Greetings green peeps. Hold on to your butts’ man, we are going to go on a bit of a deep dive for some of you. Using just the living soil—jacked up a bit by yours truly—in some specialty containers (self-watering containers) you can find fairly easily at places like Wallyworld, we can build a fairly small sized container that will go through flowering with you just adding water.
The learning curve here is simple, do as I advise and don’t wing anything you are not an expert in. The hard part for most of you will be the restraint you will need to show. No feeding or fixing your plants; period. Just add water, and experience something supernaturally delicious! Don’t trip out about your yields, they will be fine. One of the biggest secrets to large all-natural growing yields is all about what’s NOT in them; believe it.
What You Will Need to Proceed
- Lock down your chlorine free water source first (between 50-90 PPM)
- TDS Meter
- Self-watering containers (always water from the top not the tray opening)
- Good soil (e.g. Ocean Forest or G&B commercial types)
- Earthworm castings
- Dolomite lime
- DE (diatomaceous earth) food or agricultural grade only
- Crab meal
- Kelp meal
- Bone meal (fishbone meal is awesome)
- Granulated bird or bat guano (chicken guano is all good)
- Steer manure (composted)
- Shredded bark mulch
- A tarp
- Granular Mycorrhizal (Myco) Fungus Product
Preamble—The Soil Prep
The soil you are using to actually transplant with needs to be slightly moist, but nowhere near wet. For the purposes of this article I will use a standard 1.5 cu. ft. bag of good soil (see photo) and for those of you that don’t know, that’s about 9 gallons of soil. Dump soil out onto a tarp for easier mixing, and then mix in perlite, earthworm castings, dolomite lime, DE, and a little steer manure. Here are the ratios:
- 3 cups steer manure
- 3 gallons perlite
- 3 tablespoons DE
- 4 tablespoons dolomite lime
- 8 cups earthworm castings
Mix all these with the soil very well and let this sit for 2 days, making sure to turn over this soil at least twice per day. Don’t add more than I recommend, even though you will likely want to, LoL. The small additions will pack a great punch, and will process very fast in the soil/earthworm castings blend, so as not to be damaging to roots.
Into the bottom catch tray through the lower access port of each of the self-watering containers pour in:
- 1 tablespoon kelp meal
- 1 tablespoon of granular guano
Now, on to the inside of the pot itself … Into the bottom trough inside the container itself you will want to add a little perlite first, then add 3ish tablespoons of steer manure, and 1 teaspoon of bone meal on top. After this cover with about 1” layer of soil and let this sit for a day before proceeding.
You can do the soil mixing and the container preps at the same time so your total waiting time before proceeding will be 2 days. In other words, you let your soil mix process on the tarp for a whole 24 hrs. at least then you can use that soil mix to top off the bottom container prep with the 1” soil layer. You NEVER want living roots to be put into direct contact with raw nutrient elements of any kind.
Sprinkle down some granular Myco fungus. Place the plant’s root-ball down on top of the soil layer and Myco. Then fill in with your soil—DO NOT COMPACT ANYTHING AT ALL—and bring it up to proper level. Use a sprayer to spay down the top of the soil a bit at this point, because you will be using spikes from my TLO style of growing (see video) and I recommend using Espoma brand granular chicken guano here for the spikes, but granular bird or bat guano will work too.
Always place spike holes away from the roots! Okay, next we are going to sprinkle down about a tablespoon of chicken guano and about a teaspoon of crab meal. The crab meal is awesome and brings a lot of chitin into your game, which is awesome! Along with a very nice slow release nitrogen and plenty of calcium. Spray some water on the top of the soil with the amendments top dressed and then add your shredded bark mulch layer. Boom! There you have it. NOTE: In the video I didn’t add the tablespoon of chicken guano just under the bark mulch layer, totally spaced it—D’Oh!
Where to Get Stuff
Basically, you can get everything on Amazon if you want to; but any good nursery should have most of it. As far as my very favorite and highly recommended granular chicken guano, I will give you a link to that below. I recommend crab meal over shrimp meal, in the past I have experienced insect infestations using shrimp meal, so there’s that.
Last but not least—RESIST FEEDING OR FIXING YOUR PLANTS—they will be adjusting to their new environment and you just need to supply good water. They can get over any small issues on their own. If you are growing under big 1,000-watt lights I would use the 3- or 4-gallon sized pots, depending on how large they will get. Under 400-watt lights, the container size I like is a tad over 2 gallons, and I harvest these plants at about 2.5’ – 3’ tall.
Sorry I’m so Magoo still with my videos—LoL—I’ll get better. Make sure to always water the containers from the top and don’t water using the tray access port at the bottom. You want the water in the tray basically to be a semi-constant food source, like a semi-constant tea. So just add water and watch what happens. Cheers, salutations, and best of luck not feeding, fixing, or adjusting the pH of anything.
LINK TO REV’S FAVORITE GRANULAR CHICKEN GUANO BY ESPOMA
This product is also available in a 3.5 lb. bag at Amazon as well. The above link is to the 25 lb. bag.