Question On Mixing My Own Soil

Discussion in 'First Time Marijuana Growers' started by p0tluck, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. Hey guys. I made a post earlier about my miracle grow soil being too hard. I got a few answers back saying that my problem wasn't necessarily it being too hard, but that it was plainly because I chose miracle grow as my medium. That it would eventually give my babies nutrition burn because of all the added crap miracle grow uses or something along those lines. So I was wondering... Could I just use some base top soil with some perlite and compost mixed into it as my potting soil? Then later in the veg state I'll add nutrients as needed? And if I CAN do that, is it okay if I transplant now? My seedlings are only about a week old. They are growing the first two textured leaves right now, but those two leaves are pretty small. Any advice would be much appreciated.
  2. #2 howando, Nov 20, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2014
    Some plants will love miracle grow, some will tolerate it, and some will be killed by it.  It depends on the situation and the strain of cannabis.  For all the hate that MG gets, you'll find as many people saying their fox farm soil is too hot for their plants but everyone still recommends it and loves it.  There's nothing inherently bad about the MG soil but it can be quite well fortified, and also they often add stuff to improve moisture retention.  If there's one thing you don't want with cannabis, it is high levels of moisture retention.  Perfect for your hanging baskets though.  The overall balance of nutrients isn't really suited for maximum bud performance, more aimed at long lasting luscious green leaves which isn't exactly what you want from cannabis.
    You can transplant them if you are really gentle.  Squeeze the edges of the pot to break the soil and carefully tease the soil from the plant with your fingers.  If you damage the only root it has you're done for. Don't use literally "topsoil" from outside, it is full of bugs and weeds, but an overall less nutritious mix will be better for seedlings, even if that is just compost with a handful of perlite.  You can get seeding and clone compost which is fine grade with perlite and low nutrients, for this kind of job.  Personally I still consider them seedlings until I have a full 3-fingered leaf, and be aware that they will be in shock after transplant and will stop growing for at least a couple of days.
    All that said, you started by worrying that the soil was too hard.  If you want to avoid having compact soil, water it more gently.  If you just pour water onto it that pushes the soil down. If the leaves look otherwise fine and the plants are growing, they don't necessarily need transplanting at all.  It might not be 'ideal' but sometimes messing with a grow too much is the main problem people have.
    And when it comes to CFLs, it is hard to have too many.
    Good luck!
  3. Well, my plants are looking fine. They are growing pretty slow, but everyone tells me that that's the way it goes in the beginning. My sixth and last seedling is starting to unfold it's first two leaves just today. Will my soil eventually loosen up a little if I just lightly water it from now on? When I eventually transplant into it's fine final pot, should I just change the soil then? And every time I've been watering it I've been spraying this miracle grow nutrient foam stuff. Is that okay?
  4. They are slow at the beginning. The only way they get energy or crbon to grow is from the leaves, which it has very little.
    Don't feed it if you're already using MG soil!  Plant food is like vitamins - they actually use carbon from the air and energy from light to build new plants, and the nitrogen and everything is more like vitamins than food.  MG soil is already heavily fortified with food so it doesn't need any more.  It probably says on the packed that there's 5 weeks worth of plant food in the soil already, and they are not kidding.
    The roots will push through the soil anyway, because it's not actually stuck together just packed together,  It doesn't matter that it seems hard to you that's just your impression, it doesn't matter much to the plant and if they're green and otherwise healthy, better to let them be.
    When you repot, yes you can use a different soil mix if you want.  If you continue to use the MG soil, add some perlite or a sandy soil mix or something to improve the drainage when you pot it up, else it'll be really easy for the big pot to get waterlogged.  You want your pots to dry out and need watering every 1-2 days preferably, not every 4-5 days or longer.  As a rule of thumb if the soil isn't dry you are watering too soon, if it's not dry in a couple of days you are watering too much.
  5. The only down I'd say on mixing your own is "don't use pre-fertilized soil".

    In other words, though i swear by Fox Farms products, if someone gave me a bag of their soil, it'd go in the garden, not under my babies.

    Transplanting...honestly so long as you don't transplant too often, too close together, your plants are relatively healthy to begin with, if your roots don't get damaged, and you do it properly, go ahead and transplant. Do it wrong, too often, or too close together, the plants get shocky, and can die. Sometimes, even done perfectly, they'll do that. Plant specific, not strain specific.

    Put it in "people terms"...some kids thrive if their parents move them all over the place every two years. Some get screwed up and "turn bad" if they move from where they've lived all through elementary school, when it's time to go to middle school. Some screw themselves up even if they live in the same house from birth to being sent to prison (because they went bad). Background doesn't matter, breeding doesn't matter, quality of parenting doesn't matter, it's just that way.

    My taste (and this IS "my taste") is organic soil with a bit of compost in it to begin with, a tiny bit of peat moss mixed in. I've had issues with stem strength a couple times, due to how often I had to manicure, because I wanted full veg cycle (4 months), but had to keep them short, so there was a lot of trimming and topping, which adds colas, which adds weight strain. I've been told silica will help with that, but haven't tied it yet, my new crop's in the tent barely a month.

    I also run to the bait shop when I set up a fresh bucket, and put in 5 large nightcrawlers per gallon of soil, to keep the soil loose (and add some worm castings, the natural way).

    The problem with pre-fertilized soil is DRY NUTRIENTS. That simple. Dry nutrients function by dissolving in water, and being distributed by the water. That means that the closer a root is to a node of nutrient, the more intense the balance of nutrient to water carrying it is, the farther away, the more "pure" the water (less nutrients). means the roots farthest from nute "nodes" that got wet enough to dissolve, the less food that root got, the closer, the more food it got. Too much burns the root, too little starves it. Root health is plant health.

    Doesn't mean it can't be done, or won't work. Just that there are hazards involved, and you've robbed yourself of a bit of environment control.

    Indoor grows are FAR substandard to outdoor grows. You can't deliver what the plant has developed naturally to need, no matter how you try. So we (as growers) do our best to come AS CLOSE as we can to doing so. We fall short in THIS area, we try to make up for it by being absolutely "perfectly ideal" in THAT area. Which means the more things you have ABSOLUTE control over, the better, but the less you ABUSE that control, the better.

    Just like raising anything else that was developed in the wild.'re raising a Tokay Gecko. No way in hell you can deliver ideal circumstances, as would be found in his natural habitat, in your terrarium. But you do your best to give him the closest approximation you can. The closer you get in the most areas you can, the healthier and happier he is, right? Same thing. But at the same time, if every damn day, you're tinkering with his conditions, trying to keep them "perfect", you'll stress him, right? If something changes, you do what needs to be done to change it back slowly and gently, so he doesn't get stressed or shocked.

    Same thing..your plants are your "special pets" that you want to keep happy and healthy. They just can't go escaping the terrarium and hiding in the light fixtures, or running away from you, and they're hard to take out of the tank to play with <grin>.

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