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Experienced hydro grower looking at trying organic

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by deman81k, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. #1 deman81k, Jan 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2013
    Soooooo
    Am I crazy to try this or would you experienced organic growers look at this as a natural evolution for hydro guys ?
    What are the positive and negative points to organic over hydro?
    Are there growth rate differences.
    Is final flushing required and if so how would one accomplish this if using 15 gal buckets and planning to just extract enough root ball at harvest to insert a one gal bucket sized new plant into the soil?
    How many 15 gal buckets will a 3.8 cu. ft. (60 lb) bale of promix with the proper additives fill?
    Is Pro Mix as a starter base worth the price difference over sphagnum moss with perilite and lime added?
    What temps are required for the soil mix to cure (cook) after mixing?
    Should or can the soil mix be stored in a closed container while cooking or does it need air or light?

    Maybe more questions as I think of them
     
  2. Deman81k - first, congratulations on making your way over here to the chemical free corner of Grasscity.

    Am I crazy to try this or would you experienced organic growers look at this as a natural evolution for hydro guys ?

    As an ex 20+ year hydroponics grower myself, and after talking with many organic gardeners, I will say that a very high percentage of us started out using bottles but that after trying out organic gardening realized that this was a much better and healthier way to garden, and after seeing the results time after time have never, and will never look back. Besides the sheer easiness of this method our quality speaks for itself.

    Basically, in an organic garden we add everything needed for our plants to really thrive directly into our soil mixes, and once these soils have nutrient cycled and stabilized, we simply need to keep them moist from start to finish. We rely on our living soil, the microbes in the soil to help feed our plants, and the plant and microbes decide what our plants need and when they need it, without forcing chemical nutrients down their throats. Organic plants are generally much healthier than hydroponic plants and being so, the results snowball.

    I highly suggest doing lots of reading in here. A good place to start would be here -

    http://forum.grasscity.com/organic-growing/1116550-easy-organic-soil-mix-beginners.html

    While I understand that you aren't a "beginner", you are going to need to forget much of what you know and learn new things. No - flushing is not neccessary in an organic soil. You will not need to check or attempt to adjust your pH either.

    Take your time and read about constructing your soil - once this is done the hard work is done, so take the time and get it right the first time; build a soil that is totally alive and full of soil bacteria. These little guys will be your new best friends.

    Again - welcome to the dirty corner of GC, where slimy worms and compost prevail.

    J
     
  3. Hi Jerry,
    First off happy new year to you and everyone else out there in organics GC. May your gardens thrive in 2013.
    Can you expand on your highlighted point up above? I have always been a proponent of letting the soil dry out thoroughly before watering, even to the point of letting the girls droop a bit, just so that I avoided the dreaded overwatering. This of course was done in various non-organic soil mixes. But are you saying that with organics I should be keeping things a bit wetter to keep the living aspect of it going? I would hate to mess up my new micro colony when it's feeding my girls so, so well.
    Thanks for all you contribute. :wave:
     
  4. deman81k,
    Welcome to GC organics. I was a hydro guy for many moons. This is by far the easiest method I have ever found. Besides it just feels right. Quality soil with the SIPs or Blumats maintaining constant moisture. Microbes doing all the work. All I do is add h20. Did I mention that I havent touched pH pen since I started. Be prepared to have your mind blown. With my smartpot SIP's im getting growth rates very close to what I got in my aeroponic system with less work and no mechanical failures. Quality goes without saying.
    Hit the stickies. Ask questions along the way. There are some very helpful and intelligent people around these parts.
     
  5. dopeshow,

    I'll try and answer. Jerry is a way better writer.

    When your top watering a pot the soil is usually becoming saturated. That is the reason why the watering when they become dry is the norm. It has always been a bitch for me to keep soil moisture at a constant level without creating problems in the root zone. Microbes goes dormant when moisture levels drop. When constant moisture is maintained microbe populations multiply, food availability increases, water is readily available, everyone is happy. I have very happily found my moisture control solution via smartpot sips. Others use Blumats. For me this was the last piece in the puzzle.
     
  6. Thanks for your two cents SF. I guess the short answer is, yeah I should water a little more often. Luckily I paid more attention to drainage and proper aeration with this grow.
     
  7. However you achieve it, as long as drainage is adequate, constant,'steady moisture seems to be key. I do allow my plants a day or two, whatever, I between waterings but I definitely don't ever let them dry out. Droopy plants are obviously unhappy plants. Slow and steady wins the race.

    I don't use the SIPs or Blumats, (although I'd like to try the Blumats) but I try and do more often light waterings vs. heavy, less often waterings. I'd rather keep a bucket in the room and just give a cup or two as needed instead of flooding and then waiting 3/4/5 days...

    Make sense?

    J
     

  8. Thanks for the reply Jerry . Reading some of your posts is what got me interested in organic growing. The simplicity of the system intrigues me and with plans on commercial growing in the future I can't see a smarter system.

    I brought up the flushing question because of the attached info on a cannibas club site in their info to suppliers section:

    " The club recommends that suppliers do not use natural organic nutrients such as worm castings, bone meal, bat or seabird guano and all other types of animal manure unless they are very familiar with how to properly flush them. Due to the slow release nature of these unprocessed natural nutrients, it is common for cannabis grown with them to not burn well if the nutrients have not been fully utilized by the plant and well flushed prior to harvest.
    In general, organically grown cannabis should be more heavily flushed at the end of its growing life as organic compounds are more difficult to rinse from the growing medium.
    It is recommended that organic cannabis be flushed for a minimum of 18 days (or at least six flushes) prior to being harvested."

    Why would they suggest this would you suppose?
     
  9. Wow! Firzt off u cant flush organics out the soil because they are part of the soil. That is a very uninformed opinion right there. You are on the right road tho friend. Jerry, microbeman, sf, itg if she would ever come back, lumperdawg rip, e5 al will keep u on the straight and narrow. Good luck man. I will be lurking and trying to help ya out when I can. Happy toking homie.
     
  10. If this so called "flushing" thing ther speaking of means giving your plants just water, then i typically "flush" the entire life cycle! And the craziest part is my plants love it!!
     

  11. That's what I was hoping the answer would be. Thanks beerbrewer

    Had a couple of other questions in my OP .....any answers from anyone.
    Thanks in advance for all and any help
     
  12. I like pro-mix just because I figure I save everywhere else and I'm goning to reuse my soil so that's my big splurge. Plus I can usually find bales damaged in transit. Huge discount. A bale will blow up to about 7cf. 1cf=7.5 gallons. Add your aireation, ewc, compost and you have your volume. I have no gauge on temps. I mix all my soil on a large tarp. Hit it with act and cover it up loosely just to keep moisture in. I turn it once a week or more and keep it moist.
     
  13. Answer what I can. Never did hydro so for ur first 3 questions the only thing I care to comment on without showing my hydro ignorance but I hear that either hydro outperforms organic yieldwise but organic outperforms hydro taste and stony wise. Some (hi jerry) have mastered organics to the point of nullifying the yield debate. I have never grown hydro so cant speak on that from experience.

    You are not cooking the soil but still wanna maintain close to room temp or really anything above 55 degrees or so so the microbes dont go do4mant.

    Promix already contains perlite, plus it has an anti wetting agent and mycorrhizae already in it so yeah if u have access to promix then it is a better choice. You still wanna add perlite tho.

    I dont know about the overall measurements and whether it will be enough for that many gallons. Keep in mind tho u shoild be adding 25% earthworm castings so that will be upping your overall mix amount.

    I just ripped some indoor organic atf. This is my 3rd run of it. First was my last indoor run before summer, then an outdoor run of it that was fledgling organic, no nutes at all but not enough organic ammendments. This current indoor run that is about to finish (yeah I got excited and cut a couple small nugs off a couple weeks ago lol) and HOLY SNICKEYS this shit is so tasty and potent! Best run of this atf and believ u me I really enjoyed the last two. But t New is just kills it.
     
  14. #14 jerry111165, Jan 3, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2013
    I brought up the flushing question because of the attached info on a cannibas club site in their info to suppliers section:

    " The club recommends that suppliers do not use natural organic nutrients such as worm castings, bone meal, bat or seabird guano and all other types of animal manure unless they are very familiar with how to properly flush them. Due to the slow release nature of these unprocessed natural nutrients, it is common for cannabis grown with them to not burn well if the nutrients have not been fully utilized by the plant and well flushed prior to harvest.
    In general, organically grown cannabis should be more heavily flushed at the end of its growing life as organic compounds are more difficult to rinse from the growing medium.
    It is recommended that organic cannabis be flushed for a minimum of 18 days (or at least six flushes) prior to being harvested."

    Why would they suggest this would you suppose?
    Like


    These people are completely and totally morons and idiots that simply don't have a goddamn clue and in no way should they be allowed to ever deal with medical patients or grow or distribute medicine for them. To give this kind of moronic advice shows their complete stupidity and they've only made themselves look as ignorant as they are.

    If you'd like we can discuss the reasons why attempting to flush an organic soil is a fools errand.

    J
     
  15. #15 deman81k, Jan 5, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2013
    LOL....now that's the answer that makes sense to me.

    We are about to mix up our first batch of soil and get ready to go organic in one of our bud rooms in 4 weeks or so ( when the hydro crop finishes) We have a choice of 15 or 20 gallon buckets. I'm leaning towards the 15 gal size. Pro Mix will be the base and I am checking out local nurseries etc for additives

    My hydro store owner mentioned that many of their customers mix coarse sand with the Pro Mix to help aerate it. This sound like a good idea? Would it take the place of extra perilite and maybe the rock dust?
     
  16. No.

    Rock dust should be able to fit through a #200 micron sieve/screen. These are commonly referred to as "powders" and "flours" - its that fine - like talcum powder. It's all about more surface area.

    Rock dust has been shown to be uber important in an organic garden - taking the place of glacial action and eons of time breaking down rocks. Basalt, granite, glacial and then Azomite seem to give the best results.

    Take a browse through this thread - http://forum.grasscity.com/organic-growing/1111289-rock-dust.html

    I've never tried it as an aeration tool - it would have to be fairly coarse I would think to work in that aspect - and it's very heavy. I use buckwheat hulls, some use rice hulls, some use lava rocks, and some perlite. I'm not sure how much it matters what you use for aeration as long as it works well...

    HTH

    J
     
  17. My advice to you, as I'm currently in the same boat, is to check out Jerry's threads, then go onto Lumperdawgz, Lumperdawgz2, and Comfrey (i forget the last part of this name lol) then try out Microbeman's info. Then go back to LD's and Jerry's discussions with a better understanding of the context.

    lol, that's how I did it anyways. Jerry was kind enough to help me with some noob questions and my soil mix, he would be my first line of defense against myself if I have a question regarding Organics.

    It's too bad I can't Rep you again right now Jerry, you deserve it. [​IMG]

    MIWolverine has some very useful threads/posts, ITG, Seandawg, w89 and others have a further understanding of organics than myself, they probably have posted information that will help you.

    But if you want to, check out my soil mix, I use Pro Mix BX as a base, simply because it's easy and fairly cheap to get near me. I'll look into making my own peat base, as it would be cheaper, but I don't think that matters as much since you recycle the soil for years.

    The 3.8 cf compressed bale of Pro Mix expands to roughly 7 c.f., and a cubic foot (1 c.f.) will be roughly 7.5 gallons, so 2 c.f. per 15 gallon bucket.

    AFAIK, you will still want/need to lime Pro Mix, at roughly 1 cup per c.f., as it acidifies over time. The temps of the center of soil pile should reach somewhere around 130 degrees F, or higher. I don't think it matters as far as light goes, and I believe you need airflow to allow aerobic activities to occur. So the holes might not be a bad idea, if you can retain enough moisture.

    As far as amendment quantities go, check out ITG's starter thread, very useful info about applying amendments.
     
  18. First batch of organic soil mixed and cooking. We rented a cement mixer to combine everything. We completely mixed the dry ingredients together then added warm water till moist. It had a 3 cubic foot barrel so it took about 4 hours and multiple mixes that were then dumped into large poly feed bin containers as each batch mixed. I figure we ended up with about 20 cubic feet of finished product.
    Here is what we used:

    Pro Mix. Ended up using two bales total. Each mix used roughly 7 gallons of dry loose Pro Mix (one and a half 5 gallon buckets full)
    Perilite. Added about 3 gallons to each batch
    Dolomite Lime. 2 cups per batch
    Glacial Rock Dust. 4 cups per batch
    EWC. 2.5 gallons per batch
    Sea Soil compost. 2.5 gals per batch
    Kelp meal. 2 cups per batch
    Alfalfa meal. 2 cups per batch
    Dry organic fertilizer. 3 cups per batch
    Neem meal. 2 cups per batch

    Look OK?

    We plan on testing the mix with a couple of clones in about 4 weeks then switching one room over to organic if all goes well. We will be able to grow side by side with our hydroponic setups to judge results.
    I am really looking forward to this working out so we can switch completly to organic.

    Just a side note.... The initial cost of all the ingredients is fairly high but I am sure this will be more than offset by the ability to re-use the soil on multiple crops
     
  19. Looks good, at least to my inexperienced eyes.

    Might want to look into getting some chitin in your set up; it helps defend against pests and adds calcium. Neptunes Harvest or w/e brand you can find cheapest.

    The only real difference between yours and my own soil mix, is the lack of seed meals/fish meals. Looks very similar to yours, did you happen to get regular Pro Mix, or BX/HP?
     
  20. Since you likely have much of what you new coming from hydro, read up on SIPs. No more over watering, just fill your res or basin and the soil pulls what it needs keeping them evenly moist throughout. About to implement this in my newish garden.
     

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