Howdy all, using bottled nutrients all naturally is something I don’t do myself, anymore. But I used to. Because I have heard from a decent number of growers in the last couple months asking me how they can grow TLO style with very limited space, I wrote this. They have the room to do the growing, just not for composting, or a worm farm; with actually no storage space to speak of.
Today I wanted to basically answer this question in one place so I can just send a link to anyone else who wants to know this. I totally get this problem and living in like a 1-bedroom apartment or a studio, could definitely be challenging when it comes to all the composting and recycling logistics. You can get away with some limited composting usually and recycling your soil can be done it a tote.
The most important part of using bottled nutrients here, are which nutrients and how much to use. There aren’t many that will work in this situation, but there’s a couple I know of I will share. Okay then, let’s rock and/or roll baybee…
Things You Need for Using Bottled Nutrients All Naturally
- Dolomite Lime
The fish fertilizer will take pH down, while the Big Bloom will take pH up. Using dolomite lime as I will show you below, ensures not only good, buffered pH levels, but also a great source of magnesium and calcium.
- Low-ish PPM Groundwater
Your base water should ideally be groundwater, like dechlorinated tap/well water. You’ll be wanting to finagle your PPM to around 30 to 50 PPM for your base water. Usually this is a simple matter of adding some distilled, rain, or reverse osmosis filtered water, until your desired PPM is reached. Just measure how much it takes the first time, and you’ll have your formula benchmark making things easier in the future.
- TDS Meter
A TDS meter is a must have, in fact I would get two if possible. They’re not spendy, and for 20 or 30 dollars you can get one that will be perfectly good. PPM should always guide your hand heavily.
- Dual Output Air-pump, Airline, and Air-stones
You always want to bubble (aerate) your plant water, if possible, but you’ll also want to be for sure aerating your nutrient solutions for at least 24 hours before using on plants. You will definitely want at least a dual output air pump with some power to it.
- A Couple 1-Gallon Pitchers
Depending on your garden and space requirements you could get smaller pitchers like ½ gallon.
- Big Bloom Organic Liquid Fertilizer by Fox Farm
Do not confuse Big Bloom with Tiger Bloom, the latter is synthetic, also by Fox Farm.
- Liquid Fish Fertilizer 5-1-1 N-P-K by Alaska Brand
The NPK numbers are uber important, you absolutely do not want to use any organic liquid fish fertilizer that has P (phosphorous) or K (potassium) numbers higher than 1. Super-duper important!
When using bottled nutrients all naturally, as in all naturally how Mother Nature does things, you are going to make yourself a powerful living organic tea, basically. Big differences from your normal organic living teas are things like PPM levels, which can be uber high. This special tea will keep bubbling away 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the duration of your grow, you just keep re-beefing it up. So, choose a good location. Not too cold and not too hot per ambient temperatures, and dark/dim is also good.
I’m pretty sure there are other bottled organic nutrients that would work here, however, the two I have suggested are time tested. Big Bloom is like an earthworm castings and bat guano tea extract, and it also has some good salts present, so don’t fertilize directly with it, or those salts could work against you in the longer term. The organic fish fertilizer is chalked full of great stuff and the soil life goes crazy for this. Like I said above, the P and K numbers should NEVER be over 1, and ideally the N no higher than 5.
Methodology Using Bottled Nutrients All Naturally
Okay, your whole watering program is in 3-stages. You have…
- Your base groundwater, dechlorinated, and diluted if needed to reach desired PPM (30 to 50 PPM), and I use those 5-gallon water bottles to hold this water.
- The 1-gallon pitcher aerating and bubbling the high PPM perpetual tea. I call this pitcher ‘The Churn’ sometimes.
- The water for your plants (aerating), and I use a 5-gallon bucket for this purpose. This is where you blend your bubbling high PPM tea from the 1-gallon pitcher with your base groundwater from the 5-gallon bottle to reach your desired PPM. Low to mid 60’s PPM wise is a good target to shoot for.
What I used to do was to fill the 5-gallon bucket (with aeration) with PPM adjusted groundwater from the 5-gallon bottle (so, say 40 PPM), and I bubble The Churn (1-gallon) at least 24 hours before I will use it for the plants. I also would add dolomite lime at about 1/8th teaspoon to The Churn, and a very small pinch to the aerating/bubbling 5-gallon bucket. When using bottled nutrients all naturally, aeration is a must.
So, The Churn and your 5-gallon bucket are both bubbling away (with the added dolomite lime) for at least 24 hours before using on your plants. You can bubble them much longer too, no worries. Just always be pretty OCD regarding your PPM and always recheck PPM right before you use the plant water on your plants.
- Fill 5-gallon bottle with groundwater (dechlorinated if needed) and adjust (dilute) PPM if necessary.
- Pour water from 5-gallon bottle into 5-gallon bucket at least 24 hours before needed for plants and add a pinch of dolomite lime; aerate.
- About an hour before you will water, add a small amount of the nutrient solution from The Churn to the 5-gallon bubbling bucket. I normally check PPM of the bucket, then add something like 6 ounces from The Churn, and recheck PPM. This will give you a basic formula to reach your desired PPM level.
I keep both the 5-gallon bucket and The Churn on sort of perpetual status after starting things up. Always pour off the top of The Churn to avoid bottom sludge, but I never completely empty it out I just refill and redo it with nutrients when needed. This keeps all the microlife evolving and working better and better for your plants.
I sort of do the same thing with the 5-gallon bucket, never letting it go all the way empty before refilling. I keep this up through the entire grow. If the only place you have to make plant water at is cold, you can add small aquarium heaters to The Churn and to the 5-gallon bucket. Make sure aquarium thermometers are set at their lowest setting somewhere around 68 to 72 degrees f.
The Churn Recipe Using Bottled Nutrients All Naturally
You can make The Churn all crazy-high PPM wise, it really doesn’t matter if The Churn is running around 150 or 350 PPM. The only difference will be how much of The Churn you add to your plant water to reach your desired PPM level. As your Churn gets used, you can just add more groundwater to it to fill it back up. That’s fine, it will just take more Churn solution added to your plant water to raise the PPM accordingly—you dig?
You can adjust these nutrient ratios a bit for The Churn if you like, but those ratios below are a proven winner in the past. If you also wanted to add something like 1/2 teaspoon of alfalfa meal, that would be all good.
The 1-Gallon Churn Blend for Vegging Plants
- 3 Tablespoons of Big Bloom
- 2 Teaspoons of Fish Fertilizer
- 1/8th Teaspoon of Dolomite Lime
The 1-Gallon Churn Blend for Flowering Plants
- 3 Tablespoons of Big Bloom
- ½ Teaspoon Fish Fertilizer
- 1/8th Teaspoon of Dolomite Lime
Okay mi amigos, that’s a wrap for today’s article. I don’t ever use the Big Bloom or Fish Fertilizer these days myself. Using bottled nutrients all naturally is a good option for like apartment growing where your space is very-very limited. But if you have a little space, you don’t need any bottles. Dolomite lime comes powdered usually, but sometimes it comes prilled or pelletized, and this is all good, but if prilled/pelletized IT MUST SAY—FAST ACTING—on it.
Try out the crossword below if you’re worthy, heh heh. Also, if you have never smoked a real Thai before, consider visiting Kingdom Organic Seeds and grabbing a 10-pack of Chunky Cherry Thai. About 1/3rd of the female plants are longer flowering (75-ish days) and representative of a true Thai-High in my opinion! Check her out here at SKUNK too: MILF Rev’s Rave: Chunky Cherry Thai. For more info on growing true all-natural cannabis just using good water and recycling your soil, grab a copy of my True Living Organics 2nd Edition by The Rev on Amazon.
- REv 😊
New Year Cannabis Crossword Time…
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.