As with many vegetables a rich Organic soil can bring out the best in a plant. Over the past 20 years I have tried almost every possible way to cultivate our favorite plant and while hydro is certainly faster and the yields blow soil away, I have developed a soil that performs extremely well and there’s very little guess work. I don’t worry about ph or ppm I simply have spent a few years developing a sound recipe and in combination with 7 gallon nursery pots I can run from start to finish using only water. Other than a bit of sweat equity every 90 days or so it takes a huge amount of science out of the garden and puts nature back in charge. This recipe is slightly different from my last and from the one so many use as gospel that I have passed around for years from grower to grower.
I always start with at least 6-8 large bags of high quality organic soil. The selection of your base soil is very important so don’t cut corners here. I cannot begin to discuss all the different products but I will discuss a few in this article. A good Organic soil should cost between 8-10$ per 30# bag. I want you to get a real good idea what I consider a balanced soil to be so take a look at the ingredients of a product called Roots Organic:
Lignite*, coca fiber, perlite, pumice, compost, peat moss, bone meal, bat guano, kelp meal, Green sand, soy bean meal, leonardite, k-mag, glacial rock dust, alfalfa meal, oyster shell flour, earth worm castings and Mycorrhizae.
I have always believed in giving my plants a wide range of soils and additives I figure it’s like a buffet they get all they need
“Lignite, also known as leonardite, mined lignin, brown coal, and slack, is an important constituent to the oil well, drilling industry. Lignite, or leonardite as it will be referred as hereafter, is technically known as a low rank coal between peat and sub-bituminous. Leonardite was named for Dr. A.G. Leonard, North Dakota’s first state geologist, who was a pioneer in the study of lignite deposits. Leonardite is applied to products having a high content of humic acid. Humic acid has been found to be very useful as a drilling mud thinner.”
Another local product we are trying now is called Harvest Moon.
Washed coco fibers, Alaskan peat moss, perlite, yucca, pumice, diatoms, worm castings, feather meal, fishmeal, kelp meal, limestone, gypsum, soybean meal, alfalfa meal, rock dust, yucca meal, and Mycorrhizae fungi.
The Roots produced a more floral smell in the finished flowers while the Harvest Moon generated larger yields.
If you have access to a good local mix like these then I highly recommend starting with these type products. We have also had decent results using commercial brands as well but not as is. The best results we have seen from well known soil that is available nationwide is Fox Farms “Ocean Forrest” soil combined in a 2-1 ratio with Light Warrior. On it’s own the Ocean Forrest is known for burning plants and having the wrong ratio’s of nutrients but when cut down with Light Warrior it makes a pretty good mix for a base soil.
You can also just use 2 bales of Sunshine mix #4 but this is my last choice and plants growing in this may not complete properly with this “Just add water” method of soil growing. The concept to this concentrated soil is to not have to worry with mixing up nutrients after the soil is made. The concentrate is placed in the bottom ¼ to ½ of the container and blended with base soil. This allows the plants to grow into the strong concentrated soil and in the right size container need nothing else but water throughout the full harvest cycle. With strains requiring high levels of nutrients we go as strong as ¾ of the container with Super Soil but this is only with a small percentage of strains.
Here are the amounts we have found that produce the best tasting buds and strongest medicines.
8- Large bags of High quality Organic potting soil with a coco and Mycorrhizae
1- 25-50 pounds of Organic Worm castings
5 lb. Steamed Bone meal
5 lb. Bloom bat Guano
5 lb. Blood meal
3 lb. Rock Phoshate
¾ cup Epson salts
½ to 1 Cup cup Sweet Lime ( Dolimite)
½ Cup Azomite ( Trace Elements)
2- TBS Powdered Humic Acid
This is the same basic recipe I have used for 15 years the hardest ingredient to acquire is the worm castings most people don’t even know what it is. Be resourceful and find it worms make up ¾ of the living organisms underground btw and hold our planet together.
Be careful not to waste money on Soil Conditioner with worm casting but local Pure Worm poop with no added mulch.
There are several methods of mixing this up well.
You can sweep off a patio or garage and work there on a tarp.
You can use a kids plastic wading pool these cost about 10$ and work really well for a few seasons.
Some growers have been known to rent a cement mixer and cut down on the physical labor. As long as you get the ingredients mixed up properly that is all that matters.
This can be a lot of work so don’t pull a muscle if your not used to strenuous activity. This method is good for mind and body. Working with soil keeps me in pretty good shape, but if you have limitations you can simply have someone mix it up for you while you supervise. One of the things I like about this method is I can drop of plants to a patient and all they have to do is water the plants when the soil dries out.
Place a few bags of base soil in first making a mound. I then place the powdered nutrients in a circle around the mound and then cover with another bag of base soil.
Then goes in the bat poop and then more base soil. I continue to layer soil and additives until everything has been added to the pile. So now I put on the muck boots, these help me kick the soil around and get it mixed up well using my larger leg muscles and not my back and arms. Then it’s as simple as my Skipper used to say “ Put your back into it”. This is hard work that I obsess on, even breaking up all the clods of soil by hand. I mix for about 15 minutes, turning the pile over and over until it is mixed well. I store the mix in large garbage cans. Before using the mix the entire load is poured out once more and mixed well. Once placed in the containers I water it slightly adding 3 gallons of water to a large garbage can full. It will make the stirring harder next week but it will activate the Mycorrhizae and I think help all the powders dissolve.
So now we add water and let it cook in the sunshine. 30 days is best for this concentrate.
Do not put seeds or clones directly in this mix. It is an advanced mix used in conjunction with base soil. It is used to place in the bottom of each finishing container and fully rooted established clones are placed in a bed of base soil that is layered on top of the concentrate. As the plants grow they slowly push their roots into the super soil drawing up all nutrients needed for a full cycle. The Super Soil can be used also to top dress plants that take longer to mature.
Base Soil means your regular potting soil Like Roots, Harvest Moon, or even sunshine mix without the additives!
Buds from this method finish with a fade and a smoother fruity flavor. The plants are not green when done but Purple, Red, Orange and even Black at times. The resin content is heavier and the terpins always seem to be more pungent.
This method is used my medical growers all over with amazing results. The feed back I receive is really positive with reports of Hydro-like growth and novice growers producing buds of the same quality as life long growers.