Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Off a dead-end dirt road, near a river, out of town, in the hills and trees
Soil, water, and tea questions
I haven't called the Cooperative Extension Service with any of this, and figure (based on recent reading here) that there's some folks about who can answer all or most of these.
About 17 years ago, I had been using mostly organic processes, and feeding with a bat guano tea (High N for veg, and high P for bloom), using 2 cups of either guano to ~4-1/2 gallons of water, and using Down to Earth's guanos back then.
At transplant time, I'd give a moderate dose of Dyna-Grow Bloom or Grow (depending on what phase was happening; clones in cubes to 3"x3" veg early pots, or from 5" sq. pots into classic 1200 or classic 2000 pots), simply due to the array of micro-nutes they offered.
Suitable amounts of dolomite was used, and still is.
Other than that, I'd brew the teas for a couple days using the nylon stocking method, stirring with a wooden spoon, then use 2-4 cups of tea to a gallon of water, mixing my own Maxi-Crop from powder, and adding about a TBSP of mixed liquid Maxi-Crop to each gallon of finished fertilizer in milk jugs.
Originally D to E's High N would, with no molasses, EWCs, etc, for the tea, bubble up into a frothing, stinky mess that spoke to nice levels of microbes doing their deal.
The high P bat shit back then, from the same folks, resembled the typical golden-hued crumbled sand-stone and would not grow a froth, and, due to the weight of the particulates, routinely needed more stirring than the High N tea did.
I noted at some point that Down to Earth's High N -and- High P guanos changed their performance in the tea buckets. No more visible frothing for the High N and the consistency and such of the High P changed as well.
On top of that, we -had- been getting water delivered from a spring on the other side of the Borough, but instead put in a well, and obviously changed the water source and chemistry by doing so.
The good news is the new well (~17 years ago) had nice, clean, clear water, with no real smell or taste (somewhat unusual for many folks in this area), or noteworthy amounts of arsenic (a problem all over the Interior of Alaska and near me), and had awesome flow. The well water DID, however, have 95 ppm of calcium carbonate; a not-useful-for-plants calcium (basically a naturally-occurring unwanted ph-up), (*and the crux of why, counter to what was posted recently in a discussion of a fellow's ph issues, I posted that I still use dolomite; the calcium levels I have are largely not useful to plants).
I noted the changes in plant health, and to the best of my ability, took somewhat educated 'pot shots' to correct things. Some efforts were way more effective than others, but changing recipes in the pursuit of 'bigger and better' led to some wins and some losses. (*Being satisfied with 'good enough' has its place).
Lastly, over the years, our well attracted iron bacteria (things I'd never known existed before learning about why my in-line whole-house 5 & 10 micron filters were developing a brown-red sludge over 2 months time, or so).
So, with the 95 ppm in calcium carbonate, every 3-4 years I 'shock the raised beds in the main vegetable garden and the separate potato garden with agricultural sulfur granules, and while there've been times I've over-done it (though tings like broccoli didn't apparently mind it), and it's slower to act than aluminum sulfate or iron sulfate, it has mostly worked out quite well.
With indoor plants such as cannabis, that only live for maybe 4 months or so, I haven't been that concerned with the ph shifting due to the 95 ppm calcium carbonate.
As far as the iron bacteria go, as I understand it, they are drawn by the well casing, and by the iron ore in the quartz bed-rock I have at about 150' depth and below, down through where my well pump hangs at ~165 ft. in a 225-ft. deep well. Are the iron bacteria capable of consuming enough iron in the water and well casing to negatively impact the iron levels in the water, and, can they travel thorough my 5 micron filter, in living form, and consume iron in the pots, arriving there with the untreated tap water, to the point of affecting indoor plant health over the time period referenced?
Any thoughts or solid proven answers re. these issues?
And yes, over 10years ago, I tried using a combination of RO water with untreated well water, about 50:50, to less than satisfactory results at times... some of which had to do with not having a float on the trash cans I used as reservoirs, and falling asleep while things were 'in process'. Don't ask....
Thanks in advance..