Ok, so there has been an increased interest in organic growing lately. This thread will detail thing that have been discussed in the group Project OFC for sometime. In the following thread we will discuss Soil building, ACT and ACT brewers, Re-amending soil, containers, Blu-mats, Folair feeding, natural plant inputs, topdressing etc............
Building your soil
This to me is the single most important element of growing because without it everything else you do is pointless. So, here we go......
Building a soil yourself is much cheaper than buying bagged soils which to me are worthless and contain less than desirable ingredients. The quality you can achieve is unmatched by any pre-made bagged soil on the market today. There are many soil mixes floating around out there but I have found that the simpler the soil mix the better as it allows you to build on it at a later. Each user should take in to consideration that somethings can be obtained locally much cheaper than mail ordering so look first in your respective areas before ordering to save you some hard earned money.
Here is a mix I like to go with.
1\3 Peat (Premier @ Home Depot)
1\3 Quality compost or Earthworm castings. (this is the most important part to me! You must always use high quality compost!)
1\3 aeration (Pumice, Lava rock or Rice hulls) I prefer Lava rock as it is obtainable @ almost every box store in America.
Amendments are measured per cubic foot of base material.
Per cubic foot use
1\2 cup Neem seed meal or Karanja meal (N source)
1\2 cup Fish meal
1\2 cup Crabshell meal
1\2 cup Kelp meal
1\2 cup Fishbone meal
1\2 cup Gypsum
4 to 5 cups (4x Glacial rock dust
, 1x Bentonite
, 1x Oystershell
powder and 1x Basalt) GRD and Basalt are basically the same to if you don´t have access to one or the other just add a little more of what is available to you locally.
I like to add ´charged´ Biochar to my mixes @ 10% of the mix. You want to make sure it is saoked in Fish hydrolysate or EWC so when mixed into the soil it will not absorb the nutrients and rob your plants of needed nutrients.
Mixing your soil
I like to spread out a tarp in my basement to mix on. You can do this or mix outside or whatever suits your needs. I have also mixed in a concrete mixer for large batches of soil. I generally mix in 50 gallon lots so hand, rake and shovel mixing for me works.
First thing you want to do is re-hydrate your peat. I do this by spreading it out on the tarp and breaking up all the chunks from the compressed bale. My bales come in 3 cubic feet. A cubic foot is 7.48 gallons. I then take warm water mixed with Aloe vera juice and hydrate the soil. Plain water works it can bet a little expensive using 200x Aloe vera juice to do this. You want it moist and not wet.
Next, I add the aeration
component. I am using just Lava rock
I crushed with a cinder block. Try and get it into 1\2 inch sizes dust and all. Mix this throughly and then add you Mineral mix
. And then add the amendment mix and again mix throughly. At this time I like to moisten the soil a bit more until you can get a little water to come out when squeezed. I then cover and will let it sit for a period of no less than 4 weeks but have planted directly into it when needed. You can also fill what ever pots you are going to use. I am currently using 7 gallon Smart pots
Now, to this mix I will add 10% local soil to inoculate the soil. This is the easiest way to do it but you can also make an ACT and do it that way but I find using local soil gathered from under a stand of trees is best. It also adds biodiversity to your soil.
And that completes this part. I will end this with a few shots of my plants over the last few years.......
This is the end of part 1.