Greetings all. I wanted to do a dedicated article regarding The Churn today, and the workings of it as a TLO growing style tweak. I refer to The Churn in a lot of other articles and I always have to refer to this article, Letters to Rev – General Cannabis Growing | SKUNK Magazine, rather than link up a dedicated Churn article, like this one—problem solved!
Things have come a pretty long way since I wrote a Churn article in hardcopy Skunk last year. In fact, I am totally convinced that if you run a proper Churn dynamic, you could basically just use good, bagged soil like Ocean Forest soil, have a good water source, and that’s all you would need to grow even the hungriest genetics top shelf. Let’s dive in for a breakdown of how this works, wheeeee…
Proper Equipment for Churn Growing
For like your average size smaller home grow, I use a 1-gallon pitcher for the Churn, and a 5-gallon bucket to hold my plant water. I always keep both of these bubbling with large air-stones all the time. For a larger size indoor grow, you could use the 5-gallon bucket for your Churn, and a larger plastic can or tote for holding plant water in. So, first, dial in your water containers. Food-grade plastic is recommended when possible.
- You are absolutely going to want to have a TDS meter for this dynamic.
Don’t even try this if you are unable or unwilling to get a TDS meter. They are fairly inexpensive and very simple to use and maintain. A good one will cost you about as much as a decent pizza—wink.
- Get a decent quality dual output air pump for aquariums, airline, and a couple of larger air-stones.
Along with the things above, you are going to want a water source for (non-chlorinated) groundwater below 55 PPM. You can simply dilute higher PPM groundwater with distilled, rain, or R/O water. Get enough airline to reach your two water containers. Pretty easy to get this stuff, yes? Alright then, let’s get to the nutrient amendments we can run in The Churn…
Nutrients That Work Fantastic in The Churn
These are all suggestions of things to power up your Churn with, nutrient-wise. These are all things I have tested out myself and are good to go. The nutrient combo you will choose is dependent upon a few factors.
- Growth stage of your plants.
- Accessibility to various nutrients (locally) available to you, and your budget.
- Specific nutrients you know you need an extra supply of, like nitrogen for example.
There are several nutrient additions I consider to be fairly essential. Like dolomite lime, alfalfa meal, bone meal, and blood meal. For sure get those four, and in fact, that’s all you need, but there are some other things that can come in handy. Check out the list below.
- Dolomite Lime – A must-have if you ask me. The best pH buffer around, as well as a great nutrient supply of magnesium and calcium. ¼ teaspoon.
- Alfalfa Meal – This is a fantastic all-around broadband nutrient source here along with great organic matter for the microbeasties. Alfalfa also has a great growth hormone that I believe adds some serious juice to plant vigor. Huge farm animals grow up fast and healthy eating this alone, just sayin’. Up to a tablespoon.
- Kelp Meal – This is always a good idea to add, especially during flowering. ¼ level teaspoon.
- Bone Meal – A great source of phosphorous, calcium, and (flowering friendly) nitrogen, along with various trace and micronutrients. It also tends to buff the pH upwards, which is a good thing, because most additions have the opposite effect on the pH. ¼ level teaspoon.
- Blood Meal – Straight up magical plant power here, if used correctly. High (dangerous) nitrogen, a good iron kicker, and a bunch of micro and trace nutrients. Use with caution ⚠ … Blood meal is notorious for dropping pH. 1/8th level teaspoon.
- Diatomaceous Earth – I always use a little bit of this, it is great as a calcium source, along with buffering the pH upwards. It also brings in silicon, which is found at decent levels in cannabis resin, hmm. 1/8th to ¼ teaspoon.
- Azomite Granular – This stuff is crazy full of massive minerals like potassium (K), and other stuff like silicone—yeah baybee—along with cobalt and thorium, LoL. All these elements aren’t needed directly by the plant, but the living soil has uses for all of it. This stuff will take the PPM of The Churn up super-fast, so use very sparingly; 4 or 5 granules.
Here are a few of the other things I add to my Churns, and you can get pretty inventive here since The Churn essentially hyper-fast composts all the ingredients. Like the high N in blood meal is transformed into a safer form of N for the plants to use, as one example. Okay, check these out…
- Aquarium Water – Straight from your healthy freshwater fish tank. Outstanding addition, and you can run basically using just this and dolomite lime, period. I use 2 to 4 oz. until 3 weeks before harvest and then switch to 1 oz.
- Worm Farm Leachate – Wow! Another addition you could use all by its lonesome with dolomite lime. I use about 2 oz. of this stuff until 3 weeks before harvest and then switch to 1 oz.
- Bee Pollen – This stuff is just awesome, and nutrient values will vary with the source of the pollen. I’m a big believer in this and I think it adds some serious happiness to the plants. I use about ½ to 1 teaspoon.
- Crab Meal – Great source for P, N, and Ca, along with chitin. An exotic addition that I am fully convinced helps plants be heartier and more resistant to stressors. ½ to 1 teaspoon.
- Pumice – I always like some of this in my churn. It lasts forever, and I believe it acts like mini coral reefs for the bacterial microlife. Pumice isn’t accommodating to most fungi. Pumice is VERY accommodating to bacteria. I add about 2 tablespoons of this one time only.
It’s like a smorgasbord, my friends. Just dial in the stuffs that you can source easily, and try yourself a little Churn growing. It’s sublime.
The Process Baybee
I never clean my Churn, at least not for the year I have been running them, and neither should you. Life evolves in your Churn, just like it evolves in your recycling soil mix. The microlife adapts to your particular environment to do a better and better job for the plants. Ya get it? 😊
My Churns run anywhere between 100 and 500 PPM, and the real beauty here folks is that you don’t have to give a damn about the PPM value in your Churn. You want to bubble your Churn for at least a couple of days off the bat the first time you fire it up. I just keep adding more water and ingredients to my Churns, I have been running mine for about a year almost now I think, just like that. Don’t sweat all the particles in the Churn water, it’s all good, your churn will look like it is alive because it is.
Now… What you do is take your normal cannabis water that is below 55 PPM in a 5-gallon bucket, tote, plastic trashcan, or whatever, that is also always bubbling, and add enough water from The Churn to this cannabis water until the water measures around 62 to 65 PPM. The amount of Churn water you add will depend upon the PPM value of your Churn. As an example, my plant water runs about 52 PPM. If my Churn water is running up around 300 PPM, it only takes the addition of about 6 or 8 oz. of Churn water to bring my cannabis water up to 64-ish PPM. You do this every time you water, and you’ll be golden.
Earthworm castings, dead cannabis leaves crunched up, and bird/bat guanos are also all good as additions. Granular chicken guano is fantastic as well. You can run with very limited ingredients if you like. Just make sure to use the dolomite lime always. Like I said in the beginning, I’m fairly certain that The Churn is all you need to run all your plants all the time. It’s a great little dynamic that is fairly inexpensive to set up, easy to implement, and pays off bigtime.
- Feather Meal – A special note here, feather meal is awesome to use at any stage of growth. Excellent in The Churn at about ½ teaspoon. Ca, N, and more. You can also mix feather meal directly with your plant water as it stays suspended in the water. I sometimes use this trick, watering one plant with additional feather meal in the watering container, like a long flowering sativa. While backing way off any N input for faster finishing plants.
Swing by Kingdom Organic Seeds and grab yourself some killer healthy genetics to superpower your next grow with exotic gooey large flowers. If you want to learn more about True Living Organics supernatural growing style grab a copy of my TLO book. I’m outty for now good peeps, see ya next week. L8r G8rs…
- REv 😊
June Crossword Baybee
I was in a weird mood, and semi-ill when I made this crossword, LoL, so there’s that. It’s not too hard. Give it a whirl. It isn’t really too much about today’s article, The Churn, but it is cannabis heavy. Good luck amigos!
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.