trace mineral supplement

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by housefullOweed, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. Here is the soil mix i am currently using as you can see i don't have any amendments that supply trace minerals.

    2.8 cu ft promix
    1.0 cu ft ffof
    8 cups Bone Meal
    4 cups Blood Meal
    4 cups dolomite lime
    12.5 lb pure worm castings
    25% perlite

    Alright so i have a bottle of trace minerals that are supposed to be taken as part of some type of vitamin supplement program anyways i was just wondering if i could use these on my plant or seedlings. I do not know the exact amounts of each ingredient i have looked around the web and can't find the numbers but it is made for human consumption so im assuming it couldn't be to toxic.

    product link Morter Health System - Trace Minerals 1oz (Morter Health)

    Here is a list of ingredients


    So what do you guys think should i try it or is there some chemical in that list of shit that will murder my plant?
  2. I think adding Azomite to the soil mix will provide the trace elements you need....
  3. housefullOweed

    If you wanted to go for the gusto you might consider a marine deposit product like SEA-90. This product is not with some controversy and you should do your own research.

    I use it but it has a definite learning curve. Applying it like many cannabis growers do with other agents, i.e. "Well if 1 tablespoon is good think how dank my grow will be using 2 tablespoons!" is a recipe for disaster. With sea/marine mineral products you can really screw things up with hi-dosing. These products contain over 90 minerals so there is a definite benefit to be realized if applied correctly.

    Use with caution.

  4. You could probably use that.

    Expensive as all getup though. Look into an agricultural source (ie not grow shop, not health food store), unless you just feel like breaking the bank.

    Grab some Azomite and glacial rock dust. That should do you well, with a lot lower cost/lb.

    And hey, LD: Would you say that the SEA-90 product would be useful for someone who already has Azomite, rock dust, agricultural lime, and oyster shell meal in their mix? Or would it just be one more thing to mess with?
  5. Sam87

    Basically. I bought the minimum amount 'just because' I was curious. It, like a lot of other proprietary products, have claims that simply can't be supported by science. I'm playing with it so I can't comment too much but I can say that it probably has more of an application in a mineral-deficient soil than showing a lot of benefit to a healthy soil.

    Much like the application of an AACT - in a healthy soil you'll realize some benefit. On a poor soil you'll reap great benefits.

    RE: Oyster Shell Powder/Flour

    Unlike what the name implies, this product is not made from crushed shells from an oyster bar but rather it's a an ancient marine deposit at the bottom of San Francisco Bay. The oyster shells are about the size of the fingernail on your little finger. These shells are then crushed and screened and it's most used by poultry growers, i.e. additional calcium to harden the eggs shells which in turn become a fantastic source of calcium with a bit of effort.

    What is never discussed is the other benefit from using oyster shell powder or limestone (another ancient marine deposit) is the high levels of minerals and they're all in the appropriate amount and percentages as measured against the whole, IOW there's not a high-dose of Element A over Element B - it's in the correct proportion.

    Both are (almost) pure Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) so you're adding Carbon (C) as well as Oxygen (O)3 to your soil in addition to elemental Calcium (C++).

    Generally in a Calcium Carbonate source you can take the total amount of 'calcium' listed on the label and take 40% of that figure to arrive at the level of elemental Calcium.

    Something like that.

  6. So that's a good thing, yes? Sorry, I'm not quite at your level on this stuff.

    I believe I've read that a lot of people go wrong by using only dolomite lime in their mixes, as the over abundance of magnesium causes issues with other nutrients?

    Either way, since I've switched to the limestone and oyster shell (still some dolomite in the mix too, from recycling), I haven't had a ph issue yet.
  7. Sam87

    Sorry about that.

    Back to Calcium Carbonate vs. elemental Calcium for a second. The reason that Calcium Carbonate is a better source than elemental Calcium is the additional Carbon (C) component of the molecule and the 3 Oxygen (3) components.

    Carbon is the basis of all biology on this planet, i.e. it's food for microbes which in turn feed plants which in turn can feed mammals with some obvious exceptions. Oxygen is important in a soil because we're trying to cultivate aerobic microbe colonies which need oxygen to survive and thrive.

    RE: Dolomite Lime aka Calcium Magnesium Carbonate meaning that it's elemental Calcium and Magnesium Carbonate which carries an interesting configuration. It's this interesting configuration that requires a bit of microbial activity to break the cations (ions) apart from each other, i.e. takes quite a while.

    Stepping outside the cannabis growing paradigm and looking at how dolomite lime is used in agriculture the differences are striking. Dolomite lime is recommend and used to buffer up the magnesium levels in a lab-tested soil. It is not used as a 'liming' agent for a myriad of reasons mostly having to with magnesium toxicity which will lock out any number of elements in the soil.

    Based on Steve Solomon's work on mineral supplements, you might consider mixing up the following:

    1x Azomite
    .5x Limestone (aka agriculture lime)
    .5 Oyster Shell Powder
    1x soft rock phosphate
    1x gypsum (agricultural gypsum - don't go to HomeDepot and buy the gypsum they would carry)

    Mix well and apply about 1 tablespoon to 1 gallon of potting soil mix. This will give your soil both agents required to maintain the proper pH in your soil. If you can source glacial rock dust I would add 2x to the above mix. But that's a personal preference about volcanic rock dusts (like Azomite) vs. glacial rock dust. The reason for that is that Azomite (and the other volcanic rock dusts) are alumina-sillicate based and I believe that it should be part of a mineral supplement but perhaps not the best choice for a stand-alone amendment.

    Many/most will disagree with me and I'm okay with that too. Getting a mineral rock dust is the first goal. Fine tuning it to your personal preferences and philosophies is part of the process as well.


    • Like Like x 1
  8. The only thing on there that I've had a hard time sourcing locally is the Soft Rock Phosphate. All I can seem to find is Triple Super Phosphate. I take it these are two seperate products, or is it just a different name on the same thing?

    Either way, I think it's time to go ahead and order some. Heard a lot of good things about it.

    With the Volcanic rock dusts, would I have to worry about aluminium uptake if I were in an acid medium?

    Oh, and sorry to the OP for kind of hijacking your thread.
  9. Thanks for the info guys just letting it be known that i did not buy this stuff for use on my plants, my mom is kind of a health food store nut so she bought it to take as part of a vitamin regiment. Anyways i started reading the label on this one day and once i saw how many heavy metals were in it i told her it prolly wasnt a good idea to ingest, so now i have a bottle 3/4 full of it with no use.

    Anyways i think i will give it a shot in very low doses of course prolly 5-10 drops per gallon of water.

    thanks again guys
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Oh yeah, if you have it already, then you should be fine. Just don't nuke them with it, so it sounds like you've got the right idea.
  11. #11 LumperDawgz, Oct 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2010

    Soft Rock Phosphate is often sold as 'Colloidal Phosphate' and will usually read something like Phosphorus: 24%/Available Phosphorus 2.5% (about 10% generally). It is a clay material that is surface mined from the old settling basins of former hard phosphate rock mining operations in Florida. Because it's a clay, it is insoluble in water, will not leach away, and therefore is long-lasting.

    Triple Super Phosphate is derived from hard rock phosphate which is mined and treated with sulphuric or phosphoric acid to isolate the phosphate in a soluble form. The problems occur when the phosphate hits the ground.

    Phosphate has a triple-negative charge and calcium has a positive charge as does phosphorus, magnesium & potassium. They seek each other out and become inseparably fused. It also bonds up with zinc, iron and manganese then the plants can’t assimilate them.

    The phosphate content in Triple Super, for example, has largely reverted to the insoluble tri-calcium phosphate form within 30 days of application. This means that, at the crucial time of seed or fruit formation, when available phosphate will determine fruit quality, there is actually very little of the element remaining to perform this function.

    Colloidal phosphate does not have these problems. Acid-treated phosphates are plant food (if only for a very limited time), and they can never be used to build phosphate levels in the soil cost-effectively. Hard rock phosphate and colloidal soft rock phosphate are seen as incomparable soil foods, the latter being far more available in a wider variety of soil conditions.

    One other thing to note, soft rock phosphate also contains about 20% Calcium which is a good thing and it's a clay - which is also a good thing for an organic soil.
    Acidic conditions can cause problems with not only rock dusts but even perlite as it has a fairly high aluminum profile. But you have to be running < 5 pH so it would really have to be a flucked up situation and you'd see any number of other issues way before aluminum toxicity I would think.


  12. #12 Sam87, Oct 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2010
    Awesome LD! You're the real deal man, I love that we have you here! Don't ever change! :D

    So, I guess I'm going internet shopping then.

    I'd rep ya, but I can't, so I'll just have to settle for the public props.

    And I thought you guys were running in some sort of Bokashi low PH soil, or some such? Or am I completely off base there? Either way, I need to get caught up on you and Chunk's work, I'm way behind!

    Oh, and you say don't buy Home Depot Gypsum? Does that include say, Epsoma as well, due to an inferior product? Or do they just use it for other stuff too, and I'd end up being a fool trying to save money.
  13. Sam87

    LOL - my bad! What I should have written is that if you find gypsum in the garden department at HomeDepot (like Epsoma) then you've got the correct form. This gypsum is a mined product and here's a list of the benefits that gypsum provides to the gardener and farmer.

    The gypsum found over in the building section is a by-product of the phosphate industry. This is what is used to manufacture sheet-rock, plaster of Paris, etc. This is not the form that you want to use. Ever.

    BTW - Epsoma was not a product that was marketed in this part of the country until about a year ago - at least in Portland. A few months ago I was shopping at Wilco (a farmer-owned co-op selling basic farm supplies, work clothes (Carrhart, et al), and I wandered over to the gardening section to see what new items they might be carrying and I had a chance to look at several Epsoma products. Very, very nice line of mixes - hard to beat actually.

    I would have no problems using the products that I looked at. You'd have to mix your own to do much better.


  14. Sam87

    That was an experiment that I hooked Chunk to try along with me. I have used Bokahsi bran for a couple of years in my potting soil mix, worm bins and thermal compost piles. In the past I used wheat bran or rice bran or rice hulls or fir wood chips as the medium for the lactobacillus inoculation - standard stuff.

    One day I was reviewing an article written by a former classmate (who eventually got his PhD in botany with a strong emphasis on soil microbiology - almost 2 different sciences at most universities unfortunately).

    At any rate, this article touches on the role that lactic acid plays in the rhizosphere - an acid that is produced by the plant and then sent down into the roots as exudes to breakdown insoluble phosphorus. Citric acid is also involved in the process - another exude created by the plant.

    After reading his paper, I had an idea - "What if you took basic soil amendments and fermented them using lactic and citric acids?" and my thinking was that this process would 'pre-digest' (for lack of a better/more accurate word) the material making it more available to the microbe colonies.

    I took my basic seed meal @ 25% of the total mix and then added 75% of a mix that included everything that I've ever used as a base for making Bokashi bran, i.e. wheat & rice bran, organic rice hulls and fir wood chips. I added the lacto culture in the appropriate amount to effect fermentation. After about 5 weeks or so the mix hit < 2.8 pH and after I let it dry out I gave some to Chunk. It looked like a petri dish experiment that went bad - some really ugly stuff!

    I added about 1.5 cups to 1 c.f. of potting soil mix in lieu of regular seed meal. I was trying to show Chunk that simply because one adds an acidic element to a soil that does not in and of itself raise a soil's pH. Then again actually testing a soil accurately is one of the missing processes for most home gardeners. Checking the pH of 'run-off' is just bizarre on many levels. Beyond bizarre actually.

    I grew 3 plants in #5 SmartPots and ran the same 'nutrient program' as always. The growth rate, health, vigor, etc. was exactly the same. The yield was almost identical. I can't comment yet on the punch because it's just beginning the curing period but initial samples show it to be as good as always.

    The advantage here is this - by taking an amendment (or a mix like I did) and using fermentation as a way to extract the 'stuff' and then distribute it across the inert media (the bran and such), one could take hi-dollar amendments (with seed meals being the best candidates) and extend them using basic fermenting methods. Fermenting these seed meals make all of the elements more readily available as many of the molecular bonds are weakened and/or broken.

    This fermentation is the process for making fish hydrolysate (or fish enzyme), kelp hydrolysate, etc. The use of fermented amendments is established but I guarantee you that if the typical gardener with N*P*K and pH stuck in their brain knew what the pH of fish hydrolysate was for example, the boards would be full of warnings about pH issues caused by applying fish enzyme with it's usual 3.2 pH

    Then again some people just need something to worry about and swinging a Hanna necklace around is pretty harmless. At least they're not involved in food production.

    So let me ask you a question - I'm growing plain old bagweed so I don't have the benefit of growing professional strains with the really kewl names, but setting my limitations aside "What would you expect to harvest from 3 plants in a #5 SmartPot under a 600w HPS?"

    No CO2. No bat guano. No Cal-Mag. No Wet Betty. No Kushie Kush. Nada. Zilch. Nothing.

    What would you be happy with?

    Just curious as usual.

  15. Hmm, pretty hard to take a wild guess without knowing the plant. I've also yet to make the SmartPot switch, though it's coming, so hard to comment on the increases from that.

    But I would say acceptable yields for a 600w would be 8 ozs or more.

    I get the feeling that you do better though. :)
  16. Damn you are full of so much useful info LD, how does you brain contain it all with out exploding?
  17. Not really - final weigh last night before going into the Mason jars was 9 oz. 16 grams which is about what I normally get - usually a few grams shy of 10 oz.

    Then again I measure the success of a grow on the overall health of the garden, i.e. no mites, no powdery mildew, gnats, whatever. The less I have to work the more successful the grow went from my perspective.

    It's a bitch getting old and lazy, eh?


  18. #18 Sam87, Oct 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2010
    Lol, no kidding.

    I think it was Patriofarmer on here that used the term "mental handgrenade".

    *Boom* Suddenly it makes sense.

    Nah. I think that's the healthiest approach to the plant that you can take. Both from a growing and breeding perspective, that's what's going to keep the plant viable for future generations. We'll see what happens when this stuff opens up, and the real GM seeds start popping up. Monster yields, hermaphrodite as hell, completely sterile, and resistant to nothing! Yay!

    And I'm sure if you were running "dat chronic", or another plant that puts off mass amounts of mediocre bud, then we'd be seeing a lot bigger number. For some reason, I take it you don't get a kick out of settling for shitty genetics though.
  19. Alright so i got some of this green sand to get some trace minerals in my soil and I'm hoping i got the right stuff? Greensand - Non burning iron source for alkaline soils. If so can anyone advise me as to how much to add to my soil i need to know how much to add to 4.0 cubic feet and a 1 gallon container.

    Thanks for the help in advance
  20. Housefull,

    While Greensand has a mineral profile, it can take up to 8 years to fully break down, I would suggest using Glacial Rock Dust or Azomite along with it to diversify your mineral mix and perhaps get some additional minerals that are more readily available.

    LD and I are fortunate enough to have a locally available mineral mix that contains 20% each of Greensand, Glacial Rock Dust, Limestone, Azomite and Soft Rock Phosphate. I use about a half cup of this mix to a #5 Smart Pot.



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