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Building soil vs bagged

Discussion in 'Organic Growing' started by nameth2004, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. what would be the best way to get at least 50 gal of good soil?i as thinking either buying bags of soil and mixing them or actually build my own soil amendments and everything.give me your opinions on what will be the best option

    if i did build the soil i would probably have to get pro mix as a base
  2. The pros and cons of this are fairly clear - while bagged soil is all "ready to grow", it is often fairly expensive. You never know exactly what's in it, and if you do know, you must realize that the components are usually not the best quality - the bagged soil companies are out to make money. You can always construct much better soil for less money while using much better higher quality ingredients.

    I use ProMix in my base. You'll need to add a mess of compost, worm castings as a humus source, some aeration to let it drain properly - nothing worse than wet/heavy soil plus nutrition - ie: either a blended organic fertilizer such as Epsoma, Dr Earth or Down to Earth makes, or you can go a step further and add your own seed meals, kelp, alfalfa, neem, crab meals, rock dust etc.

    The bottom line is that you can construct a much, much better soil than you can buy 99% of the time.

    Have you looked through this thread?


    The heart of an organic soil is the humus so make sure you get some good compost and castings added to the mix.

  3. it hard to understand amendments they tell you how much sq feet it covers and not how many gals it could fill.

    im still trying to grasp this concept but alfalfa meal bone meal and blood have to be cook in the soil before ready?also a guy at the feed store said blood and bone are mostly top dresses but i see everyone putting in their soil mix.
    sorry guys please bare with me
  4. sorry for double post but what you think about using native soil,ive been told that our soil is really high in P
    i was thinking native,promix plus amendments
  5. 1 cubic foot equals 7.48 gal...I just call it 7 and a half. Use native soil if you trust/know someone who uses it or you can get it tested.
  6. #7 Ganjas Majoris, Mar 6, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2013
    Allllllright. Let me "amend" your confusion. ;) Fellow Texan here, reporting in!

    When you're building an organic soil, essentially you're setting up a micro-ecosystem that equally gives/takes from its surroundings.

    So what you'll need to do is source things that are full of micro-life, i.e.- Compost, Worm Castings, etc.

    After that, you need some water-retention material, which also adds to the base coumpound of your soil, i.e.- Sphagnum Peat Moss, CoCo Coir, etc.

    After that, you need to aerate your soil so it doesn't get muddy, i.e.- Rice Hulls, Perlite, etc.


    You need to feed the microlife, NOT THE PLANTS. That's right-- you're not ever feeding the plants, essentially you're only feeding the soil.

    So in order to get those nutrients into the soil, we use food that is normally used for topdressing, and go ahead with combining it INTO the mix (i.e.- blood meal, bone meal, alfalfa meal, etc). By letting it "cook", you're giving the microlife time to break all that shit down into a product that is usable by the plants… but this makes the soil too "hot" for growing, so we wait a month or more to let it work its' magic.

    After that, water only. :) Check the link in my signature that shows a literal step by step w/pictures guide to ITG's soil mix that you've probably been reading up on.

    EDIT: And listen to ANYTHING that Jerry tells you. Ever. He is sansei. Never use Miracle Grow or anything with BS fertilizers, or time-released crap. Ask questions, and don't demand answers. You will go far here, with that mindset. Don't use native soil because you don't know what the FUCK is in that shit. :\

  7. this helped a lot! thank you:D
    where do you get your rice husks from?i cant seem to find them anywhere!the only brand i can seem to find for amendments are the Soil Menders brand and they come in 5 lb bags.

    i was thinking this soil mix because i need a little more then 40 gal of soils

    2 2.8 cu ft of promix
    some ewc
    glacier dust/minerals
    i read from the organic soil mix for beginners thread that kelp and alfalfa meal are preferred over bone and blood because they come with more minerals and stuff.bone and blood are just single nute amendments
    my prob is i would know how much of the amendments to use i know probably a couple cups

    whats in that happy frog i always thought that was a salt nute?
    you dont use any vermiculite or permite because the risk hull do that right?
    let me know if i missing anything:hello:
  8. I got the rice hulls at a pet/feed store. They are typically used in bedding material for pigs, horses, etc. It was $12 for a 25lb bag. If youre in Houston, it might be worth the trip up here to Austin for QUALITY ingredients. You know hpw we are about organic up here ;)
  9. i might have to go make that trip,i might order off the net seems like i can get bigger bags for cheap!

    @ganjas whats in that happy frog you have i though that was a chem nute?
  10. Naw, it's legitimate. It's from FoxFarms, which is eh..

    I wouldn't use their soil, unless I was amending it myself. But you don't know "how much of what" is already in the bag, but they do supposedly use all organic methods.

    It's tomato & veg fert anyways... Theres no salts. It's all natural.
  11. does it last the whole grow?might have to pick some up

    i just have to wait for my beans to come been a month and still havent came in :/
  12. There is actually a lot to be said for the diverse biology in native soil - although I've only been thru Texas once.

    Seriously though - native soil, even on small amounts wherever you live will help add to the diversity of your soil microbes.

  13. There's no soil here. Just dirt. Lolol.

    Idk. I would be wayyyy too sketched out about pollutants in it from runoff. ESPECIALLY in Houston. Haha.

    I believe soil from Maine would ne a much different story. There ya go again, J... Making ol' Ganjas nostalgic. :3
  14. and more growing medium

    my soil is ok in some places,someone had a great idea of putting seashells on the first couple feet of dirt makes it hard to dig.couldn't i smash those seashells?the soil is really heavy need a lot of aeration and once you get so far down you hit clay

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