Organics for Beginners

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by mels, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. Organics for Beginners \t\t\t
    \t\t\t \t\t\t \t\t \t\t \t\t Here are some tried and true recipes for getting started in organic growing. Pick one of the first two soiless mix recipes for your grow medium. Then, choose a nute recipe that will work best for what you have available.


    Here are two very good organic soiless mixes...

    LC's Mix is great for any stage of growth. You can germ seeds in it, grow mothers in it, root clones in it as well as veg and flower in it.

    LC's Soiless Mix #1:
    5 parts Canadian Spaghnam Peat or Coir or Pro-Moss
    3 parts perlite
    2 parts wormcastings or mushroom compost or home made compost
    Powdered (NOT PELLETIZED) dolomite lime @ 2 tablespoons per gallon or 1 cup per cubic foot of the soiless mix.
    ...Wal-Mart now sells worm castings.

    Or, if you use Pro Mix or Sunshine Mix...
    LC's Soiless Mix #2:
    6 parts Pro Mix BX or HP / Sunshine Mix (any flavor from #1 up)
    2 parts perlite
    2 parts earthworm castings
    Powdered (NOT PELLETIZED) dolomite lime @ 2 tablespoons per gallon or 1 cup per cubic foot of the soiless mix.
    If you use a 3 qt. saucepan as “parts” in the amounts given above, it equals about 1 cu. ft. of soiless mix and you can just dump in a cup of powdered dolomite lime.
    But, a "part" can be anything from a tablespoon to a five gallon bucket. Just use the same item for all of the "parts".

    Now for the plants organic food source

    Choose one of these organic plant food recipes to add to LC's Soiless Mix.

    RECIPE #1
    If you want to use organic nutes like blood, bone and kelp...
    Dry Ferts:
    1 tablespoon blood meal per gallon or 1/2 cup per cubic foot of soil mix
    2 tablespoons bone meal per gallon or 1 cup per cubic foot of soil mix
    1-tablespoon kelp meal per gallon or 1/2 cup per cubic foot of soil mix or Maxicrop 1-0-4 powdered kelp extract as directed
    1 tablespoon per gallon or 1/2 cup per cubic foot of Jersey Greensand to supplement the K (potasium) in the Kelp Meal and seaweed extract.
    Mix all the dry ferts into the soiless mix well and wet it, but don't soak it with Liquid Karma and water @ 1 tbs./gal. Stir and mix it a few times a week for a week or two so the bacteria can get oxygen and break down the bone meal and make it available. And don't let the mix dry out, keep it moist and add water as needed. It'll also have time to get the humic acids in the Liquid Karma going and the dolomite lime will be better able to adjust the pH of a peat based mixture too.
    With this recipe, all you need to do is add plain water until harvest.
    When I'm working with seeds, I punch a hole in the bottom of 16 ounce cups and fill them with plain LC's Mix. Lightly wet the mix in the cups and germ one seed in each cup. At the same time I mix enough LC's mix along with the blood/bone/kelp to fill all the 3 gallon flower pots I'm going to use for the grow. After about two weeks, the seedlings and the blood/bone/kelp mix are ready. I transplant the seedlings into the 3 gallon pots and just add water until harvest.
    When you go to flower and pull up the males, save the mix in the pots. It is ready to be used again immediately. Just remove the root ball and transplant another seedling into it.

    RECIPE #2
    If you want to use guano in your soil mix...
    Bongaloid's Guano Mix.
    Use all these items combined with one gallon of soil mix.
    1/3C hi N Guano (Mexican Bat Guano)
    1/2C hi P Guano (Jamaican or Indonesian Bat Guano)
    1TBS Jersey Greensand
    1TBS Kelp Meal

    RECIPE #3 (My favorite)
    If you want to use guano tea and kelp...

    Guano Tea and Kelp:

    Seedlings less than 1 month old nute tea mix-
    Mix 1 cup earthworm castings into 5 gallons of water to make the tea.
    Add 5 tbs. Black Strap Molasses.
    Use it to water your seedlings with every 3rd watering.

    Veg mix-
    1/3 cup Peruvian Seabird Guano (PSG)
    1/3 cup High N Bat Guano (Mexican)
    1/3 cup Earth Worm Castings (EWC)
    5 tsp. Maxicrop 1-0-4 powdered kelp extract
    (That makes the "dry mix". You can make all you want and save it to use later.)
    Mix with water @ 1 cup of dry mix into 5 gallons of water to make the tea.
    To that 5 gallons of tea add:
    5 tbs. Liquid Karma
    5 tbs. Black Strap Molasses
    Use it to water with every 3rd watering.

    Flowering nute tea mix:
    2/3 cup Peruvian Seabird Guano
    2/3 cup Earth Worm Castings
    2/3 cup High P Guano (Indonesian or Jamaican)
    5 tsp. Maxicrop 1-0-4 powdered kelp extract
    (That makes the "dry mix". You can make all you want and save it to use later.)
    Mix with water @ 2 cups of dry mix into 5 gallons of water to make the tea.
    To that 5 gallons of tea add:
    5 tbs. Liquid Karma
    5 tbs. Black Strap Molasses
    Use it to water with EVERY watering.

    You can use queen size knee high nylon stockings for tea bags. 3 pair for a dollar at the dollar store. Tell 'em you use them for paint strainers. Put the recommended tea in the stocking, tie a loop knot in it and hang it in your tea bucket. The tea should look like a mud puddle. Agitate the bag in the water vigorously. An aquarium pump and air stone will dissolve oxygen into the solution and keep the good bacteria (microherd) alive and thriving. Let it bubble a day or two before you use it. If you find you are making too much tea and having to throw it out, use 2 1/2 gallons of water and cut the nute amount by half.

    RECIPE #4
    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

    RECIPE #5
    Fish and Seaweed (This is sooo easy)

    For veg growth…
    1 capful 5-1-1 Fish Emulsion
    1 capful Neptune's Harvest 0-0-1 Seaweed or Maxicrop liquid
    1 gallon H2O

    For early flowering…
    1 tbs. Neptune's Harvest 2-3-1 Fish/Seaweed
    1 gallon H2O

    For mid to late flowering…
    1 tbs. Neptune's Harvest 2-4-1 Fish
    1 gallon H2O

    And now for some more good tips...

    Organic pH issues

    I hear a lot of people asking or talking about the pH of their organic soil mix or organic nute solution and how they might correct or adjust it. pH in organics is not an issue like it is in synthetic growing.
    The best place to settle the pH issues in organics is within the grow medium. A medium rich in humates (humus) is the place to start. Humates work to "buffer" the pH of organic mediums and the nutes you pour (or mix) into it.
    Humates come from compost, worm castings and bottled humus. If you use a peat based medum, use dolomite lime to raise the pH of the acidic peat. Dolomite should be used in any soil or soiless medium to provide magnesium and calcium. But since we are talking about pH here, I'll mention dolomite lime's pH correction benefits.
    A medium of coir has a pH near neutral (or 7.0). But humates are still neded to allow uptake of organic nutrients that are outside a near neutral pH range.
    With an active medium rich in humates you can pour in nutes like Pure Blend Pro, Earth Juice and guano teas way outside the optimum pH range without worry. The humus will allow the nutes to be taken up through the roots, even at such an extreme pH reading.
    So throw those pH meters away folks and enjoy the ease and safety of organic gardening.

    Chlorine tap water

    Just a word of caution for you organic heads out there...
    If you are tapped onto a municipal water supply that uses chlorine to kill bacteria in the water, it'll do the same thing to the bacteria (microherd) in your organic food source.
    Always bubble your municipal water in an open container (5 gallon bucket) for 24 hours before adding ANYTHING organic to it.


    There is absolutely no reason to "flush" organic nute solutions from your soil mix. In an organic grow, the plants don't take up the organic nutes (guano, bone, blood or kelp). The bacteria eat the organic nutes and excrete food that the plant can feed off of. So the organic nutes don't need to be flushed because they never enter the plant. And besides, meals like kelp, bone and blood along with worm castings and dolomite can't be flushed from your soil mix anyway. If you use guano and seaweed, try using plain water or worm casting tea for your last watering or two so the plant can use up what's left in the soil. But drowning your soil with water isn't necessary.

  2. Excellent post! + rep :D!
  3. #3 Corto Malteze, Feb 20, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2009
    Very interesting information Mels. You cleared out several important points. I didn't know humates were pH buffers: good news! You're right, with the peat it's smart to add some "powdered" dolomite lime/ashes.
    I have a few quick questions for you if you don't mind:D:

    - I grow in a very dry region, with a water source nearby but I must reduce my trips as much as possible. I'll use 20-30 peat, 20 perlite/vermiculite, compost, potting soil, worm castings, rock dust, native dirt, lime/ashes (?)
    -Holes prepped with meals and horse manure.

    - Do you know if vermiculite holds water better than perlite? I was planning on using a little more of the ver. Or is just 20% perlite better? Verm. is 25 dollars for 100liters, Perlite is 18 dollars for 100 l. Pricey! I have a dozen holes planned in several spots. I wanted to add brown paper bags on the bottom and part of sides of the hole. Every drop counts.

    - For the lime: do you know how long it takes to work? I read it's 6 months but lasts longer than ashes. Ashes act quicker but are more toxic in excess.

    - Nice tip on the tap water. Rain water, wild water or bubbled water is better for the "micro herd".

    - What do you think of rock dust?

    Thanks for the help! Great information on this post. :wave:
  4. I am very sorry I found this thread elsewhere and thought it would be a good talking point here in the city, I to am learning about organics, but so far so good.
  5. Nothing to worry about: it's still very useful information :hello:.
  6. #6 LumperDawgz, Feb 20, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2009

    Both of those mixes and the additional information that you posted are probably the best soil mixes one can use.

    I usually suggest a couple of minor adjustments like the addition of rock dust products (and it doesn't matter which ones really) and I prefer organic seed meals (cottonseed, flaxseed, alfalfa or canola) in lieu of bloodmeal and organic fish bone meal in lieu of bonemeal. That's a personal preference based on the 'mad cow disease' paradigm.

    RE: Vermiculite vs Perlite

    Vermiculite does hold more water which is why growers using chemical fertilizers prefer using Perlite. But since you're growing organically then I would say that you might want to consider a 50/50 mix to begin with and perhaps use 5-10% more of the TOTAL MIX in your soil mix than you might have if only using perlite - I hope that jumbled sentence makes sense to you. I'm still working on it! LOL

    RE: PH in organics

    It is true that the humic (and fulvic) acids found in your compost or earthworm castings do maintain the proper PH for that specific plant. Plants use exudes to indicate to the bacteria and fungai in the soils what it needs.

    Depending on what specific ingredients are used to brew an ACT (aerated compost tea), you can easily hit the low 4's on the PH scale at the time of application. In an organic growing environment this is never an issue.


    And using supplemental pure humic acid (worth tracking down, IMHO) on a regular application cycle (10 days) from beginning to end will keep the soil and leaf-based microbe colonies alive and well as well as allowing the plant to use the nutrients more effeciently which are available both through photo-synthesis as well as the relatively minor roll that the nutrients in the soil play which is about 10% of the total. 90% of a plant's nutritional needs are created by the plant itself and the soil provides the engine and drivetrain to use an automotive analogy.


  7. #7 LumperDawgz, Feb 20, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2009
    The question always comes up about ProMix vs Sunshine Mix and the reality is that they're both owned by companies based in Canada. ProMix (Premier Horticulture) is based in Quebec, Canada and Sunshine Mix (Sun Gro Horticulture) is based in British Columbia.

    Both are professional soilless mixes to which you add the necessary amendments as the original poster shows in the first post. They're all based on a 70% peat moss base and amended with perlite or some other combination which might include vermiculite and/or pumice.

    Sunshine Mix is made by the same company which produces 'Black Gold' (*snerk*) and it also has products at the Loews and Home Depot warehouse stores sold under the name of 'Natures' (which is actually a very good blank soil). Look for the manufacturer at the very bottom of the bag of soil and if it says either 'Premier Horticulture' or 'Sun Gro Horticulture' you're in business!

    Because there's no money in soils, per se, it's not cost effective to ship it around the country meaning that it's not going to be common for ProMix to be available on the West Coast where Sunshine Mix is the dominant brand. Conversely you probably won't find Sunshine Mix on the East Coast.

    The only exception to this on a large scale is in California which is the largest state producing nursery stock plants (like the ones you see people buying at Home Depot in the little black containers), in that state you can easily find both products because of the sheer volume of plants grown there.

    But at the end of the day it doesn't matter. Both companies are different mixes which will have different amounts of peat vs. perlite (or whatever) so that's one consideration. Sunshine Mix #1 has less perlite than Sunshine Mix #4 as an example.

    I'm not promoting Sunshine Mix over ProMix, it's just that this is the product line(s) available to me. If I was living in Georgia then I'd be using ProMix.

  8. #8 donedeal, Feb 20, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2009
    perfect timing to wake up and read how to make the tea's. i was wondering as a fell asleep last night if you went over it at all. I didn't realize how much air is needed in brewing. Whats the point of the mesh bag though? isn't the stuff going to seep through and fill the entire bucket anyway?

    edit: i just read your post somewhere saying the soil is better when you re-use it but i don't know where that was so i'll ask here. What exactly do you need to do to it to revive it for another crop, add more worm castings? and also do things qualify for soilless as long as they don't have any nutrients the plant can uptake?

    thanks LD, you're teaching me all i know on organics!

  9. donedeal

    The Recipe #4 in the first post is their formula (The 3lb aka The 3 Little Birds). I would recommend that you include using an enzyme-based product to re-energize the microherd as well as dissolve the remain roots from the previous grow. Anything but Hygrozyme that's available at grow stores. It's simply watered down enzyme products used to keep koi and water ponds free, pure & clean. They're also used for maintaining septic tanks and are priced accordingly. With the exception of Hygrozyme of course.

    And I do not recommend the use of greensand for a number of reasons not the least of which is that it takes YEARS and certainly not months or weeks to break down. And using it as an aeration agent is a sure sign that one has lots of money to burn.

    If you want an aeration product with the size like greensand then simply using regular sand along with the rock dust products that they call for.

  10. Thanks for your useful information, organic growing is really everything isnt it with growing cannabis from fruits to flavour and the best quality, well what ive noticed in the past 8 years of smoking cannabis daily.

    Ive noticed that the organic grown strains are alot more potent and tastier than just soil and chemical fertelised grown strains. So this information hopefully will help me grow much nicer SMOKE:smoking: than the way ive been normally growing which was ordinary potting soil from my local grow shop and the Hesi soil pack.

    So agen thanks for the excellant information.:smoking::wave:
  11. #11 Corto Malteze, Mar 19, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2009
    Excellent info Lumperdawgz (as always btw). So no greensand ok. I can't buy it here. Rock dust would have to be ordered on internet but I probably won't (is it very useful?). What kind of lime do you use (if you do)? I heard that powdered hydrated dolomite lime is the fastest and best. Thanks.

    Are extra humic acids necessary if there's already manures, meals and compost in the soil?

    Great replacmements for blood and bone meal.

    Excellent explanation on perlite/vermic for organic vs. chem.

    You "own" this organic section. Thanks for sharing. + rep if I can.

    pH things I also didn't know. Organics is where its at for sure.

    I need to read all your posts over. Very very nice and scientific info.!!!
  12. I just wanted to thank you all for educating me. I am going to try a variation of LC's #1 mix using perlite and vermiculite. I plan on making 2 mixes. One using earthworm castings for flowers and the other using mushroom compost for vegtables.

    For dry fertilizer I plan on using rock dust and Dr. Earth's dry mixes. Dr. Earth has 10 different mixes to chose from for flowers, herbs and vegtables or you can order kelp,fish bone, feather and alfalfa meal separately and mix your own.

    Again thank you all for educating me on how this all works. You have explained this so even I can understand. I would have to drive 3-4 hours to buy good potting mix and now I can simply mix my own.:D:hello::wave:

    I will let you know how these mixes turn out after I've mixed up a batch and let it cook for awhile. I'm still waiting for the azomite to arrive:mad:

    If you are interested in Dr. Earth products Welcome to Dr. Earth Later...
  13. Don't know about others here but i more than miss LD and his pure explanations on everything he posts.:(

    Hope he returns very soon with some great story on his trip down Hwy. 5 south(just a few miles from me btw)to Agrowin for EWC and such.

    Thanx LD for helping me understand in so many ways WHY organics are the only way to grow anything in soil,i'm really a very dif. grower now inside and out now.:wave:;)
  14. Yeah I agree his posts are to the point and crystal clear. Come back man!:wave:
  15. #15 kush<>~, Apr 9, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2009
    Receipe looks good. Although, bone meal is not organic, its a mineral additive that the plant takes up.

  16. I agree... I'm thinking of going organic next grow... and the information and knowledge that LD has on the subject is really amazing.

  17. Hmm...not sure about this.....:confused:
  18. ^^Does bone decompose? No, thats why they are left after all the organic material has broken down. It is a mineral additive.
  19. I am curious at what point the substrate becomes soiless. I mean if I start adding coco what percentage will I need to stay below to have it a soil. I dont want to grow soiless. I am hoping as high as 50. Also are worm castings made with coco coco anymore or are they something else. Lol. Nice info.
  20. #20 jackpot, Apr 28, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2009
    If you want to use guano in your soil mix...
    Bongaloid's Guano Mix.
    Use all these items combined with one gallon of soil mix.
    1/3C hi N Guano (Mexican Bat Guano)
    1/2C hi P Guano (Jamaican or Indonesian Bat Guano)
    1TBS Jersey Greensand
    1TBS Kelp Meal

    Is this per cubic foot or per gallon. I am def trying this out with at least one of my plants then using it for all. Got to get it right. Gotta love this organics.:smoking:

    WHOA< I just read it again. Sorry. My brain is sluggish. It says per gallon. I am def using. This is just what I was looking for. Thank you. I now have to reread to see if this will work with a mix of soil, coir, worm castings, perlite, and dolomite. I have all this all ready waiting for my plants, I usually use BMO or Bio Bizz. Well this is actually my first organic soil run, my 2nd attempt to grow. Good start. All water grow here I come. Compost tea foliar sprays sound good to.

    Also I am looking into why someone would want to use soiless and not soil based mixes. Isnt it nescary to supply hydro nutes to a soiless grow. Like adding micro? I can see that it isn't but I am curious. Reps.

    but at least one plant is going soiless.

    edit:i found out why. In a text book called "soiless culture:theory and practice". I read that there are no soil born diseases and harvest is better. I am hoping that with some azomite I will have a perfect mix.

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