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    Getting Started w/ living soil

    have a seedling mix ~esp just getting a mix going

    a seedling mix can be planted straight in to and top-dress later if you happen to want to use that container to finish

    1 pt EWC; 1 pt drainage {perlite, rice hulls or pumice;} 2 pt peat
    {i like the 3 part lime mix *dolo lime/oyster flour/gypsum* ~but some Ca amendment @2TBS/gal of peat}

    crab meal can be a good stand alone Ca amendment providing Ca as well as some slow release N & P {don't worry so much about K ~it's likely plentiful anyway}

    i suppose 1 TBS/gal of soil each of the 3 part lime mixed above & of crab meal wouldn't be too scary

    {@/after 4 nodes}for your 1st run; top-dress some neem seed meal @1tsp to 1TBS/gal of soil; mulch that w/ EWC in veg then; when you flip*; top dress w/ kelp meal and/or fish bone meal ~mulching a little more EWC on that {as an alternative you could just mulch w/ some of your potting soil mix}

    * "the flip" switching from a longer light cycle than shorter dark cycle to 12 hours on 12 hours off to induce flowering

    see FTI's potting soil 101 thread for soil mixes **dead link** try this

    basically; you should start composting. Similarly; get a worm bin going.
    your own EWC & compost is un-beatable ~it exceeds every commercial product {mostly because it is fresh~ alive!

    w/ compost; bigger is better ~you can do whatever suits your situation ~i have a monster pile near as tall as me outside but; this spring i brought a 5 gal bucket in and mixed some yarrow dandelion and alfalfa {for enzymes and biology} in a small batch of 'finished' compost to 'wake it up' for teas

    the 'trick' w/ compost is to get your C:N ratio somewhere between 25 and 30 {which is to say 25 to 30 parts C to 1 part N}~thx RD

    make your own 'compost starter' by harvesting some chamomile/yarrow/dandelion/dock/alfalfa/valerian/comfrey ~basically any and all you can get a hold of

    i like to stack up some dead weeds from last fall and start pouring green cut 'weeds' on top of that 'framework' ~once it starts to slough down pretty good it gets to where you have to turn it ~aerating the pile is important

    always good to put finished compost through your worm bin and let them really finish it up

    nutrient cycling is almost like a 'secret weapon' ~that's composting your amendments right along w/ the other goodies {then you dont add amendments when you do your soil mix months later}

    a good next step is a compost tea brewer

    to get started i just used a manifold to mix the air from 3 aquarium pumps into 1 hose and ran that into an 'L' shape peice of PVC {a chunk of straight and an elbow} i just slung that in a bucket so the straight end pointed down and the elbow burbled out onto the surface of the water in the bucket ~that isn't optimum {but it works}

    a good brewer will break surface tension/aerating the water ~when it's well aerated you will see the foamy quality to the water {sometimes it might foam up at the surface ~thats not what i mean and may or may not indicate it went well} it just isn't clear, glassy water ~it's bubbly

    there's a whole article on brewing compost tea and microbeman has a ton of info and recipes on his site; microbeorganics.com
    here's a video of my brewer working
    Last edited by xmobotx; 02-05-2016, 20:06.
    Getting started w/ living soil
    The Divinity within the flower was and is sufficient in Itself
    sigpic

    #2
    The key w/ living soil is simply 'feed the soil not the plant'

    FTMP this means maintaining that slightly moist environment where the micro-life can thrive ~along w/ introducing those microbes to the environment. temps shouldnt get much below 65 or much over 85

    watering deserves it's own thread ~a ton of new growers fuck up their garden by watering over-enthusiastically ~couple that w/ "feeding" over-enthusiastically and the fun really begins

    anyway depending on your mix; sometimes its the thing to hit it every day w/ a little water sometimes every other day or even every 4 days ~maybe try a moisture meter {i never have but for a beginner it may just be a good idea ~till you get used to what to look for} I like to weigh the pots {not on a scale/just pick 'em up and see if they feel light} but that wont work so good for like 65 gallon no-till pots {for instance}

    you can water every time w/ compost tea if you really want but you dont need to ~you can water w/ CT 1x/month and thats fine too

    like i say; maintain that dry moist to wet moist condition ~very wet to very dry is BS stoner "science"

    i like to apply those barley seed sprout teas ~credit to clackamas cootz {as for a ton of this info} as well as some of these other botanical inputs

    it seems like if you want to do a tea; that may be a better choice than an FPE {fermented plant extract}

    all those herbs i listed as compost starter are ultimate for plant teas {botanicals} its apparently better to do 1 @ a time but chuck a handful in a gallon of water and let it sit over night {or do some research and follow some of the many more specific guidelines found on this site} these may end up being a little strong so it's not a bad idea to test them and either dilute or just use a little {like a shot glass per gallon of soil} in conjunction w/ your watering
    Last edited by xmobotx; 05-28-2013, 20:24.
    Getting started w/ living soil
    The Divinity within the flower was and is sufficient in Itself
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    Comment


      #3
      once you've done all this; you are probably getting pretty close to harvesting that 1st run w/ your seedling mix & it may even be a good idea to mix up more seedling mix/use the seedling mix you have left rather than start running that super-duper soil mix you are letting settle/compost/"cook"

      & a good time to think about recycling soil

      the original ROLS thread {recycled organic living soil} is an ultimate reference for tips and techs applied to recycling your soil but; to a degree it kind of assumes you are well down the road and mostly helps w/ maintaining the existing cycle ~as a beginner you might say; "yeah but; how do i get started?" WELL; that is simple: re-use a batch of soil

      it might seem like something is left out cause no one really says that ~its just kind of assumed. But; it is that simple and w/ what i am recommending here that can be as simple as tossing your used seedling mix in w/ your batch of super-duper soil mix ~what we like to reference as our ROLS mix

      there"s 2 main ways to approach recycling: w/ the 1 {and how you should get started} you just dump your containers into your soil mix and {once you decide its "ready"} fill new containers from that same mix

      the other way is the no-till approach:

      as your containers get to where they are meeting/exceeding your expectations you may begin to think, "why dont i just use that just like it is?" and especially if you run big containers it can be a big job to dump them out or re-fill; That is no-till ~essentially; you don't disturb your mix/you treat it like an established garden {where you dont till} and once you harvest you can put your next plant right in that container like how you'd plant it in the ground ~some gardeners like to pull the bulk of the root ball out/shake the soil off in their ROLS and throw the roots in the compost ~which leaves a pretty good space to plant the next plant and backfill w/ a little ROLS ~then mulch it in {if you want}

      mulch is another key to the no-till paradigm

      you can add some extra amendments {i like to keep it simple} and when you do; you should mulch them in w/ EWC or vermicompost

      but what really shakes things up and gets way in to the back to nature paradigm is living mulch {BTW; i didnt coin that term [it's rodale] but; i did introduce it to these discussions}

      the obvious living mulch choice is clover ~it fixes nitrogen and helps to sustain balance in your no-till pots

      considering the value of barley sprouts; why not have some barley in there too?

      but; grow whatever you want as a living mulch ~throw some vegetables in there if you want {even roots like carrots and potatoes}

      why not? it's your garden
      Last edited by xmobotx; 11-13-2013, 05:13.
      Getting started w/ living soil
      The Divinity within the flower was and is sufficient in Itself
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        #4
        critique contribute make suggestions help me edit whatever

        seems like a good idea to have an advanced intro eh?

        ETA; i think this particular post {#4 right f@k'n here} would be a good place to suss out some container size considerations ~but; i m a micro grower and dont like to speak to what i dont have experience w/ {5 gals is the biggest i have used} nonetheless there are those who might want to jump right in to a large grow {or run 1 container or ???}
        Last edited by xmobotx; 05-29-2013, 00:03.
        Getting started w/ living soil
        The Divinity within the flower was and is sufficient in Itself
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        Comment


          #5
          Looks good xmo.

          Compost- C:N ratio is 25 or 30 parts Carbon to 1 part Nitrogen.

          I knew what ya meant a beginner may not. Carbon is known as 'browns' and Nitrogen as 'greens'.

          Keep up the good work.

          Comment


            #6
            indeed i thought about taking a picture but i should hope when i say an old dead plant from last season as compared to a new plant from this season that should be apparent ~probably the best reference for why we see them as browns and greens


            edit: OK here's a pix ~this is alfalfa notice last years dead remains of the previous season's growth {browns} and this years new fresh growth {greens} ~seems easy but i didnt catch on all that soon

            kind of like how the dead leaves that fell off the tree in the fall are "browns" and living leaves off the tree itself would be "green"

            the thrust of this ~as a 'how do i get started? thingy' is essentially "start composting/get some worms/and do a seedling mix if u want to start growing today" & the details are sussed out in far greater detail in more specific threads/discussions

            may have to incorporate that ~or leave it here

            of course now we have; where do i get that 1st EWC? as an issue {hint; get it from a worm farmer not a grow store & get some worms while you're there}
            Last edited by xmobotx; 01-19-2015, 06:13.
            Getting started w/ living soil
            The Divinity within the flower was and is sufficient in Itself
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            Comment


              #7
              I think you have put a lot of the little things we might take for granted when we're getting started in there. Knowing how to properly water and acquiring quality EWC is crucial for any kind of success.

              Guess all ya need now is some newer growers to ask some questions?

              Ahh but hold on a minute. Suppose you are about to pop some seeds in this new living soil?
              No mention of aloe/coconut/fulvic?

              Sorry xmo...not trying to muck up your thread...just killin some time on a rainy day.

              Comment


                #8
                no; that is something i been wondering how to address in here actually

                i kinda thought it may be the thing to consider rapid rooter type starters and water only ~w/ things like how sometimes the seed shell gets stuck & humidity domes

                then too; i like to just start in some straight peat in nursery trays w/ starter cells {and maybe new comers wont know what those are?}

                stuff like using aloe/coconut/fulvic is a little more advanced and i think this should kind of encourage people to look around for tips/tricks like that ~such as might suit their circumstances

                or; maybe i should just outline a fool-proof method {like rapid rooters w/ water and a humidity dome?}
                Getting started w/ living soil
                The Divinity within the flower was and is sufficient in Itself
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                Comment


                  #9
                  Using straight Sphagnum with EWC at 1:1 is working well for me. Hydrating with aloe vera at 1/4 cup to 1 gallon of water rounds it out.

                  Easily hit 95%+ rate and that's with massive root development using these 3 materials.

                  CC

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by xmobotx View Post
                    no; that is something i been wondering how to address in here actually

                    i kinda thought it may be the thing to consider rapid rooter type starters and water only ~w/ things like how sometimes the seed shell gets stuck & humidity domes

                    then too; i like to just start in some straight peat in nursery trays w/ starter cells {and maybe new comers wont know what those are?}

                    stuff like using aloe/coconut/fulvic is a little more advanced and i think this should kind of encourage people to look around for tips/tricks like that ~such as might suit their circumstances

                    or; maybe i should just outline a fool-proof method {like rapid rooters w/ water and a humidity dome?}
                    I'd be interested in the rapid rooter/humidity dome tutorial. Cuts
                    are an important part of this whole process, any guidelines at all are good.
                    Coots method is far easier, I believe, but I would love to use up the bag of rooters I have doing nothing.

                    Great thread xmo. I ran out of rep for now.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Rapid Rooters are great - I use them a lot for donating cuts to a couple of clinics and other card holders. I've done the Grodan deal - no problem at all. Same with Oasis cubes. Doesn't matter too much from my experience.

                      The little peat plugs that you soak and they grow to full size are probably not a good choice - the netting is strong enough to cause problems once the roots push out. Besides that they're made from peat fines (dust) so imagine what legitimate Sphagnum peat moss brings to the party. No comparison at all.

                      CC

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I'm mixing a small batch of this primo vermicompost with straight sphagnum - water with coconut/aloe and test sprout a couple dozen accident seeds before I sprout my next batch of seeds for pheno hunting that I'm pretty jazzed to start!

                        Great thread start xmo!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          i ran aground doing the peat/aloe/pro techt thing for some cuttings ~i ended up getting it too wet/i knew it was too wet and proceeded anyway ~it looks like some of the cuttings may make it but idk yet and i have lost 1 {checked it and it hadnt rooted}

                          i need to try coconut water but i keep drinking it instead of giving it to the plants

                          anyway; i cant speak to those things so well since i dont actually have experience w/ them

                          but the rapid rooter thing w/ just water is the pinnacle of easy;

                          its the same for most of the differing brands {i am most familiar w/ park starts} the gadget which holds the plugs floats in a tray {rapid rooters are in a nursery tray} park starts are in a foam gadget and the rapid rooters are in a plastic gadget ~you just follow the instructions for how much water to pour in the tray and the gadget floats such as keeps them at adequate moisture level {so the amount of water isnt critical}
                          rapid rooters

                          i like to soak canna seeds over night {like 8 to 12 hours} a shot glass works pretty good

                          drop your seeds in the little hole

                          once roots start emerging from the little foam-ish plugs {basically once your seedling has emerged} ~you have a lot of latitude {could probably feed them in kind of a 'hydro' style by using EWC tea in the tray if you wanted to take them further} ~you can handle them easily to transpo them wherever you want


                          apparently {though i cant speak to it} they make a great cloning medium as well ~you just use a small knife or like a nail to enlarge the hole to where you need it to insert the stem of the cutting ~they will compress back around and maintain contact

                          ETA: yeah, this works a treat just as described {use 'em "upside down" in the bottom of a nursery tray ~or appropriate-sized tray for your cab/cloning area}

                          thanks guys~ kinda seemed like a 'just the basics' ~presented as such wasnt there that fit our particular ROLS/living soil/no-till approach
                          Last edited by xmobotx; 11-13-2013, 05:22.
                          Getting started w/ living soil
                          The Divinity within the flower was and is sufficient in Itself
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                            #14
                            Great thread XmobotX

                            Sorry to hear about the cutting. Hope some make it.

                            Explain on.......
                            :(

                            Comment


                              #15
                              it goes on and on and on its R O L S dunt duh da duh chichik dunt da duh
                              Getting started w/ living soil
                              The Divinity within the flower was and is sufficient in Itself
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