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Old 08-19-2017, 06:01 PM #1
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the evolution of an organic gardener

Good day folks. So i made the switch to organics a few runs back and had been hsing a basic pre mixed amendment pack on top of a base mix and had success.

I had used a bail of promix hp, about 15-20l of ewc and this mix called easybake from a local Canadian business. Easybake is a 3kg package consisting of feather meal, kelp, neem, composted turkey manure, DE and SRP I believe. It worked well tbough i thought it was a little N heavy as i did see some clawing on some plants.

I then used the same mix and added some crab shell meal, fish bone meal and sul po mag. Again, this worked well and I even reused this mix a couple times for veg and flower albeit that 2 flower crops gpt cut short due to different circumstances. On the 3rd run, i did notice some cal mag deficiencies.

I am now sourcing things to make my own mix and its turning out to be what I will call the kitchen sink mix. I know more isnt always better but that diversity is beneficial so I hope to find a middle ground.

For this new mix, i will use for the base a bail of promix hp (7 cf expanded i believe) 20-30l bag of EWC, 32l bag of sea soil which is a local organic bagged compost comprised of 2 year composted fish scraps and forrest fines. For aeration, there is a lot of perlite in the promix hp but i also have a small amount of pumice and lava rock as well as some vermeculite. I also have 2 gallons of charged bio char that will be added.

Now for amendments, i still need to figure out the amounts to use but I am thinking I will go with .5 - 1 cup of each per cf and I believe the mix will come to about 8cf. I may go with half the amount of mix depending on the room i have to mix ( in a condo).

I have alfalfa meal, kelp flour, feather meal, crab shell meal, fishbone meal, sul po mag, dolomite lime, rock phosphate ( 0-3-0), glacial rock dust (not sure I have enough of this as its only a 1.5kg bucket) neem meal, azomite, granular humic acid, dried molasses and a small bag of bokashi bran that was a freebie with a recent order. Ibwas also thinking ofnadding some flax meal and DE as well.

I like the no till idea and am going back and forth on using a couple of large totes in my 5x5 tent or just storing the mix and using it as needed to fill 5 gal pots.

Any input on this mix as far as quantities or anything that is redundant or shouldnt be used? As always, any input is appreciated.
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:41 AM #2
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i found that my mix became too strong from re-amending. i re-use my soil as well so, find testing important. though i don;t obsess over lining everything up precise, knowing the fertilizer load present in your mix is huge
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:50 AM #3
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Like all things. Less is more when feeding plants.
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Old 08-20-2017, 04:24 PM #4
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Measure your amendments by PPM per cubic foot via grams/cuft. No other way to be accurate. If you know exactly how many grams of each you add, you can dial every round.

Build your base mix, cook it two weeks and send it out for testing. Then you can add back exactly what you need/want. No wasted amendments.

Formula=

Desired PPM x 2 / nutrient percentage /43560 * 454 = Grams/sqft

I like to go light on amendments and just use the 6" soil depth number instead of 1ft(making a full cubic foot of soil instead of .5). Topdressing slowly after initial mix. The 43560 is number of square feet per acre.

Example. We want say 100 PPM of N from Bone meal @ 3-12-0

100*2=200 / .03 = 6,666lbs / 43560 = .15 lbs/sqft or 69 grams

Make a spread sheet and you can do this for every element...

Dial and learn, the only way. No more organic soil guessing.

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Old 08-20-2017, 04:59 PM #5
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He grows in a tent, soil testing is hardly justified. Preferable, yes. Costs a bit more up here as I recall.

Haven't mixed up a soil in awhile but never had a problem with the shotgun approach at 1/2c cu/ft. Mix 'em all up or figure out the total and divide by the number of meal amendments. Half as much alfalfa.

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Old 08-23-2017, 05:28 AM #6
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I am reading more on the subject of the dolomite lime and moreso for ca and mg. I do not want the mg too high but want to ensure there is enough ca. Would the mg in the DL be overkill with sul po mag in the mix?

E2A

I also visited a local soil farm today that supplies nurseries in Canada and the US and bought their organic compost (3-30l bags) and ewc (1-30l bag) for the mix. High quality stuff at about half the price of local garden supply stores.
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:19 PM #7
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He grows in a tent, soil testing is hardly justified. Preferable, yes. Costs a bit more up here as I recall.

Haven't mixed up a soil in awhile but never had a problem with the shotgun approach at 1/2c cu/ft. Mix 'em all up or figure out the total and divide by the number of meal amendments. Half as much alfalfa.
It may not be required but its not that expensive to do and Im waiting at the moment for results for my last mix of about 4CF. That will last me a year or so since I only use about half at a time. For a non expert as myself I get peace of mind from testing.
I have wasted more than the cost of a test on snake oils with nothing to show for it.
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:06 PM #8
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Are you in Canada Stewart? Id be interested in looking into testing if it didnt cost an arm and a leg. Any specific tests I am looking for or just a generalnsoil test?
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:03 AM #9
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I managed to find some gypsum today so that will go in the tool box. I will use much less DL or may omit it all together.
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Old 08-25-2017, 03:57 AM #10
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The best soil I've ever seen was that made by a soil scientist friend who used yard waste, e.g. whatever landscapers gave him.

Piles of flowers, wood chips, etc.

He would patiently mix it up and also add duck manure and feathers and chicken parts from a poultry operation.

The feathers and other parts stank the worst, the smell of death I guess.

Anyway, he composted it, paying attention to particle size etc. Adding water, keeping the piles at 160 degrees F.


I got some of his soil and did amend it a little. Added Jamaican bat guano, the high-phosphorus kind.

I tried to imitate his techniques and got some decent soil with a carbohydrate rich mix of about 4 cubic yards.

1 cubic yard of wildflowers, literally, from a landscaper neighbor.

1 cubic yard of red berries on branches. The kind you see used all over suburbia in bank parking lots etc. Which is where I got them.

About 50 pounds of potatoes, they were on sale

Garbage cans of fruit pulp from the smoothie place.

I also added wood chips, some of them with manure mixed in. The garden I was doing this in was part of a church and they gave a large landscaping company permission to dump all their wood chips.

Then I would have literally 50 piles of different blends of wood chips to pick from.

When it rained, a few of them would heat up and steam very obviously. Those are the ones I took my wood chips from.

I didn't know it but I was making a mix that would heat up slightly, like to 130 F, and then become a home for the worms. They went crazy for the potatoes, smoothie extras, red berries, etc.

Wood chips are often real easy to get. They can make a great soil input but they need nitrogen to offset the carbon from the wood chips.


Anyway, the point is you can make such great soil with components that people give away free - or pay to dump somewhere.

I found that it helps to give the pile access to the dirt ground, so that redworms can crawl up into the pile of soil-in-process.
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