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First Organic Soil Mix

Discussion in 'Organic Growing' started by slunk, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. Hello all,

    I'll begin my first organic grow in a few short weeks, and I would appreciate any feedback on my formula below. Of note, the Fish Meal I picked up is by GrowMore, and it is rated at 4-0-0 on the box. Their website shows the Fish Meal as 8-4-0, so I don't know exactly what I've got (same box design). I can easily get Cottonseed Meal. Should I add a part of that to cover N, or will I be fine? I'm also planning on grabbing some endo-mycorrhizal spores for the transplant and future clones.

    3 cf Edna's Best Potting Soil
    .5 cf Perlite
    .25 cf Edna's Best Compost
    .25 cf Agrowinn EWC
    = 4 cf of soil

    3 parts Alfalfa Meal
    2 parts Kelp Meal
    1 part Fish Bone Meal
    1 part Fish Meal (4-0-0)
    1 part Neem Meal
    1 part Karanja Meal
    = 6 cups of mix (1.5 cups/cf)

    2 parts Agrowinn Minerals
    1 part Oyster Shell Powder
    1 part Soft Rock Phosphate
    1 part Sul-Po-Mag
    = 6 cups of mix (1.5 cups/cf)

    .25 tsp/gallon Bioag TM-7 Humic Acid

  2. Slunk, I am by no means an expert, but your mix looks well thought out. Good work. If all goes well, all you will need now is water. You planning on any teas?

    One thing, on the Cottonseed meal, I have heard repeatedly on here to not add to due its' acidity raising properties. LD, Chunk, Patrio, Possum, all those guys, I believe, have concurred. It is mainly added to raise acidity in soils for acid loving plants.

    Have fun, man and let us know how things go.

  3. Slunk,

    Jak is right on the cottonseed meal. Plus, you have plenty of N with the fish meal and the alfalfa meal. In an organic paradigm, N-P-K values have little if any importance in the grand scheme of things.

    The more important and relevant factor is the ability of the plant to exchange cations. When the proper environment is created for optimum CEC, the plant will take what it needs regardless of whether the N-P-K numbers are high, low, or in the middle.

    Do an advanced search and use cation exchange capacity as the keyword, with LumperDawgz as the poster. Understanding CEC is one of the keys to successful organic gardening.


  4. Thanks guys! I'll skip the Cottonseed Meal and continue with what I have. I'll be sure to study up on CEC right away. I just finished Teeming with Microbes, which gave me some much needed insight; a truly fascinating and mind-opening read!

    I do plan on teas every couple of weeks. I'll aerate the water, deal with the chloramine, and adjust ingredients as necessary. I'll probably post them here for critique once I get to that point.

    One other question, I know PH shouldn't be much of a concern, but my water comes out of the tap at a PH of ~8.5. Should I show any concern towards this?

    This will be my second grow. My first will be done in about three weeks, but it was marred with the Fox Farm line. By the way, I'll be growing four LSD clones in 5-gallon SmartPots. Can't wait!

  5. #5 LumperDawgz, Aug 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2010

    You would be hard-pressed to find a better EWC product than the one that you've chosen. It's probably the best commercial one on the West Coast. If it were me and money wasn't a huge consideration, I would forego the Edna's Best Compost and bump up the Agrowinn EWC product to 1 c.f. which will give you about 25% of a very strong humus profile.

    Better yet would be to use 2x of Edna's Potting Soil, 1x Edna's Compost, 1x Agrowinn EWC and 1x perlite/pumice/rice hulls - whatever you opt for. That would be the best use of the products that you're able to source, IMHO

    I would suggest reducing the Agrowinn Minerals back to 1 part and replace with 2 parts of glacial rock dust. Only. Glacial rock dust does not contain aluminum (written as A++++) as do the broad spectrum mineral complexes (sometimes called collidial or nano minerals)

    The colloidal minerals used in nearly all mineral products are derived from clays that have origin of volcanic activity from deep within the earth. These clays vary slightly in their composition and therefore are called different names like, bentonite, montmorillite, kaolanite, pyrophillite, and zeolite among others. Collectively they are known as alumino-silicates, a sub-class of phyllites.

    The commercial product Azomite is a montmorillite clay for example. Some minerals in these clays are not found in small portions: such as aluminum (which may be obvious from their common class name). Typically, aluminum constitutes about 10-20% of these clays.

    On the oyster shell powder vs. K-Mag, I would suggest going with 1.5 parts oyster shell powder and 2 parts K-Mag to reduplicate the calcium/magnesium levels found in healthy plants.

    It's important to remember that top-quality earthworm castings have very high levels of both Calcium Carbonate (the calcium is 'carbonate-d' in a worm's digestive tract) and Magnesium - again in the proper balance. You basically want a ratio of 5 - 8x calcium carbonate to 1x magnesium. Plus you have strong Ca profiles in the kelp, alfalfa meal and fish bone meal as well - all in forms easily chelated and released by the soil's bacteria and exuded for the adsorbtion of its cations to the soil organic matter (SOM) and clay components in your soil mix.

    The application of AACT is to mend or repair substandard soils out there in the real world. And not much is used either - like 5 gallons diluted to 50 gallons and that's the amount applied to an entire acre - an acre. Brewing 5 gallons and applying to an indoor garden is an interesting concept to say the least.

    With a humus source like you're planning on using a single application and letting the soil sit for a few weeks would be about all you would need. Seriously.



    P.S. - regarding CeC, one thing that is important to remember is that the 4 primary cations that create soil health are Calcium (Ca++), Magnesium (Mg+), Potassium (K+) and Sodium (Na+) and all of these are alkaline. The other 2 cations found in soil which can influence pH are hydrogen (H+) and aluminum (A++++) - both of these are base acids and do not contribute anything directly to a plant but are necessary to consider when using mineral mixes.

    Or something like that.......................
  6. That belongs in the LD Sticky for sure!

    I'm going out to enjoy a bicycle ride on this fabulous day! When I return, I'll adjust my balance of ingredients, and I'll set out tomorrow to get this mix going. I haven't seen any Glacial Rock Dust around, but maybe I haven't searched in the right places. I'll definitely read into CeC this evening and will try to better grasp the concept and relationship of aluminum and other cations in the mix.

    Thank you!

  7. slunk

    In the states the most common brand of rock dust is the Gaia Green Canadian Glacial Rock Dust and around here it's about $10.50 for a 50 lb. bag.

    Some organic farmers make what is known as 'glacial milk' with this product. This is used on soil (obviously) and around the world it's consumed by livestock as well as humans.

    It's available here in the US at health-food stores (heh.....) with several companies offering various mixes. Even Amazon.com carries a few brands I believe.

    One friend of mine adds 6 cups of this specific rock dust to 1 c.f. of his potting soil mix. His mix is beyond anal and I've learned a plethora of information from listening to him and studying his methods. Kinda out there for a lot of folks. Glacial rock dust is his hot-button and has some interesting science to back it up.

    Farm stores and feed stores as well as wholesale nursery supply companies are your best options.



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