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What Compost pile to go to? what % mixes?

SmokingBowl

New Member
ok so in my area and on my property there are a bunch of different compost piles and soils for me to choose from. I am thinking about growing in those very large airpots next year so i will need a lot of material to fill the pots. I'm going to try and fill these for free by using my available composts and native soils, which include:

-composted cow manure pile
-composted chicken manure pile
-composted leaf pile
composted cow manure pile then used to bury/compost dead cows
-composted soybeans

the best native soils around here would be

-sandy soil (looks and feels like a sandbox but its really moist)
-muck field (farmed organically its black and soft) (the only other muck in the area i know of is not organic and grows vegetables)
-silt loam soil (the most common to find in fields here)

my worries are that no matter what i mix it will be alot heavier and wetter than most commercial potting mixes.
 

SmokingBowl

New Member
well that was alot of reading Mr Experiment! but i did glean some useful info. i have a plan starting to form now. I'm thinking about mixing the muck field soil (i'm guessing its basically peat) with the 'dead cow' compost 50/50. i have had great results growing a few plants on the edge of this pile and i'm guessing the cows added quite a bit to the compost. its chock full of bones when i dig it so i'm thinking about crushing them up somehow and calling it bonemeal, maybe i don't have to crush it?
Then i will top dress the pot with a layer of the leaf compost, because thats where it naturally is found on a forrest floor.
Then i will spike the pots with the soybean and chicken composts because they seem like the most concentrated and i dont want to burn my plants having it too close to the stems.

once i start mixing my peat/compost i will decide if it needs anything to make it more fluffy like perlite/vermiculite. I plan on testing the Ph and i will probably add lime of some sort. I can get Gypsum, Hydrated lime, and feed lime for free. Most people talk about sweet Dolomite lime im not sure how these compare yet.

i still need to fine tune my spiking mix i guess and decide what else i could do to my primary medium. Any suggestions whether i should line the bottom of my pots with something? im playing with the idea of putting the sand on the bottom. I have decided to try and make my own 200 gal airpots, something about 6ft diameter and 24-30 inches deep
 

SmokingBowl

New Member
This mix will be 100% organic and i hope the NPK will be well balanced. Hopefully it does not have too much N, if it turns out to be low i can add some organically with ease. Phosphorous should be fine with the bones all in the mix, i have never crushed bones so im not sure how that will work out :439: and K might be low in this mix but i found kelp, kalonite clay, greensand, and granite dust are good sources so i may have to pick some up.
maybe this mix needs some micronutrients and im sure there are plenty of beneficial microbes but it might not hurt to inoculate it with more just in case :439:
 

Jimmycricket

Nug of the Month: Feb 2014
I would do a mix, if you want to use nothing else at all then I would do 25% muck, 50% sand and then 5% of chicken, dead cow, soybean and 10% leaf.

However if I had access to all that and did not mind adding some extras i would use some perlite in and reduce the sand and up the muck. The sand would just be there to help drainage, but perlite is way better. Also myself I would add kelp as nothing there sounds like it has much or any Potash.
 

Jimmycricket

Nug of the Month: Feb 2014
Not really necessary to experiment, its already known what the general NPK and minerals are in all the things you listed.

They are all basically just nitrogen. The dead cows would also have some phos.

Chicken manure and soybean meal can have some P and K but not enough K for veg or flower and definitely not enough P for good flowering.
 

SmokingBowl

New Member
i think your right about the k deficiency in the compost i had this strange deficiency crop up in some beat up clones in veg potted in manure compost it looks like K or mg probably not P but its hard for me to say
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SmokingBowl

New Member
That being said about some deficiency in some half dead and abused clones here are some pics from a monster specimen i have growing directly in a compost pile half shaded even!!!!
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this is a plant grown by digging a hole 15gal filled with compost to compare what unlimited compost can do
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Jimmycricket

Nug of the Month: Feb 2014
judging from the looks of that area the nativve soil is highly nutritious. That could be the reason it didnt seem to have any deficiencies.
 

SmokingBowl

New Member
so when container gardening the emphasis is on making a light airy mix that needs water often like with peat or coco growing, hydroponics also emphasizes unlimited air and water for the plants. so if i were to make a container of any size using my own composts/soil i would want it to be as light and airy as I possibly could I am thinking and simply water more often and as long as it was nice and fertile it should have faster growth than a heavier wetter soil right?
 

Jimmycricket

Nug of the Month: Feb 2014
Not really.

You just want it to never be soaking wet for prolonged periods of time, and of course not bone dry either.

Clay soils can grow great plants if they are just lightly watered and allowed to get pretty dry before the next watering.

airy soils are just easier as its pretty hard to have them so wet it slows growth or causes root rot. You would basically need to be watering all the time.
 

conradino23

Grow Journal of the Year: 2017 - Grow Journal of the Month: Sept 2017
Garden compost usually lacks a little bit of potassium and that's your deficiency I think. But mine doesn't cause I supplement it with wood ash and some other stuff. It's not too late to give your plants a K injection plus some mycos and bacterias to make the uptake easier and smoother. Then your plants will look like that :)

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SmokingBowl

New Member
hey very nice conradino i have just been updating my outdoor grow journal, i havnt figured out how to link that under my post comments... i have been busy latley putting hours in reading huge threads by some nor cal growers getting 10lb yeilds. i definelty want to try a bunch of new things next year. the thing is those guys are planting in like 300gal pots/holes and have about 1k$ invested in soil per plant omg!!!! i have plans to get some soil tests done on my favorite compost pile and the muck feild which i will be using as my base and amend based on how the test compares to what the soil test the norcal grower was going with. obviously my emphasis is on getting as much done for free as i can because im not made of money and i want to spend my budget on making a AACT tea brewer, getting some brix mix/ basically implement foliar feeding. and getting a ph,ergs,Na,Brix meters thermometer and mabey moisture tester as well. And about 20 other things haha

my remaining question i cant seem to find an answer to is whether i should add perlite. people seem very polarized between adding it and not using it, lots of people are using ridiculous amounts. the nor cal growers were adding 1 bag per 300gal planter and that seems pretty reasonable imo. i cant wait to try making diy soil amendments! im going to crush up bones for bone meal, make alfalfa meal, feather meal? i have chickens, we have a big pile of wood to burn the ashes left will be high in K. an organic farmer near me gets fish emulsion trucked in sometimes im going to have to keep my nose peeled for that terrible smell wafting into my neighborhood and go borrow some lol. I'm just going to keep my eyes open and hope that next spring ill have some great soil and all my other ducks in a row and try for a couple monsters! i guess i just want to grow bigger healthier and better cared for plants, i think i can only keep track of a couple but theres no reason they wouldn't out yeild my 10 plants i have this year and be better quality too! :green_heart::thanks:
 
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