How do you reamend organic soils?

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by HighOnTheHill, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. #1 HighOnTheHill, Aug 9, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2011
    First time using an organic soil - and I'm definitely enjoying the simplicity of it. I'm just wondering how you re-amend your soils. As in, how much amendments do you put back into it?

    For instance let's say you initially used 4 cups of bone, 4 cups of blood, and 4 cups of kelp (not my mix, just an example.) When you reuse your soil, do you add 100% of the initial amounts? 75%?

    My mix is pretty simple - Promix HP bale, 2 bags FFOF, 1 cuft coir, 16qt EWC. And to this I added 2 bags of NSPB: FLF (Natural Selection Plant Botany: Full Life Formula) which is a dry mix in the correct ratios of the following amendments:

    alfalfa meal
    beneficial bacterias
    blood meal
    bone meal
    diatomaceous earth
    dolomite lime
    dry molasses
    worm castings
    guanos (N, P, seabird)
    kelp meal
    rice flour

    The issue I'm having is - since I was using FFOF in my initial mix, I was able to make the NSPB go a lot further as FFOF contains nutrients. I'm trying to determine if I re-amend the soil as suggested on the packaging as if the soil has no nutrient content (1 bag per 10-12 gallons of medium) or if I should look at it as the used soil has roughly the same nutrient content as it initially did (as I used FFOF in the mix) and amend even more soil with the same bag of NSPB?
  2. You have to account for the break down rates of each amendment. Keep track of it so you know what was incorporated and when that particular amendment will need to be added back into the soil. Do a search on the break down rates of each amendment.

    Use things that break down at the same rates if you can. Kelp,fish bone meal,N bat guano,alfalfa,etc all brake down at roughly the same 4 month and longer period.

    When re-amending I use less of the original amounts on most things for sure.

    For example if I started with a mix like this.....

    5 gallons base mix plus the following amendments:
    1 cup cup n bat guano
    1 cup fish bone meal
    2 cups kelp
    1 cup azomite

    I would re-amend with the same amount of N gauno because N doesn't stick around much unless it's sequestered in something. Chances are it's been pretty well depleted.

    The fish bone meal has a longer break down rate and will still supply P well into the next I would only add 1/2 cup on the re-amend.

    Kelp should last well into the next cycle as I'd go 1 cup on the re-amend.
    Azomite has a very long break down rate and won't need any for a very long time.

    You do not need to add more dolomite as a liming agent unless you add peat.
    What would be better to add is oyster shell on the re-amends...but you have to consider the breakdown rate before you continue adding more oyster shell on the recycles.

    I add more EWC and compost on my recycles up to a point where the humic material builds up and further drainage amendments like perlite,pumice,rice hulls,etc. are needed to maintain drainage,aeration,and water holding capabilities of the soil.

    Anyway it's all about keeping track on the break down rates coupled with what you feel your plants have consumed,and that has a lot to do with type/strain.
  3. This is suggested in the thread by mels:

    Three Little Birds Method
    40 gallons used soil
    4 cups alfalfa meal
    4 cups bone meal
    4 cups kelp meal
    4 cups powdered dolomite lime
    30 pound bag of earthworm castings . . .
    That's the basic recipe . . .
    However we also like to use
    4 cups of Greensand
    4 cups of Rock Phosphate
    4 cups of diatomaceous earth


  4. That's just what I use to reamend my mix.

  5. I run my used soil through the composter then treat it as hot compost, and i don't include that volume when calculating adding nutrients, since I consider it already hot. And truthfully I'm losing tract of what percentage of compost to soil I have or use anymore, as it is all looking the same after a while. As the perlite breaks down I'm replacing it with lava rock for what that's worth........MIW
  6. I somehow gave up on measureing almost 2 years ago,and now it's all mental note. I still use all the various forms if aggregates as the humic material builds up.
    Pumice,perlite,rice hulls,etc. Haven't used the lava rock yet per LD's observation that it has more porosity than pumice yet.Cheap enough to try.
  7. Lava Rock at my Blue Store and Orange store is $3.48/.5 cuft. Not a bad price. Seems a little on the big side compared to the pumice I have been using, which seemed big compared to the perlite I had been using. I like the pumice, but it gets a little spendy at the Nurseries around here.

    When I re-amend, I usually just add about what the 3 Little Birds tell us, also. I have used my re-amended for tomatoes, peppers, as well as my reef. I like to do what LD says and lay it all out and pour a good AACT on it to give it a charge.

  8. No not bad prices at all almost everywhere I look on lava rock. The only thing that might be a concern is the weight increase of the mix. Med patients with dehabilitating conditions might not want to use it.
    I purposely incorporated every size of pumice and other drainage/aeration materials to improve those characteristics. I have a background of horticulture and aggregate properties,why not utilize that experience here.

    As the years pass the need to add larger volumes of ferts/nutes definitely subsides. Type/strain depending on how much gets used each cycle. The heavy feeders deplete those pots faster...I run 23 types ATM so I get to see how each type feeds.

    Eventually started trusting the soil and adding more terrorist organic amendments,biochar to lock up extra nitrogen,various seed meals,crab,shell,rock dusts,clays,you name it.

    Usually when done with a cycle I'll just re-amend the needed amounts of what the overall volume of pots has consumed and what amendment has reached it's final breakdown point,which is very little compared to fresher mixes.

    Then again,I also incorporate native topsoils,sands,and forest debris in the mix. Most of the experimental materials added were based off LD's input,and my own will to think outside the box ...two years later I have a healthy living organic recycled soil that has become my most valued possession.

    Before I recycled my soil I would use it for the veggies outside and it improved that garden soil 100%,now I use the same recycled indoor soil for every type of potted plant in the home.
  9. I will typically take the soil from my harvested plants and mix it back in with my inventory of stored soil.
    My latest recharge went like this:
    Harvested soil mixed with 50 or so gallons of inventory mix.
    Recharged with:
    Feed It
    Fish Meal 3 cups
    Fish Bone Meal 3 cups
    Alfalfa Meal 4 cups
    Soybean Meal 2 cups
    Soft Rock Phosphate 3 cups

    Fix It
    Neem Seed Meal 2 cups
    Crab Shell Meal 2 cups
    Kelp Meal 2 cups

    "Lime" and Calcium
    Oyster Shell Powder 2 cups
    Oyster Shell 2 cups
    Gypsum 2 cups
    Dolomite lime 2 cups

    Azomite 3 cups
    K Mag 2 cups
    Glacial Rock Dust 10 cups
    Epsom Salt 1 cup

    Added in around 4-5 cuft of coco, peat, ewc, homemade compost and pumice.
    Wetted down with homemade yarrow extract and some AEM solution.

    Should have around 100-120 gallons of mix cooking for a special upcoming project.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. This may not be what you're asking, but do you ever use nutrient spikes? Like, making a small hole or two in your medium and throwing a dry nute blend in there or something?
  11. Hey,
    I see PW explained his use of biochar to lock up extra N.
    Is that why there may be an initial N deficiency when biochar is ingtroduced to a plants soil?
    Not that it really matters,eh
    It nice to see this thread seems to be good to know for remixing soil. The concept of no til is to keep the fungal pathways intact, correct? So if I disturb the old pot to remix the fungal strands will hopefully be utilized, and will grow new networks? I am thinking I should have kept the no till watered to some degree just to keep the fungu alive. But IDK.
    IF I LET THE SOIL DRY OUT TOO MUCH did that kill my fungal populations or do they go dormant?
    Too many questions, yes.
    Just wondering of its worth keeping the no til as is and ammend it if I let it get too dry for too long.
    Ikes. So much to do to get ready for the prediced monster storm.
    Happy halloween

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