few drips from a single area on a few pots. I expected more.

Given the above, I'm wondering if I'm not getting enough water/nutes to the bottom feeder roots when I water. I realize I could be 100% wrong, and I probably am. But I really don't think I was over watering them before. Sure, I wasn't watering perfectly by any stretch and could of added a day or so in between watering here and there. I went into this grow with the mindset that I wasn't going to water them much and I wasn't going to give them too many nuts. Which equated to me watering them every every 3-7 day ( 7 days when they were younger slowing progressing to 3 days ). Also bear in mind these plants are 6'+ tall in a greenhouse. They have been in the same 20 gallon fabric pots since mid-May.

I'm really confused, and I'm doubting the hell out of myself. If you could offer any guidance or wisdom I would be forever grateful. I'm not a quitter and I really want to get good at this.

tl;dr: lots of yellow leaves on 6' tall greenhouse plants ( increasing steadily ). Not sure if it's due to over watering or something else ( nitrogen deficiency, ph, or ? ). I'm also wondering if I am not watering them enough.

Thanks for viewing my post,
Henry Blake
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
Most of your instincts on this are dead on correct. You went just a little too far with the drying on that one, but as you can see now, she has recovered and all is well. By going this dry, those plants needed to seek out every drop of water in there, and I guarantee you just grew some new roots. With those stronger roots you will notice two things... they will use more water next time, and it will take less time for them to dry out.

When you water, gravity takes over and drops that water and the nutes into a lake at the bottom of the container. There is no way the bottom feeder roots are not getting nutes. Even so, the yellowing as you describe it, starting at the bottom and moving up the trunk is the sign of a mobile macro nutrient deficiency and the plant is cannibalizing leaves in turn to supply the nitrogen it needs to continue the new growth. If you don't get a handle on this quickly, you will lose the power of the larger bottom fan leaves, and your eventual yield on this plant will suffer.
Since your pH is correct, I offer the following advice. Give full strength nutes if you havent started already and since the plants are so large and in such good light, consider increasing another 50%. Also, while they are filling out these large containers, don't let them go more than 3 days without a mini watering of the top roots, while you continue to wait for the bottom to dry out. Just as you do with a proper watering, do this once with nutes and the next time with water with about 1/3 of what you would normally give on a proper full watering. So, again... your instincts were correct.... you are not watering them enough, but that doesnt mean you should overwater them either.
 

Nunyabiz

Well-Known Member
In a plant that size in fabric pots I cant imagine how you could overwater.
If your soil is properly aerated you would be better off watering almost daily IMO.

By the time I am 2 weeks into flower I am watering 1.5 to 2 gallons a day, might skip a day once in awhile.
Big plants in fabric pots with a full root system will guzzle water.

Those look like its cannibalizing, so I am sure basically every single person on this site disagrees with me but none the less, what I would do is water more often and give more nutrients, just less percentage per day, weaker but more often than you have been.

But it depends on your soil which only you know.
Those pots should be absolutely packed with roots, and really shouldn't have much if any perched water, they should be drying out quick
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
yet by monitoring the water table level he knows exactly how fast (or slow) they are using all the water, and he will know when they are finally drying out quickly. Until then, yes, if you keep your lower roots submerged and keep adding to the water table, you are overwatering. Our favorite Colonel is doing exactly the right thing so as to quickly build the roots in those large containers.
 
My understanding of nutrient adding is pretty elementary at best. Does one go by ppm or ec? I've read there are also two ppm scales as well which really confused me.

The two different nute brands that I've used are pretty different - ppm wise.

For instance, the suggested Fox Farms trio ppm at my current stage is ~1300ppm. The General Hydroponics trio is ~650ppm ( exactly half ). These are values directly from the manuf.
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
Most soil growers wouldn't know a ppm or an ec if it him them in their green thumb. Most have no way to measure it. In soil, switch over to ml/L or tbs/gallon and don't concern yourself with PPM or EC; these are hydro terms.
 

bluenoserjoe

Photo of the Month: May 2019
Hello everyone. I have been following along and find this an interesting debate. I presently grow hydro but am working on a large project that will be soil. Organics would be the way to go as water could be a big concern. Not sure that is feasible though as we are on an island and everything gets there by boat or barge.Not the water but everything else. Sure would be nice just to water and not worry about feeding correctly. Everything about this project will be highly regulated and lab tested on a regular bases so not sure synthetic nutes would even be allowed. The reason organics may be the only way to go.

:popcorn:
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
Hello everyone. I have been following along and find this an interesting debate. I presently grow hydro but am working on a large project that will be soil. Organics would be the way to go as water could be a big concern. Not sure that is feasible though as we are on an island and everything gets there by boat or barge.Not the water but everything else. Sure would be nice just to water and not worry about feeding correctly. Everything about this project will be highly regulated and lab tested on a regular bases so not sure synthetic nutes would even be allowed. The reason organics may be the only way to go.

:popcorn:
I would suggest then that you look up Subcool's supersoil recipe, figure out how much you need (his full recipe makes a ton) and start gathering the components to bring in on the barge. It takes at least a couple of months to compost this soil into a usable form, so start preparing ASAP. Once you have this soil built you will be able to use it over and over again, and you will be able to stop feeding synthetically.
 

bluenoserjoe

Photo of the Month: May 2019
I would suggest then that you look up Subcool's supersoil recipe, figure out how much you need (his full recipe makes a ton) and start gathering the components to bring in on the barge. It takes at least a couple of months to compost this soil into a usable form, so start preparing ASAP. Once you have this soil built you will be able to use it over and over again, and you will be able to stop feeding synthetically.
Wasn't expecting a reply buy sure appreciate it.I will be looking up Subcool's supersoil. As the growing end of this project won't start until next year making the soil should be no problem but one ton won't be near enough.:) A lot of what we will need will be coming by the dump truck load. This way to grow is all new to me and I am absorbing all I can from this site. My plan is to spend the next few years making a living doing what I love, although the growing end is seasonal. As this large a grow will be very labor intensive anything to help out is appreciated.
 
I've given nutrients to my plants twice since my last post. One at 100% strength, and the other at 50% ( 2.5 days later ). They seem to be drinking ~1.5 gallons a day and look much better!

I have one other problem going on. It's not the worst problem in the world to have :) But nonetheless it's a problem.

My plants are rapidly outgrowing my greenhouse area. Most plants are 6+', and they have ~2 months of growing time remaining. The top of my the greenhouse gable is 8' ( starts angling upwards at 6' ). I've been angling them towards the gable via use of scrog nets and plant yo-yo's. There is a also scrog net at 6' where the gable starts to angle upwards.

My plan is to tuck the plants under at the 6' scrog. I guess in hopes to get them growing more horizontally. I've also been super cropping a bit.

Are there any better ways of tackling this issue?

Thank-you very much in advance!
 
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