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Old 09-16-2017, 12:30 AM #1
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Soil, water, and tea questions

I haven't called the Cooperative Extension Service with any of this, and figure (based on recent reading here) that there's some folks about who can answer all or most of these.

About 17 years ago, I had been using mostly organic processes, and feeding with a bat guano tea (High N for veg, and high P for bloom), using 2 cups of either guano to ~4-1/2 gallons of water, and using Down to Earth's guanos back then.

At transplant time, I'd give a moderate dose of Dyna-Grow Bloom or Grow (depending on what phase was happening; clones in cubes to 3"x3" veg early pots, or from 5" sq. pots into classic 1200 or classic 2000 pots), simply due to the array of micro-nutes they offered.

Suitable amounts of dolomite was used, and still is.

Other than that, I'd brew the teas for a couple days using the nylon stocking method, stirring with a wooden spoon, then use 2-4 cups of tea to a gallon of water, mixing my own Maxi-Crop from powder, and adding about a TBSP of mixed liquid Maxi-Crop to each gallon of finished fertilizer in milk jugs.

Originally D to E's High N would, with no molasses, EWCs, etc, for the tea, bubble up into a frothing, stinky mess that spoke to nice levels of microbes doing their deal.

The high P bat shit back then, from the same folks, resembled the typical golden-hued crumbled sand-stone and would not grow a froth, and, due to the weight of the particulates, routinely needed more stirring than the High N tea did.

I noted at some point that Down to Earth's High N -and- High P guanos changed their performance in the tea buckets. No more visible frothing for the High N and the consistency and such of the High P changed as well.

On top of that, we -had- been getting water delivered from a spring on the other side of the Borough, but instead put in a well, and obviously changed the water source and chemistry by doing so.

The good news is the new well (~17 years ago) had nice, clean, clear water, with no real smell or taste (somewhat unusual for many folks in this area), or noteworthy amounts of arsenic (a problem all over the Interior of Alaska and near me), and had awesome flow. The well water DID, however, have 95 ppm of calcium carbonate; a not-useful-for-plants calcium (basically a naturally-occurring unwanted ph-up), (*and the crux of why, counter to what was posted recently in a discussion of a fellow's ph issues, I posted that I still use dolomite; the calcium levels I have are largely not useful to plants).

I noted the changes in plant health, and to the best of my ability, took somewhat educated 'pot shots' to correct things. Some efforts were way more effective than others, but changing recipes in the pursuit of 'bigger and better' led to some wins and some losses. (*Being satisfied with 'good enough' has its place).

Lastly, over the years, our well attracted iron bacteria (things I'd never known existed before learning about why my in-line whole-house 5 & 10 micron filters were developing a brown-red sludge over 2 months time, or so).

So, with the 95 ppm in calcium carbonate, every 3-4 years I 'shock the raised beds in the main vegetable garden and the separate potato garden with agricultural sulfur granules, and while there've been times I've over-done it (though tings like broccoli didn't apparently mind it), and it's slower to act than aluminum sulfate or iron sulfate, it has mostly worked out quite well.

With indoor plants such as cannabis, that only live for maybe 4 months or so, I haven't been that concerned with the ph shifting due to the 95 ppm calcium carbonate.

As far as the iron bacteria go, as I understand it, they are drawn by the well casing, and by the iron ore in the quartz bed-rock I have at about 150' depth and below, down through where my well pump hangs at ~165 ft. in a 225-ft. deep well. Are the iron bacteria capable of consuming enough iron in the water and well casing to negatively impact the iron levels in the water, and, can they travel thorough my 5 micron filter, in living form, and consume iron in the pots, arriving there with the untreated tap water, to the point of affecting indoor plant health over the time period referenced?

Any thoughts or solid proven answers re. these issues?

And yes, over 10years ago, I tried using a combination of RO water with untreated well water, about 50:50, to less than satisfactory results at times... some of which had to do with not having a float on the trash cans I used as reservoirs, and falling asleep while things were 'in process'. Don't ask....

Thanks in advance..
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:39 PM #2
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Hydrogen peroxide injector and a whole house filter.
Drastic would be to chlorinate your well and then use an activated charcoal filter to get rid of the chlorine.
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:12 PM #3
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Thanks.

We 'shocked' the well this spring with chlorine, using about 1-1/2+ (maybe 2) gallons of bulk liquid bleach concentrate, using ball valves to by-pass the water-flow-driven softener and kitchen RO systems, then ran it down to just over 1ppm chlorine presence, so as not to fuck up the softener or RO membranes, opened them back up to do the controlled less radical cleaning of them, as well.


We try to shock the well in that manner every 2-4 years, though the iron bacteria are only initially wiped out in immediate proximity to the casing and surrounding area and aquifer for a period of time (Key to maximum benefit is the duration of cycling the treated water back through the well with a food grade hose from the outdoor hose bib to the well-head, trying to cycle for at least 2-4 hours once you first smell bleach in the out-flowing water..). (Nothing to cause tightening of the sphincter like playing with 220 volt, spliced electrical lines, and steady flow of H2O).

Getting rid of higher levels of chlorine involves removing the hose from the well-head, and hanging another longer hose from the outside hose-bib over the trail down the hill, toward my least favorite aspen, and grinning as the water continues to run; sometimes most of a day to get it down to the levels where my test kits says I can open up the RO and softener systems.

I've had charcoal in-line canister filters following the 10 micron filter in sequence before, and can still obtain the charcoal filters with the desired 5 micron filtering size, having already taken care of the chlorine levels, but the iron bacteria will come back over time, as they're drawn to the casing and iron ore in the quartz bed rock, and only so much of the aquifer gets treated with the shocking each time.

I'd like to find out if the (sometimes noteworthy) presence of the iron bacteria can be sufficient to cause enough impact to the iron in the soil to make a difference for plants.

Likewise, I'd like to find out if the change in the frothing of the High N tea is a result of the changes in water quality (especially the 95 ppm calcium carbonate), the visible changes in guano, or both.

For a time, a half-dozen or more years ago, I'd drive across the Borough to a public artesian spring near where the aquifer our delivered water came from, and load up 50 gallons at a time in jugs, but no noteworthy/outstanding benefits, really, other than to make my back sore from the 7-gallon jugs, and give a bunch of money to the oil companies via their fuel.

Thanks again.

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Originally Posted by h.h. View Post
Hydrogen peroxide injector and a whole house filter.
Drastic would be to chlorinate your well and then use an activated charcoal filter to get rid of the chlorine.

Last edited by moose eater; 09-17-2017 at 10:59 PM..
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:19 PM #4
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Forgot to mention, I'm typically/frequently/intermittently using 1-cup+ of hydrogen peroxide from bottles to a gallon of H2O in the feeding/watering process.
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:36 PM #5
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Currently using the following bloom mix soil recipe.

(*The presence of 12 parts Ocean Forest and the 9 parts of the 39 parts of Pro-Mix to dilute the Ocean Forest, is to give the mix a bump, so it doesn't have to sit for the 2-week duration, and, in theory, the microbes in the other parts of the mix can get active during the time-frame the plants are rooting for the 2 week duration before they get flipped to 12/12. It's a time and space issue. Also '1 part' is the equivalent of about 5 cups or so):

12 parts Ocean Forest

13 parts 100% organic earthworm casting

14 parts medium to coarse perlite

39 parts basic BX Pro-Mix

15 level tablespoons steamed bone meal

17 level tablespoons High P bat guano/bird guano, (*made up of 1/3 cup plus one tbsp. .5-13..3 bat guano, 1/3 cup 3-10-1 Down to Earth high P bat guano, and 1/3 cup 0-11-0 seabird guano)

8 tbsp. blood meal

8 tbsp. high N bat guano

14 tbsp. kelp meal

6 tbsp. green sand

2 -teaspoons- langbeinite

2 tbsp. Alaska whitefish bone meal, 6-10-0 with 20% calcium

1/3 cup clean wood ash, mostly from spruce and aspen slash burns

1+ tbsp. micorhizae

1-7/8 cups dolomite lime

Please feel free to critique. I'd love to get back to the days of outrageously sticky 18" colas.. They've come and gone, but far less frequently than they once were.

If interested, I can go back through the original recipe from years many ago, and some of the modifications since then. The above is the current -test effort-.

Thanks.
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:40 PM #6
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Hydrating the above mix with 6 gallons untreated well water, with each gallon treated with:

1/4 tsp Actinovate

1 cup hydrogen peroxide

4 ml hygrozyme

4 ml liquid karma

4 ml humic acid (*from a stash of the now discontinued Aunt Engy's H2 from AN)

4 ml Goilden Goddess fulvic acid

3 ml cal-mag

(*at the time of initial hydration)
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:42 PM #7
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Type of effort is super-cropping.
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Old 09-17-2017, 10:10 PM #8
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Mix is tumbled both dry and wetted in a larger portable metal (275-lb. capacity) cement mixer for several minutes each time @ 23 rpm, or at least 70 revolutions per stage.

Wetted soil mix tests at a ph of about 6.7 to 6.8 regularly, with current components and sources.
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Old 09-17-2017, 10:49 PM #9
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The soil mix above has not been run before, but was an adaptation following the previous mix, which had issues.

Current regimen involves transplanting well rooted plants from 3"x3" cubes, to Classic 2000 (final bloom) pots, allowing 10-14 days to develop substantial rooting, and flipped to 12/12 from 22-1/2 hours.

All current varieties available for this mix are stout sativas or sativa hybrids; Super Lemon Haze, Widow Bomb, GTH#1, Goji OG, LSD, a stellar sample of Tijuana (though she is no more after this throw, due to weak stems making her a pain in the ass, despite other very desirable qualities), and the oldest woman in the harem, Sensi Seed's California Indica from 20+ years ago (possibly influenced way back when by a NL#5, but who knows).
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Old 09-18-2017, 01:14 AM #10
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Sodium Ascorbate (vit c) neutralizes chlorine/chloramine. In my garden, 1.25ml Sodium Ascorbate will neutralize 20 gallons of tap water.

More info here https://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/html/.../05231301.html
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