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Old 02-07-2019, 11:13 PM #1
xBOBxSAGETx
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Fundamentally understanding soil components

Hey guys. I used the search and really came up with nothing. Maybe because I’m a rookie and probably don’t know the vocabulary well.

Allow me to preface that this is my first grow. I wish to not buy prepackaged soil/soiless medium because I simply want a better understanding of what I’m doing.

I want to build my own soil and I see several recipes on here with feeding guidelines but what I’m trying to understand is; how are you getting to that point of saying that’s the percentage of what you want in your soil and know that your pH level and nutrient levels are going to hit their marks without “seasoning” the soil with all types of products.

In the audio engineering world we have a saying “You can’t polish a turd.” Well I don’t want my soil to be a turd. I want it to be as good as it possibly can be, from the start.

Is there a program that’s make for soil recipes that can calculate and populate the nutrient volumes of what I’m adding/subtracting from the recipe? Kinda like BeerSmith for brewing beer but for building soil!

I hope I didn’t sound so recklessly amateur in my post. Grow stores are already annoying me by selling me kits which I don’t want a magic bottle solution. I’m trying to learn as much as I can.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:35 PM #2
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Are you thinking of soil like dirt? I like to grow that way because it can be fairly hands off after an inital investment of time. If so...

Theres sevral ways, so far as i know to make a good soil. Most recipes add nutrients in the form of degradable material - think slow release - bone meal, plant meals (seaweeds), blood beal, tree chippings, coffe grounds, etc. All rich in various elements or compunds that plants can easily uptake. Phosporous, nitrogen, potassium (the famous NPK) and othen others have mirco nutrients too, like metals.
Along with material to adjust the structure of the soil (dont want mud) and let the roots get both air and water; sand, peat moss, perlite & vermiculite, insect frass etc.

To me the two way of giving your plants this are super soils and no till. -super soils are rich soil mixes that are readily spent in a couple of grows, and no till is more long term sustainable soil, where additional plants are added to compliment the soil and keep it "eating". The key is that both soils are "alive", using bacterial and fungi to make the nutrients availible to the plant.
The main key ingredient is a good base compost that will innoculate the soil mix from there add some things and experiment with the mixes over time.



Hope thats somwhat concise. happy growing.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:01 AM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nup View Post
Are you thinking of soil like dirt? I like to grow that way because it can be fairly hands off after an inital investment of time. If so...

Theres sevral ways, so far as i know to make a good soil. Most recipes add nutrients in the form of degradable material - think slow release - bone meal, plant meals (seaweeds), blood beal, tree chippings, coffe grounds, etc. All rich in various elements or compunds that plants can easily uptake. Phosporous, nitrogen, potassium (the famous NPK) and othen others have mirco nutrients too, like metals.
Along with material to adjust the structure of the soil (dont want mud) and let the roots get both air and water; sand, peat moss, perlite & vermiculite, insect frass etc.

To me the two way of giving your plants this are super soils and no till. -super soils are rich soil mixes that are readily spent in a couple of grows, and no till is more long term sustainable soil, where additional plants are added to compliment the soil and keep it "eating". The key is that both soils are "alive", using bacterial and fungi to make the nutrients availible to the plant.
The main key ingredient is a good base compost that will innoculate the soil mix from there add some things and experiment with the mixes over time.



Hope thats somwhat concise. happy growing.

I’m thinking “soil” as my grow medium

Okay so a basic rule of thumb was given. Is that I want

1 part Canadians sphagnum peatmoss
1 part Premium Thermal Compost (up to half of that being wormcastings)
1 part Aeration/drainage
-Compost being the most important thing.

When you add something like “Kelp meal” or “bone meal” do you consider that component a nutrient? Gypsum too?

And yes from what I’m reading the “no till” living soil seems like what I want to do. Inoculating the soil with microbes that are good for the biology of the plant.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:23 AM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xBOBxSAGETx View Post
I’m thinking “soil” as my grow medium

Okay so a basic rule of thumb was given. Is that I want

1 part Canadians sphagnum peatmoss
1 part Premium Thermal Compost (up to half of that being wormcastings)
1 part Aeration/drainage
-Compost being the most important thing.

When you add something like “Kelp meal” or “bone meal” do you consider that component a nutrient? Gypsum too?

And yes from what I’m reading the “no till” living soil seems like what I want to do. Inoculating the soil with microbes that are good for the biology of the plant.
Yes those are nutrients or supplements in the basic Coots mix formula you have there.

I add a bigger variety of animal, fish, and veg meals as well as a variety of insect frass products in my mix and teasthan you find in his recipes.

A variety of animal poop / stall bedding composted is the best thing if you are willing to get out and collect shit, cow, chicken and horse are easy to find but rabbit, goat, sheep, and alpaca are all good and the more the better my garden grows.

You want the oldest part of the pile from farms that don't skimp on beddding in their stalls, some farms have big shit piles they think are compost that are too wet and anaerobic.

Sometimes the bagged compost from shops is too wet also from pallets sitting out in the rain.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:39 AM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xBOBxSAGETx View Post
I’m thinking “soil” as my grow medium

Okay so a basic rule of thumb was given. Is that I want

1 part Canadians sphagnum peatmoss
1 part Premium Thermal Compost (up to half of that being wormcastings)
1 part Aeration/drainage
-Compost being the most important thing.

When you add something like “Kelp meal” or “bone meal” do you consider that component a nutrient? Gypsum too?

And yes from what I’m reading the “no till” living soil seems like what I want to do. Inoculating the soil with microbes that are good for the biology of the plant.

Thats pretty much it, its a good mix that works well. Do you have an easy source of compost?

Yeah, those are sources of nutrient. Gypsum would be good for calcium and sulphur it seems. Lime is a good source of Ca too and an be used to lower pH.

But in genreal a couple of nutriets is enough to get things going. Im sure there are ways to really fine tune a soil and stufy it, but thats ahead of me still.

Usually when a soil is done it has to "cook" (be left idle for a while, moist), life starts to break things down. I think a month is the standrad amound(?). Some growth might show up and you'll see a white fungus growth "santas beard", lol.

In no till people add plants that add to the soil (mostly legumes as they are particular in that they can take N from the atmosphere), topdressings of nutrients (spent coffee grinds are an easy one) and even "teas" or brewed nutrient mixes - id imagine those act pretty fast.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:53 AM #6
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Originally Posted by Chunkypigs View Post
Yes those are nutrients or supplements in the basic Coots mix formula you have there.

I add a bigger variety of animal, fish, and veg meals as well as a variety of insect frass products in my mix and teasthan you find in his recipes.

A variety of animal poop / stall bedding composted is the best thing if you are willing to get out and collect shit, cow, chicken and horse are easy to find but rabbit, goat, sheep, and alpaca are all good and the more the better my garden grows.

You want the oldest part of the pile from farms that don't skimp on beddding in their stalls, some farms have big shit piles they think are compost that are too wet and anaerobic.

Sometimes the bagged compost from shops is too wet also from pallets sitting out in the rain.

I’m definitely not down with scoopin the poopins as my vechile is an SUV and don’t need my 4Runner smelling like that hahaha.

Okay I think I’m getting this down a little bit more. There’s just so many recipes, so many nutrients/products to buy. I’m trying to understand what each element is for so I can trim the fat of my shopping list which isn’t making me happy. That Build A Soil 3.0 recipe is crazy expensive lol
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:55 AM #7
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Originally Posted by Nup View Post
Thats pretty much it, its a good mix that works well. Do you have an easy source of compost?

Yeah, those are sources of nutrient. Gypsum would be good for calcium and sulphur it seems. Lime is a good source of Ca too and an be used to lower pH.

But in genreal a couple of nutriets is enough to get things going. Im sure there are ways to really fine tune a soil and stufy it, but thats ahead of me still.

Usually when a soil is done it has to "cook" (be left idle for a while, moist), life starts to break things down. I think a month is the standrad amound(?). Some growth might show up and you'll see a white fungus growth "santas beard", lol.

In no till people add plants that add to the soil (mostly legumes as they are particular in that they can take N from the atmosphere), topdressings of nutrients (spent coffee grinds are an easy one) and even "teas" or brewed nutrient mixes - id imagine those act pretty fast.
I’m planning on making my own compost pile in my backyard but for now I got two 20lb bags of Mink Compost so I’m excited to use that. The product is called Sconny Green, I got it for free at the IndoExpo. Apparently 10lbs is enough to feed 200lbs. So I should be good!
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:09 AM #8
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Mate ... I use the dirt we walk on around here and amend it with animal manure, correct pH with Dolomite (cos it's got Mg in it) and then use various foliar sprays for goodies.
(tradition dictates that outdoor soil needs to be limed in winter for use in spring.)

But what I wanted to say is you need to read some gardening books. Mr Coots recipes are great ... no doubt. But gardening basics will improve your understanding and give you power over what you're doing. Read up ... even if the text seems written for the complete idiot.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:07 AM #9
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mix your soil and get a soil test (and paste test) on it.... that's my advice if yo uwant to quantify soilmix nutrients and fine tuen them
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:33 AM #10
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You can search organic soil amendments fertilizer values to find out NPK ratios or calcium, trace elements, etc.

Soil test is 40-60 dollars, really the only way to tell what is there. Shows you what you have, what you don’t have, and what you have too much of.
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