What you've stumbled upon, if you're reading this, is the home base/bat-cave/tree house/secret lair of a group of gardeners who use the cultivation method Bio Box
This is, perhaps, not a new term, I don't know. If anyone has used 'Bio Box' to describe some other gardening system or whatever, we're sorry, we didn't know. It is the current designation for a wide-sweeping style of gardening. The name isn't important, the significance lies in a sortof 'biological machine' that we heartily encourage you to build at home kids!
The sortof 'requirements
' to build one of these machines are as follows:
By combining these three elements in a specific way you create a supurb environment for those last-on-the-list-but-most-important microbes. Specifically: mycorrhizae fungus and aerobic bacteria.
By doing this, you get a huge, diverse city of organisms living in the medium in which you may grow plants. Their little metabolisms are ramped up far more than usual and they are able to consume and re-purpose a surprising variety of substances for plant use. Once grown strong, this biological machine is hell-bent on maintaining its desired surroundings. It can affect the soil chemistry in an astonishing number of ways. As a bi-product of this activity the microbes provide pH balancing, drought resistance, a secondary immune system, nutrient lock-out protection, chelate minerals, and a continuing list of bonuses brought about by a symbiotic relationship that is far older than any animal.
Now, how you go about providing for this environment brings us to a number of practical problems. How do you inject air into dirt? What keeps it from drying out? How do you make sure the air doesn't just cut a chanel up to the surface?
What the fuck are you talking about lady!?
These questions bring us to this:
The marginally-clever, stupidly-named O
User DrunkenMessiah may have given the technique a stupid name, but I chose the mission-statement:
Originally Posted by LadyLargely
So as we go along never once allow yourself to forget that we are here for Dirt. What we came from, what we will one day become again. Mother Nature then is on our side. What we are doing is coaxing her into our calm little boxes. We wish that she leave her unpredictability outside and come in with us to grow the ganjas
With this in mind, a few of us experimentally-minded gardeners hanging out in the organic hydro forums have pressed on developing this new form of cultivation.
The general idea is this:
Originally Posted by LadyLargely
Any pot, any tub, any bucket, anything you can drill a hole in is a potential OBBT.
The essentials are all here, boiled down to their simplest known combination of components. From the bottom to the top:
an air stone hooked up to an appropriate pump. I'm picky with mine but to be honest there's no good goddamn reason you can't run it off any ole air pump, aquarium, 2 watts, whatever. I've been lead to suspect that the minimum air requirements are very low
. Don't know how low, you just need 'some'
Perhaps the simplest way of getting a straight overflow drain with air-loss protection. It acts like a u-bend keeping air from the stone going where it needs to be: through the medium. Also, if you can get the vertical part of it to be transperant tube somehow then you have yourself a built-in sight tube
that tells you how full the res is.
water. Ordinary tap water is fine. Try to get the excess chlorine out; this is easy. Bubble it with an air stone for a couple hours, let it sit in a shaft of direct sunlight for a bit, or just leave it sit out in an open container for a couple of days. Or heat it up. RO or distilled water is mostly empty
and actually de-stabilizes
super-organic rigs like this. I know, its odd, that sort of water is praised
by hydro enthusiasts for, yep: its stability
. Just goes to show what a different animal organic can be.
Rocks. I prefer cheap, well-rinsed red lava rock. But you can prolly use anything from hydroton to chunky pearlite. Just some sort of super-low-density inert matirial, ganja gardeners have all kinds of stuff like this.
Medium. A combination of good soil, coco and vermiculite/pearlite. I'd wager that you could get quite creative with what goes in though....
layer of pearlite. Holds in bled-off mostiure and protects the sensitive fungus from HUGE swollen 1000 watt HPS rigs
That's the OBBT in its simplest form. Nearly everyone who's built one so far has gone more complex, adding in a dump valve
to the bottom of the container.
What you end up with is a simple bucket/pot system. Water by hand like any normal pot of dirt. The only difference is the large rock-filled area in the bottom is able to hold a substantial amount of liquid. Because of the bubbler it will never go foul so it can be quite deep. The rapidly escaping air bubbles and froths down in the 'bath' and is broken up and spread out by the many rocks it passes on the way up. Once it hits the medium it carries much mostiure without making anything wet or muddy.
Fill the medium with some organic ferts and some dormant microbes and the thing comes to life:
The fuzzy grey haze of the Mycorrhizae's mycelium network visibly creeps over the soil mix. It goes from a whiffy seething bucket of dirt into a living brething spongey creature, teeming with countless induvidual little organisms.
Stick tiny sprouts straight into these buckets without fear. The pictured plantlet was poked straight into a SUPER-HOT medium. Tons of blood meal and Bio Tone with even more kelp meal. Left to their own devices in a dark wet medium like the one pictured some very foul things would happen. Pythium
(root rot) would spring up within days and all sorts of anerobic life would come along and gorge themselves on the present nutrition.
But when pre-doped with beneficial
life and given lots of oxygen
through the bubbling rock bath the raw organics are captured by the vigorous fungus. Free-floating radical substances that would normally wreak havoc on tiny plants are completely tied up. The micro-filaments of the fungal network tie to the roots of the infant plant within hours
of it being planted. From then on, the plant is fed a stabilized diet consisting of the ingredients placed into the soil mix.
The results is a gardening method that makes more efficient use of organic fertilizers than perhaps any other! Raw organic ferts that do well in OBBTs usually only give up 10-15% of their nutritional value. Very little of what they have to give is free-radical water-soluble stuff. Your bag of blood meal may say 'miracle grow' but it works nothing like your typical Miracle Grow product.
To get the most from raw composted organics you need
micro-life to fully break it down and wring out every last bit of nutrition it can provide.
And, as far as we know, one of the best and easiest-to-implement way of providing the ultimate home for this micro-life is the OBBT.
However there are plenty of other ideas out there to leverage the bio box
phenomenon. User Citizen024
has postulated that it could be done as a large table-grow method. Using recirculation techniques similar to bio buckets
oxygenation could be managed without individual air stones for each plant. Likewise user h.h.
has looked into waterfall techniques to adapt bio box to a super-simple outdoor
I think there is a lot of potential to expand and leverage this little biological machine
in many new ways. This is going to be the place that existing bio box grows may be shown off. This is nobody's grow diary but any bio box gardeners
are encouraged to show any regular progress on their grows.
may be asked here but they might not get answered here. Members
of club bio box may choose to answer questions in their own threads and re-direct the origional person with the question to that post.
I make this discrepancy
because it is very hard for gardeners like me to post about our grows and give advise without blurring some lines. This is the Club Bio Box
thread, and posts in it needs to stick fairly closely to bio box related discussion only. I understand
that as we gardeners will be posting and talking about our grows, we will get asked questions about
our grows. It is up to Bio Box club members to decide when questions can be answered bio-box only and placed in this thread, or answered with more details about their own brand of gardening in which case the full answer should be placed elsewhere with just a link to it here. Even splitting the answer so that bio box content is in here, but the 'rest' of the answer is in your own thread could be ideal.
Which brings me to something very important:
I'm going to take this space, right here right now, to make a formal apology: I've made a couple of posts here in the grower's forums that where fanatical, and not completely appropriate for the setting. I, myself, as a cannabis cultivator believe pretty strongly that environmental factors can effect expression of seed-started plants' sex. It led to some spirited arguments about strong air currents on developing plants between me and user Maj. Pothead
MP: My bad dude.
That junk didn't belong in someone else's thread
. There's not enough evidence to back what I was arguing about, I was letting my own experience and perceptions bleed over in what was supposed to be a scientific debate. That's crap.
I refer to these sort of individual beliefs as voodoo.
As gardeners, especially when you've been at it for a few years, we start to get into practices based on our own observations. These practices may seem to benefit us greatly, and in a place of discussion such as this we may feel very compelled to share these practices with you.
Unless it is backed by hard, repeatable, well-documented scientific experiments
strong argument about these kinds of things is totally inappropriate
. I broke that rule and I'm sorry.
The Bio Box technique
is based on some pretty good science. Its been a long time coming and is still in its infantile stages of development. I want to keep the discussion here as scientific as possible.
This thread is results-orientated: Put up or shut-up
. Photographic evidence is mandatory
if you want to give advice or make claims. Otherwise, advise or arguments must be based on the evidence of other gardeners
12/12 occurred 31 days from dry seed. Plants where fed nothing but 2 doses of bubbled tap water through veg.
As I've gotten into flower I've been given major problems by the lynch-pin of my whole 100%-girls-from-seed program: Kenetin.
Its an artificial derivative of the natural hormone cytokinin
, its found in Bonide's Tomato and Blossom Set Spray. It can make it possible to get feminization from mixed un-femmed seeds, but only in just the right conditions. Use of it well into flower has yielded me some very poor results and I'm getting away from it as a strategy. I don't want to get too much into the details as it involves a lot of voodoo
. As flower wears on and things recover I shall post my progress.
some other gardeners have been early-adopters of this technique from early on in DrunkenMessiah's
rantings. They've just gotten to the point of some lovely successful harvests and will be posting the fruits of their efforts in here soon.
Until then, I hope that huge-ass first post wasn't too boring. We'll be getting some nice sexy nug porn in here soon. All questions and comments are invited and welcome!