Today, I am going to rock your garden skills upwards, in a big way. I’m going to tell you about soil spikes, and their evolution in True Living Organics (TLO) growing here in 2021. If you have no idea what the hell I am talking about— “WTF is a soil spike Rev?”—LoL … I will first handle that. Read on…
Spikes weren’t my idea. I saw those ‘Jobes’ brand premade/compressed type spikes for houseplants, remember those? They still make them; I saw some for trees recently. Anyways, TLO spikes are essentially the same thing; just not compressed. I will show you guys some custom recipes, and basic guidelines, so you can use spikes for your cannabis plants and watch how wicked well they work.
Why use soil spikes? Well, you can allow your plants to stay in containers longer, and get larger than “normal” in those containers, while staying 100% happy and healthy. In high metabolism indoor gardens that run really hot and dry, they are almost essential, allowing your container to pack a bigger punch, food-wise, for the microbial soil life and the plants. Bigger yields, faster growth, etc. Let’s boogie…
How & When to Use Soil Spikes
I will give you all several cool recipes below. In reality, you don’t need to make your own custom blend for spikes, there are some standalone things that work awesome in spikes too. Here are the 2021 road rules regarding spike use.
A Top View Cross Section (above) of Newly Transplanted Plant and Spike Locations
- Never use soil spikes in containers’ soil where roots are already present. Raw nutrients in contact with living roots kills those roots fast. Outdoors, in the ground, on larger plants you can spike where roots are already present. In the ground, soil temps are cooler, air is limited, metabolism is slower, so it has only small negative impact on living roots.
- I myself only use spikes in two situations. Flowering containers, and long-term mother/father clones. However, you could always use them in every container (sizes above 3”) if you wanted to.
- Only use soil spikes during transplants so you can sink them into soil without roots! You want the roots to find the spikes and adapt accordingly, on site, heh heh.
- Per container, I use 2, or 3 spikes; basically 3 spikes for flowering plants, and 2 spikes for everything else. I used to use 4. You don’t need 4. Spikes pack big power.
Soil Spiking Tools & Technique
You can see a couple of my favorite tools (photo right) to make the holes in the soil, that you will fill with your chosen nutrients. All you need to do is… after a transplant, and just before you add your mulch layer, you mist the top of the soil in the container. This keeps top soil from falling down into the spike holes when you make them. Just gently drive the soil spike tool into the soil where you want your spikes to be. Keep the holes smallish in diameter, and ½” diameter is just about perfect for 3- or 4-gallon containers. Obviously smaller diameters for smaller containers.
You want to drive the soil spiking tool down into the soil and about 7/8ths of the way to the bottom of the container. Gently pull out the tool, being careful not to allow soil to fall back into it. Then you just fill up the hole with your chosen nutrients, to the top. After that add a little bit of soil on top of each soil spike hole filled, and then mulch your containers. Boom! I use bark mulch, so what I like to do is, place a larger piece of bark on top of each spike location.
Spike Standalones and Recipes
Okay, soil spikes in 2021 are so damn easy my esteemed good peeps. You can use any granular type, all-purpose, 100% organic dry nutrient as your only spike hole filler. Granular is important so that air can have access to the spike. This allows the spike to start breaking down faster, more evenly, and stay aerobic. I use dried, granular, chicken manure (guano) by Espoma for this purpose.
The best N-P-K values for your all-purpose dry nutrient choice, should be around 3-3-3. Try to not go higher than 5-5-5. This does not apply to custom mixes.
If you use powdered all purpose nutrients, you need to blend it with either alfalfa meal, or kelp meal, at a ratio of: 1-part all-purpose dry, to 1-part kelp, or alfalfa meal. This allows the spike to have more air access, due to the organic plant matter added. The plant matter will decompose faster than the dry nutrient, making space for air. If you want to get creative, here’s a few recipes below…
Soil Spike Custom TLO Recipes
Seriously speaking, any soil spikes should be essentially all-purpose. It should have pretty even N-P-K values, and a wide range of other nutrients, like iron, magnesium, etc. You can freely swap out kelp meal for alfalfa meal as you wish. They are both excellent broadband nutrient sources high in potassium.
- EXCELLENT FLOWERING CONTAINER SPIKES: (1) 1-part bone meal, and 1-part kelp meal. (2) 1-part bird/bat guano (not the high P type), and 1-part kelp meal. (3) 1-part crab meal, and 1-part alfalfa meal.
- GENERAL CONTAINER SPIKES: (1) 1-part blood meal, 1-part bone meal, and 2-parts alfalfa meal. (2) 1-part crab meal, 1-part bird/bat guano, 2-parts alfalfa meal. (3) 1-part blood meal, 1-part crab meal, and 2-parts alfalfa meal.
You can dial in your soil spikes to what is available to you. Just cover your bases, nutrient-wise, as broadly as possible. Remember my esteemed homeskillets, all nutrients work together. If any single nutrient is deficient, or has issues of availability, it negatively effects all the other nutrient availabilities. Most times the problem you see is not the problem that started the whole thing.
Afterword with Rev
Using soil spikes kicks ass. Don’t overdo it, and you’ll see the power! Don’t add things like lime, or Azomite, or any powdered minerals to your spikes. It’s too much of a good thing. Looking for another cool article to read? How about this: Cannabis Seed Germination Problems – Skunk Magazine. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my TLO Book 2nd Edition for tons more info on all-natural container growing. Grab yourself some wicked exotic seeds over at Kingdom Organic Seeds – True Living Organically Grown baybee—the Riffraff Thai is back!
The problem with the prefabricated soil spikes, like from Jobes brand, is that they are too dense and pack too large of a long-term punch for container grown cannabis. This is bad because the plant will still have access to available nutrients all the way to harvest. As you may or may not know, this brings smoking quality down.
My girl and I have been having crazy cabin fever lately, heh heh. You know the song, sing along LoL! I hope you all are staying sane and doing well in the Apocalypse. I’ll see ya all back here next week, same bat-channel baybee! L8r G8rs…
- 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.