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Old 03-13-2012, 11:44 PM
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PatrickStar PatrickStar is offline
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Default Let's Build an Organic Recyclable Soil!

It's time for me to build a soil for my next round of plants, and I figgured that I'd do it right . I want to build a soil that will:

1. Maintain it's structure and drainage capacity.
2. Maintain a stable Ph value.
3. Deplete it's nitrogen value completely after a 3+ month cycle.
4. Remain a hospitable place for healthy soil microbes.
5. Retain some mineralization from one cycle to the next.

If I do it right, I should have a kick ass soil that will require only water for 3+ week periods of even rapid growth in containers. It seems like plants are looking for soil in 3 week intervals - clone/seed, low nutrient value; veg, decent nitrogen; transition, add phosphate; flower, add potassium; etc...

I'm starting with ~20+ gallons of recycled soil. It is anywhere between 3 runs recycled to 1 run recycled. In order of which it was built:
Run #1: FFOceanForest 50% + perlite 40% + vermicompost 10% + crabshell + P guano + s.phos/leonardite (g.hydro rare earth). Appx 3cuft total
Run #2: (added to above ~50/50) Roots orig 1.5 cuft, perlite ~1cuft, vermicompost ~2 gallons + crabshell + Nguano + Pguano + r. earth.
Run #2a: Cut above ~ 40% above, 40% roots 707 soil, ~20% fresh perlite (end of small perlite)
Run #3: Made new mix with ~20% above (nothing recycled more than once yet) fine coco + vermicompost + last of crabshell + Pguano. Began topdressing bone/fish meal + bird guano dry fert.

The plants that I have in flower now, and will be added to my recycling mix are basically the above cut with chunky perlite, and amended with the bone/feather/fish meal/guano dry ferts. The soil should be pretty much depleted when it gets recycled.

Right, so most of that is irrelevant to most, but it's an idea of where my soil I'm starting with is at. It's mostly depleted of NPK, and I'm sure it could use a re-mineralization. I have yet to see a Ph issue, but I will address that ahead of time. What I have to work with right now is a little heavy on the structure side, meaning it will compact if watered too quickly or too often. I expect to add back ~10% either chunky coco or chunky perlite on each new recycling run to maintain structure/drainage, and I think that's the most important AND overlooked part of organic soil.

So I have this 20 gallons of slightly heavy, prety much NPK/salt depleted, microblicious soil. I added 1 cup of 3-0-1.5 dry fert made of cottonseed +soybean meals, r.phosphate, & potassium sulfate. It's not enough N to make it cook. Today I sourced THE SPOT for individual dry ferts. Bulk prices available in lil bitty sizes. What they DIDN'T have (reason I went there in the first place ) was chunky coco or a bag of dolomite lime less than 50lb. I picked up a pound each of greensand, soft r.phosphate, and kelp meal for ~$5

So the plan is...
1. Cut what I have 50/50 with fresh chunky coco.
2. Add back vermicompost @10% of total volume.
3. Add the following hard organic inputs for long term release. These will be added back at ~1/4-1/2 listed rates in future recycles
Dolomite Lime @ 1/4 cup/cuft. Supplies Magnesium & slows Ph swings from decomposition of other organic inputs.
Soft Rock Phosphate @ 1/2lb per cuft. Supplies phosphates & cal & trace minerals. Also has very high electromagnetism to aid in re-mineralization.
Azomite/volcanic rock @ 1/4 cup/cuft. Supplies trace elements, aids in re-mineralization.
Jersey Greensand @1/2lb cuft. Supplies potassium & excites soil microbes.
Crabshell @ 1/2lb cuft. Supplies N, P, and Cal. Releases at a rate between rocks and meals.

4. Add the following non-Nitrogen sources for use within the first 3 weeks of the roots saying hello. These will be added each recycle.
High Phos. bat guano @ 1/4 cup/cuft
Kelp meal @ 1/2 cup/cuft

5. Add insoluble and soluble Nitrogen. Will cook the soil, and start the breakdown of the 'hard' inputs. I'm planning on Alfalfa meal and High N bat guano @ 1/2 cup ea per cuft. Also added back each recycle.

Everything will get mixed, watered with de-chlorinated tap, and left to cook for 2+ weeks. The soil I'm blooming in now will get exactly the same treatment in 2 months (including the cup of soy/cottonseed/sulf.potash stuff). The goal is to have ~80-100 gal in use, 80-100 cooking, and 80-100+ ready to go.

I'm waiting on the shop to get the dolomite and chunky coco to get started mixing. After the initial cost of ~$10/cuft, each recycling run should cost no more than a few bucks for additional input, with most of that cost applied to perlite and or coco. AND you don't have to pay to dispose of medium. Recycling soil is cheap, easy (after the first time gathering supplies), and produces what I think is a better finished product compared to bottled nutes in a sterile rootzone. I'll get pics up when I start to get my hands dirty in a few days.

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