Howdy everyone. It’s time to update the Micropond growing style, a TLO growing dynamic. In the original article I was still feeling it all out. Since that time, I have done a lot of experimenting. There were a lot of so-so results, a few fails, and a few wins. The best news is that it is not only uber powerful, but the best way to use it is also very simple. No muss no fuss.
TLO, in case you don’t know, stands for True Living Organics. It’s the growing style I use and have used for the last 15 years. I have been growing cannabis for about 45 years—yup, I’m old, lol—and, the Micropond dynamic is, in effect, like a topdressing-on-steroids. However, it is all done in the catch trays. I’ll ‘splain it all to you below.
For a look at the previous article on this subject matter check this out: Micropond Cannabis Growing Style – Skunk Magazine. While this style has been evolving in my gardens, I have been using it on all my plants, except freshly planted clones. I only use just pure spring water (bottled, Arrowhead) on freshly planted clones for their first 10 days in soil. In my Micropond style growing experiments, I have killed several plants. However, on the flip-side, there have been primo discoveries. I have dialed in an elegant methodology.
Micropond Style Growing Methodology
Using the proper tools, like container dynamics I’ll show you below, is super important. The whole Micropond growing style revolves around the runoff water in the catch trays. Essentially speaking, you will want to use enough water each time you water to basically end up with a nearly full, or full catch tray.
The catch tray should be large enough (volume wise) to have some water remain in it for at least 12 hours; before being sucked back up totally (via capillary action) by the plant/soil. Even if your water stays in your catch trays for 3 or 4 days, that’s all good.
Massive amounts of CO2 is generated in your containers right after you water, and remains fairly present until the soil is “dry” again. This can be very bad. Deadly, in fact. Roots and microbial life all “choke” to death on this gas. Except, anaerobic microlife, which you never want in contact with living roots. CO2 is heavier than air, so it moves downward through the container’s soil as it’s generated. As long as you have drainage holes above any waterline of your runoff water, you are all good.
The “Madness” to the Elegant Micropond Methodology
Here’s how we do, Earthlings … When using container sizes between 3 and 5 gallons in volume, I would use ½ teaspoon of alfalfa meal, applied every watering; after the catch tray is full of runoff water. Sprinkle it right on top of the water in the catch tray. I do this to all my plants—lessor dosages for smaller containers—and I do this all the way until about halfway through flowering. At this time, I do the exact same thing I did with the alfalfa meal, except I do it with kelp meal—NOT kelp extract! I continue the same dosages up until 3 weeks before harvest. I stop all Micropond dressings at this time. This insures the highest smoking quality from the resulting buds.
Boom! Easy as pie to do. It’s fairly easy to use too much alfalfa (or kelp meal) on your flowering plants, or for too long, and you will give them more highly available nitrogen than you want them to have in later flowering. A single per watering dosage as I have laid out, does good things, cumulatively even, but don’t overdo your alfalfa/kelp meal usage.
The runoff water, powered up by soil nutrients, and soil life in the runoff water, not to mention the broad-spectrum nutrient kicker of alfalfa meal … So, let’s just say some SERIOUS life happens in those catch tray “ponds” full of life. Aerobic life—the good guys—along with amoebas, etc. Have you ever seen the documentary about the life within a dew drop? Okay, it’s that, times a bazillion, heh heh.
PROPER GROWING CONTAINERS & CATCH-TRAY SPECS
In the photo above, you can see the proper container facets for Micropond style. There are basically 3 things that should be present. All are important to counter CO2 buildup in your containers after watering. Let’s have a look at these important aspects of your containers.
- A: The arrow in the photo points to a lifted center section of the containers that also has drainage holes present. You can also add drain holes to a lifted section with a drill.
- B: In the photo the B arrow points to drainage holes that cover dual aspects of our container needs. First, the slices/drain holes up the sides rise well above what the waterline would be if the catch trays were full of runoff water. Second, these same drainage holes are also in contact with the bottom of the catch tray. This allows the plants to suck all the runoff water back up over time.
Your catch trays need to have their outer walls at least 1 inch away from the container walls. Wider is better than deeper as a rule of thumb. It is also very important when using the Micropond growing style dynamic, that your garden(s) has good air movement; even down low (where the catch trays are), you want some air movement. This helps draw the CO2 out into the environment for the plants to use. It also draws in more fresh air for the microbeasties and plant roots—yay!
Rev’s Tips for Using Micropond Growing Style
DYI Container Modifications: You can always use a drill to put drain holes where they are not. You can see in the photo above, I drilled out the little legs on these pots to enable the drain holes to be in contact with the tray floor. Drill some up on the sides of the container if needed, at a height above any waterline, ever.
Your plants suck back up hyper-processed nutrients along with vast diverse microbial life, full of nutrients themselves. It is literally a Micropond my friends. This methodology supercharges your soil in all aspects of processing. Keep it simple peeps. Stick to my formulas at first and dial in ratios for you. Avoid adding any kind of manure, guano, blood meal, or bone meal. These additions will bring life alright, the flying kind that will bug you, LoL.
Avoid mineral elements like greensand, lime, SRP, azomite, etc., as these can have longer term chemical effects with available nutrients; rendering them useful later, but not immediately like you want. You get both with my methodology, longer- and shorter-term food. The alfalfa/kelp both break down rather fast over a short time (10-14 days, or so). Micropond style supplies a source of food slow, and steady—exactly the favorite way your plants love it!
Your catch trays will start looking like the bottom of a pond after a while. Don’t worry, it’s all good. You’re counting on a breakdown schedule to occur over time. After harvest, you will see all the dried-up organic debris left over in your trays. If you clear this out, make sure and put it all back into your soil. When just a little is left over, I just roll it over and keep using the tray as is. It just has a “pond floor” already installed, ya follow?
If you are looking for some wicked seeds to plant for your Micropond Growing Style adventures, pay a visit over at Kingdom Organic Seeds KOS, and have a looksee. Good selection of sexually healthy exotics. Well, that’s it for me for now my green amigos. I’ll see ya back here next week at SKUNK. Until then, L8r G8rs…
“Non omne quod nitet aurum est.”
“All that glitters is not gold.”
- 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.