Soil For Thought

ppm Charlie

Well-Known Member
Hello, I'm "ppm Charlie". I just joined here. I interested in cannabis cultivation and various recreational and medicinal products and uses. In my youth, I used 420 for recreational and medical purposes. For the last 20 yrs, because of employment requirements, I had to refrain from the wake and bake. I am now retired and plan to reestablish my past youthful 420 ways. In my long ago past, I had a successful grow. In those days, before legalization in many states, things were quite hush-hush and sometimes dangerous. Hopefully, that place and time is now in the distant past.

A month ago, I began a new grow (courtesy of our Canadian friends and their wonderful seed banks). When my new grow is harvest and cured, I plan to use 420 for recreational and medical purposes again. I do not own any particular hemp products, except for twine I use to bind-up the vegetable garden plants. I am politically motivated to help efforts to legalize hemp and cannabis products in my backward-thinking area of the southern USA. Hopefully, one day soon that dream will come true.

For my new grow, I am using a "home-brewed" peat-perlite soilless mix. The mix includes bacterial inoculation (mycorrhizal inocculum) for healthy root growth and increased nutrient uptake and dolomite powder for pH balance. I am adding dolomite powder to the mix to raise the pH to the correct pH level of 5.8-6.2 (the peat-perlite mix started around pH=4.5 before the dolomite was added) .

I had some thoughts on soil pH and the measurement of soil pH.

I do not use a "soil pH meter" to measure soil pH because those types of soil testing devices are nearly useless. I am testing my mix using the "slurry" method for measuring the pH of a soil sample. The method is described many places in detail online, however, for me, I measure-out about 3/4 of a soil sample by volume into a clean glass jar and add bottled water to the top of the soil to make a slurry. I shake vigorously, wait 10 minutes and use a calibrated and inexpensive pH probe to measure the slurry pH.

I use the "Wally's World" store's bottled water (has a blue label and cap and is marked "purified drinking water", rhymes with "hams") because it is a down-and-dirty substitute for RO water. "Ham's" bottled water is easily obtainable, RO derived, near neutral in pH and has very low in TDS (as shown here: Sam’s Choice Water Test | Bottled Water Tests - TestAqua.com). It makes a great substitute for distilled water that can vary in quality, pH and TDS. Test it for yourself if not convinced. I tested it and found the "Ham's" purified drinking water at pH levels ranging from 6.8 to 7.2.

Regarding the "right" choice of water for soil pH slurry testing, I believe the water should be nearly "neutral" (pH=7) and low in TDS so as not to skew the soil sample pH one way or the other. I found distilled bottled water is not that good a choice since the pH and TDS of the water can vary significantly (author's personal experimentation, 2021). Ideally, the pH of RO water is 7.0 (i.e. "neutral" pH). In fact, RO derived water is not pH=7 (generally) for very long. As soon as RO water is produced and left in contact with the CO2 in the air around us it starts to immediately change in pH, gradually, to eventual values between 5.5 to 5.8 pH range (Why Reverse Osmosis Water is Acidic?).

The soilless mix I prepared used pre-moistened peat (65%) + perlite (35%) by volume (7.5gals total, or, 1 cu.ft.), including bacterial inoculation and 10 tablespoons of powdered dolomite. A soil slurry test method of this concoction registered pH=5.95 using the the pocket pH probe and using "Wally World" bottled water. That is right in the center of my goal of 5.8-6.2 (your results may vary slightly depending on the brand of peat used). An NCSU cannabis study indicated this is the proper pH for soilless mix for best results (New Research Results: Optimal pH for Cannabis). This is the soilless media mix preparation I will use for cultivation of my 420. Others have found similar results (see "Dolomitic Lime" section at: Amending Peat for Cannabis – Zombie Gardens). Now that I have found an adequate soilless prep method using the peat and perlite stock I am using, I can prepare additional mix with more confidence regarding final soilless media pH (I will still test it though and make any necessary adjustments).

While there is no "true-blue" method of soil sample pH preparation and measurement, I believe I have done the best I can. Does anyone have thoughts on preparing soilless media for pH soil testing? I would be grateful for any input.
 

Phytoplankton

Well-Known Member
In my youth, I used 420 for recreational and medical purposes. For the last 20 yrs, because of employment requirements, I had to refrain from the wake and bake. I am now retired and plan to reestablish my past youthful 420 ways.
Your story sounds much like mine, old Humboldt guy in my youth, stealth grows, and watching over your shoulder, but 30 years at a Government Lab with a security clearance put a damper on growing and use. Just got back into it when I retired (early) about 8 years ago. Sure is easier and less stressful now that it's legal (in my state). Welcome and happy growing!
 

ppm Charlie

Well-Known Member
Phyto,
Thanks for the kind reply. I have many good memories of the "olden days" - growing outdoor and indoor, longtime friends and past partners. I appreciate very much your thoughtful encouragement. I am growing White Widow, some Northern Lights and recently ordered some Candy Kush feminized seeds. Hopefully, all will be well. I am still getting the flowering room arranged. The little ones are just itty-bitty, presently, in a veg tent. I will update here as I see progress. Very glad to meet you, Phyto. Cheers, ppm.
 

StoneOtter

Member of the Month: July 2019, Sept 2020, Sept 2022 - Grow Journal of the Month: Nov 2019, Jan 2022 - Plant of the Month: April 2020

Tokin Roll

Grow Journal of the Month: June 2021 - Member of the Month: July 2021
Welcome @ppm Charlie

Sounds like you have a little growing experience behind you; will you be starting a grow journal?


Also, after you have over 50 posts you can vote or enter our contest to win free grow stuff.


Stay safe, and Grow well my friend,

Tok.. :bong:
 

Southerncough

Well-Known Member
What kind of food will you be giving them? Will that affect your pH?
 

Cola Monster

PlantOTM: Sep 2012,Mar 2013,May 2015,Jan 2016,Jul 2017,Aug 2018-NugOTM: Dec 2013,Nov 2015,Mar 2017,Jan,Jul 2018,Mar 2020,Nov 2021-CdelaC: Oct 2016,Mar,Jul,Oct,Nov 2017-CdelaC 2016-PhotoOTM: Feb,Mar,Jul 2018,Jul 2019,Jan,Dec 2020-PhotoOTY 2018,2019

Chucklesmoke

Well-Known Member
Hello, I'm "ppm Charlie". I just joined here. I interested in cannabis cultivation and various recreational and medicinal products and uses. In my youth, I used 420 for recreational and medical purposes. For the last 20 yrs, because of employment requirements, I had to refrain from the wake and bake. I am now retired and plan to reestablish my past youthful 420 ways. In my long ago past, I had a successful grow. In those days, before legalization in many states, things were quite hush-hush and sometimes dangerous. Hopefully, that place and time is now in the distant past.

A month ago, I began a new grow (courtesy of our Canadian friends and their wonderful seed banks). When my new grow is harvest and cured, I plan to use 420 for recreational and medical purposes again. I do not own any particular hemp products, except for twine I use to bind-up the vegetable garden plants. I am politically motivated to help efforts to legalize hemp and cannabis products in my backward-thinking area of the southern USA. Hopefully, one day soon that dream will come true.

For my new grow, I am using a "home-brewed" peat-perlite soilless mix. The mix includes bacterial inoculation (mycorrhizal inocculum) for healthy root growth and increased nutrient uptake and dolomite powder for pH balance. I am adding dolomite powder to the mix to raise the pH to the correct pH level of 5.8-6.2 (the peat-perlite mix started around pH=4.5 before the dolomite was added) .

I had some thoughts on soil pH and the measurement of soil pH.

I do not use a "soil pH meter" to measure soil pH because those types of soil testing devices are nearly useless. I am testing my mix using the "slurry" method for measuring the pH of a soil sample. The method is described many places in detail online, however, for me, I measure-out about 3/4 of a soil sample by volume into a clean glass jar and add bottled water to the top of the soil to make a slurry. I shake vigorously, wait 10 minutes and use a calibrated and inexpensive pH probe to measure the slurry pH.

I use the "Wally's World" store's bottled water (has a blue label and cap and is marked "purified drinking water", rhymes with "hams") because it is a down-and-dirty substitute for RO water. "Ham's" bottled water is easily obtainable, RO derived, near neutral in pH and has very low in TDS (as shown here: Sam’s Choice Water Test | Bottled Water Tests - TestAqua.com). It makes a great substitute for distilled water that can vary in quality, pH and TDS. Test it for yourself if not convinced. I tested it and found the "Ham's" purified drinking water at pH levels ranging from 6.8 to 7.2.

Regarding the "right" choice of water for soil pH slurry testing, I believe the water should be nearly "neutral" (pH=7) and low in TDS so as not to skew the soil sample pH one way or the other. I found distilled bottled water is not that good a choice since the pH and TDS of the water can vary significantly (author's personal experimentation, 2021). Ideally, the pH of RO water is 7.0 (i.e. "neutral" pH). In fact, RO derived water is not pH=7 (generally) for very long. As soon as RO water is produced and left in contact with the CO2 in the air around us it starts to immediately change in pH, gradually, to eventual values between 5.5 to 5.8 pH range (Why Reverse Osmosis Water is Acidic?).

The soilless mix I prepared used pre-moistened peat (65%) + perlite (35%) by volume (7.5gals total, or, 1 cu.ft.), including bacterial inoculation and 10 tablespoons of powdered dolomite. A soil slurry test method of this concoction registered pH=5.95 using the the pocket pH probe and using "Wally World" bottled water. That is right in the center of my goal of 5.8-6.2 (your results may vary slightly depending on the brand of peat used). An NCSU cannabis study indicated this is the proper pH for soilless mix for best results (New Research Results: Optimal pH for Cannabis). This is the soilless media mix preparation I will use for cultivation of my 420. Others have found similar results (see "Dolomitic Lime" section at: Amending Peat for Cannabis – Zombie Gardens). Now that I have found an adequate soilless prep method using the peat and perlite stock I am using, I can prepare additional mix with more confidence regarding final soilless media pH (I will still test it though and make any necessary adjustments).

While there is no "true-blue" method of soil sample pH preparation and measurement, I believe I have done the best I can. Does anyone have thoughts on preparing soilless media for pH soil testing? I would be grateful for any input.
Love your style man, I've worked in hazardous environments all my life, so I can relate (although I've found ways around the nasty test the last 35 years..) Stoked on your soil science and enjoy the lesson! I'm lazy, I buy the Fox ocean blend soil which gives me that consistent 6.0-6.5 and let it ride. Someday I'll have a problem, and when I do, I'll come right back to this thread! Haha! Keep up the good work man! :48:
 

ppm Charlie

Well-Known Member
Love your style man, I've worked in hazardous environments all my life, so I can relate (although I've found ways around the nasty test the last 35 years..) Stoked on your soil science and enjoy the lesson! I'm lazy, I buy the Fox ocean blend soil which gives me that consistent 6.0-6.5 and let it ride. Someday I'll have a problem, and when I do, I'll come right back to this thread! Haha! Keep up the good work man! :48:
Chuck,
I much appreciate your thoughtful reply. I am down-and-dirtying this grow. I may buy soil in the future, however, I ordered some coco coir the other day and thought I would give that a go too. This first grow after so many years is experiment, in a way, just to see if I still have the green thumb of bud. Cheers! ppm
 

ppm Charlie

Well-Known Member
What kind of food will you be giving them? Will that affect your pH?
I am just going with the General Hydroponics Floral package, plus their CalMag. Just kind of trying to keep it simple and realistic. It has been to many years since I grew the magic herb, I am just hoping I still have the skills and the patience. Generally, I have found that adjusting the nutrient pH to the recommended 5.8 to 6.2 pH range should keep my soilless mix in the 6.0 +-0.25 pH range throughout the grow. "You are what you eat". However, growers using the same soilless media long-term can have shifts in the pH of the soilless media to lower pH values as the application of so many rounds of "acidic" nutrients takes its toll (i.e. a vegetative female mother plant, for example, held in the same soilless media long term) . I plan to use new soilless media for each grow so I hope to avoid significant soilless media pH shifts. Thank you for your good questions here. Cheers! ppm
 

ppm Charlie

Well-Known Member
Welcome @ppm Charlie

Sounds like you have a little growing experience behind you; will you be starting a grow journal?


Also, after you have over 50 posts you can vote or enter our contest to win free grow stuff.


Stay safe, and Grow well my friend,

Tok.. :bong:
Tok,

Thank you very much. I do plan to keep a journal here, eventually, as I accumulate images and data. I am still working on getting the flowering room exactly the way it should be. That involves significant work. So between the flowering room work, accumulating supplies and equipment, testing equipment, indoor environmental modifications, soilless media prep, etc., I have been busy as a bee in spring clover. LOL! Cheers! ppm
 

ppm Charlie

Well-Known Member
Hello, I'm "ppm Charlie". I just joined here. I interested in cannabis cultivation and various recreational and medicinal products and uses. In my youth, I used 420 for recreational and medical purposes. For the last 20 yrs, because of employment requirements, I had to refrain from the wake and bake. I am now retired and plan to reestablish my past youthful 420 ways. In my long ago past, I had a successful grow. In those days, before legalization in many states, things were quite hush-hush and sometimes dangerous. Hopefully, that place and time is now in the distant past.

A month ago, I began a new grow (courtesy of our Canadian friends and their wonderful seed banks). When my new grow is harvest and cured, I plan to use 420 for recreational and medical purposes again. I do not own any particular hemp products, except for twine I use to bind-up the vegetable garden plants. I am politically motivated to help efforts to legalize hemp and cannabis products in my backward-thinking area of the southern USA. Hopefully, one day soon that dream will come true.

For my new grow, I am using a "home-brewed" peat-perlite soilless mix. The mix includes bacterial inoculation (mycorrhizal inocculum) for healthy root growth and increased nutrient uptake and dolomite powder for pH balance. I am adding dolomite powder to the mix to raise the pH to the correct pH level of 5.8-6.2 (the peat-perlite mix started around pH=4.5 before the dolomite was added) .

I had some thoughts on soil pH and the measurement of soil pH.

I do not use a "soil pH meter" to measure soil pH because those types of soil testing devices are nearly useless. I am testing my mix using the "slurry" method for measuring the pH of a soil sample. The method is described many places in detail online, however, for me, I measure-out about 3/4 of a soil sample by volume into a clean glass jar and add bottled water to the top of the soil to make a slurry. I shake vigorously, wait 10 minutes and use a calibrated and inexpensive pH probe to measure the slurry pH.

I use the "Wally's World" store's bottled water (has a blue label and cap and is marked "purified drinking water", rhymes with "hams") because it is a down-and-dirty substitute for RO water. "Ham's" bottled water is easily obtainable, RO derived, near neutral in pH and has very low in TDS (as shown here: Sam’s Choice Water Test | Bottled Water Tests - TestAqua.com). It makes a great substitute for distilled water that can vary in quality, pH and TDS. Test it for yourself if not convinced. I tested it and found the "Ham's" purified drinking water at pH levels ranging from 6.8 to 7.2.

Regarding the "right" choice of water for soil pH slurry testing, I believe the water should be nearly "neutral" (pH=7) and low in TDS so as not to skew the soil sample pH one way or the other. I found distilled bottled water is not that good a choice since the pH and TDS of the water can vary significantly (author's personal experimentation, 2021). Ideally, the pH of RO water is 7.0 (i.e. "neutral" pH). In fact, RO derived water is not pH=7 (generally) for very long. As soon as RO water is produced and left in contact with the CO2 in the air around us it starts to immediately change in pH, gradually, to eventual values between 5.5 to 5.8 pH range (Why Reverse Osmosis Water is Acidic?).

The soilless mix I prepared used pre-moistened peat (65%) + perlite (35%) by volume (7.5gals total, or, 1 cu.ft.), including bacterial inoculation and 10 tablespoons of powdered dolomite. A soil slurry test method of this concoction registered pH=5.95 using the the pocket pH probe and using "Wally World" bottled water. That is right in the center of my goal of 5.8-6.2 (your results may vary slightly depending on the brand of peat used). An NCSU cannabis study indicated this is the proper pH for soilless mix for best results (New Research Results: Optimal pH for Cannabis). This is the soilless media mix preparation I will use for cultivation of my 420. Others have found similar results (see "Dolomitic Lime" section at: Amending Peat for Cannabis – Zombie Gardens). Now that I have found an adequate soilless prep method using the peat and perlite stock I am using, I can prepare additional mix with more confidence regarding final soilless media pH (I will still test it though and make any necessary adjustments).

While there is no "true-blue" method of soil sample pH preparation and measurement, I believe I have done the best I can. Does anyone have thoughts on preparing soilless media for pH soil testing? I would be grateful for any input.

Update: Tested the same soilless mix after 36 hrs after the first pH=5.95 reading to see if there have been "drift" in the pH with time...I was amazed...pH=5.95 once again.
 

ppm Charlie

Well-Known Member
Welcome ppm Charlie, I'm another one. 30 years off then retired from a random drug tested job. Been growing for a few years now and haven't looked back! Good to see you!
SO, Thank you very much. The years take their toll though...I am not what I was at 25y.o. Takes longer to do things and I do not remember my muscles and joints hurting as much as in my younger years. Age does have it's benefits though...I hope I am slightly smarter than I was in my misspent youth. LOL! Cheers! ppm
 

Carcass

Member of the Month: Aug 2019, May 2021, July 2022 - Nug of the Month: May 2020 - Plant of the Month: Mar 2021 - Photo of the Month: Sept 2021; Aug 2022 - Grow Journal of the Month: Oct 2021 - Plant of the Year: 2021
I hope I am slightly smarter than I was in my misspent youth.
I've learned a lot since my misspent youth...unfortunately, because of my misspent youth, I can't remember most of it... :oops:
Welcome to 420, ppm Charlie:welcome:
 
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