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Old 03-14-2018, 02:05 AM #1
TheFertilizer
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Is there anyway to salvage my messed up soil mix?

Hey guys I figured I'd ask for help here since I'm really struggling with this and it doesn't seem like there's a lot of other organic growing corners this active.

I made a soil mix a while back, grew a cycle of plants in it, and recycled it, and it's been growing well. Not fantastic, a little issue with burned tips, but it's still not too bad. I had it analyzed, and it has a ph of 7.2 and pretty high levels of everything, I've been told to ratios are all good, etc. I'll try to find my analaysis report of that if someone wants to see it, but basically it had been working great as a water only soil, and it was about 20% ewc (worm gold plus with kelp meal), 30% Sunshine Mix #4, 50% perlite with Down to Earth Bio-Live, Neem Seed Meal and Azomite in it.

So anyway I've got 5 plants going with that recycled mix right now and they're very happy in it, but in the middle of potting I ran out of it, and so all I had to mix with was some other stuff I had mixed up originally that was much, much too hot for clones or anything else. It was basically 18 gallons of 1:1:1 perlite:peat:ewc, with 8 cups ( yeah I know ) Bio-Live and a good honking amount of neem seed meal too. I actually used this in the mix I ended up with, but I cut it with that 20%,30%,50% mixture that had no amendments mixed into it, at a rate of about 1 gallon to 4 gallons. So I basically cut the amendment strength own by a factor of 4.

Going by that line of thinking, I decided to mix my original super-rich mix up 1:4 with just Suneshine Mix #4, figuring it's pH stabilized and mostly just peatmoss and perlite so it shoud work out the same. However, I think I really screwed up without adding more EWC, or at least that's one of my guesses because I thought it was pH lockout from not pH adjusting my water. So far with the good mix I had, I have just been adding water, and not worrying about it, so I figured without the EWC I must not have a strong microherd and it just wasn't pHing and it was all lockout.

Well, I brewed up some teas with EarthJuice, not particularly strong, but when I fed this to the plants ( properly pH adjusted ) they seemed to get worse, as if there was more of a toxicity going on. So my second guess is that I didn't actually dilute my super-rich mix down as much as I thought I had, and thinking back, I do remember only adding 3 gallons of Sm4 to every 1 of the hot mix.

Anyway, nevermind how I got here, where I'm at now is looking very ugly. I'm attaching some shots of my plants in my good water-only soil mix, and ones in the bad mix, and you can see what I mean. The ones in the good mix are under a T5 and nice and green with nice developing flowers, the ones under the net are under my CMH, and I just flipped them about a week ago when it became obvious they weren't going to get better before they grew out of my tent.

Is there anything I can really do at this point to try to help the soil along? Thinking just aerated compost tea, but if it's an over-fertilization issue, I don't know that it will make a difference and maybe even just make it worse by making more nutrients available? Some people have suggested flushing with pH adjusted water and then using bottles, so it would basically be like converting to soilless, but would that evenwork? So far EarthJuice has only made it worse, and I've heard flushing doesn't work to remove organic nutrients.

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Old 03-14-2018, 05:42 AM #2
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Yeah the healthy ones look sweet. Can you do the math to try to add what is needed to duplicate as well as you can the first mix? Otherwise, I would just use simple ACT for a while. If you're brewing anything you need to inoculate with EWC, compost, or other. I'd make some water/EWC/MOlasses ACT [1Tbl MO/gal]. Brew it till the pH is right where you want it. Apply.

I use EJ teas throughout bloom, brewing till pH is twixt 5.5-6.2. About every 3rd time I just use plain ACT as above. All green all the time. Good luck. -granger
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Old 03-14-2018, 03:05 PM #3
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Well, I'm pretty sure I can match my good recipe to be able to make more, but was wondering what the best way to limp this mix the rest of the way through harvest was. Sounds like it's the ACT route you're recommending for that.

My main concern isn't that there's too little amendment in there, but too much, but I'm not really sure how to tell. These are the fertility tests for my GOOD soil. It was mix 1 gallon to 4 gallons of my original rich mix, into some ewc, perlite and Sunshine Mix #4. The bad mix used the same rich mix, but at 1 gallon to 3 gallons of just Sunshine Mix #4. So the fertility number would be higher than these, but with significantly less EWC.
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Old 03-14-2018, 03:25 PM #4
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Get some mineral solubilizing bacteria in to that. A good microherd will take care of any pH problems. The problem with them is they can't solubilize what's not there,
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:36 PM #5
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If you're saying that your soil is too hot, dilute it with perlite and peat. -granger
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Old 03-14-2018, 08:19 PM #6
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Rough timing to have issues. Even if corrected, those plants will finish subpar.

On the plus side, you can experiment a little without loosing anything. Trial and error, experience is very valuable.

I think they look hungry. Earth Juice is very mild fertilizer, hard to overdue it, I would almost describe it as a soil supplement and not a fertilizer. Also by brewing it, you most likely expanded the microbes, microbes are also hungry. When you introduce microbes to the soil they consume fertilizer, then slowly release it as the plant needs, but if there isn't any fertilizer to consume you have hungry microbes and a hungry plant fighting for food.

You can always top dress with EWC. EWC are also a very very mild form of fertilizer and will not burn a plant. Imo, they need more than EWC though.

Try some side by side, feed one lightly, feed one heavily, plain water for a third. Observe them. Organics are slow, the results wont be instant but if you get it right, you should see some health come back, or decline.

Hard to overdue it with organics, canna plants are hungry beasts. Hard to diagnose through pictures as well, my guess is they are hungry.

Bio Live is a good product. It will really kick start a soil mix, but it doesn't last very long. Initially that mix was probably physically hot, cooking the clones. After cooking, cooling, then getting diluted you ran low on a lot of stuff. The Neem should cover N, the bio live is a little bit of everything, but a little bit, and besides the Crab in it, most of that stuff gets consumed quickly. Azomite for trace minerals. Almost nothing for calcium, at the least needs some Lime, Gypsum, or Oyster.

I think your mix could use a little more diversity of inputs. The base looks good, I would assume it needs more calcium at the least. If you really like Neem, the Cootz recipe is similar, you could follow that, and just add a little bio live to kick start it. Bio Live + Neem, is in theory very similar to cootz, but imo bio live is mostly alfalfa, so its not the same ratios. As well your missing the Oyster/Lime/Gypsum all together.

I think its common people think of Oyster/Lime/Gypsum as being used solely as a PH buffer. They do buffer the PH, but they do that by correcting the Cal or Cal/Mag ratios in the soil. As the ratios become balanced, so does the PH. Calcium is so important, and its hard to get enough without using Lime/Gypsum/Oyster. Its nice to get a little extra from the crab, or bone meal, but without the main source of Cal it wont be enough imo. On the plus side Lime/Gypsum/Oyster are all very very cheap. Lime is Cal/Mag, Gypsum is Cal/Sulfur, Oyster is pure Cal. You can use 1 or 2 or all 3, depending on what you need. Oyster is slower release, especially if its not in flour form.

End Rant! Hope that helps some.


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Old 03-14-2018, 10:11 PM #7
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The mix that I planted clones into had actually cooked for several weeks, so it wasn't like physically hot, but it was just so super rich. I had basically 8 cups of bio-live to 2 cu. ft of soil plus 2 cups of neem seed meal. Those fertility results above are for that mix diluted with ewc/peatmoss/perlite that I grew my last cycle of plants in, and then recycled into the 3 gallon pots that my plants are growing in under the T5. So that batch has had two plant cycles go through it and is still pretty fertile, and the initial mix was fully cooked when it burned clones, so that's why I am thinking it's too rich. Because instead of mixing that initial super-rich mix in at 1 gallon to 4 gallons of ewc/peatmoss/perlite, I mixed it in at 1 gallons to 3 gallons of Sunshine Mix #4.

The lime is something I also forgot about! The initial mix, I put in 18 tablespoons of dolomite lime--1 tablespoon per gallon. In the bad mix, I figured the Sunshine Mix #4 had enough in it that I didn't need to add any.

I suppose I could do a heavy feeding and see if that helps but it just seemed like when I gave them some EarthJuice they immediately got worse so I figured that was a sign they're already too nutritious. But really, those soil test numbers above, the mix should be at those fertility levels or higher given how I mixed it--just not the same ratios of stuff I'd think.

Anyway, I have a good amount of amendments I can put into the top layer of soil too, not to mention can make ACT. I've got Bio-Live, Neem Seed Meal, Kelp Meal, Langebeninite, Azomite, and Seabird Guano. I also have some of the first rich-mix of soil I can sprinkle on as top dressing.
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:55 PM #8
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I'm with MedResearcher, they look hungry and seem to be suffering some lockout.
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Old 03-15-2018, 04:31 PM #9
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I hate to sound like I'm arguing with you guys or something, because I am really far from an expert and have a real brown thumb... But the thing that is hard to swallow about them being hungry is that the good batch, the one growing the healthy looking plants, is on its second cycle and it should basically have the same level of fertility as the mix that I posted analysis numbers for up above

I just don't know if I made that clear and so I'm scratching my head with how that batch could possibly be deficient when it should be more fertile than the batch that's growing healthy plants on its second run. The biggest difference between these two batches is that there's a significant amount of EWC ( like 20% by volume ) in the good batch, and much less ( hard to say how much less, but way less than 20 ) in the bad batch.

So I'm gonna attach some close-ups. You can see some of the plants are handling it better than others, so I'm not sure how much I can gleam from feeding one and not the other, when it could just be that one plant handles the nutrients better. This is Panama x Malawi, and ACE seeds suggests a low-to-medium fertilization level in veg, and med-high in flower. I'm not sure if those green tops are the plant getting better or if it just takes a while for the discoloration to creep up the branch toward them.

The first 3 pics are Panama x Malawi #3, the second two are Panama x Malawi #5, and then the last two over-head and side shots are the whole tent. Top Left: PxM #3, Top Right: PxM #2, Bottom Left: PxM #5, Bottom Right: Platinum GSC x Cherry OG. Center is a Jack Herer Auto I planted mid-way through the other's lives when the PxM #1 was stunted.
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Old 03-15-2018, 04:35 PM #10
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Sorry I can't find the edit button guys... But one thing that makes me think y'all might be right that the other pots are starving, is that if the soil was too fertile, that little Jack Herer Auto would be looking worse off right? Instead it's looking pretty good, and since it's so small that would make sense it would be doing well while the big plants were suffering.

But yeah again I just wanna be careful before I feed so that's why I'm asking again with the better pictures.
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