Would adding biochar to coco make it better able to hold dry organic nutrients on there?

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Smoking Gun

Smoking Gun

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Just looked, and it is indeed derived from Potassium Silicate 😕

Do you recommend feeding Silica; Cal/Mag; Tea for EACH watering while I'm in flower? Based on the slower growth, and only needing water every other day, I'm thinking that my microbiology is just not as robust as it should be. And maybe the reason the plants perk up so much after the teas is that they aren't getting enough of the nutrients from the slow release dry amendments as they should be. Thoughts??
So since you are in coco there are two things to keep in mind, first is that coco tends to suck up calcium; second is that coco tends to release a bunch of potassium later in the cycle. So what that typically means is that calcium should be supplied with most waterings so there is some calcium available for the plants to take up. I will say you are at a point in the plants life cycle where they are growing pretty rapidly and sometimes that is the cause of the lighter color growth at the top. But a sign of calcium deficiency is the new growth will be lighter in color possibly even yellowing out before the leaves from the bottom of the plant. But from the images your plants do look quite healthy.

Coco is not great at holding on to nutrients as it had a low cation exchange capacity (CEC). Each time you apply water you move old molecules out and replace them with something new, so I would recommend using some nutrients each time you water. Personally I would apply a small amount of cal/mag with each watering, silica every third watering and tea with one of the waterings that does not have silica; but this is just how I would do it. I would however aim to water every day if possible. One of the advantages of coco is that you can water regularly and each time you apply water from the top the oxygen within the medium is replaced. More oxygen at the roots will lead to better root, and ultimately plant growth. (This is why the guys who run hydro-like systems with multiple waterings per day have larger stalks.)

The tea is the best thing for feeding your microbial life, it is providing the food the micro-herd needs to survive. Though you have amended your coco with organic amendments a lot of that takes a while to break down, and only little bits are available to your plants. This is likely why they perk up when you give the tea. The dry amendments are still providing food, but not as readily as the tea. Also I would drop the molasses altogether, its not doing as much good as most people think. If you want to keep using the molasses give it no more than 1 tsp per gallon per week.

All in all you have very healthy looking plants, so not a lot of adjustment is needed in your regimen. Just a little tweaking, but that is totally normal and most people tend to tweak even after having many successful grows.
 
KanaGirl

KanaGirl

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So since you are in coco there are two things to keep in mind, first is that coco tends to suck up calcium; second is that coco tends to release a bunch of potassium later in the cycle. So what that typically means is that calcium should be supplied with most waterings so there is some calcium available for the plants to take up. I will say you are at a point in the plants life cycle where they are growing pretty rapidly and sometimes that is the cause of the lighter color growth at the top. But a sign of calcium deficiency is the new growth will be lighter in color possibly even yellowing out before the leaves from the bottom of the plant. But from the images your plants do look quite healthy.

Coco is not great at holding on to nutrients as it had a low cation exchange capacity (CEC). Each time you apply water you move old molecules out and replace them with something new, so I would recommend using some nutrients each time you water. Personally I would apply a small amount of cal/mag with each watering, silica every third watering and tea with one of the waterings that does not have silica; but this is just how I would do it. I would however aim to water every day if possible. One of the advantages of coco is that you can water regularly and each time you apply water from the top the oxygen within the medium is replaced. More oxygen at the roots will lead to better root, and ultimately plant growth. (This is why the guys who run hydro-like systems with multiple waterings per day have larger stalks.)

The tea is the best thing for feeding your microbial life, it is providing the food the micro-herd needs to survive. Though you have amended your coco with organic amendments a lot of that takes a while to break down, and only little bits are available to your plants. This is likely why they perk up when you give the tea. The dry amendments are still providing food, but not as readily as the tea. Also I would drop the molasses altogether, its not doing as much good as most people think. If you want to keep using the molasses give it no more than 1 tsp per gallon per week.

All in all you have very healthy looking plants, so not a lot of adjustment is needed in your regimen. Just a little tweaking, but that is totally normal and most people tend to tweak even after having many successful grows.

THANK YOU so much for all of this information. It is very helpful to me and I appreciate you taking the time to share your expertise with me. I was thinking that might be the case with the organic amendments not breaking down quickly enough, and why I possibly had some slight deficiencies going on. So, it seems maybe they are getting most of their food from my teas, and just a little from the dry amendments. I will keep feeding teas, cal/mag, and silica. I didn't yet water with molasses, I was hoping maybe I just needed to feed the microbes and get more action down by the roots.

I think I'm going to switch to a more hydro style grow with the next coco run - bottled liquid nutes only, and see how that goes.

Stay safe and thanks again 😉
 
THCMonster

THCMonster

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I'm using Silica Blast by Botanicare - I'll have to go take a look at the bottle.

Thank you for your advice - since this is my first grow in coco, I can use all the help I can get! I will continue to use the silica throughout the grow.

What are your thoughts about adding molasses to the Pure Blend Tea. I know it's not like brewing my own teas, but it's convenient for me.

Also, do you think the plants look like they need anything? The tops of the plants have a lighter green color than lower growth - I'm not sure if it's light bleaching or some deficiency?? Do you think I should be using cal/mag with every watering - or should I just continue with the once per week (currently using about 3ml/gal).

Thanks for all your help - I really do appreciate it 😁

Sorry for the late reply, you stated in an eariler post that you just switched to flower, the light green tips are probably just stress from the switch, i wouldnt worry unless they start to go from light green to a yellowish green color.

Also molasses and pure blend pro is a good combo. I say good for it! 👍
 
Smoking Gun

Smoking Gun

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THANK YOU so much for all of this information. It is very helpful to me and I appreciate you taking the time to share your expertise with me. I was thinking that might be the case with the organic amendments not breaking down quickly enough, and why I possibly had some slight deficiencies going on. So, it seems maybe they are getting most of their food from my teas, and just a little from the dry amendments. I will keep feeding teas, cal/mag, and silica. I didn't yet water with molasses, I was hoping maybe I just needed to feed the microbes and get more action down by the roots.

I think I'm going to switch to a more hydro style grow with the next coco run - bottled liquid nutes only, and see how that goes.

Stay safe and thanks again 😉
No need to limit yourself to bottled nutrients because you are working in coco. There are plenty of dry amendments that break down quickly and provide your plant with food almost immediately, insect frass is one that comes to mind immediately (plus the insect frass triggers hormones in your plants that help them fend off bugs). Some guanos will also break down rather quickly. There is also the option of mixing up your medium several weeks ahead of time and allowing the break down of the organic inputs to occur before you put plants into the medium. So don't give up on the method you are working with, just learn the ins and outs of it and you will be harvesting bumper-crops in no time.
 
Terpz719

Terpz719

545
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So since you are in coco there are two things to keep in mind, first is that coco tends to suck up calcium; second is that coco tends to release a bunch of potassium later in the cycle. So what that typically means is that calcium should be supplied with most waterings so there is some calcium available for the plants to take up. I will say you are at a point in the plants life cycle where they are growing pretty rapidly and sometimes that is the cause of the lighter color growth at the top. But a sign of calcium deficiency is the new growth will be lighter in color possibly even yellowing out before the leaves from the bottom of the plant. But from the images your plants do look quite healthy.

Coco is not great at holding on to nutrients as it had a low cation exchange capacity (CEC). Each time you apply water you move old molecules out and replace them with something new, so I would recommend using some nutrients each time you water. Personally I would apply a small amount of cal/mag with each watering, silica every third watering and tea with one of the waterings that does not have silica; but this is just how I would do it. I would however aim to water every day if possible. One of the advantages of coco is that you can water regularly and each time you apply water from the top the oxygen within the medium is replaced. More oxygen at the roots will lead to better root, and ultimately plant growth. (This is why the guys who run hydro-like systems with multiple waterings per day have larger stalks.)

The tea is the best thing for feeding your microbial life, it is providing the food the micro-herd needs to survive. Though you have amended your coco with organic amendments a lot of that takes a while to break down, and only little bits are available to your plants. This is likely why they perk up when you give the tea. The dry amendments are still providing food, but not as readily as the tea. Also I would drop the molasses altogether, its not doing as much good as most people think. If you want to keep using the molasses give it no more than 1 tsp per gallon per week.

All in all you have very healthy looking plants, so not a lot of adjustment is needed in your regimen. Just a little tweaking, but that is totally normal and most people tend to tweak even after having many successful grows.
Thanks for taking the time to share all that. Would you elaborate on your comment - tends to release a bunch of potassium later in the cycle. I'm not doubting it, and in fact I think that may have happened to me last cycle. When you say later in the cycle, do you mean later in flowering? What can be done to counter the effects for those of us who can't tweak our nutes to reduce just K?
 
Smoking Gun

Smoking Gun

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Thanks for taking the time to share all that. Would you elaborate on your comment - tends to release a bunch of potassium later in the cycle. I'm not doubting it, and in fact I think that may have happened to me last cycle. When you say later in the cycle, do you mean later in flowering? What can be done to counter the effects for those of us who can't tweak our nutes to reduce just K?
So typically the difference between coco specific nutrients and other mineral nutes that we would tend to give our plants is that the coco specific ones will have a bit more calcium in them and a bit less potassium. If you are using non-coco specific nutrients then I would say reduce the overall strength of the nutrients you are applying so salt build ups do not occur and the extra potassium will not be released too quickly. I am no coco expert and am still learning some of the real ins an outs of the medium and there may still be other ways to mitigate the excess potassium from being released that I may not know. I will say that I have been learning that keeping the coco from completely drying out is important, so that may play a role in keeping the medium in balance too.

@cemchris is one of the most knowledgeable guys on here when it comes to coco. Check out his posts for some great tips on coco.
 
Terpz719

Terpz719

545
143
So typically the difference between coco specific nutrients and other mineral nutes that we would tend to give our plants is that the coco specific ones will have a bit more calcium in them and a bit less potassium. If you are using non-coco specific nutrients then I would say reduce the overall strength of the nutrients you are applying so salt build ups do not occur and the extra potassium will not be released too quickly. I am no coco expert and am still learning some of the real ins an outs of the medium and there may still be other ways to mitigate the excess potassium from being released that I may not know. I will say that I have been learning that keeping the coco from completely drying out is important, so that may play a role in keeping the medium in balance too.

@cemchris is one of the most knowledgeable guys on here when it comes to coco. Check out his posts for some great tips on coco.
Thanks buddy! Makes sense. I hear your you - love coco but it's definitely not plug-n-play. At least not for me. I agree re cemchris! I always look forward to his contributions.
 
PlumberSoCal2

PlumberSoCal2

366
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I want to run mainly only water in the autopot reservoir. I am trying to figure out a way to make coco coir work with organic dry nutrients like dr earth fertilizer that you mix in with the coco then top dress every few weeks. I have been told that coco would not work very well with dry amendments due to coco not holding the nutrients in very well. I do not want to add soil to the coco due to reading about people having problems with bugs in the peat. I have read that biochar helps retain nutrients. If I mix biochar in with the coco would that help it retain nutrients and help it work using the dry amendments in the coco on there?
Why do you want to reinvent the wheel? Coco grow is easy. Mix nutes and water often. Easy.
 
FlintTownBrown

FlintTownBrown

6
3
If you add organic material to COCO then it will change the composition of COCO. It will compost over time and become something more like soil, your plants will grow just fine, but you wont be able to use the COCO like true COCO should be used.

You wont be able to water all the time or keeping the coco moist when run into serious problems eventually.

3 years ago i switched to Organics in COCO and i tried multiple ways to amend COCO, organic material will just screw you in the end, stay with the liquid organics.

You can still amend COCO with mineral base amendments though and it works great! I use them as time release Cal-Mag and PH buffers.

Minerals like:

Dolomite Lime
Sulfur
Rock Phosphate
Gypsum
Oyster Shell
Diatomaceous Earth

All these work really good in COCO because they dont breakdown like normal organic material, they mostly just leach out nutrients over time.
Monster, do you mix those minerals into your coco or top dress?
 
cemchris

cemchris

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Thanks. I decided not to use biochar on there.


If you decide to add biochar you need to run coco like big amended pots of soil/beds. Biochar will lock up N. Facilitates the NH4 -->N03 with bacteria. If you don't run it that way you will have to hit them hard with N and this in turn will also mess with the medium PH (because of NH4). Why you see people using biochar with coco also using lime (which coco should never need). Hence why you need to run it like amended soil w/ compost ect to keep the conversion going. If not you will have to hit it with bottles and then you will get into a world of problems.

It's one of those things where you need to decide to run it one way or the other. Don't blend the 2. Treat it like soil or treat it like hydroponics.
 
Whiskydrunk420

Whiskydrunk420

79
18
I want to run mainly only water in the autopot reservoir. I am trying to figure out a way to make coco coir work with organic dry nutrients like dr earth fertilizer that you mix in with the coco then top dress every few weeks. I have been told that coco would not work very well with dry amendments due to coco not holding the nutrients in very well. I do not want to add soil to the coco due to reading about people having problems with bugs in the peat. I have read that biochar helps retain nutrients. If I mix biochar in with the coco would that help it retain nutrients and help it work using the dry amendments in the coco on there?
I run coco with earth dust by green sunshine company. No perlite no other bullshit and it holds nutes just fine . Just find out what works for you.
 
AmWeedwolf

AmWeedwolf

14
3
Biochar is definitely good for boosting your CEC. Other things to consider include compost, worm castings, and greensand or zeolite. I add them all to my mix.
Just be aware that the soil CEC only holds cations that typically end in "ium" (calcium, ammonium, potassium, etc.) as well as heavy metals like iron, zinc, etc. But anions, which typically have either the "-ate" or "ide" suffix, are not retained by the soil in any capacity and either volatize or leach out. This includes nitrate and phosphate as well as carbonate and chloride.

calcium should be supplied with most waterings so there is some calcium available for the plants to take up.
This makes coco great for growers with hard water.
 
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