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Just now, Rob said:

I am looking at adding a cover crop or some green manure.  My plants are in the ground, with several companions planted around in a circle.  Do I plant this directly under my plants now or should I wait until spring? I purchased a mix from David’s Garden Seeds, Oats, field peas and hairy vetch.

You can start a cover crop whenever you want my recommendation is cut green manure aka fan leafs or horsetail or nettles and then cover with compost or worm castings whatever you have available and then cover crop seeds into the compost/ castings layer cover with mulch layer and water the cover crop will push it's way through the mulch layer and be tapped into rich nutrients right from the start! 

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Alright time to talk about Compost Teas!


So first we will start out with my personal method of brewing a good quality compost tea. 


I use a 720 GPH (gallons per hour) air pump, getting good amount of air in your compost tea is important to multiplying microbial populations without causing a anerobic environment!


6 inch round airstone placed in the bottom of the bottom and cleaned after every tea!


5 gallon bucket of water with no chlorine or chlorimites so do not use city water this is important you want to use either distilled water, well water without chlorine or spring water to have the best compost tea, chlorine's in water will kill the microbial life you are trying to grow in your compost tea and we want that microbial life to live and thrive! 


I use a mesh produce bag easily found at any Fred Myers for only a few dollars works great and it's cheap!


Ok down to the recipe now that you know what all you need to get started!


I used 5 gallons of non chlorinated water

2 Cups of high quality compost or worm castings or 1 cup of each 

1/4-1/2 cup of molasses I usually use 1/3 cup molasses and you want to use black strap molasses because you want unsulphered molasses with no preservatives in it!

And then simply brew for 24-36 hours 


I then dilute at 4:1 or 3:1 (4 parts water to 1 part compost tea) I like to add my compost tea first then add water so if you use a resivour then add your finished compost tea at the dilution rate recommended and then fill with water so it all mixes together nicely! If you have a small garden like myself you can use a 2 gallon sprayer you can find at any big store with a garden section. In the sprayer I add the compost tea then add the water and shake it a little bit before applying! 


Pictured below is a proper example of a finished compost tea at 36 hours brew time! You can see the beautiful color in the tea and it doesn't smell bad at all! 


Next I'll cover some basic benifits of using compost teas but for more information on compost teas check out http://www.microbeorganics.com



When brewing a compost tea basically what your doing is massively multiplying microbes found in quality compost or worm castings! The molasses works as a food source for the microbial life increasing the population rapidly! 

When growing organically the microbial life is your friend and you want healthy populations in your soil to help break down organic nutrients/ matter in the soil and make it plant available as well as aiding the cycle of life in the soil food web! Compost teas can also help with fungal life in your soils which is great for helping with water retention and overall plant and soil health! 


I usually apply this tea once a week or once every 2 weeks 


Thanks for reading hope this perks some people's Interest and if it does definitely check out the microbes organics page. Let me know if you have any questions?


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Alright today we will cover Training your Plants!


Alright so here's a topic I'd like to touch on because I have seen alot of improper topping and training techniques and hope to help correct some of these to help you guys get better yeilds! 


So primarily what I see people do wrong when it comes to topping is mainly two things topping to early and topping to often/ to many times! Both things can be detrimental to your yeilds. While some people think this may increase there yeilds by having as many tops as possible. This will ultimately make you have more tops but with smaller buds so you loose yeild in the end!


What I recommend is Low Stress Training or LST for short! So if your gonna top your plants at all I'd only top them once and other then that I'd recommend training via several different ways you can use a trellis net, plant stakes and ties, tomatoe cages, or water training! There are other ways to accomplish this but what's most important is causing as little stress to the plants as possible and that's why it's called low stress training. This does a few things creates faster response time VS topping and you still help distribute auxins to help with new plant growth on lateral branching. Thus making more tops with less stress which leads to better plant expressions and higher yeilds! 


So generally speaking with low stress training you will be tying down your main branches or pulling them through a trellis netting.


For the tying down method there's alot of ways to accomplish this you can either choose to top once or not top at all! Just pull the main top over and secure it in place so it will redirect how it's growing. This will help kick start your lateral branching as these side branches come up you will develop more tops and you can pull the new tops down as you see fit to structure out the plant the way you would like. The more you do this the more tops/main branches will develop just keep in mind you want this to be a low stress thing so don't over do it and constant be training your plants down! Give them time to respond to each training and establish new growth if you see your leaf count drop down on new growth that's a indicator of stress and you should probably hold off on training if you see that happening! If you do it right you should not see any reduction on leaf count! 


If you wanna go the trellis route which I prefer I really like a double trellis system. Start with one trellis when the plants are smaller and then use another trellis when they get bigger before flowering so I can train them through the upper trellis as well which helps create that full canopy your looking for to get the most yeild with the space you have! With the first layer of trellis I'll start all my basic training and again you can do this either with topping once or not at all and just use the net to train your branches down I like this method because it's very gental on the plant and eventually also helps support the plant throughout flower! Basically you will just train the tops down under the trellis as they come up above the trellis so you will be spreading it out and maximizing your tops with very little stress at all to the plants. Once you have filled out your first trellis layer let the plants come up about a foot or two above the first trellis and then put your second trellis right at the top of the plants and then you can continue to train in the second trellis to make sure you maximize your space and have tops wall to wall! In training this way you will see increased growth rates over bad topping/ training practices such as I mentioned at the beginning. You will also see better plant expressions generally better plant health, more resin, more flavor and bigger buds which come on guys who doesn't want that! 


Ill share some pictures soon of examples of low stress training or simply do a little digging on the topic also I would recommend the book Secrets of the West Coast Masters this book provides information about low stress training as well as maximizing your space and yeilds great book for people with smaller gardens to make the most out of the space you have available! 

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Alright Tea Time!

This one is a crucial tea in doing living organic soil with success and is one of the first teas you should do after you mix up your soil and plant your plants!


The tea I'm talking about is a neem and kelp tea very simple tea just like the alfalfa tea your gonna want 

Per 5 gallons of water

1 cup neem meal

1/4 cup kelp meal 

Aerated for 10-12 hours 

Apply as is no need for dilution 

Also, this tea is great for both veg and flower cycles

I apply this tea once a week for best results


Neem meal is a key roll in a well balanced living organic soil and applying the teas will help with control of aphids and gnats as well as help provide some nutrients for the plants. This tea should be utilized to help maintain a healthy balance in the soil food web so nothing can get out of control. 

The kelp we have covered plenty about its uses and it's rolled in the garden but the main part of this tea is the neem meal!

Another thing I have noticed when brewing this tea is you can tell when it's ready by smell and that's kinda hard to explain but early in the brew there isn't a lot of smell and then when the brew is getting close to ready you can start to smell the neem meal a lot more but it's a really good smell. 


The Topic of Neem will be a discussion in itself for a future post but trust me it's coming because I would love to share the importance of the neem tree with all of you! :)


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21 hours ago, popeye! said:

I would love to share the importance of the neem tree with all of you!


Judging by the number of views it appears our members and followers would love to hear more from you. :2ywygih:

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So here's a topic that's somewhat foreign to people now alot of people think about flushing typically from a synthetic nutrient sense. When you have salt build up you flush the salts from the nutrients out of the growing medium to prevent nutrient lock out issues! Typically this consists of flushing large amounts of water through your containers allowing sufficient run off. While doing this you are leaving out the salt, now while this is a practice that should absolutely be implemented in any bottled nutrient growing regimen this is not necessary in a living organic soil environment.


The reason Flushing is not Necessary in Living organic soil is that there is no salt build up from bottled nutrients. When your doing living organic soil your roots are communicating with micro organisms in the soil and fungi to sequester water and nutrients for the plant. The micro organisms respond to the communication from the root exudates and deliver the food the plant needs in a plant available form after it has been processed by the micro organisms. The fungi also help with transportation of nutrients and water for the plant roots to help with overall plant health. 


When everything is in balance you will have a beautiful soil food web with all kinds of life including soil predators, worms, fungi, and depending on where you live you could have a variety of different soil life. This balance of life and death within the soil and decomposition layer will provide your plants with everything they need! 


The plant also signals when it is nearing the end of it's life and even without flushing the plants will naturally fade out by themselves because of that communication between the roots and microorganisms in the soil. Also if you did flush your plants you would be washing away some of the microorganisms your trying to help thrive and survive, usually you want as minimal runoff as possible when watering living organic soil containers. 


So let the plants do there thing they will fade out by themselves and you will be reusing the container again anyways so you want to have all the nutrients and soil life ready for when you transplant after you harvest. 

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Fungi! Fungus! Fruiting bodiesn mycelium! mycorrhizal fungi!


So if you haven't figured it out this one is gonna be all about mushrooms in living organic soil and how they benefit your soil, the plants, and the overall soil food web! 


Let's start with Mycorrhizal fungi or Mycorrhiza! So this is a fungal species generally associated with the root zone of plants and trees and there are tons of varieties of Mycorrhizal fungi and different one's associate and colonize better with certain plants and certain soils! So education about what Mycorrhizal fungi is best for you isn't a straightforward answer because a Mycorrhizal fungi that might be fantastic for your cannabis plants might not be as beneficial to say a pepper crop which prefers a bit of a different soil environment then cannabis! Also, the exudates of the peppers are gonna be different than the exudates from the cannabis roots! (Exudates are secretions from the plants root system to mediate  positive and negative interaction between plants to plants and plants to microorganisms and fungi it's a means of communication Essentially from the plants roots to the soil) This is a reason I try to practice having diversity in the rhizosphere (the region of soil in the vicinity of plant roots in which the chemistry and microbiology is influenced by their growth, respiration, and nutrient exchange)


Glomus mosseae is one particular species of Mycorrhizal fungi that have a positive interaction with cannabis roots and you will likely see it listed in almost all Mycorrhizal products on the market at grow stores. However, I do encourage practicing diversity! 


Decomposition Fungi!

Often times if your decomposition layer for your living organic soil is thriving you will often see flushes of mushrooms coming up from your containers or even outside in the garden area primarily the mushrooms you will see fruiting will be species of decomposition type fungi that is helping to break down that decomposition layer to help deliver nutrients to the plants quicker when the fungi and Microorganisms work in harmony this will greatly help things to get broken down quickly so it's available to your plants when they're ready for it! I do not recommend removing any mushrooms from your containers or gardens as they all help to play a roll in the garden and soil food web. A very commonly seen mushroom in the mulch layer of the garden is usually what most people refer to as Ink caps but you will likely see some others pop up here and there! 


Fruiting bodies and mycelium!


Let's start with Mycelium since that's where it all really starts! Spores are spread by air and water and then the spores take hold and the Mycelium develops as the Mycelium grows it will spread out and try to extend its reach and when it's doing this it will create basically a mat of fungal webs under the soil where it can stay protected from the elements! However, when the rain comes and soaks into the Mycelium this causes a chemical reaction change in the Mycelium which then will start to produce the fruiting body's to help spread spores to help the Mycelium spreading more helping the species survive! The fruiting bodies are of course the actual physical mushroom that you see above ground the fruiting bodies are like a survival technique for the fungi!

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