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Old 01-15-2019, 05:04 AM #21
Hookahhead
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Here's the mix I've been using, for all stages of the grow. I have no idea if it's complete or balanced, but it works well for me.

All parts are by volume:
4 compost
4 coir
2 rice hulls
2 goat/sheep manure
1 river sand
1 ash
1 cricket frass
1/2 chicken manure
1/2 moldy coffee grounds (trichoderma)

Mix it all up, and add a molasses mix of 1 tablespoon / liter until the soil is at field consistency (only a few drops of water comes out after squeezing a handful). Then let this cook for 2-4 weeks before using.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:12 AM #22
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I'm trying to get more info on the turba rubia/blond peat. I'll send a message to the vendor. I am reading the question section and a customer asked "Tienen turba canadiense?" (Do you have Canadian peat moss?) and the vendor answered yes. That's not a very accurate question so I will ask if the peat is actually sourced from Canada.

Coco is super easy and cheap so I will probably go with a mixture of the peat and coco. As far as rice hulls go, I can get them for next to nothing and I will include a small amount in my soil along with other types of aeration.

A question regarding worm castings...Microbeman stated that he is getting some very nice castings soon. How are you evaluating the worm castings? I am getting my own bin started so I will be able to make my own teas and top dress as needed, but I want to buy some to mix into my soil from the get go. I have dozens of sources down here but I'm not exactly sure what to look for. Do I ask about the material that was originally composted or what the worms are fed on a regular basis? I understand that not all castings are the same.

Microbeman, I'm very interested to see what kind of rock dusts you can source in Mexico. I was thinking of grabbing a few handfuls of rock dust from a clean stream outside of the city at the weekend country house, and next time I'm near a volcano I will scoop a handful from somewhere near the base. Is there any harm in randomly scooping rock dusts from nature if done in small quantities? I used to buy this stuff in a package but I like the idea of harvesting a small amount from nature.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:42 AM #23
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:45 AM #24
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Regarding earth worm castings, it is all about their food source indeed, as far as I know.
If it makes huge differences in the end product, I can't say.


Most farmers who commercially sell EWC use manure from this or that animal as a feed for the worms.
I guess if you get the deluxe version, they sometimes sprinkle in some other food sources or malted barley or whatever.


Private gardeners usually make EWC with table scraps and the like from the household.


Which one is better? I can't say, might be the same.
The type of worm used in the worm bins might also play a role..




Regarding the Rice Hulls:
Be very careful with those. I haven't used rice hulls personally as I couldn't source them but I went with buckwheat hulls instead because I wanted an organic aeration amendment, not perlite.
Boy was that a bad move. Soil compaction is a real issue with these. And I imagine with rice hulls as well...


If you want an organic aeration amendment, then it seems like there is no way around pumice. Which is quite heavy.


Otherwise do what I did in the end and just go with the perlite.


Due to my own experiences, I would advice anyone against using ONLY rice hulls or buckwheat hulls as an aeration amendment.


I think these should always be used along with pumice.
Rice hulls also give a silica boost if I am not mistaken so there is that as well.






Regarding the peat moss ...
I feel you man. I can't get any pure peat moss around here period. Doesn't matter from where. It is always premixed with this or that fertilizer crap, god how I hate that.


So my advice to you is: If you can't source it locally, like I couldn't, and have to order it in, just go big.
I have ordered peat moss from several sources and it isn't the end of the world. Sucks but could be worse. It's still quite cheap and companies deliver worldwide nowadays so the delivery costs are the issue (aside from ecologic questions).
Last time I ordered peat moss from Ireland or Scotland or something because I heard that is the "best" and least treated you can get and I was very satisfied with it. Didn't cost me too much either.
But I only ordered 1 bale, ran out and then needed some peat moss fast so I had to order it elsewhere and a different kind ...


So if you have to order from further away, just go big (if you have storage space).
I really wish I had ordered 3 or 4 bales from Ireland.
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:49 PM #25
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My source for castings uses spm as a medium.
They're fed kelp, barley, and such.
A controlled diet leading to a predicable outcome.
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Old 01-15-2019, 02:08 PM #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BasicallyBasic View Post
I'm trying to get more info on the turba rubia/blond peat. I'll send a message to the vendor. I am reading the question section and a customer asked "Tienen turba canadiense?" (Do you have Canadian peat moss?) and the vendor answered yes. That's not a very accurate question so I will ask if the peat is actually sourced from Canada.

Coco is super easy and cheap so I will probably go with a mixture of the peat and coco. As far as rice hulls go, I can get them for next to nothing and I will include a small amount in my soil along with other types of aeration.

A question regarding worm castings...Microbeman stated that he is getting some very nice castings soon. How are you evaluating the worm castings? I am getting my own bin started so I will be able to make my own teas and top dress as needed, but I want to buy some to mix into my soil from the get go. I have dozens of sources down here but I'm not exactly sure what to look for. Do I ask about the material that was originally composted or what the worms are fed on a regular basis? I understand that not all castings are the same.

Microbeman, I'm very interested to see what kind of rock dusts you can source in Mexico. I was thinking of grabbing a few handfuls of rock dust from a clean stream outside of the city at the weekend country house, and next time I'm near a volcano I will scoop a handful from somewhere near the base. Is there any harm in randomly scooping rock dusts from nature if done in small quantities? I used to buy this stuff in a package but I like the idea of harvesting a small amount from nature.
Basic;
I assayed the microbial life in the vermicompost microscopically but your idea to make your own is spot on. Otherwise look for stuff which is not dried right out and smells earthy. The stuff I'm getting is fed goat poo, wild plums and some leaf that falls into the bins. Ask about the diet.

We gathered rock/clay/sand dust from creek sides, etc. Another source is a rock quarry or stone cutter. I do not think the volcano will mind.
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Old 01-15-2019, 02:42 PM #27
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I look for previously disturbed sites. New construction, quarries...
Just a matter of principle. Maybe paying for my past mistakes.
It won't make much difference in your grow.
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Old 01-15-2019, 02:55 PM #28
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I'm still looking for rock/clay dusts but the vermicompost should have much of what I need.
I've been harvesting mine from the banks of a pond close to me that's spring fed. When it rains hard the water fills with fines and settles out against the dammed bank. I pull up scoops full and put into pails with holes, break it up as it drys then seive it. Rock and clay dust and maybe some good local microbiology too!

Did you drive your RV down that far? How many plants can you run?
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:31 PM #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbadbiddy View Post

Regarding the Rice Hulls:
Be very careful with those. I haven't used rice hulls personally as I couldn't source them but I went with buckwheat hulls instead because I wanted an organic aeration amendment, not perlite.
Boy was that a bad move. Soil compaction is a real issue with these. And I imagine with rice hulls as well...

If you want an organic aeration amendment, then it seems like there is no way around pumice. Which is quite heavy.

Due to my own experiences, I would advice anyone against using ONLY rice hulls or buckwheat hulls as an aeration amendment.

I have ordered peat moss from several sources and it isn't the end of the world. Sucks but could be worse. It's still quite cheap and companies deliver worldwide nowadays so the delivery costs are the issue (aside from ecologic questions).
Last time I ordered peat moss from Ireland or Scotland or something because I heard that is the "best" and least treated you can get and I was very satisfied with it. Didn't cost me too much either.
I haven't noticed any soil compaction issues using rice hulls. They are biodegradable, but they break down slowly. As MM said, I don't suggest them if you're going no til. Yesterday I was actually cleaning up some old containers that had some mint and cilantro that died. They were probably grown in for around a year and was the same soil mix I posted above. I recycle my soil when I can, so I dumped them into a bin. Everything crumbled apart easily, and there is still plenty of rice hulls visible.

Pumice is a great suggestion, and should be fairly easy to obtain locally. I'll try to source some myself and start adding it to the mix.

I would like to encourage you to consider leaving the peat out of your mix. Similar to the issues with perlite... coco coir is part of a local waste stream and does not need to be mined. Although peat is technically "renewable" it is not sustainable. There is a finite number of pear bogs in the world, and they take very long periods of time to replenish. On the other hand, coconut palms produce fruit every month!

We all grow differently and all know what works best for us. I try to use things that are local, sustainable, and preferably free . The only thing I pay for in my mix is the coco coir and rice hulls, and both of them are very cheap.
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:18 PM #30
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I've been harvesting mine from the banks of a pond close to me that's spring fed. When it rains hard the water fills with fines and settles out against the dammed bank. I pull up scoops full and put into pails with holes, break it up as it drys then seive it. Rock and clay dust and maybe some good local microbiology too!

Did you drive your RV down that far? How many plants can you run?
Hey Chunk; How's things? Yes I drove my bus down here. I'm glad though to have a little house and yard; so is my dog. I don't know so much that there is a legal cap on plant numbers. The law is still developing. Medicinal use is permitted. As I mentioned earlier, I'm beginning with vegetables and some anti-tumor herbs I'm interested in researching. A friend has committed to bringing me a couple of sativas which he says are no worry.

I'll keep an eye on the legal status. I'm involved with a couple of small farms so might get back into the natural grown medicinal scene again. I'm hoping to find some youngsters locally to pass my microscopy studies/techniques on to as I circle the drain.

Pond muck should have a population of phototrophic organisms which have proven very valuable horticulturally. You could use a jar and experiment with a Winogradsky column as instructed by the underappreciated teacher Jimmy Deacon.
https://archive.bio.ed.ac.uk/jdeacon/...s/winograd.htm
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