Well as per usual I'm gunna start off a journal with some music and no pics
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmjXY1BDMEA]YouTube - Cypress Hill : Hits From The Bong[/ame]
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e28MdKi20XU]YouTube - PASS THE MARIJUANA BY MYSTIC ROOTS[/ame]
Its 5 April, 2010!! the plan with this journal is to have it become a continuous outdoor journal being re-freshed every new outdoor grow.
Well as many may know last year started out slow but got kicking into HIGH gear once the rains stopped and the sun came out and I had some lovely ladies but was tragicly ripped the same night I was going out to chop. Sad story but nothing that will keep me from going all out again this year, just me this time and no partners. I learned the lesson the hard way that money and drugs change people and will make even a friend screw you if they can make a profit.
The plan for this season/genetics.
I'm going to place a few plants far apart in a very large plot and hope the deer don't get them. But the majority of my plants I've decided on will go in a single VERY secure plot. The current idea is to run a loose SoG style grow with each strain having its over miniature SoG. The genetics to go in this year are (14)Rez Sd x Rez SD (seeds),(11) Rez SD x Blue Cheese (seeds), (4) Wonder Woman cuttings, and hopefully I'll be able to get together a few cuttings/seeds(Im looking at HGS Black Queen) from some other strains as my deadline slowly creeps on...I'll update with new genetics if/when they as certain.
Preparing the plot.
Well I've been thinking long and hard with lots of research on a good way to go and keep it cheaper for me this year and I came up with a solution. I'm going to be getting either 2 bales of ProMix BX or 25sq.ft. of organic humus soil (prefered) and mixing them with the 172gallons of used FFOF soil from last grow. The soil from last grow was kept outdoors in the highly effective drainage buckets so all the nutrients are leached out and its more or less an inert soil medium. I will be making a 2' deep bed and filling it with sifted native soil and the soil mix I bring in.Ii will also be digging 4' deep holes for my watering tubes (will be discussed further down).
Still deciding on the feeding method/soil.
I'm not sure if I will add dry soil amendments such as the FF Peace of Mind line to the soil while I'm mixing it together or if I will go with making teas this season. I've read up a lot on both and both are very plausible for the growing enviroment that I need this year which is; free and more secure/less maintenance. Either way I go Ph is no longer an issue so that saves me time which is key with security. If I go with the soil amendments all I need to do is add water or hope for regualar rain fall during the veg/early flower periods and light soil dressings as difficiencies occur. With teas I just have to water with the tea every other watering or every third watering depending on what each strain needs which may be a better bet to optimize what each strain whats/likes.
Simple Soil Recycling by the 3LB
I am not the 3LB, but i do like the way they do things... I plan on doing 100% organics because ive been getting headaches from the hydroponic grown crap. This is an excerpt I found from another thread.
ok here goes . . .
in the beginning God made earth also variously known as soil/dirt/sand/clay/loam etc . . . and then later Miracle-it-Grows made a mockery of the term soil and this begat hydroponics (just so no one tries to take this literally and accuse the bird’s of spreading misinformation - yes we know miracle grow soil didn’t cause the rise of hydroponics - but it makes a nice introduction story!). . . and thus began the three_little_birds efforts to bring real dirt back into indoor farming . . .
Farmer's don't throw out their topsoil after a crop, so we've always found the suggestion that folks dispose of soil after every indoor crop kind of ridiculous . . . we set out to disprove those folks who said that soil needed to be disposed of and in the process we've found our soil actually grew more fertile with time and some effort!
what will it take to use your soil over and over . . . time . . .dedication . . .a willingness (and ability) to do a lil physical labor . . . our process will involve some observation on the soil makers part . . .and you'll need to do a lil thinking . . . you will have to avoid salt and chemical ferts at all costs and build a collection of boxes or containers of different organic amendments sitting around on shelves . . .
we started with a standard soil mix pretty much like everyone else . . . when choosing a beginning organic soil we look for products like FoxFarm OceanForest or Mushroom Compost (at least the "shroom post" we find) that are often more "tree fiber" based rather than built with peat moss . . . we prefer these as our primary component over soil mixes like ProMix or SunshineMix that are mostly peat which is more acidic . . . if you plan on reusing your soil just once or twice then the peat mixes will probably work fine . . . but if you hope to use your soil endlessly like at the bird's nest then we'd say not more than 50% peat based mix to 50% tree fiber mix . . .
for the first grow prior to recycling we used a more expensive potting soil mix like the FoxFarm and then mixed in about 1/3 cheap peat based organic soil mix that was mostly peat, perlite and sand . . . we grew a couple small crops from start to finish using Earth Juice organic fertilizers and dumped all the used soil in a big 50 gallon Rubbermaid tub (w/ lid) . . . when the tub was about 4/5ths full (appx. 40 gallons of used soil) we stopped adding soil and went to work . . .
that first pass on soil remixing we added bone meal, blood meal, kelp meal and dolomite lime to the used soil . . . to be quite honest our proportions have changed a lil bit over time but it was likely something in the range of 2 cups blood meal, 4 cups kelp meal, 4 cups bone meal and 4 cups of dolomite lime . . . we mixed all those ingredients into our soil and moistened and waited a month until it was time for more soil . . .
For our next grow we would have mixed in about equal proportions of fresh and remixed amended soil . . . about ½ used soil with ½ fresh new soil and perhaps a lil added perlite to make sure the soil stayed light . . . and ran that through another grow using moderate feedings with the Earth Juice ferts . . . again we collected the used soil as it finished in the 50 gallon Rubbermaid bins . . .
at this point we started using our soil as an indoor compost bin for indoor garden waste. . . we really didn’t want to dispose of our fan leaf and stem trim in the trash . . . so we began chopping our indoor garden wastes and mixing them into our soil . . . we had quite a build up of trim trash at one time and to be honest it didn’t break down that fast this first time . . . we turned the compost in that bin several times in the next couple of months to get that trim to decompose . . . it seemed like the stems never would break down . . . finally they kind of decomposed and we mixed that “composted” soil in with our normal remixed soil and thus our composted soil methods began . . .
the plants grown in that remixed soil containing compost were very strong . . . stronger still than their sisters in fresh soil and with our 50/50 fresh and used soil remix . . . so we started including some composted soil in with every mix . . . we stopped adding any fresh soil to the mix about this time as well . . . in honesty we’d run short on soil for the moment and decided to try 100% remix . . . it worked . . . and it worked well . . .
Now let’s fast forward to a day when all of the soil remix bins had just been freshly mixed and were still stabilizing . . . we were ready to move another container to our bloom room and there was plenty of our compost on hand but no soil ready . . . now if a person reads Ed Rosenthal or Cervantes they will usually see warnings against trying to grow plants in homemade compost . . . we never quite understood this since compost is great as a top dressing in the normal garden outdoors and such . . . but we were still concerned that the “experts” knew something we didn’t . . .
we filled a 2'x3' container w/ compost and transplanted the plants in simply hoping for the best . . . turns out there was no reason to worry at all . . . they grew HUGE . . . the next time we had enough indoor compost to experiment in this way again we did . . . and the results were again beyond our normal experience . . . a third “bumper crop” from pure compost convinced us that there were secrets in the soil . . .
this post is closing in on two pages in length on the word processor now . . . so it’d be best to come back with one more post describing the current state of ongoing soil recycling project at the bird’s nest . . . in concept and practice it’s actually quite simple . . . we add organic matter as available to our soil . . . amend with nutrient goodies . . . and treat it all with great care and love . . .
we’ll be back to share the love and our current soil methods . . . the secret may very well be in the soil . . . but the bird’s won’t be keeping any secrets ourselves on how our methods work . . . Quote:
Organic Gold III - Soil Heresy by 3LB
We are about to commit heresy and tell people that we ALWAYS re-use our soil. No soil has left the garden's of the three_little_birds since before the turn of the millennium! Some growers will tell folks to throw out their soil after every grow, and we've known plenty of commercial growers that happily do that to make sure they do not have pest or nutrient problems. Maybe that even is the best solution for your grow, we can't say for sure, as always your mileage may vary. We are poor simple medical users (and aging hippies, etc.), and spending something like $20 for a bag of FoxFarm soil rubbed us wrong! With our container system it might take 2 full bags of that soil for 3 plants!
Now again . . . someone who is involved in commercial (rather than personal medical) production might not be so inclined to bother with making sure their soils stay healthy and all the work we go through to ensure our soil's health, but for us it is a labor of love and we feel our results speak for themselves.
Anyway, like we said, our soil never leaves our grow, it has all been recycled to the point that we could not even begin to tell you how many times it's been through our system! A good commercial potting mix has always been the base for our soil. We look for a product which is 100% organic, and recommend that you avoid ALL chemical salt ferts like the plague if you value your soil health. This especially includes timed-released chem ferts like osmocote! Depending on what we have found for soil, we go from there. Some cheap organic soil mixes contain little more than peat, pearlite, and dolomite lime. These absolutely need amending to start off. Some organic soil mixes are much more complete and need little or no amending for starters.
Organic mushroom compost is certainly one of the hot soil mediums these days, and we've certainly had great success mixing it in with our soil remixes to add fresh organic matter. We can't however comment on it's longer terms effects in soil remixes. Since we found a cheap source of mushroom compost, we have also been top-dressing our plants with it almost exclusively, so we imagine that we will soon discover if remixing the ‘shroom compost will have any detrimental effects.
Once through it's first grow (the plants fed 100% organic with earth juice, teas, fish ferts, and liquid kelp) our container of soil has it's root balls pulled and it is dumped into a very large rubbermaid container w/ a lid (50 gallon container) These container's are longer than our 2x3 growing containers, so with 2 people lifting and dumping, it's not too hard to keep this step neat. Each bin can actually hold more than the contents from a single grow-container (2 grow-containers of soil will actually fit, but this makes mixing in amendments very difficult and messy.) Now we proceed to give back to our soil mix what our plants have taken (and then some.) We get out our kelp meal, bone meal, blood meal, greensand, rock phosphate, diatomaceous earth, and dolomite lime and get mixing. Depending on the soil's condition this is also where we might add a little more perlite if soil compaction looks to be a potential problem.
Folks are going to ask us how much of these different supplements we add, and the only honest answer we can give is - it depends! If the plants we'd raised previously in that particular container had shown any signs of being short on a major nutrient N–P-K - it's not too hard to throw in an extra cup or two of the appropriate organic supplement (Blood meal / Alfalfa meal for N - Bone meal / rock phosphate for P - kelp meal / greensand for K and other micro nutrients.) A nice full 16 oz plastic cup of each of the prior mentioned ingredients would be our baseline for supplementing this round of soil re-mix. We will generally double this amount if any nutrient shortage has shown. . .
The greensand and rock phosphate are very slow to dissolve and be absorbed by plants, and are not normally used by many indoor container gardeners. Their slow release is what helps to make our system work! They will still be in our soil for the next couple of grows, doing their part for our soil health. This is the point where we would also add some of our own compost (assuming there is some finished and ready - if not some mushroom compost has proven to work.) Our compost is made from the usual standards, household veggie food scraps and such, with the addition of all our used grow scraps. Fan leaf, chopped stems, and the "leftover's" from processing by bubble bag or tumbling are all composted and returned to our soil.
Now we will wet this whole mix down lightly and let it "cook" for a spell. We have three large bins like this for soil remixing and composting. Folks always want us to be specific on amounts and times, and we do a lot of this by feel, so when we say we let the soil cook for a "spell" - how long depends on feel and need! The minimum time our soil sits is two weeks, and it's sat waiting for use for a couple months like this during slower times in our grow. This time gives soil bacteria a chance to work and make the various organic amendments more quickly and easily available for our plants. We use this soil again for another grow, watering with our usual array of teas, Earth Juice, etc. If needed, containers are top-dressed with compost (our own or mushroom compost depending on availability) as any soil settling occurs.
Upon yet another successful harvest, the soil is reconditioned again. Once we reached our third mix of soil, we cut back on the soil amendments. The greensand and rock phosphate are still working from the last re-mix so we don't need to add any more of them for sure. What remains in your soil at this point in terms of nitrogen and such may depend on your strain, some strains are much more greedy for some nutrients. So if our plants haven't shown any signs of yellowing as they mature, we figure there is nitrogen enough in the soil for the next round (at least to get started - we can add more N on the fly with fish ferts and teas if needed) and no blood meal is added. If yellowing has occurred then blood meal is added again. Kelp meal is usually added again since many of the major liquid organic ferts seem a little short on potassium, and also because we like the micro nutrients kelp meal provides to our plants. Dolomite lime will probably be necessary again too, and it's possible your soil will need even more this time than last. Any peat in the soil adds acidity as it decomposes, and the lime balances this as well as providing magnesium. After the standard 15 - 30 days of standing moistened waiting for use this soil is used still another time. Now our soil has grown 4 crops of herbs and is still going and growing strong. At this point, we have started plants in our soil remixes directly alongside plants in fresh potting soil, just to make sure our mix wasn't subtly stunting our plants.
The plants grown in our 4th and 5th generation soil remix did far better than those directly alongside grown in fresh from the bag FoxFarm OceanForest potting soil! Because our garden is a continuous harvest setup, once we are to our 4th or 5th remix, it's starting to get hard to keep track of exactly what soil has been remixed where, since half used bins of remixes are often dumped together to make room for another round of used soil coming from the garden. So we simply continue adding amendments by feel as needed.
This is how the three little birds use soil. We know we break the rule we have all been told to follow - to never reuse soil. Even those "radicals" we have seen reusing soil, have always described letting their soil go out to their veggie gardens or flower beds after 3 or 4 grows. We decided to push the envelope and see how far we could take it . . .
We still haven't found a limit for the number of times we remix our soil, and our harvests and plant vigor keep improving.
Oh, just to add another bit of heresy, you may have noticed our container grows suspended above the floor on wheeled furniture movers. It's a very convenient way to keep the plants in larger containers mobile. . . but you also must realize then (if you think about it) that out grow containers have NO drainage. Our soil mix, which is now has been remixed double digit times, has NEVER been flushed! We warned you all at the start of this post that some might consider it heresy . . . And we can’t even begin to tell you how we can break these rules and get better results than average - but it works for us and we wanted to let folks judge for themselves.
one thing we might add - we certainly would not remix soil from any containers where we'd had a bug or disease problem - even getting bud mold would be enough for us to say - no thanks to a soil remix
we were discussing this among "the birds" the other nite - and one line that a little bird said comes to mind . . . "Farmer's don't strip their topsoil after a harvest - or even a few - in fact their soil is their most precious commodity - why should it be different for indoor gardening as long as proper care is taken to build healthy soil?"
To me there is nothing like the flavor of properly grown organic cannabis. The subtle flavors and aromas created when using mother earth is over whelming to the senses when done properly. As with many vegetables a rich Organic soil can bring out the best in a plant. Over the past 20 years I have tried almost every possible way to cultivate our favorite plant and while hydro is certainly faster and the yields blow soil away, I have developed a soil that performs extremely well and there’s very little guess work. I don’t worry about ph or ppm I simply have spent a few years developing a sound recipe and in combination with 7 gallon nursery pots I can run from start to finish using only water. Other than a bit of sweat equity every 90 days or so it takes a huge amount of science out of the garden and puts nature back in charge. This recipe is slightly different from my last and from the one so many use as gospel that I have passed around for years from grower to grower
I always start with at least 6-8 large bags of high quality organic soil. The selection of your base soil is very important so don’t cut corners here. I cannot begin to discuss all the different products but I will discuss a few in this article. A good Organic soil should cost between 8-10$ per 30# bag. I want you to get a real good idea what I consider a balanced soil to be so take a look at the ingredients of a product called Roots Organic:
Lignite*, coca fiber, perlite, pumice, compost, peat moss, bone meal, bat guano, kelp meal, Green sand, soy bean meal, leonardite, k-mag, glacial rock dust, alfalfa meal, oyster shell flour, earth worm castings and Mycorrhizae.
I have always believed in giving my plants a wide range of soils and additives I figure it's like a buffet they get all they need
“Lignite, also known as leonardite, mined lignin, brown coal, and slack, is an important constituent to the oil well, drilling industry. Lignite, or leonardite as it will be referred as hereafter, is technically known as a low rank coal between peat and sub-bituminous. Leonardite was named for Dr. A.G. Leonard, North Dakota's first state geologist, who was a pioneer in the study of lignite deposits. Leonardite is applied to products having a high content of humic acid. Humic acid has been found to be very useful as a drilling
Another local product we are trying now is called Harvest Moon
Washed coco fibers, Alaskan peat moss, perlite, yucca, pumice, diatoms, worm castings, feather meal, fishmeal, kelp meal, limestone, gypsum, soybean meal, alfalfa meal, rock dust, yucca meal, and Mycorrhizae fungi.
The Roots produced a more floral smell in the finished flowers while the Harvest Moon generated larger yields.
If you have access to a good local mix like these then I highly recommend starting with these type products. We have also had decent results using commercial brands as well but not as is. The best results we have seen from well known soil that is available nationwide is Fox Farms “Ocean Forrest” soil combined in a 2-1 ratio with Light Warrior. On it’s own the Ocean Forrest is known for burning plants and having the wrong ratio’s of nutrients but when cut down with Light Warrior it makes a pretty good mix for a base soil.
You can also just use 2 bales of Sunshine mix #4 but this is my last choice and plants growing in this may not complete properly with this “Just add water” method of soil growing. The concept to this concentrated soil is to not have to worry with mixing up nutrients after the soil is made. The concentrate is placed in the bottom ¼ to ½ of the container and blended with base soil. This allows the plants to grow into the strong concentrated soil and in the right size container need nothing else but water throughout the full harvest cycle. With strains requiring high levels of nutrients we go as strong as ¾ of the container with Super Soil but this is only with a small percentage of strains.
Here are the amounts we have found that produce the best tasting buds and strongest medicines.
8- Large bags of High quality Organic potting soil with a coco and Mycorrhizae
1-25-50 pounds of Organic Worm castings
5# Steamed Bone meal
5# Bloom bat Guano
5# Blood meal
3# Rock Phoshate
¾ cup Epson salts
½ cup Sweet Lime ( Dolimite)
½ Cup Azomite ( Trace Elements)
2- TBS Powdered Humic Acid
This is the same basic recipe I have used for 15 years the hardest ingredient to acquire is the worm castings most people don't even know what it is. Be resourceful and find it worms make up ¾ of the living organisms underground btw and hold our planet together.
Be careful not to waste money on Soil Conditioner with worm casting but local Pure Worm poop with no added mulch.
There are several methods of mixing this up well.
You can sweep off a patio or garage and work there on a tarp.
You can use a kids plastic wading pool these cost about 10$ and work really well for a few seasons.
Some growers have been known to rent a cement mixer and cut down on the physical labor. As long as you get the ingredients mixed up properly that is all that matters.
This can be a lot of work so don’t pull a muscle if your not used to strenuous activity. This method is good for mind and body. Working with soil keeps me in pretty good shape, but if you have limitations you can simply have someone mix it up for you while you supervise. One of the things I like about this method is I can drop of plants to a patient and all they have to do is water the plants when the soil dries out.
Place a few bags of base soil in first making a mound. I then place the powdered nutrients in a circle around the mound and then cover with another bag of base soil.
Then goes in the bat poop and then more base soil. I continue to layer soil and additives until everything has been added to the pile. So now I put on the muck boots, these help me kick the soil around and get it mixed up well using my larger leg muscles and not my back and arms. Then it’s as simple as my Skipper used to say “ Put your back into it”. This is hard work that I obsess on, even breaking up all the clods of soil by hand. I mix for about 15 minutes, turning the pile over and over until it is mixed well. I store the mix in large garbage cans. Before using the mix the entire load is poured out once more and mixed well. Once placed in the containers I water it slightly adding 3 gallons of water to a large garbage can full. It will make the stirring harder next week but it will activate the Mycorrhizae and I think help all the powders dissolve.
My watering tecnique is similar to last years but 've added to it and optimized some ideas from a friend who I will remain nameless unless he doesn't mind. Well the holes in each SoG plot will be for PVC slow drip style watering tubes. the # and placement of these tubes will be finalized when I get the size of each mini-plot and # of plants within each mini-plot. Ideal would be to have 2 tubes around each plant but more practical there will be 3-4 on each edge and each one within the SoG will be split beween 2-3 plants roughly. Dig the hole for the plant and dig one side around 4' deep. Take a 2" diameter PVC tube @ 4ft long, drill (3) 1/16th-1/8th inch holes on each "side" of the pipe so 12 holes total at bottom of the pipe with last hole as close to the bottom as you can get, then 1-2ft from the top of the pipe drill again in the same manner. Place this pipe in the ground with it just barely above the surface, add soil around tube an compact until its solid but not rock hard (use your judgement) then fill in the hole with your soil and seed/clone/transplant. Then fill pipe with a nute solution and as the soil drys out the nute solution will drip out until the soil is moist enough, this will allow you to be away for longer periods of time...you should for the first couple of weeks check up every other day or so just to guage how quickly or slowly the nute solution drains from the tubing. I'll only be using this tecnique for hot periods and when I leave my local area for a few days to a week max. The plants spread out alone in the large field style plot will have their own PVC water tube for each plant.
The other method I'm employing is taking 2" tubing @10ft long and drilling holes on 3/4 of the sides from top to bottom and fixing a funnel (and pouring 5gal of water or tea into funnel slowly and letting it drip out the tubing, I'll have around (8) 5gallon jugs)to the end and capping the other end. This will act as a way for me to water all plants at a faster rate and allow me to inspect for bugs, remove leaves and check for powdery mildew/rot (during flower) and keep myself and the plot more secure by minimizing how often Im at the plot and how long I am there for. Oh yes and there is a crystal clear deep stream about 50m away so that will make watering MUCH easier!
Tomorrow late afternoon I think I'll get my arse out to the future plots and get some pics and make sure the floods from last week didn't wreck things out there too badly.
Hoping that this year is an El Nino and it stays nice and warm at nights my the beginning of May so I can get everything out there started by then.
So welcome and feel free to pull up a seat cause once this grow gets going everyone knows I'm a picture whore!!
Edited by NOVA, 07 April 2010 - 03:18 AM.