Introduction to Micro-Pond Cannabis Growing in Containers
I first thought about this move around early last year (2019), and started experimenting with various ingredients. This is one of the many methods of supernatural cannabis growing in containers that you will find in my new, upcoming True Living Organics book, that I am working hard on. Now, early last year, I started top dressing a different way, right after watering, on top of the mulch. Up there, the dressings had the greatest exposure to air and could support huge populations of microbeasties (microbial life). Capillary Action allows the dressings to just “suck up” all the moisture they need. Grab a copy of my 2nd Edition book here: TLO 2nd Edition by The Rev
Alfalfa meal is a real big player here. It’s funny, because alfalfa meal wasn’t even in the top 10 first things I tried out. But once I started using it, I saw what happened, and so will you. It’s not all about alfalfa, there’s a nice little plan of attack for you below to use what I have found most effective and when. You will need to have enough runoff water collect in your catch trays every watering, so that it will take the plant at least a couple of hours to suck it all back up. For addition info: Check Out Containers II by The Rev
Whether you used bagged soil, custom soil, or supernatural TLO soil, this move will seriously up your game, mark my words homeskillets. Put away your bottles, and dial in your water to be between 55 and 75 PPM, or as close as possible. No chlorine or chloramine. You must filter (dual filter) it with active carbon filters to remove chloramine. Don’t make any “teas” for your plants, don’t worry about anything but a consistent good water supply to your plants. It’s easy to create your Microponds, as easy as top dressing baybee.
What You Will Need
All these items will last you a super long time, as only small amounts of each are needed for maximum effect. The alfalfa meal will be the thing that you go through the most of, but still the amounts are small, even with the alfalfa meal. Alfalfa meal is a “total food” source with good potassium and phosphorous, along with nitrogen, a trick growth hormone, and much more. Huge healthy livestock grows up, eating this as an exclusive food source—think about that. Personally, I use Espoma brand alfalfa meal. Don’t worry when your “ponds” dry up amigos, most microlife can “hibernate” when it’s dry, not to mention the flood of microbeasties that are in the runoff water from the soil. Okay, the list…
- Proper Containers w/Proper Catch Trays (see video)
- Alfalfa Meal – also great as a top dressing
- Bone Meal or Fishbone Meal 🐟 – also great as a top dressing in small amounts
- Crab Meal 🦀 – also great as a top dressing
- Soft Rock Phosphate or Rock Phosphate Granular
- Dolomite Lime
I have read in several legit places about how alfalfa meal also introduces a lot of Amoeba type microbeasties into the soil (or Micropond), which is always an awesome thing when using living soil. This helps to complete the cycle of using the microlife themselves as a food source available to the plant roots—yep, Amoeba poop. Amoeba types are predators, bigtime, in the world of microbeasties.
Rundown on Items Needed for Micro-Pond Cannabis Growing
PROPER CONTAINERS w/PROPER CATCH TRAYS: You need well designed containers and catch trays that can hold water for up to 2 days, but at least a couple hours, before the plant sucks it back up. These catch trays with runoff water in them are your Microponds.
Your containers also must be able to “drain out” CO2 gasses created by all the increased microbial life activity when the soil is watered, WHILE runoff water is in the catch tray. Holes in the containers up on the sides just above the maximum runoff water levels are what you need here most. CO2 is heavier than air and “drains” out of your containers much the same way water would drain out of them. CO2 levels can reach toxic fast (20 min) if the CO2 gas can’t exit the containers through available drain holes, drain holes that are not under water.
ALFALFA MEAL: Great balanced N-P-K values along with iron, secondaries, and other micro/trace. Comes with an added punch of Triacontanol, a powerful growth hormone. Alfalfa is a highly nutritious food source for almost any life form. Also, ostensibly, it brings microbial life to the table, e.g. amoeba types, along with others most likely.
DOLOMITE LIME: You specifically want DOLOMITE LIME here, in one of two forms. Either “prilled” and fast acting, in pellet form—it must be fast acting! Or, in powdered form. This is a true buffer as far as pH goes and will help keep the Micropond in a better pH range, overall. Along with supplying magnesium and calcium; top shelf cannabis growing requires decent (slowly) available amounts of both of these.
BONE MEAL/FISHBONE MEAL: A nice dosage of calcium, and phosphorus, along with nitrogen that is in a form that flowering cannabis plants can put to good use, increasing bud size and yields. I would never add any of this during the final 28 days of flowering, top or bottom.
CRAB MEAL: This is a big supplier of slowly available nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium. It also is quite a badass catalyst when it comes to helping microbial colonies populate your Micropond. It’s sort of like a coral reef that colonies of microbeasties can live on and feed off of in the Microponds. Another bonus addition here from this is Chitin, an element I for sure think cannabis puts to great uses.
SOFT ROCK PHOSPHATE (SRP) OR ROCK PHOSPHATE: Excellent, in a word. Chalked full of minerals and phosphorus that the microlife will make available to the plants fairly rapidly due to their various activities. SRP is just the powdered form of granular rock phosphate. SRP is my first choice here and it works better than granular rock phosphate, but they both help noticeably.
Methodology of Micro-Pond Cannabis Growing
Okay my friends, here’s how we do… I will be using 3-gallon containers here when giving you these ingredient ratios—my standard flowering sized containers. Simply do the math to use this on any sized containers. To fully water a 3-gallon container when dry, you need right around ½ gallon of water, and this will allow enough runoff water to establish, and make effective, your Microponds. You will need the catch trays to keep runoff water in them for at least 2 hours after watering, and up to a couple days is fine as well.
- First watering in flowering: first thing you do before you water them the first time in flowering is add 1 tablespoon of crab meal, and 1 teaspoon of dolomite lime to the catch tray and spread it around good. Then water your plants. Once water has collected in the catch trays, add 1 tablespoon of alfalfa meal on top of the catch tray water.
- Second time you water in flowering: Once water has collected in the catch trays, add ½ teaspoon of bone meal on top of the catch tray water.
- Third and fourth watering in flowering: plain water, water to the standards I described above in this article.
- Fifth watering in flowering: Start over at step one and repeat steps 1 through 3 (just put everything on top of the runoff water) and during step number 2 from now on, additionally add ¼ teaspoon of soft rock phosphate, also on top of the catch tray runoff water. So, bone and SRP.
- At halfway through flowering point: Stop using any bone meal, and every other time you water from now on, just add 2 heaping teaspoons of alfalfa meal to each, period, and nothing else, on top of the catch tray water. Do this until you are two weeks from harvest date.
- At two weeks from harvest: One time only, at this point in time, add 1/8th teaspoon of soft rock phosphate on top of the runoff water, and you’re done! Just use your regular water from here until harvest. They should fade slowly and perfectly, ending up indescribably delicious, potent, and heavy. Just keep cycling through steps 1 through 3 with the added SRP from step 4, until the halfway to harvest point (step 5).
L8r G8rs – Micropond Style Extras
I even use this style with my vegging plants, just using alfalfa about every second or third watering in small amounts, nothing else. Pay attention to your container/catch tray dynamics, don’t go overboard with these additions, less is for sure more here.
You can adjust your ratios slowly depending upon your garden environment, over time, and dial it in perfectly within a couple harvests at the most. Make small moves when growing cannabis using living soil, regarding changes. And remember, if you screw up by over feeding them somehow, it will show up about 10 days later as sad plants with issues.
This is a standalone style that works awesome with TLO, or living soil styles for growing cannabis, that require no bottled nutrients. It’s all about your evolving microlife, and they just get better and better at giving the plant what it wants from the Micropond and the soil. Resist the urge to “feed” these plants in any way other than top dressings, used sparingly. Just focus on consistently watering your plants right when they need it. Every time you over or under water your plants during flowering, you’re getting “dinged” a tad for final yield and quality—make those watering skills a priority, and you will see incredible buds, consistently.
- REvski ✊😁👍 – 🌱 ♻ 🌱
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.