Organic Higher Learning Resources

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by Chunk, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. #1 Chunk, Jul 31, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2014
    Heya GCO Crew,
    As most of you know, Patrio left GC for personal reasons. One of the final PM's I got from him before he had his account deleted was a request for me to find someone to carry on this thread. Out of respect for him and as a tribute to Patrio and LD (Coot). I used my old Shenanigans grow journal to merge with this thread so we could keep it alive.
    He spent a lot of time on it and there is a lot of solid information in here. Some of the information may be outdated and there is certainly some updating that needs to be done. If anybody finds something that needs updating, please PM me and we'll get it fixed up.
    All the best,

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  2. #2 Chunk, Jul 31, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2014
    Reserved for the time being.
  3. #3 patriofarmer, Aug 11, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012
    I decided to put this together since reading some of the most articulate, and well educated information ever in this site by a true organic genius. You may have been growing some fine organic grass, but did you know why?

    Took this project on and did not realize exactly how much information that needed to be organized. I am doing my best to keep this updated, don't be afraid to tell let me know if you see any. Links will be updated/provided so you can read the entire thread that the provided info came from.

    Special Thanks to you Lumperdawgz for your contributions to the Organic section of Grasscity.

    Please do not rep me, any of the links can bring you to a page where that is certainly deserved.
  4. #4 patriofarmer, Aug 12, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
    Soil what makes it great, and why. Everything you need to know.

    Basic Soil Recipe

    Updated recipe

    My redux soil mix

    Pro mix
    Dank Oh Zee's Starter Mix and Guide to Early Growth

    Organic Soil Amendment

    Necesary ingredients and a few for thought link

    Mandatory Ingredients...................

    Organic humus source - EWC, Alaska Humus and correctly produced thermal compost
    Coconut coir
    Kelp Meal After reading this post and the next page I know more about Kelp than I ever thought possible.
    Fish Meal
    Fish Bone Meal
    Fish hydrolysate (aka fish enzyme extract)
    Alfalfa meal (can be supplemented with almost any other seed meal EXCEPT cottonmeal - never ever use this amendment)
    Minerals (aka rock dusts) Azomite
    Neem seed meal (aka neem seed cake)
    Crustacean meal
    Langbeinite (potassium magnesium sulfate mineral from ancient sea beds)
    Oyster shell powder (96% Calcium Carbonate)
    EM-1 Mother Culture (several lactobacillus cultures, PNSB bacteria, enzymes, yeasts, et al.)
    History of EM-1
    Yucca extract (human food-grade, i.e. no preservatives)
    Liquid silicon
    Pure humic acid (only 2 sources that are doing 'real deal')
    Pure liquid golden humic/fulvic acid (same deal - 2 sources)
    Chelated mineral supplement (Iron, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Boron, Cobalt, and Molybdenum)
    Fermented plant extracts
    Bokashi bran (basic EM-1 recipe supplemented with bone charcoal, fish meal, fish bone meal, kelp, sea salt, rice hulls and pumice)
    Hot chili pepper extract (homemade)Garlic and ginger extracts (homemade)
    Fun stuff to play around with.........................

    Homemade fish hydrolysate
    Homemade calcium phosphate (this one's almost free)
    Extending the EM-1 lactobacillus colonies using other sources like miso, mesu, tempah, natto, beer, wine, vinegar, yogurt, etc.
    Seaweed extract powder
    Mycorrhizal fungi
    Trichoderma fungi
    Molasses (ugh!) Thisis a must read
    Maltose (barley extracts)
    Blue ogave nectar

    Probably several other things that are floating around the organic gardening world...................


    Do you have any nettle plants in your part of the world?

    Grab some extremely heavy leather gloves and pull the plant out of the ground with the goal here to get as much of the root as possible. Fill a couple of 5-gallon buckets with the plant crushed or chopped to get about 50% of the tub filled with nettle plants and roots.

    Fill with water and let it sit for 3 or 4 weeks. It will probably ferment which is okay because we're looking for an anaerobic brewing process vs. aerobic brewing like an AACT.

    Once it's done fermenting strain the water out and keep it in a bucket with a lid. Toss the spent nettle onto your compost pile or worm bin.

    Take the nettle tea and add 1 cup to a gallon jug and fill with clean water and apply as a soil soak or as a foliar application. I won't bother you with all of the benefits of using nettle tea but suffice it to say that's 'almost' as good as straight alfalfa teas and the best benefit is that it's free. Other than the leather gloves.

    This tea will store for months and months. Besides feeding the plants and roots it does a number on spider mites and related leaf-eating insects.


    You can certainly top-dress the alfalfa meal (I'm assuming that's what you meant by the term 'dehydrated alfalfa meal') but you can get far more bang for your buck if you take a couple of cups and put it into 5 gallons of water. Let it sit for a couple of days at least (longer is better). If you have an air pump hook that up to move the alfalfa meal around in the bucket as it will speed up the process.

    Strain the tea and it's now good for several months - at least. Add 1 cup of this mix and fill with clean water to make 1 gallon and apply it to your soil every 10 days or so as part of your regular watering cycle. IOW you don't have to apply it on Day 10 specifically so wait until Day 11 or Day 12 or whenever your next scheduled watering cycle falls on.

    If you buy a bale of alfalfa at a feed store and you can opt for organic alfalfa, you can take enough of this hay and fill a 5-gallon bucket about 1/2 full - stuff as much as you can into the bucket. Fill with water and let it brew and ferment for 3 - 4 weeks. Strain and apply as above.

    The very best alfalfa option is fresh and if you can get some of the roots that's what you want to do. Crush the fresh alfalfa and fill the 5-gallon bucket as stated above. Let it brew for a few weeks and strain and apply as above.

    The spent alfalfa can be placed outside around your plants, compost piles, worm bins, etc. There is still a lot of value even after the brewing/fermentation cycle.


    There is probably no better plant to grow and use in organic gardens. The amount of leaf material you will harvest is incredible. Comfrey is loaded with phosphorus, potassium and the entire range of micro-nutrients. Horizon Herbs in Williams, Oregon has a few varieties - I 'believe' that the Bocking 14 is the correct variety but please verify that because if you get the incorrect hybrid it will take over your property - very invasive. Worse than blackberries.

    Depending on what else you're adding to the soil, you could add about 3/4 cup of alfalfa meal mixed into your soil mix.

    If you're using a fertilizer mix (E. B. Stone, Down-To-Earth, Espoma, Dr. Dirt, et al) then I would mix 3 parts of the fertilizer mix to 1 part of alfalfa meal.

    Of that mix I would go with 3/4 cups to 1 c.f. of potting soil and mix it in well. That's assuming you're working with a potting soil that has a quality humus @ 25% of the total mix.


    Thanks for the chart. I've used dandelion fermented plant extracts for a couple of years as a foliar application and added to the soil. I've never seen the comparison to comfrey. Pretty interesting.

    The web site that presented that information is Oregon Bio-Dynamic and if you dig around their web site you'll find a large amount of information on composting and bio-dynamic farming/gardening in general. Very cool people and they've been around for 35 years.

    Rock dust/kelp/worm castings/

    What rock dust can do for you is provide an 'anchor' for fungi to hang on and grow.

    Keep in mind that 'soil' is nothing more than rotted plant and animal life along with 'shattered rock' (i.e. rock dust) meaning that a 'potting soil' which does not include both 'shattered rock' and humus is NOT soil.

    By adding a rock dust (and any will do, i.e. Azomite/glacial rock dust) to your mix you're making a 'real soil'

    For people living in the US, a rock dust product that has been branded 'Azomite' is available from a number of companies.

    The Azomite is a trademark for rock dust mined in Utah. It's then sold to companies who pack soil amendments and are required to continue to use the Azomite name specifically on their product.

    It's inexpensive and you can find sources at

    Fish emulsion vs hydrosylates link

    The "Alaska Fish Emulsion" product contain uber-levels of mercury and cadmium. In the process of processing of fish emulsion these 'heavy metals' are exaggerated.

    In the process of extracting the 'good stuff' from fish in the enzyme process reduces these metals. Plus the process maintains any number of beneficial agents in the enzyme processes.

    Smart Pots, Air pots and more. link

    Cation exchange capacity
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  5. #5 patriofarmer, Aug 12, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    Compost Teas

    AACT brewing

    Post your own compost tea.

    Why aact?

    1 cup organic seed meal (equal parts of organic cottonseed meal, flaxseed meal, alfalfa meal & canola meal)
    1/2 cup Alaska humus (Denali Gold brand)
    1 cup homemade worm castings
    2 tbls. kelp meal
    1/2 cup fish enzyme (fungai development)
    1/2 tsp. BioAg Pure Humic Acid (fungai development)
    1 or 2 tsp. molasses (not necessary but I use it when I need higher bacteria counts).

    6 gallons bubbled water

    Run it at 75F for 18 hours to achieve a high fungai tea and 24 hours for a higher bacteria profile.

    Spray on all branches, stems, leaves, everything to destroy powdery mildew and maintain that with 2x per week of neem seed oil application.

    Use as an inoculant for the soil after clones are set in veg and again at the beginning of the flower cycle. Maintain with weekly waterings of fish enzyme and seaweed extract.

    Works for me.

    Fungal vs. Bacteriallink

    If you're using earthworm castings then you're good to go and your compost teas will be balanced across the entire micro-herd - bacteria, fungai, nematodes, protozoa, et al.

    Bacteria is very easy to grow in a compost tea. Fungai don't increase in numbers but what they can do is to increase in length. It's no uncommon to have 100,000 fungai strands up to 6' in length in 1/4 tsp. of the tea.

    The best way to get the fungai up and running is the addition of kelp meal, (Maxicrop works well too) and most importantly the liquid fish products that are produced by enzymes (fish hydrosylate). You do not want to us the standard 'Alaska Fish Emulsion' or related products. You won't have any problem finding it - look for the words 'enzyme' and/or 'hydrosylate'

    If you're trying to push out fungai then leave the molasses out of the mix. The carbohydrates feed the bacteria which consume the food and explode by reproducing and limiting the foods needed by the fungai. Even when you do use molasses you only want to add 1 tsp. per 5 gallons of water

    Here's a 'kind of' or maybe it's a 'sort of' guide for brewing for specific microbial goals. Assuming that you're using an aquarium heater in your tank and you're running the tea at 70F, then a high(er)-fungal tea will be ready in about 12 hours. That is when the fungai have increased in length by huge numbers.

    At 18 hours the bacteria are definitely dominating the culture in the tank. Bacteria will dominate until you hit about 36 hours and then the protozoa are up and running and the bacteria have faded substantially for lack of food.

    If you're batching out a tea for use as a soil drench then you're probably best to use it around 15 hours - again assuming that you have the water temperature under control. Aquarium heaters are chump-change.

    If you're wanting to brew a batch of compost tea to use to wipe out (once and for all) powdery mildew then I would be spraying the tea after 12-14 hours.

    With the addition of the fish enzyme product, kelp (or some kind of seaweed product) and pure humic acid you'll end up with some major levels of fungai from the earthworm castings.

    The pure humic acid at is NOT derived from Leonardite - thankfully. Their product is so concentrated that you only use 1/8 tsp. per gallon as a foliar spray. Double that amount for brewing tea.

    I would add that if you get the air distribution part of it down correctly, the increased air volume will provide you with much shorter brewing times.

    Breakdown, uses, and frequency.

    An AACT correctly has very little (if any) actual 'NPK' profile. What it does contain are 1 billion aerobic microbes per tablespoon. The primary goal as it relates to container growing is to introduce extremely high levels of fungai.

    The other microbes are easily available in the soil - particularly bacteria and protozoa (alfalfa teas are referred to as 'protozoa bombs') as these microbes reproduce easily and quickly.

    Fungai cannot to reproduced in the AACT environment but they can be increased in size. The main reason for adding kelp meal and specifically fish hydrolysate (dry organic fish bone meal is another good option) is that these are foods easily assimilated by the fungai and will grow up to 6' in length. That's also the reason for using the proper net bag (mesh size and all) so as to not break up the fungai strands - kinda self-defeating since you went through the expense and effort.

    The addition of alfafla meal (or any other seed meal) will provide long-term food for the bacteria to break down.

    Bacteria die and contain the macro and micro nutrients in the slime that surrounds them. They are eaten by protozoa and some fungai strains. Protozoa die off and they contain even higher/purer forms of nutrients and are then consumed by fungai that surround the root zone (hopefully) and basically 'mainline' the good stuff into the plant roots.

    Plants produce what are called 'exudes' that facilitate which agents that need to be sent to the top of the plant where the action really takes place during the day, i.e. photosynthesis.

    Because almost all of the real action takes place above the soil line the importance of having a healthy branch and leaf structure is paramount. A good reason to apply the proper amendments as a foliar application - kelp/seaweed products, fish hydrolysate, liquid silicon, neem seed products, yucca extract (very high saponin levels), fulvic (not humic) acids, etc.

    You do not need to add compost teas (AACT) to a soil that already contains high microbial activity. The application of AACT to a soil is to improve weak/sub-standard soils.

    There IS a value to applying an AACT as a foliar application to increase the microbial 'shell' that surrounds the plant from the root zone up to the meristems. Once that shell has been created then it's simply a process of feeding the micro-herd using kelp products, fish hydrlysate, and SMALL amounts of molasses, neem seed-based products, etc.

    These teas are not fertilizers or nutrients in the sense that we've become accustomed to in the cannabis growing paradigm. They are inoculants, i.e. energizing the micro-herd in the organic compost that you've added to your soil mix. There is no benefit to applying these teas over and over. Maybe twice in the entire grow/flower cycle. Usually only once.

    When you spray the teas on the branches & leaves, you are setting up colonies of aerobic fungai - the good guys. Aerobic is stronger in anaerobic in the world of bacteria & fungai as things turn out. By establishing these colonies it is almost impossible for anaerobic fungai (powdery mildew for example) to get established. If you do see a slight re-infestation then another application may be required.

    Same thing when you apply the teas to the soil. The aerobic micro-herd kick-start the (sometimes) dormant microbes in your compost and/or earthworm castings and in a couple of days (sometimes within 12 hours) the good guys are in charge with bacteria breaking down the nutrients in the soil mix.

    Digested nitrogen is easily assimilated by a plant directly from the bacterial 'exude' or 'slime' - getting nitrogen to a plant is a no-brainer. Phosphorus is a different matter and it would take pages and pages of explanation but here's the Reader's Digest condensed version.

    Bacteria has to break down the 'stuff' in the soil. Some things digested by bacteria and floating in the exude like 'N' & 'K' can be absorbed by the plant's root hairs. Phosphorus is broken down into a form that certain fungai can use. It's these fungai strains which then move a new digested form into the plant directly - kind of like a heroin junkie mainlining.

    Since we're not trying to high-dose a plant but rather keep the micro-herd alive above and below the soil line, a weekly soil soak and foliar spray of fish enzyme and seaweed extract is all that's necessary along with 1 tsp. of livestock molasses per gallon. That's it. Straight water as needed.

    Water quality

    Before you get too far in your project, it's probably a good time to discuss water quality.

    As we all know chlorine is added to most public water systems to kill bacteria and other bad things. And as we all know, aeration will remove almost all of the chlorine and with a pump the size you're talking about using that will happen in 20-30 minutes. No problem!

    Next up is chloraminewhich is used by many, but not all, water districts. You need to call your local water company and see if they use this in their system. The ammonia in chloramine is the real bad one here.

    Wine makers use a product known as 'Camden tablets' but the problem here is that this is an agent used to kill wild yeasts, fungai and bacteria - not exactly what you want if you're trying to make a brew to grow their cousins.

    An easy way is to take a couple of tablespoons of quality earthworm castings and put them into your mesh bag and bubble it out for about 1 hour. The organic material in the earthworm castings will activate the chloramine causing it to convert chlorine and the aeration process will remove both the chlorine and ammonia.

    That or go and buy distilled water, which if one lives in or near a major population center given the usual quality of water out of the tap, may be the best option.

    You only need to apply these teas once (maybe twice) in a 12-week veg/flower growing cycle.

    In the mid-90's Dr. Elaine Ingham began investigating the use of ACT (aerated compost teas) at Oregon State University in conjunction with a group of researchers at University of Washington - Pullman.

    Dr. Ingham later went on and founded the Soil Food Web which has branches in Europe, Asia, South America, et al. This group tests soils, processes, methods and assists farmers and governments in learning how to maximize crops around the world.

    Here's a very good article on the "ins and outs" of brewing these teas - link
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  6. #6 patriofarmer, Aug 12, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010

    Re: Attempting to start Bokashi Bran
    I would suggest that you use Gil Carandang's method of growing Beneficial Indigenous Organisms (BIM)

    You can also add other fermented ingredients to your base - miso, soy sauce, organic beer, organic live yogurt, et al. All contain various strains of lacobacillus.

    The main thing that you'll be missing from any of these methods vs. EM-1 is that EM-1 contains the photosynthesis class of bacteria, aka PNSB (purple non-sulphur bacteria). You could add this yourself by sourcing some algae and water from a clean pond. Ponds are generally thriving with this class of bacteria - so look for a pond with heavy concentrations of algae.

    Do take the time to look at Carandang's formulas using BIM to extract the amino acids, enzymes, et al. from plant material and how it applies to gardening/agriculture. It's pretty interesting stuff.


    You can buy cocoons from Blue Ridge Vermiculture out of California. You get 1,000 cocoons for $25.00 or so. Once that they hatch you'll have over 3,000 worms which will begin breeding in 2 or 3 weeks. Pretty cost effective.

    I've helped some folks set up worm bins using the Rubbermade tubs and it's been my experience that because the plastic doesn't breath and doesn't absorb the excess moisture they can be more challenging than using a wood bin.

    Here's a good model for screening large amounts of worm castings:


    The gentleman that builds these is the guy that I had construct a couple of worm bins for my home. This is the best worm bin that I've used and I'll explain.


    You begin my feeding only 1 side - leave the other empty. There is a 1/4" screen that divides one side from the other. Once the worms have taken care of business you begin filling up the other side with bedding and food. The worms will move from the completed side over to the new dining set-up.

    It looks like this:


    Just a couple of thoughts.................

    Pest control

    Adding both liquid silicon and soap to the neem oil product will maximize your efforts.

    If you're using Dyna-Gro Neem Seed Oil then you have a good start as this product is cold-pressed and is minimally processed unlike Azatrol and Azamat which are azadirachtin extracted using solvents. The Dyna-Gro Pro-TeKT (liquid silicon) is a good emulsifier and the dish soap will give you a foaming action which will help 'stick' the neem oil to the leaves long enough to be absorbed by the plant. Go with a castile soap (like liquid baby shampoo) - you want a soap/shampoo which does not contain an anti-bacterial agent.

    Always spray at the end of the 'lights are on' cycle because light quickly render the active agents in neem oil to nothing - worthless. This only takes a few hours at most. Outdoors it's only 2 hours and little more.

    Yucca extract is also good as a foaming agent and is widely used as a wetting agent on professional potting soil mixes. You'd want to source the human food-grade products as they do not contain any preservatives which are counter productive relative to beneficial microbes.

    You can add karanja oil extract to the neem oil mix. Karanja is a close cousin of the neem tree - both of these trees are close relatives to the mahogany tree.

    Dyna-Gro Neem Seed Oil has azadirachtin at a 1400ppm level. There are neem seed oil products which are organic and 'fair trade' and the one in particular I'm thinking of is from Plasma Neem in India and it contains this agent at a 3000ppm level. The specific product from Plasma Neem is the only product that has been approved by the EPA as a biological insecticide (vs. biological pesticide).

    The only distributor in the US for Plasma Neem that I know of is in Minnesota. They carry a wide variety of neem and karanja products far beyond the gardening/agriculture products we're discussing.

    It is believed by some researchers that adding karanja oil to the mix will increase the neem oil's insecticide functions.

    Beyone azadirachtin, neem and karanja oils contain what are called Triterpenes and more specifically, limonoids such as salannin, meliantriol, nimbin, nimbidin, meliantriol, deacetylazadirachtinol, salannin, salannol, 3-deacetylsalannin, etc.

    I strongly advocate the addition of 1/4-1/2 cup of neem seed meal to 1 c.f. of potting soil for a myriad of reasons beyond systemic prevention against PM and the insect fighting aspect, neem is a good, solid source of available nitrogen and a very fine source of micro-nutrients. Like most seed meals.

    If you're making your own (i.e. adding chili peppers to water and letting it sit for a couple of weeks) then you have no concerns.

    If you're using EM-1 to make an FPE (fermented plant extract) then you're still okay, i.e. there's nothing that will negatively impact your soil's viability.

    If you're using a commercial product then you'll want to look at the list of ingredients to see what's up.

    BTW - there is a chili pepper that is either 3 or 4 times hotter than the habanero pepper. One of the names is the 'Ghost Chili' and comes from India. Seeds are available and you might want to get some and grow them out.

    They definitely work - on anything crawling, flying, doing summersaults, etc. Wear rubber gloves when handling them - seriously.
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  7. #7 patriofarmer, Aug 12, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
    Reuseing soil how to

    Soil recycling thread Thanks to howmanymoreyrs

    Meaning that if you have anaerobic soil from Cycle A then if you were to use that potting soil in Cycle B you could expect that the problems/issues were conveniently transferred.

    But that works both ways, i.e. if you have a healthy aerobic soil in Cycle A and you use that potting soil in Cycle B, then most of the soil foodweb will be immediately available to the microbes and roots in the new growing environment.

    Having said that, the best way to 're-cycle potting soil' </chuckle> is to remove the entire rootball from the pot and place it into a large Rubbermade tub with the lid ajar - don't seal it up. Put as many root balls into this bin that you can easily fit. Leave the rootballs intact - the remaining 'stump' can be easily removed at the end of the process while providing a convenient method of moving them around if needed.

    Mix EM-1 (the lactobacillus mother culture, i.e. don't f*ck around with AEM) 3x the recommended strength, i.e. go with 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz.) per gallon of clear water. Spray the individual root balls until they're well drenched. You don't necessarily want standing water in the tub. A little is okay.

    The EM-1 will provide specific lactobacillus strains (the 'good' anaerobic bacteria) which will breakdown the root structure in the potting soil while providing 'fast food' for the aerobic microbe colonies. By the time that the root balls are 'dissolved' you will have potting soil that is vastly superior to the original mix.

    For each 3 c.f. of this processed used potting soil, add 1 part compost mix.

    Compost Mix: 3x pumice/perlite and 1x EWC, compost, humus, leafmold, et al.

    Why organics

    Yes indeed!!!!!!!

    One of the reasons that I 'almost' refuse to engage the Chemical Al group is that they ALWAYS want to restrict some goofy argument about 'chemical nitrogen is the SAME thing as some form of organic nitrogen' - delusional.

    But beyond that what is intellectually lacking is that THE most important component to the silly argument about 'chemicals vs. organics' is the fact that this discussion is NOT about this specific agent vs. that specific agent - it's about SUSTAINABILITY - i.e. how long can a dead soil continue to produce food that can sustain the local community.

    It's ALWAYS about growing DOPE - their position(s) have NOTHING to do with feeding people. It's all about how much yield they can get from their silly seeds from "We Grow Dope Seeds" whose genetic viability is always open to discussion and analysis.
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  8. #8 patriofarmer, Aug 12, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2010
    A few threads you should also read.

    Beneficial indigenous microorganisms

    Evaluating NPK numbers with organics

    Suggested reading

    Teaming with Microbes

    COmpost Tea Manual - 5th Edition - by Dr. Elaine Ingham

    The Field Guide for Actively Aerated Compost Tea (AACT) - by Dr. Elaine Ingham, Soil Food Web

    Soil Biology Primer - Dr. Elaine Ingham, Andrew R. Moldenke & Clive A. Edwards

    Gil Carandang's seminar @ Hawaii

    Before you do that though, you might want to review the articles at Soil Food Web on teas in general - not just AACT. Great resource and it's free which is always nice.

    BTW - the photos of the compost tea microbes in the chapter on compost teas in the Teaming With Microbes book are photos from field trials with the owner/designer of the $140.00 brewer that I mentioned above. He participates on another cannabis growing-related board and is very helpful.
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  9. Thanks to you bro for doing all the heavy lifting! 1000 public reps for taking on such a task. You sure do have your work cut out for you! PM me if you need some assistance with anything.

    Good job!
  10. So, is this thread just going to be an organized "reference" to various phenomena in Organic Growing? If so, I am thrilled!

    We are very fortunate to have knowledgeable gardeners such as LumperDawgs in the grasscity community.

    Good luck!
  11. Patrio,

    I truly think you should stick this thread to keep it up top where it belongs. I would encourage others to post LD's links/quotes that have added to your growing skills.

    This thread could be the "go to" thread to point newly interested organic growers. A big, heartfelt thanks for taking the time to sort through the volumes of info and post it.

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  12. Fantastic,

    thats exactly what we need!

  13. Patrio,

    Nice work!

  14. Glad to hear someone is putting all this info into one place Patrio +rep

    Very Nice,
  15. This is going to be one of the most useful threads on GC. Bravo.

    EDIT: Ach, you'll have to settle for public rep. Mad props bro.
  16. Thanks guys, I need some help from everyone. Post up some links if you come across something I don't have. All feedback is appreciated.

    I ask you to please not rep me. Any of the links provided will let you give it to the right guy. Chunky there's a post or two of yours linked as well.
  17. Lots of awesome dudes on here. you all give some great advice in the name of something we all have a lot of passion for. Thanks.

  18. Uh, sorry if I'm not doing something right, but, wheres the links?
  19. #19 howmanymoreyrs, Aug 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2010
    This is a great one here:

    Cation Exchange Capacity

    Here's a few things to ponder perhaps.

    CeC - the degree that a soil can absorb and exchange cations.

    Cation - a positively charged ion and in the case of soils, it refers to the basic cations, i.e. (NH4+, K+, Ca2+, Fe2+, etc...)

    Anion - a negatively charged ion and again in the case of soils, it refers to (NO3-, PO42-, SO42-, etc...)

    Soil particles and organic matter contain negative charges on their surfaces. Mineral cations can adsorb to the negative surface charges or the inorganic and organic soil particles. Once the minerals are adsorbed they're not easily lost when the soil is leached by water and these minerals provide a nutrient release available to the plant roots via the soil foodweb. Minerals can be replaced or 'exchanged' by other cations, hence 'cation exchange'

    NOTE: Adsorption is the process of attraction of atoms or molecules (generically known as "monomers") from an adjacent gas or liquid to an exposed solid surface. Such attraction forces (adhesion or cohesion) align the monomers into layers ("films") onto the existent surface. [cite]

    The amount of these positively charged cations a soil can hold is described as the CEC and is expressed in milliequivalents per 100 grams (meq/100g) of soil. The larger this number, the more cations the soil can hold. A clay soil will have a larger CEC than a sandy soil.

    The soil texture and organic matter content level plays the major role in a soil's overall CeC. Generally, the more clay and organic matter in the soil, the higher the CeC. Clay content is important because these small particles have a high ration of surface area to volume. Different clays also vary in CeC.

    Smectites have the highest CEC (80-100 millequivalents 100 g-1), followed by illites (15-40 meq 100 g-1) and kaolinites (3-15 meq 100 g-1).

    Base Saturation

    The proportion of CEC satisfied by basic cations (Ca, Mg, K, and Na) is termed percentage base saturation (BS%). This property is inversely related to soil acidity. As the Base Saturation% increases, the pH increases. The availability of nutrient cations such as Ca, Mg, and K to plants increases with increasing Base Saturation%.

    Base saturation is usually close to 100% in arid region soils.

    Base saturation below 100% indicates that part of the CEC is occupied by hydrogen and/or aluminum ions. Base saturation above 100% indicates that soluble salts or lime may be present.

    Can you say 'Cal-Mag' lockout? I thought you could! LOL

    CEC and Availability of Nutrients

    Exchangeable cations may become available to plants. Plant roots also possess cation exchange capacity. Hydrogen ions from the root hairs and microorganisms may replace nutrient cations from the exchange complex on soil colloids. The nutrient cations are then released into the soil solution where they can be taken up by the adsorptive surfaces of roots and soil organisms. They may however, be lost from the system by drainage water.

    Additionally, high levels of one nutrient may influence uptake of another (antagonistic relationship). K uptake by plants is limited by high levels of Ca in some soils. High levels of K can in turn, limit Mg uptake even if Mg levels in soil are high.

    Anion Exchange

    In contrast to CEC, AEC is the degree to which a soil can adsorb and exchange anions. AEC increases as soil pH decreases. The pH of most productive soils in North America is usually too high (exceptions are volcanic soils & most rock dusts) for full development of AEC and thus it generally plays a minor role in supplying plants with anions.

    Because the AEC of most agricultural soils is small compared to their CEC, mineral anions such as nitrate (NO3- and Cl-) are repelled by the negative charge on soil colloids. These ions remain mobile in the soil solution and thus are susceptible to leaching.

    Flush it away!

    There's a smidgen on CeC as it relates to soils.


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  20. Just a couple of notes - the world of mycorrhizal fungi is fraught with crap and worthless strains - like adding ecto strains to endo preparations as a way of increasing the number of strains listed on a particular product.

    As others will verify, I have promoted over and over. I used to be able to claim that I received no benefit from doing this but that has now changed. I am now officially a 'company shill' in that they gifted me with a few pounds of their straight mycorrhizal strains that they use in their VAM&Activator product for testing. I know their 'science guy' and he had enough confidence in my judgement and research background to give me this product. I gave Chunk a pound for him to test out. What makes this product different from other 'beneficial fungi' products is that this one contains only endo strains and they have 8 in there. The 'big eight' in the world of 'beneficial fungi' strains - the hardest ones to grow out. The price for their VAM&Activator is $16.00 for 100 grams and the rate of application is 1/2 - 1 gram per gallon. I hope that my position of 'company shill' will provide with enough benefit to defray the cost of a half-rack of micro-brews every month or so.

    RE: Kelp/seaweed extract

    Adding kelp meal to your soil is probably the best thing that you can add - bar none. With the possible exception of alfalfa meal.

    Having said that, the use of organic human food-grade seaweed from Acadian Seaplants, Ltd. is also a huge benefit - if for convenience if nothing else. If you have the time and can plan ahead, there is nothing that can touch kelp meal tea - but having an instant product is also helpful at times. And the price is more than fair - $14.00 per lb. from KIS Compost Brewers. You only use 1/2 of a tablespoon per gallon of water. This specific product is high in microbial activity and will serve you well.

    About the only thing that I would add would be Sul-Po-Mag (aka K-Mag, langbeinite or sulphate of potash magnesia - with the magnesia designation being the most important). E. B. Stone carries this in the right/correct form. This will give you the proper levels of magnesium, potassium and sulphur in the correct form/version.

    By making up Sul-Po-Mag teas, along with oyster shell powder (Calcium Carbonate) and some liquid silica (Dyna-Gro Pro-TeKt) and you almost have all of the soil (+) cations covered.

    One last thought - I do not and would not ever use dolomite lime for a myriad of reasons but the main one being that it's a very poor 'liming agent' - limestone and oyster shell powder are pure Calcium Carbonate - it's the calcium (in its elemental form 'Ca') in dolomite lime that supposedly provides this magical pH adjuster - it does. But the calcium levels in dolomite lime are around 10% whereas limestone and oyster shell powder come in at 96% Calcium Carbonate and expressed in its elemental form, the calcium (Ca) comes in at 35%.

    If you think of Calcium as a mineral and NOT as a liming agent you'll be way ahead of the game. Calcium does, in fact, move a pH higher - but not as a chemical process per se. It has to do with the atomic weight of Calcium (Ca++) that adjusts the pH of a soil via the CeC (Cation Exchange Capacity) rather than an instant chemical reaction in moving the pH up or down.

    Best wishes and if I can answer any specific questions I will give it my best shot.


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