Beginner living soil question and answer.

  • Thread starter Imzzaudae
  • Start date
  • Tagged users None
Imzzaudae

Imzzaudae

189
43
Living soil question?
When it comes to growing pot in my back yard I'm what you could say blessed. A cop on one side and the other is a hermit.
Any way I have been composting for years and have great kitchen wast worm castings. Lets say a large trash can full. Created over many years of leaves Maple and oak, lawn clippings, kitchen scraps. I don't know how many thousands of worms live in these bins but they quietly go about there daily lives making me this wonderful growing medium.

I thought I'd love to have a go at a living soil grow next year. I can legally grow 4 plants.
1 - Bub-Ba Kush.
2 - Error 404.
3 - Black Gorilla.
4 - Tweed Baker street.
I have purchased the seed and the mail man has arrived. Anyone that lives in Canada and buys seed on line knows that $65.00 for 5 seeds turns into $120.00 buy the time you pay in US currency and add shipping. 5 of each of these 4 types of seed cost about $500.00 and that is no joke. So I'd like to make the best of them.
Bins

I emptied out one of my compost / worm bins.
I added some store bought black soil a couple of bags of sheep dung, Leaves, Grass Clippings a big bag of hardwood mulch. Added LAB (Lactic Acid Bacteria) hen shit, about 1/2 a pound of Gypsum and the same Epsom salts. I am now growing trillions of bacteria from many Large coffee cup size soil samples collected form local wetlands in a 20L bucket with rice starch and water. I will be adding this mix to the pile with a few more greens and browns then let it work until spring. Early May.
Compost

I have been watching many videos on the art of keeping mother plants, Main Lining and low stress training. So I will be starting next years plants pretty soon 14 - 8 as I'd like to have a something to play with over the winter. This pic is last winter. A 2' x 2' closet space with Leds on a timer. a muffin fan and a watering can. Nothing fancy but it gets the job done.
Start


I will transfer my over the winter mothers into 30 gallon grow bags in the spring when the sun is close to 16 and 8 so the plants just pick up and go with the sun and rest of the spring flowers . I even have cover crop seed tucked away for topping off my bags as soon as the frost is out of the ground and I can get the cover crop planted.
Bags



This compost pile is many years in the making from the best natural ingredients from my kitchen and back yard.
I have watched many videos that say. Feed your living soil and the microscopic life will take care of the nutrients your growing plant needs to grow big and strong plants.
So what do you guys that are growing in real living soil feed your soil throughout your growing season.
Anyone water with Rice water to feed existing bacteria?
How about adding a little brown sugar or molasses and water once in a while to feed existing bacteria?
Do any of you add Lactic Acid Bacteria during the grow to replenish the soil.
How do you guys tend to the your soil once your grow is under way.
How about folier spraying with Cucumber skins water?
With Epsom salts?
Calcium water from boiled egg shells?
Tea water?
Anything else you can think of, What ever you can share.
I have had 2 fantastic years growing legal. First year straight Miracle Grow.
The second year Veg = Pro Mix 12- 6 - 6 and flowering Pro Mix 5 - 15 - 5.
Both with fantastic results! But next year, I'd like to do it all natural living soil. No store bought fertilizer or additives.
Rain water!
IMG 2095

The plants under the lights in my closet turned into these. So it's going to be hard to out do. This year my plants where a little smaller than last year but the bud is incredible.
I don't care about volume. This year alone I grew 8 lbs of the finest flower I have ever seen, way more than I could possibly smoke. Really. But I'm out to grow some of the finest bud I can imagine. 4 super nice plants that I can spend a year fussing over. Meticulously trim, dry, cure. Maybe even pass a little along to my friends on special occasions.
Mybluedream

Bud

Bud2

B3

So what's your live soil grow tip. Not only for me but for anyone else that wants to go the living soil rout.
If you have watched or know of a great youtube video on the subject. Please share it with us. .
I'm looking for advice on no til living soil maintenance once the plants are in the ground and growing mid summer threw the fall flowering stage.
Thanks for sharing any information, Secrets.
Ron
 
Last edited:
Imzzaudae

Imzzaudae

189
43
After doing a little reading. I read that my barnyard LED light lights would do the job but if I switched to CFL bulbs with a 15 w 6500 Color = 60w light my plants would be happier. Pictured are 4 - 23w 6500 CFL 100w bulbs. I replaced them with 15 w 6500 Color = 60w They just seem a little hot for my grow space. Will see as the plants get a little older.
CFL


I'm hoping this little Black Gorilla is a foot tall and has a 1" stalk when I plant it in 1/2 a 55 gallon drum / pot next may 24.
In the mean time It's going to be getting the treated like a queen. And one little step at a time I'm going to
I was measuring how much soil I had on hand. The Pile is 5 times that size now. Enough 4 big blue pots next summer, and then some.
I'm thinking I may fix me up a 2X2x3 12 on 12 off with a 4" Charcoal filter,

Pot

and a little better light for flowering. I'd like to try flowing a a Cannabonsai Autoflower over the winter. October 2022 is a long way away.
 
K

Kade

3
3
You can leave out the Epsom salts for living soil, likely you have enough magnesium in your soil the plants only need it in trace amounts.
 
SC69

SC69

Supporter
468
93
Living soil question?
When it comes to growing pot in my back yard I'm what you could say blessed. A cop on one side and the other is a hermit.
Any way I have been composting for years and have great kitchen wast worm castings. Lets say a large trash can full. Created over many years of leaves Maple and oak, lawn clippings, kitchen scraps. I don't know how many thousands of worms live in these bins but they quietly go about there daily lives making me this wonderful growing medium.

I thought I'd love to have a go at a living soil grow next year. I can legally grow 4 plants.
1 - Bub-Ba Kush.
2 - Error 404.
3 - Black Gorilla.
4 - Tweed Baker street.
I have purchased the seed and the mail man has arrived. Anyone that lives in Canada and buys seed on line knows that $65.00 for 5 seeds turns into $120.00 buy the time you pay in US currency and add shipping. 5 of each of these 4 types of seed cost about $500.00 and that is no joke. So I'd like to make the best of them.
View attachment 1176729
I emptied out one of my compost / worm bins.
I added some store bought black soil a couple of bags of sheep dung, Leaves, Grass Clippings a big bag of hardwood mulch. Added LAB (Lactic Acid Bacteria) hen shit, about 1/2 a pound of Gypsum and the same Epsom salts. I am now growing trillions of bacteria from many Large coffee cup size soil samples collected form local wetlands in a 20L bucket with rice starch and water. I will be adding this mix to the pile with a few more greens and browns then let it work until spring. Early May.
View attachment 1176747
I have been watching many videos on the art of keeping mother plants, Main Lining and low stress training. So I will be starting next years plants pretty soon 14 - 8 as I'd like to have a something to play with over the winter. This pic is last winter. A 2' x 2' closet space with Leds on a timer. a muffin fan and a watering can. Nothing fancy but it gets the job done.
View attachment 1176748

I will transfer my over the winter mothers into 30 gallon grow bags in the spring when the sun is close to 16 and 8 so the plants just pick up and go with the sun and rest of the spring flowers . I even have cover crop seed tucked away for topping off my bags as soon as the frost is out of the ground and I can get the cover crop planted.
View attachment 1176751


This compost pile is many years in the making from the best natural ingredients from my kitchen and back yard.
I have watched many videos that say. Feed your living soil and the microscopic life will take care of the nutrients your growing plant needs to grow big and strong plants.
So what do you guys that are growing in real living soil feed your soil throughout your growing season.
Anyone water with Rice water to feed existing bacteria?
How about adding a little brown sugar or molasses and water once in a while to feed existing bacteria?
Do any of you add Lactic Acid Bacteria during the grow to replenish the soil.
How do you guys tend to the your soil once your grow is under way.
How about folier spraying with Cucumber skins water?
With Epsom salts?
Calcium water from boiled egg shells?
Tea water?
Anything else you can think of, What ever you can share.
I have had 2 fantastic years growing legal. First year straight Miracle Grow.
The second year Veg = Pro Mix 12- 6 - 6 and flowering Pro Mix 5 - 15 - 5.
Both with fantastic results! But next year, I'd like to do it all natural living soil. No store bought fertilizer or additives.
Rain water!
View attachment 1176787
The plants under the lights in my closet turned into these. So it's going to be hard to out do. This year my plants where a little smaller than last year but the bud is incredible.
I don't care about volume. This year alone I grew 8 lbs of the finest flower I have ever seen, way more than I could possibly smoke. Really. But I'm out to grow some of the finest bud I can imagine. 4 super nice plants that I can spend a year fussing over. Meticulously trim, dry, cure. Maybe even pass a little along to my friends on special occasions.
View attachment 1176771
View attachment 1176773
View attachment 1176775
View attachment 1176776
So what's your live soil grow tip. Not only for me but for anyone else that wants to go the living soil rout.
If you have watched or know of a great youtube video on the subject. Please share it with us. .
I'm looking for advice on no til living soil maintenance once the plants are in the ground and growing mid summer threw the fall flowering stage.
Thanks for sharing any information, Secrets.
Ron
I’m going to be transplanting into Vermont Compost Jolly Roger living soil. Never as a water and forget type thing but the organics and nature doing it’s thing is cool. I admit in the research, I ended up missing some information. To be honest, when I came across VT compost because a friend is having tons delivered to start a tree farm, and said for what I need he would give it to me, is where it went possibly wrong. I looked at the website and found their different formulas and then there it was, “Jolly Roger,” specifically formulated for marijuana growing. Well, I didn’t need to see more. I had to have it. I live across the border and just jumped over (another whole story of grow stores in legal states).

In preparation and while popping seeds etc I did some more reading. This may be specific to other formulas and companies because I don’t see it on their site, but some say for it to work properly it should be in at least a 20gal pot or grow bag. I’ve spoken to others who disagree but this was a company that makes it. So, I’m a bit stumped as to what that will mean for me.

I’m not stuffing 20gal grow bags in the tent (even if I’d bought enough). The plan all along has been 5-7gals and I’d landed on 5 once I got the tent together and saw the headroom I’ll have in flower (room not high enough for extension). This is my first time so everything I’d thought I’d planned and researched so well, skipped some things. The smaller fan would have given me more room etc.

When I first read this information I thought about how many 20gal I could fit, I also thought, why can’t I just 4x4 bed and fill it? Haha. That idea got shot down by everyone who knows what I’m doing and most importantly, the homeowner. I’m just going to have to monitor it and work it out as I go. I hope I haven’t set myself up for disaster.

I was really glad to see this thread. Thanks!!
 
m4s73r

m4s73r

71
33
Only 2 tips from me.
1. Mulch mulch mulch. Leaf litter is the key to soil food web methodology. If your going to be doing living soil, it needs to have a food source for the living microbes. Mulch layer also slows down water evaporation, increases nematodes and predatory mites, and keeps your peat based soil from becoming hydrophobic.

2. 5-10% water to soil volume for watering. If you always just water 5% you should never over water. In late stretch/bloom you may need to go up to 10. In living soil we dont water plants. We maintain soil moisture at optimal levels at all times. Unlike fed soils that want a wet/dry cycling, living soil wants that perfect ecosystem 100% of the time.

1638081369112
 
Imzzaudae

Imzzaudae

189
43
Only 2 tips from me.
1. Mulch mulch mulch. Leaf litter is the key to soil food web methodology. If your going to be doing living soil, it needs to have a food source for the living microbes. Mulch layer also slows down water evaporation, increases nematodes and predatory mites, and keeps your peat based soil from becoming hydrophobic.

2. 5-10% water to soil volume for watering. If you always just water 5% you should never over water. In late stretch/bloom you may need to go up to 10. In living soil we dont water plants. We maintain soil moisture at optimal levels at all times. Unlike fed soils that want a wet/dry cycling, living soil wants that perfect ecosystem 100% of the time.

View attachment 1192500
Thank you. I'm happy a few tips are being posted. I have plenty of fresh leaf mulch available. a few bags 1/2 decomposed as well.
As I have a wood stove in the man cave, I spread ash on my lawn.
I don't want to put ash directly on my grow soil. As I don't want to sweeten it. How about I trench in a few Fresh grass clippings along with the kitchen scraps?
How can I mulch if I have a white clover cover crop? I guess it's make a decision a cover crop or a mulch top.
Cool setup you have there. Love the PVC scrog frame!

Burned cucumber skins. Very high in Potassium.
Do you add cucumbers skins to you soil and let them break down or burn them and water in the ash?
Banana skins, potato skins anything special?
 
m4s73r

m4s73r

71
33
Thank you. I'm happy a few tips are being posted. I have plenty of fresh leaf mulch available. a few bags 1/2 decomposed as well.
As I have a wood stove in the man cave, I spread ash on my lawn.
I don't want to put ash directly on my grow soil. As I don't want to sweeten it. How about I trench in a few Fresh grass clippings along with the kitchen scraps?
How can I mulch if I have a white clover cover crop? I guess it's make a decision a cover crop or a mulch top.
Cool setup you have there. Love the PVC scrog frame!

Burned cucumber skins. Very high in Potassium.
Do you add cucumbers skins to you soil and let them break down or burn them and water in the ash?
Banana skins, potato skins anything special?
A little ash goes a long way. Keep putting the ash in your lawn. And living mulch is perfect. Actually its what I prefer over anything else. Make sure to just use clover and mow it hard and often. Cover crop is not the same as living mulch. Cover crop you dont mow. You grow it till its nice and big and the roots have penetrated your dirt then you cover it with plastic or landscape fabric and kill it all off.
I defoliate my plants and mulch all leftovers from harvest back into the soil.
 
SC69

SC69

Supporter
468
93
Only 2 tips from me.
1. Mulch mulch mulch. Leaf litter is the key to soil food web methodology. If your going to be doing living soil, it needs to have a food source for the living microbes. Mulch layer also slows down water evaporation, increases nematodes and predatory mites, and keeps your peat based soil from becoming hydrophobic.

2. 5-10% water to soil volume for watering. If you always just water 5% you should never over water. In late stretch/bloom you may need to go up to 10. In living soil we dont water plants. We maintain soil moisture at optimal levels at all times. Unlike fed soils that want a wet/dry cycling, living soil wants that perfect ecosystem 100% of the time.

View attachment 1192500
That is beautiful. I hope you guys don’t mind me jumping in here. I can see you know what you’re talking about and just need the best advice I can get. I researched just enough to make a mistake. I’m a first time aside from some clones in the summer that we’re just dropped. They didn’t go to full.

after I bought the Vermont compost is when I saw a video about container size. I see you have a bed in the tent. I want to consider it but am running into pushback from all directions and I don’t have the knowledge to defend myself. The plan has been 5-7gal pots (landed on 5). I know what will happen, but also that I may be able to get through one run, even if I can’t reuse it etc. probably have to supplement. Now, I don’t know exactly which is why I mention it. I get the why now, I just don’t know what to do. I have 15gal bags but can’t fit for 7 or even 5 well in the 5x5.

I’m basically out of time once I figured this out. I need to transplant soon. Should I save the soil a few months and use it next run when planned better, or would you give it a shot? Thanks for any advice you can offer. ✌️

edit: if I do try it in the smaller pots, what would you recommend for mulch? Also, the worm thing. How many per area etc?

should I just get a bed and move the tent to the basement?
 
m4s73r

m4s73r

71
33
That is beautiful. I hope you guys don’t mind me jumping in here. I can see you know what you’re talking about and just need the best advice I can get. I researched just enough to make a mistake. I’m a first time aside from some clones in the summer that we’re just dropped. They didn’t go to full.

after I bought the Vermont compost is when I saw a video about container size. I see you have a bed in the tent. I want to consider it but am running into pushback from all directions and I don’t have the knowledge to defend myself. The plan has been 5-7gal pots (landed on 5). I know what will happen, but also that I may be able to get through one run, even if I can’t reuse it etc. probably have to supplement. Now, I don’t know exactly which is why I mention it. I get the why now, I just don’t know what to do. I have 15gal bags but can’t fit for 7 or even 5 well in the 5x5.

I’m basically out of time once I figured this out. I need to transplant soon. Should I save the soil a few months and use it next run when planned better, or would you give it a shot? Thanks for any advice you can offer. ✌️

edit: if I do try it in the smaller pots, what would you recommend for mulch? Also, the worm thing. How many per area etc?

should I just get a bed and move the tent to the basement?
Id get a bed and move to basement. Dont do 5s. I dont do less than 15s in plastic and 25 in fabric, if I'm doing a living soil that im going to no till. 4 30g pots in 5x5 tent will crush. If your going to do 5s then you wont get to really mulch as you will be top dressing. I only put 50 European night crawlers in each bed.
Roughly in each bed,
a 2x4 bed holds 82 gallons of soil
a 3x3 holds 82 gallons
a 4x4 holds 165 gallons.

Now if we get too looking at common set ups in a 5x5
12 plants in 5 gallon veg for 2 weeks
9 plants in 10 gallons veg for 3 weeks
4 plant in 15-30 veg for 4-6 weeks.

IMO small pots are a waste of time in organics. If you want small pots run coco/perlite dtw. It vegs faster and is easy to do.
 
SC69

SC69

Supporter
468
93
Id get a bed and move to basement. Dont do 5s. I dont do less than 15s in plastic and 25 in fabric, if I'm doing a living soil that im going to no till. 4 30g pots in 5x5 tent will crush. If your going to do 5s then you wont get to really mulch as you will be top dressing. I only put 50 European night crawlers in each bed.
Roughly in each bed,
a 2x4 bed holds 82 gallons of soil
a 3x3 holds 82 gallons
a 4x4 holds 165 gallons.

Now if we get too looking at common set ups in a 5x5
12 plants in 5 gallon veg for 2 weeks
9 plants in 10 gallons veg for 3 weeks
4 plant in 15-30 veg for 4-6 weeks.

IMO small pots are a waste of time in organics. If you want small pots run coco/perlite dtw. It vegs faster and is easy to do.
Unfortunately, I’d read just enough to be dangerous. I am committed at this point, the soil is here and they need to come out of solo cups. This particular brand says to activate by warm watering 10/20% of volume. I gave it about 5% and it is moist. I don’t know if they meant soak it the first time, although I’m transplanting and it’s not supposed to be “wet.” I’m overthinking again but expected it to take more water.

If I can work out conditions in the basement I will move down there. I get the extra 2” on the tent down there too. I will think about if I want to do a bed, which I would, but seems too permanent in a way. If I don’t do that, I’ll heed your advice and do 4 in 30’s. I hate that my mistake may waste this soil for this run but at least I’ve learned the lesson. I get the why and all of that. I’m hoping I’m going to be fast enough to not kill it all.

Thank you! I was so confused and had read so much. Haha.
 
m4s73r

m4s73r

71
33
Unfortunately, I’d read just enough to be dangerous. I am committed at this point, the soil is here and they need to come out of solo cups. This particular brand says to activate by warm watering 10/20% of volume. I gave it about 5% and it is moist. I don’t know if they meant soak it the first time, although I’m transplanting and it’s not supposed to be “wet.” I’m overthinking again but expected it to take more water.

If I can work out conditions in the basement I will move down there. I get the extra 2” on the tent down there too. I will think about if I want to do a bed, which I would, but seems too permanent in a way. If I don’t do that, I’ll heed your advice and do 4 in 30’s. I hate that my mistake may waste this soil for this run but at least I’ve learned the lesson. I get the why and all of that. I’m hoping I’m going to be fast enough to not kill it all.

Thank you! I was so confused and had read so much. Haha.
Soil isnt wasted, When your done just chop up the root balls, add some amendements, and mix it in with the new batch your mixing. Let it cook with the rest of it. Never throw soil away. If you feed it salt fertalizer, just flush it with tap water when your done.
 
SC69

SC69

Supporter
468
93
Soil isnt wasted, When your done just chop up the root balls, add some amendements, and mix it in with the new batch your mixing. Let it cook with the rest of it. Never throw soil away. If you feed it salt fertalizer, just flush it with tap water when your done.
Thank you! The worse part of this has been thinking I ruined these bags of soil that a bunch of work and time went into. I will get through the grow (we still hope as it’s the first time) by doing what it needs. I will fix it after which makes me feel a lot better about it. As long as everything I give it is certified organic, I’m ok…right? Leech out salts if used. I’m concerned about salts already, even though most tell me I’m crazy, and articles tell me I’m right to be worried. The only thing in my water that concerns me…sodium of 70ppm.

Thanks again!
 
SC69

SC69

Supporter
468
93
Soil isnt wasted, When your done just chop up the root balls, add some amendements, and mix it in with the new batch your mixing. Let it cook with the rest of it. Never throw soil away. If you feed it salt fertalizer, just flush it with tap water when your done.
Sorry…it’s moist with much less water than they said to give. Leave it or really wet it giving it the 10%? Not the same because of pot size? I know the peat needs time to soak up etc. (really, as you’ve seen I don’t know anything and I should have paid more attention).
 
m4s73r

m4s73r

71
33
Thank you! The worse part of this has been thinking I ruined these bags of soil that a bunch of work and time went into. I will get through the grow (we still hope as it’s the first time) by doing what it needs. I will fix it after which makes me feel a lot better about it. As long as everything I give it is certified organic, I’m ok…right? Leech out salts if used. I’m concerned about salts already, even though most tell me I’m crazy, and articles tell me I’m right to be worried. The only thing in my water that concerns me…sodium of 70ppm.

Thanks again!
My man, you are stressing this LOL. I get it. Dont worry about your 70ppm of sodium in your water. Thats fine. I am talking about if you start feeding your plants crazy amounts of synthetic bottle nutrients. Then you may need to run some water through it.
Sorry…it’s moist with much less water than they said to give. Leave it or really wet it giving it the 10%? Not the same because of pot size? I know the peat needs time to soak up etc. (really, as you’ve seen I don’t know anything and I should have paid more attention).
If its moist leave it alone. With 5 gallons your going to water them daily. If they get too big you may water a couple of times a day.
 
SC69

SC69

Supporter
468
93
My man, you are stressing this LOL. I get it. Dont worry about your 70ppm of sodium in your water. Thats fine. I am talking about if you start feeding your plants crazy amounts of synthetic bottle nutrients. Then you may need to run some water through it.

If its moist leave it alone. With 5 gallons your going to water them daily. If they get too big you may water a couple of times a day.
Thanks, I am too stressed and will learn to chill. Just made mistakes I could have avoided. I knew what you meant with the salts in the nutes. I have been worried about this sodium thing separately the whole time. Thank you and I know I’ll be back when it’s time to amend this correctly for my needs.
 
m4s73r

m4s73r

71
33
Thanks, I am too stressed and will learn to chill. Just made mistakes I could have avoided. I knew what you meant with the salts in the nutes. I have been worried about this sodium thing separately the whole time. Thank you and I know I’ll be back when it’s time to amend this correctly for my needs.
If you want to see someone that is doing organics in 5 gallons, check out Season 2 of the Build A Soil 10x10 on youtube. Hes running 5 gallon pots right now. In the same tent hes also doing a 3x3 bed, 3 30 gallons, and 3 7.5 gallon earth boxes. So if you ever wanted to check out a few ways of doing this thing, thats a really good source.
 
SC69

SC69

Supporter
468
93
If you want to see someone that is doing organics in 5 gallons, check out Season 2 of the Build A Soil 10x10 on youtube. Hes running 5 gallon pots right now. In the same tent hes also doing a 3x3 bed, 3 30 gallons, and 3 7.5 gallon earth boxes. So if you ever wanted to check out a few ways of doing this thing, thats a really good source.
Love their videos and have my nights viewing now. I’m just about to transplant these and sit for the night. It gets rid of the roommate too. Haha. Thanks for that.
 

Similar threads

Otaku_grower
Replies
27
Views
1K
SC69
SC69
supadoopa2
Replies
3
Views
167
BurnzYzBudZz
BurnzYzBudZz
saalim13
Replies
5
Views
335
saalim13
saalim13
FuriousStyles
Replies
13
Views
269
Solarscar
Solarscar
Top Bottom