Does watering a plantless pot with molasses water throw off microherd

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gomicao

gomicao

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Howdy all! First post here, and technically my first solo grow (I have helped with grows all my adult life, but never oversaw my own).

First my soil mix is the clackamas coots mix (organic living soil):

1/3rd Medium Perlite,
1/3 Sphagnum Peat Moss
1/6 Malibu Compost
1/6 Wiggle Worm Pure Worm Castings
Malted Barley
Crustacean Meal
Kelp Meal
Neem Cake
Karanja Cake
Basalt
Gypsum
Oyster Shell Flour

I have done various amounts of "research" aka reading on forums and websites. I understand the rule of thumb is that PH will be buffered by any decent organic soil, and is therefore a non issue. I have seen grow diaries and posts of people who have a similarly high PH coming from their tap like I do, which is anywhere from 8.3 to 8.8 depending on when I fill a bucket or jug. They have seemed to encounter issues later in the cycle of the plant, which appeared to remedy once they started adjusting it back down to something closer to "acceptable" in normal cannabis growing. I realize there could be any other number of factors involved in what they were doing to cause problems, but I feel like if I can painlessly adjust my PH to classically good ranges, then it seems like a no brainer and I don't mind the minuscule effort to do so. In this regard I have been switching between pure absorbic acid and molasses to lower the PH of my water, with a toss in of normal high PH tap when feeling lazy (all dechlorinated mind you). Rather than get into a debate about if I NEED to ph my water... I simply wish to know if what I am doing is safe for the microlife.

I am only a week or so into my seedlings growing in solo cups (all are happy) and have 4x 10 gallon smart pots in my grow tent waiting for the time when I will transplant them. My main question is as the title suggests. Will using a light molasses water (1/2 to 1 tbsp per 5 gallons of water) to keep the soil moist and happy until transplant cause an imbalance in the microlife when there are no plants/root systems in it?

My concern comes from the knowledge about the microlife in an AACT. If you let it brew too long one life form will start to dominate the other until there is no food left for it, die off quite a bit and then its food source will become abundant again, then it will start to feed on them and the cycle repeats. Think wolves and deer or something. When the microlife hits this point in an AACT it is past its prime, hence why it is suggested to use teas within a short range of their being brewed. Will my soil do this as well without roots in it? Will the molasses feed the bacteria and cause them to overtake the soils other microlife due to there being no plants to "give them jobs" so to speak? Or is molasses water a safe and friendly way to lower my water PH while giving the beneficial organisms in my soil a snack until my plants are big enough to transplant?

Link to my grow diary:
 
PhillipPhillip

PhillipPhillip

26
3
I think you will be fine. No need to get philosophical. Just grow some weed and learn from your own experiments.

i can say this though. I dont think the microbes enjoy the change in ph. If you are going to water at 6.4, then stay within range as long as possible.
 
gomicao

gomicao

23
3
I like your mix
Reminds me of Mountain organic's mix, 1/3 compost+castings, 1/3 base, 1/3 aeration.

I have seen some folks like to add more aeration to the ratio than I, which I guess can aid in "not being able to over water" the soil. Personally I am already trying to error on the side of less water than more, and use a pump sprayer to wet my soil vs a can or actual stream which seems to be helping me get the soil wet without run off. Basically water less, more often. The coots mix sounded nice as the amendments are not too heavy and the soil only heated up a little bit in the first week in the totes I used for storing/turning. Super soil or other things heavier on the amendments seem to want at min two week if not a month to "cook" before ready for use. Though my true goal is a purely water only crop which that would aid in, I am currently going to use some compost teas and or nutrient teas to keep things rocking.

I have some pot raising things to sit in my trays on the way, so I will know for sure soon if the bottom of my pots are getting too wet or maybe not wet enough. Since they have no plants in them yet drinking, I have been sticking to 2.5% water to volume of medium (10 gallon pots = 1/4 gallon water atm) every night or so depending on how it looks. Once plants enter the picture I will probably bump it up a bit more to 5 or 10% (half gallon to a gallon) depending on what the plant is drinking.
 
gomicao

gomicao

23
3
It is the alkalinity in the water that tells us if we need to neutralize acid. If the source water is too alkaline (hard water) the calcium and mimerals will build up over time raising medium ph and eventually blocking roots.

In organic soil, wouldn't those things get broken down quite easily by the microlife? I have not yet read anyone mentioning this in regards to the whole "if you're in organic soil PH doesn't matter" side of things. Does lowering the PH to something like 6.5+/- dissolve or break those down in a way that they don't stay in the soil? Keep in mind unless some freak problem comes along I won't be using any bottled nutrients to feed my plants directly, everything they take up will be delivered to them through the life in the soil, what it consumes and makes available to the roots. Sorry if I am explaining what you already know, just wanting to clarify because there are so many ways to skin the organic horse so to speak.

When looking at no till growers who don't PH their water, they seem to say the soil just gets better and better. What bothers me when people say PH doesn't matter with a good organic soil is when they say "I have never bothered to check mine and my plants are fine." Like.... ok but if your tap water's PH is around 7 or 6 already that might be why you never really had any problems not checking it. Or if it is really high, but what they always add to watering brings it way closer to classic ranges it doesn't prove much other than "some people can get away with it". Ultimately the only way for me to be satisfied would probably be a side by side grow of some clones in the same soil over a period of a year, one being watered with consistently high around 8+ or consistently low around 5- and see if that effects the plants and what soil tests say after every run.

I would be way more confident if people everywhere saying PH isn't affecting them actually tested their water a couple times a year and returned results as high as mine, and it still wasn't hurting anything. Supposedly the oyster shell flower (or was it dolomite lime?) is supposed to be a great PH buffer if my memory serves so that might be the answer. Perhaps when reamended with such after harvest it helps reset everything as it needs to be. Of course lots of organic soil growers also use bottled organic nutrients or various mixes of aerated teas which almost certainly cause their watering/feeding PH to drift every which way depending on what they are using... so I guess if that's not an issue then so be it. Plants seem to have better affinity for certain nutrients based on a drift of PH anyway so I assume that just opens up more of the buffet for them, depending on where its at.
 
MIMedGrower

MIMedGrower

17,189
438
In organic soil, wouldn't those things get broken down quite easily by the microlife? I have not yet read anyone mentioning this in regards to the whole "if you're in organic soil PH doesn't matter" side of things. Does lowering the PH to something like 6.5+/- dissolve or break those down in a way that they don't stay in the soil? Keep in mind unless some freak problem comes along I won't be using any bottled nutrients to feed my plants directly, everything they take up will be delivered to them through the life in the soil, what it consumes and makes available to the roots. Sorry if I am explaining what you already know, just wanting to clarify because there are so many ways to skin the organic horse so to speak.

When looking at no till growers who don't PH their water, they seem to say the soil just gets better and better. What bothers me when people say PH doesn't matter with a good organic soil is when they say "I have never bothered to check mine and my plants are fine." Like.... ok but if your tap water's PH is around 7 or 6 already that might be why you never really had any problems not checking it. Or if it is really high, but what they always add to watering brings it way closer to classic ranges it doesn't prove much other than "some people can get away with it". Ultimately the only way for me to be satisfied would probably be a side by side grow of some clones in the same soil over a period of a year, one being watered with consistently high around 8+ or consistently low around 5- and see if that effects the plants and what soil tests say after every run.

I would be way more confident if people everywhere saying PH isn't affecting them actually tested their water a couple times a year and returned results as high as mine, and it still wasn't hurting anything. Supposedly the oyster shell flower (or was it dolomite lime?) is supposed to be a great PH buffer if my memory serves so that might be the answer. Perhaps when reamended with such after harvest it helps reset everything as it needs to be. Of course lots of organic soil growers also use bottled organic nutrients or various mixes of aerated teas which almost certainly cause their watering/feeding PH to drift every which way depending on what they are using... so I guess if that's not an issue then so be it. Plants seem to have better affinity for certain nutrients based on a drift of PH anyway so I assume that just opens up more of the buffet for them, depending on where its at.


If you have a good functioning soil and healthy plant ph wont matter because the bacteria will break the food down and symbiotically feed the plant while the plant feeds the bacteria carbs.

Ph for solubility is to keep nute mixtures in a state the plant can uptake all of the elements in the fertilizer.

Alkalinity is how much calcium is in the source water and if its high it is like pouring a little bit of lime in the the soil each watering. Eventually it will build up and cause problems. And yes acid can neutralize this. Or better to mix down to about 150 ppm with filtered ro water.

I dont grow full organically. I know some growers have great result and most do not. Slow uptake is not reliable for a short flowering annual plant in my opinion. I grow indoors. Outside i would consider ammended soil grows. Inside i want control.


Also i suggest everyone read books written by educated professionals for any task. I never listen to threads and forums without knowing the members background and education. And i always research any info given unless i fully trust the source.


Most of the “successful” no till threads never get to harvest. But supposedly their soil gets better every time. Where are the grows with the great results?


And i would keep some fertilizer on hand even if dry organic and needs to be watered in. It takes many rounds to get the soil mix right for a strain.

Nothing wrong with fertilizing plants before a deficiency ruins the crop.
 
gomicao

gomicao

23
3
If you have a good functioning soil and healthy plant ph wont matter because the bacteria will break the food down and symbiotically feed the plant while the plant feeds the bacteria carbs.

Ph for solubility is to keep nute mixtures in a state the plant can uptake all of the elements in the fertilizer.

Alkalinity is how much calcium is in the source water and if its high it is like pouring a little bit of lime in the the soil each watering. Eventually it will build up and cause problems. And yes acid can neutralize this. Or better to mix down to about 150 ppm with filtered ro water.

I dont grow full organically. I know some growers have great result and most do not. Slow uptake is not reliable for a short flowering annual plant in my opinion. I grow indoors. Outside i would consider ammended soil grows. Inside i want control.


Also i suggest everyone read books written by educated professionals for any task. I never listen to threads and forums without knowing the members background and education. And i always research any info given unless i fully trust the source.


Most of the “successful” no till threads never get to harvest. But supposedly their soil gets better every time. Where are the grows with the great results?


And i would keep some fertilizer on hand even if dry organic and needs to be watered in. It takes many rounds to get the soil mix right for a strain.

Nothing wrong with fertilizing plants before a deficiency ruins the crop.


Yes indeed, I currently have some alfalfa meal, some fish hydrolysate, and molasses. I plan to get some kelp meal as well, along with potentially another bag of worm castings, so I cam make compost teas with the addition of the kelp or alfalfa. Some fish bone meal might be useful for flower. I would just use these ever few weeks or something (I have no figured that part out yet). It sounds like it is hard to "burn a plant" with teas and microbes since as you describe the action is in the rhizosphere/microorganisms.

I am certainly someone who won't take someone's word for something without more research. My experiences in mushroom (legal edibles) cultivation proved to show how much old, bad, and just plain wrong information is out there, with people actively promoting it, if even for a short time before they find it causes them problems and move on, or a "well known community member" who is generally to be trusted calls them on it. A worst case scenario for me would be a deficiency that needs correcting "yesterday". In which case I could end up utilizing some form of organic instantly available nutrients. There are certainly some good sounding options out there for such a tool in the tool chest. Each strain being as different as it is, will certainly want different things, but I am hoping after a few grows that I will start to understand when certain amendments will be needed so I can add them a week or so before my expected need.
 
MIMedGrower

MIMedGrower

17,189
438
Yes indeed, I currently have some alfalfa meal, some fish hydrolysate, and molasses. I plan to get some kelp meal as well, along with potentially another bag of worm castings, so I cam make compost teas with the addition of the kelp or alfalfa. Some fish bone meal might be useful for flower. I would just use these ever few weeks or something (I have no figured that part out yet). It sounds like it is hard to "burn a plant" with teas and microbes since as you describe the action is in the rhizosphere/microorganisms.

I am certainly someone who won't take someone's word for something without more research. My experiences in mushroom (legal edibles) cultivation proved to show how much old, bad, and just plain wrong information is out there, with people actively promoting it, if even for a short time before they find it causes them problems and move on, or a "well known community member" who is generally to be trusted calls them on it. A worst case scenario for me would be a deficiency that needs correcting "yesterday". In which case I could end up utilizing some form of organic instantly available nutrients. There are certainly some good sounding options out there for such a tool in the tool chest. Each strain being as different as it is, will certainly want different things, but I am hoping after a few grows that I will start to understand when certain amendments will be needed so I can add them a week or so before my expected need.


Yeah thats the trick. Keep in mind once you see a deficiency it is already advanced for weeks. And no organic amendments will be available even by next week.

Except mild amounts of micronutrients in seaweed extract (powder would take longer) and the processed fish Hydrosolate is not really true organics like you say. But that kind of fertilizer would be quicker but again weak compared to other fertilizers.

I run as many as 12 different seed plants at a time and in different stages. I keep individual gallon containers to mix feed for each plants needs for best results. And thats difficult to know what they all need. We are just practicing. Practicing growing.
 
oldskol4evr

oldskol4evr

12,192
438
you want your micro herd to stay active and well,walk out to the woods,find a tree that been laying there many years,lift that foot and stomp on the tree,when the foot goes threw the tree,reach in there and pick up a handful of that black stuff look like coffe grinds,place in a bag and take home put it in your pots,there are more microbes in 1 teaspoon than you can count in your life times.
there is also indegeniuse microbe organisim you can collect just from making a wood box,with a screen over it,place some steam rice in the box and find a place were there is abundunce mushrooms of difrent variety,leave that box there for about a week,when you come back there will be growth on the rice were the spores blowing around in the air have collected on your rice,that is the start to IMO'S,if you truely wont a microbe herd this is how you do it,nothing else is needed.
look into KNF farming mate,as far as keeping what you have going during the winter,just as long as you have a small amount of moisture in the soil and a bit of mulch over the soil,worms and microbes will thrive.
hell best way to make soil for that matter is to take a pile of leaves wet it down,throw a little card board in with it,throw a piece of carpet over it forget about it for about 4 months,when you come back there will be some of the prettiest soil your eye will bounce from your head hahahh,you can take that soil\compost and put in your pots and roll.
but hey there are 4 steps to making IMO'S,step 5 is when you can take about half handful and sprinkle on your garden and watch magic
 
gomicao

gomicao

23
3
Yeah thats the trick. Keep in mind once you see a deficiency it is already advanced for weeks. And no organic amendments will be available even by next week.

Except mild amounts of micronutrients in seaweed extract (powder would take longer) and the processed fish Hydrosolate is not really true organics like you say. But that kind of fertilizer would be quicker but again weak compared to other fertilizers.

I run as many as 12 different seed plants at a time and in different stages. I keep individual gallon containers to mix feed for each plants needs for best results. And thats difficult to know what they all need. We are just practicing. Practicing growing.

Yeah it certainly is a steep curve to learn on I will admit. I am pretty new so anticipating a problem early on might be a bit beyond my scope. Hopefully the lessons the plants give me won't be too harsh... I sure will find out though. Practice is where I am at. New space and environment, so even that alone and figuring out how that wants to play ball with things is its own challenge. With luck I will keep the soil happy and full of what it needs and the plants will honor me as a result.

Would getting a fish and sticking in a food processor and using whatever resulting slurry came of that in a tea be considered more in line with true organics? Or would that be more in line with "Feeding the plant" vs the soil and hence why it wouldn't really be a true organic living soil grow?
 
MIMedGrower

MIMedGrower

17,189
438
Yeah it certainly is a steep curve to learn on I will admit. I am pretty new so anticipating a problem early on might be a bit beyond my scope. Hopefully the lessons the plants give me won't be too harsh... I sure will find out though. Practice is where I am at. New space and environment, so even that alone and figuring out how that wants to play ball with things is its own challenge. With luck I will keep the soil happy and full of what it needs and the plants will honor me as a result.

Would getting a fish and sticking in a food processor and using whatever resulting slurry came of that in a tea be considered more in line with true organics? Or would that be more in line with "Feeding the plant" vs the soil and hence why it wouldn't really be a true organic living soil grow?


I have no idea. Many make teas out of stuff. I dont know how effective or breakdown time.

Im not an organic grower.
 
gomicao

gomicao

23
3
Do you or anyone else have any potential links or sources in regards to using absorbic acid (Vitamin C) or citric acid as a PH down. I was using absorbic acid to lower PH and dechlorinate my tap water for a few waterings but became concerned when I couldn't seem to find any clear trustworthy source that said it most definitely wouldn't hurt the microorganisms of my soil or cause any PH imbalances/drift in the soil over time. Someone mentioned citric acid but I have the same concerns while also wondering if it too can dechlorinate like absorbic acid can. The dechlorination isn't a big deal, just a useful side benefit. I would just use absorbic or citric acid for my water PH adjustments if I could without worry.
 
gomicao

gomicao

23
3
you want your micro herd to stay active and well,walk out to the woods,find a tree that been laying there many years,lift that foot and stomp on the tree,when the foot goes threw the tree,reach in there and pick up a handful of that black stuff look like coffe grinds,place in a bag and take home put it in your pots,there are more microbes in 1 teaspoon than you can count in your life times.
there is also indegeniuse microbe organisim you can collect just from making a wood box,with a screen over it,place some steam rice in the box and find a place were there is abundunce mushrooms of difrent variety,leave that box there for about a week,when you come back there will be growth on the rice were the spores blowing around in the air have collected on your rice,that is the start to IMO'S,if you truely wont a microbe herd this is how you do it,nothing else is needed.
look into KNF farming mate,as far as keeping what you have going during the winter,just as long as you have a small amount of moisture in the soil and a bit of mulch over the soil,worms and microbes will thrive.
hell best way to make soil for that matter is to take a pile of leaves wet it down,throw a little card board in with it,throw a piece of carpet over it forget about it for about 4 months,when you come back there will be some of the prettiest soil your eye will bounce from your head hahahh,you can take that soil\compost and put in your pots and roll.
but hey there are 4 steps to making IMO'S,step 5 is when you can take about half handful and sprinkle on your garden and watch magic

Those are all certainly some ideas I could implement in later grows. This being my first solo grow in a limited space and dare I say at this point, limited funds left to contribute to much other than some potentially essential preventative pest management will see me expand to more things with later grows if I end up needing them.

First on my "when I have money again" list is to start a vermicompost worm bin. That seems like a key money saver amongst other obvious benefits. The KNF stuff looks really cool too, but once again I am trying to keep things simple for my first grow. The idea behind it being that with reasonably limited variables, I can track down what I did wrong, or when I should have given them something during their life cycle that I didn't if problems arise. I feel going too far too fast will leave me in a potential cluster fuck of possibilities if things go south LOL. This might be antiquated thinking though. I just mean to say, yes indeed to what you mention, but that my 3x3 in my bedroom for the first time might not be the right moment for it. What I initially planned with this grow is for it to be an experiment on just how far I could get with coots soil and only water. I expanded this limited mindset to allow for "nutrient/compost teas" and some hopefully well timed top dressings to stave off any deficiencies. I would prefer to stick to water/tea only. Hence my trying to find an essentially neutral nonharmful way to lower my water's PH (despite all suggestions that I don't have to worry about it) without fucking up my "beautiful soil" LOL.

Making my own compost beyond the worm casting bin would be a great step as well. Great things to consider for the future. I am lucky in that I am not alone on my venture and do have some skilled friends around who can help me out if they start going south, but they also may have different skill sets or preferences on how to go about growing and so their advice may not align to the "philosophy" I am seeking to operate from. Great suggestions though, thank you for your response! Local microlife could be a great thing so long as it didn't lead to invasions of pests :)
 
oldskol4evr

oldskol4evr

12,192
438
oh i see,well if your wanting to save money the KNF is the way to go,once you make all the feeds yourself,they last for years,there is a feed schedule also.
but by no means using the coots recipe are you gonna save money mate,you will see,anyway i didnt read any thing about a tent in your thread but i am a stoner.\what i thought is you were looking to build a soil and keep microbes alive while your not growing in it or winter,my mistake.
even though you could make a pile of soil and let sit to your ready to fill bag or pots,the microbes are still there again my mistake.
moving on sorry for the mishap
 
PhillipPhillip

PhillipPhillip

26
3
I have been using carbonated water to lower the ph of my tap water. This is a safe way to do it, but it can be expensive unless you have a soda stream or beer carbonation system.

My tap water is 7.8 ph and has 80 ppm of CaCO3. I am trying to raise the CaCO3 to 120 ppm.
 
gomicao

gomicao

23
3
oh i see,well if your wanting to save money the KNF is the way to go,once you make all the feeds yourself,they last for years,there is a feed schedule also.
but by no means using the coots recipe are you gonna save money mate,you will see,anyway i didnt read any thing about a tent in your thread but i am a stoner.\what i thought is you were looking to build a soil and keep microbes alive while your not growing in it or winter,my mistake.
even though you could make a pile of soil and let sit to your ready to fill bag or pots,the microbes are still there again my mistake.
moving on sorry for the mishap

No worries there. This is just a small personal grow in a 3x3 tent in my bedroom that I live in with my cat, with 4x 10 gallon pots that will be the home for the plants. You are not totally wrong, because I intend to switch out the 10 gallons I have once this run is over and add 4x new 10 gallons of the same mix, while I take the current ones out for reamending. I may not even take the root ball out and just cut the stock, then topdress and keep them watered. However since I am not going no till quite yet, it might not entirely matter if I reamend and mix it all back up vs top dress and keep the roots in there. It will have months to be stored in the garage or where ever they end up. I just have to keep it moist and alive at that point without going anaerobic, which shouldn't be too crazy depending on how I end up going about storing them while not in use.

If I may ask, what is it about the coots mix that you feel is costly? It seemed like the most expensive thing I had to buy was the worm castings/compost for the initial build of the soil (specifically the worm castings). The amount of amendments I had to add to 40 gallons of soil felt pretty miniscule. I wasn't going for a crazy hot super soil though. Something that would let me get by with water and the occasional boost of organisms and nutrients from teas or topdressings.

Not against KNF methods (I have only looked up a bit of info on that so far though full disclosure). But being able to recycle the soil I use by simply adding a few cups of basic organic ingredients seemed infinitely cheaper than how I had seen friends and acquaintances do it in the past where they would end up tossing away everything and starting fresh every time. Even more so with my own castings and worm bin. Granted that was 15 years ago and a lot has changed since then, even if they still grew the best cannabis I have seen to this day.

I rent a room in a house with other people though, so my space and how much I can dedicate to any grow setup is on the smaller side of what would be ideal. I really do appreciate your suggestions, and will almost certainly be looking into them for the future. Not a mishap in my mind what so ever <3
 
gomicao

gomicao

23
3
I have been using carbonated water to lower the ph of my tap water. This is a safe way to do it, but it can be expensive unless you have a soda stream or beer carbonation system.

My tap water is 7.8 ph and has 80 ppm of CaCO3. I am trying to raise the CaCO3 to 120 ppm.

Interesting... Yeah I do not own any carbonation system. I probably need to get a meter that reads PPM, I only went with a PH one, and it seems more and more like I will have more use for the PPM meter than the PH LOL. Tools in the tool box though... might not need them often, but when you do, its good to have no? I think oyster shell flour might have some kind of contributing amount of calcium carbonate in it, or something that matches it... I cannot recall at the moment what I was reading about it. That is a part of my soil mix at the least. Do meters detect specific things PPM or are you getting this from local water tests?

I downloaded the test from my local water company, I wish my PH stayed in the range they specified vs what it actually comes out of my faucet at. I am thinking buying carbonated water is beyond my financial ability unless it truly only takes a very small amount and doesn't cease working after the bottle is open and loses some of it. It would almost make more sense for me to buy a RO water filter and find a way to properly add back in all the trace minerals and such that are lost that seem to slowly cause people weird deficits or issues later.

Or if a soda stream is the same cost as an RO without the problems of removing trace minerals, that could be cool too. Stuff to think about... Of course it would be awesome just to be able to buy a 15 dollar jar of absorbic or citric acid and use a pinch of that in the water if I can get some confirmation that they can be used as often as needed for PH with no ill effects to soil life or plant.
 
oldskol4evr

oldskol4evr

12,192
438
I have been using carbonated water to lower the ph of my tap water. This is a safe way to do it, but it can be expensive unless you have a soda stream or beer carbonation system.

My tap water is 7.8 ph and has 80 ppm of CaCO3. I am trying to raise the CaCO3 to 120 ppm.
i use that alasken morbloom from home depot,0-10-10 like 8 bucks for a bottle if i remember right,not growing right now so hadnt bought any,anyway the 0-10 -10 has 2 benifits,it lowers high ph water and feeds the plant too.
my last grow was with coco i used the morbloom and every week or so i would add a touch of fish hydroslate for nitrogen,the whole grow that was it
 
PhillipPhillip

PhillipPhillip

26
3
i cannot confirm powdered acids as the solution here. The only thing you are doing is lowering the ph and not contributing to keeping it there.

The theory is that water alkalinity is the solution to keeping the soil medium in the optimal range.

The oyster shell certainly helps, but how much do you add and when do you do it. By the time you find out your soil ph is off, you have lost the fight. Dont let this discourage you though, just grow some weed and record everything.

I have a freshwater alkalinity meter made by Hanna. It measures CaCO3 specifically.

Are you venting your tent to the outside?
 
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