Okay,It's been a couple weeks since I started this topsoil trip so here's an update. I originally began this trip because I had horrrible issues with peat. Not only was I not using dolomite with sunshine #4,I also wasn't using EWC. The bails I got had ph readings that bounced all over,and it came infested with fungus gnat eggs. I assumed since it came from the manufacturer with gypsum and dolomite added,I didn't have to add anymore.....WRONG!!!! Well I then decided to substitute coco for peat,I was on the fence about ph issues and letting go of the ph pen long enough to let the EWC and dolomite in the mix actually show me results. With thanks to Burn1 for the continued preaching about the buffering abilities of EWC and dolomite,I ditched my skeptism and went for it. Not only does my current mix do what it should,my previous mix with the most locked out yellow looking plants has turned into the healthiest light grabbing girls I've seen in a while!! So on to the soil mix........here's what I threw together:
3 gal perlite
2 gal vermiculite
2 gal coco
2 gal local screened and visually inspected topsoil(dark,rich sandy loam glacial washout)
2 gal EWC
1 gal sunshine #4 (just because I have it and trust the EWC and dolomite now)
2 cups N. bat guano
2 cups P. bat guano
1 1/2 cups kelp meal
2 tbls coffee grinder ground organic eggshells
1 heaping 1/4 cup of powdered dolomite lime (because I'm only using only 1 gallon of peat aka sunshine #4)
Activated with a EWC and compost tea starter.
I let most of it sit for over a week before transplanting fresh clones into it,but also planted some directly after mixing. The ones that I planted right away soon needed a bit more Nitrogen than was available,but now that it has been broken down and released,they are digging it.
The mix holds water well and drains well,pots are a bit heavy due to the local topsoil,but it is worth it,and here's why I think so.....................
Upon closer inspection to the mix I soon noticed that it is ALIVE with life forms. There are little predatory soil mites just jamming around looking for other bugs to eat,I find spiders and other crazy looking predators hanging out just waiting for a fungus gnat or anything to come by. I think that all the activity helps the whole organic puzzle come together nicely. No signs of bad fungus,grubs,leaf eaters or root eaters. I think I'm in love with it.
I will get some pics of the plants here soonish,but here's some of the topsoil itself and some weird looking guy.........