Howdy one and all; I’m The Rev and I have been around the cannabis growing and smoking genre for just shy of a half century now—yikes—and so I have seen and done a lot of things in those years. In my “Letters” to Rev series, I like to tackle some of the more interesting questions I get emailed and texted, and then answer them. I have heard from many of you how much you dig this series, thanks for sharing with me, my very green amigos 😊
Two awesome questions today, and I think some of you will glean some wisdom from the answers. Growing styles that involve using/leveraging the living soil really all revolve around consistency to achieve the best results. Today’s questions both, actually hit on that whole philosophy of consistency rather than “fertilizing” your plants from time to time—let’s dive in, shall we?
FROM: J. Cooper, CA, USA
“Hi Rev, I read one of your articles lately where you said you continue to learn things about growing all the time, and with all your knowledge of growing I can’t help but to be curious about what those things are. My question is, what is the biggest new thing you have learned lately about growing?”
REV: That’s such a great question amigo, and the answer is easy: Micro-dosing; conceptually it sounds cut and dry, but the reality of it is nothing short of amazing. To actually grasp this dynamic of micro-dosing you have to think small, and I don’t mean a little bit, but like micro-small; and that in itself is not an easy thing to do, even though it may seem to be, heh heh. It’s a paradigm shift in thought dimension for reals.
How this realization first came to me was when I used (stacked style) worm farm liquid (leachate) diluted in water on my plants and within 9 days they were hurting badly. So, what I did the next time was experiment with it on some of my strawberry plants. Now, you may or may not know that strawberry plants are the closest genetically to cannabis and I have always found strawberry plants to be reliable indicators when testing out new ideas; because strawberries react very much like cannabis would react.
As you likely know I don’t use any bottles of liquid nutrients, just bad ass TLO recycled living soil, good water, some aquarium water, and worm juice (leachate) essentially. It really all boils down to PPM levels, and leachate juice is off the scale with PPM levels, but I finally found that using like 1/8th of a teaspoon of leachate per gallon (or two) of water, almost always (like every other time I water), keeps my plants uber happy and healthy. Just make sure NOT to use any leachate (or anything else) on your plants once they are 2 weeks from harvest.
Kelp extracts are another example of micro-dosing excellence, and during vegetative stage I like to use a tiny bit of dried fish (about 1/16th teaspoon per gallon), some aquarium water (about 2 oz. per gallon), and a super small amounts of dried kelp extract (about 5 granules per gallon), every other time I water them. I let these additions bubble in the water for at least 24 hours before using them—I just bubble them highly concentrated in smaller containers, then simply dilute with good buffered water to meet my ratios. Just make sure your final water solution for your plants is between 40 – 80 PPM or so. Stay consistent as possible regarding PPM.
FROM: Dana H., FL, USA
“Great big hello Rev, from Florida! I was wondering how often do you check the pH of your living soil, and what you use to check it? I have not been able to get really reliable readings with anything I have tried yet. Thank you in advance.”
REV: Well, it may surprise you to hear that I haven’t checked my soil’s pH in several years, like 5 probably. The reason is that I simply don’t need to care about it. The massive populations of microbial life keep a handle on all that along with my buffered water, which runs about 42 PPM with beautiful levels of calcium and magnesium present via dolomite lime, so my water always tends to buffer my soil towards 7.0 naturally.
In my opinion, using supernaturally living soil, you don’t really get any good info from pH testing your soil, because it is far more complex of a question. Around the rootzone (rhizosphere) of your plants in microscopic zones, the pH will change from zone to zone depending on how the plant is manipulating the microlife in that zone, in order to get the nutrients; that it wants, not that you are forcing into it.
Basically, I am saying what you think I am, there is no need to check your soil’s pH—ever, unless you are just dialing in your first soil mix, experimenting and using unknown additions. You could mess this up, pH-wise, by using too much Neem Meal, or Cottonseed Meal, or using Hydrated Lime; and the list goes on.
If you are using my TLO soil mixes then you are golden, I have already done all the experimenting with amendments. If your water is too high in PPM then dilute it with rain, distilled, or R/O filtered water. If your water is too low in PPM then bubble it for at least 24 hours with some fast-acting dolomite lime, like you would do if you were making a tea for your plants. Your microlife will adapt to your water source and so will your plants as long as you keep everything consistent—consistent is the “magic” word here! I would always bubble some dolomite lime in my plant water, always. L8r G8rs, until we meet again, REvski out!
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.