Discussion in 'Organics' started by Rasta Roy, Nov 5, 2016.
Another October 7th
@kratos015 recently did a post talking about how certain types of terpine effecting bacteria that can only develop if the soil is over a foot deep I believe? I can't remember the exact thread! So accidentally I'm getting those benefits! He had some points about what the soil in the bed can start to look like, which is something I've been thinking about but now I'm thinking about it more. This round has been the best looking one so far, and this one and my previous were pretty minimally fertilized (especially compared to when I was doing soil mixes).
I've been wanting to respond to your post for a bit but I haven't had the time to sit down and give you the attention you deserve!
I'd be super interested to hear about your microbial observations! I've got some books about soil bacteria on my amazon list, I'm hoping to start actually being able to identify the different bacteria. I have access to microscopes and I feel like I haven't really taken advantage of that resource as much as I can.
I haven't had my soil tested for microbiology yet, unfortunately! I am going to take a sample and hopefully get it sent in this week or next week, then I want to do another sample right when I cut down, and again a couple weeks after I've replanted.
I have also come to the conclusion that cover crops are a waste indoors (although I don't want to say waste cause that's not quite true). It's just the way that cover crops are supposed to work doesn't really fit with the way that indoor growing works (at least in an efficient manner). When growing outdoors, organic farmers will til their fields/plots/beds either in the fall with lots of organic matter that will break down over the winter, or will heavily apply manure and compost in the early spring a couple months before they actually plant their crops. They will grow the cover crop to start the nutrient cycling process, then they chop the crop and til into the soil before planting, the cover crop becomes what the professionals call green manure, supplying the plants with readily available nutrients and releasing fulvic and humic acids that help breakout down the minerals locked in the soil. Now, we can recreate this process inside for sure! However, growing inside uses up a lot of energy, and can be quite expensive. But the bonus is, you are not at the whim of the weather. So you can grow back to back crops, fitting more harvests in a year. So taking time out from those back to back harvests to grow a cover crop isn't really the best idea. (this is not in anyway discussing the three sisters cover crop method which is a whole different thing) That's why compost and castings that add readily available nutrients but not in an overabundance or precomposted soils are best for indoor organic grows. Fish fertilizers and fermented extracts as well but my focus is definitely on doing what I can to avoid liquid fertilizers and keep the plants healthy by fertilizing the soil in low amounts in a way that hopefully improves the quality of the soil tilth, encourages healthy microbial development, and maintains fertile soil.
My soil was definitely overfertilized my first round! Ph was too high because of it, and the first few weeks of plant growth were rough. After I added some sulfur to the soil and the plants got a little bigger the situation improved dramatically. I didn't fertilize for the rest of the round, my second round I didn't fertilized at all. Vegged for a little over a month before switching into flower. About five weeks or so into flower I had some yellowing in the beds that had my heavy eaters (skunk 47 mostly) so i top dressed in a pound and a half of all purpose bat guano into each bed. Didn't fertilize them after that. When I planted this current round I just added compost and castings and some rice hulls. As mentioned I've been mulching with worm castings every few weeks. Three weeks into flower I top dressed kelp meal into all the plants and tubs and pots.
Plants looking super healthy I love it. What's ykurnopinipn on a cover crop used as a live mulch?
Outdoors I'm into it, for an indoor grow I'm less sure. You want your soil to be consistently fertile if you want your grow to be the most economically sound and I feel like top dressing organic fertilizers at properly timed intervals or when needed (or fish fertilizer) would be a better way to achieve this than a living mulch cover crop. I try to lean on compost and worm castings as much as I can for keeping the soil fertile, they are already broken down and place accessible...where as a mulched cover crop has to break down, or pull N out of the air (which in an indoor setting I don't know how much N there is to transfer or if it happens at fast enough rate).
I would be interested to hear from anyone's that has tried but my approach is to mulch with compost/castings every few weeks.
Nitrogen is the main component of the Earth's atmosphere.
Earth's atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, and 0.04% carbon dioxide with very small percentages of other elements. Our atmosphere also contains water vapor.
I ran out of aeration to make it equal parts so was hoping my cover crop would keep the soil loose. How dry do you let your soil get? 1 inch dry then water?
To be honest in the beds I barely check the soil, if it visually looks wet on the surface I won't water, but that's about as far as I go. I look at the plants, if the leaves are pointing up at the light they are good, if the leaves are at half mast or lower, I hit em with some water.
Nice I like the way you think. Your strains look super stretchy it's a jungle in there!
Duuuuude your grow is beautiful! Exactly what I was hoping to try but I couldn't afford the electric bill for veg that long xD Pardon my french, but those plants AND your room look fucking incredible.
I did mention something about specific microbes only existed below 1ft deep in the soil, however I'm not quite sure if they're the bacteria actually responsible for terpene production.. but I'll be damned your buds already look ridiculously frosty from your Oct 16th picture.. are they even in week 4 in that picture?? With how little we (growers, scientists, etc) know about organics, it's entirely possible that specific terpene producing bacteria do in fact only exist below 12 inches however I'm only basing that off of your photos and results. I think it'd be pretty rad if someone perhaps did a side by side, one in a pot 8-12 inches tall and another in a pot 18 inches tall. That way buds from both plants could be sent in for terpene testing, assuming it hasn't already been done of course!
This was something I read Clackamas Coots post on Grasscity so that's where I got that information from. However, I can't say for certainty if the bacteria below 12 inches affect terpenes. To be completely honest, I don't even think that's something that Coot knows. He was pointing out how certain microbes can only live 12 inches below the surface of the soil and was also the one to point out that too much Phosphorus can also inhibit microbe development, saying that is why he chooses lighter amendments such as crab meal and fish hydrolysate.
The thing about bacteria being responsible for terpene development certainly isn't just limited to 12 inches below the soil's surface, at least according to a lot of articles I stumbled across. Just google searching "bacteria terpene" brings up a plethora of information. If I may, I'll post some articles and excerpts from them? Not trying to hijack your thread so let me know and I can just delete this
"Terpenes are generally considered to be plant or fungal metabolites, although a small number of odoriferous terpenes of bacterial origin have been known for many years. Recently, extensive bacterial genome sequencing and bioinformatic analysis of deduced bacterial proteins using a profile based on a hidden Markov model have revealed 262 distinct predicted terpene synthases."
"New research at Brown University and in Japan suggests bacteria could be a rich source of terpenes, the natural compounds common in plants and fungi that are used to make drugs, food additives, perfumes, and other products."
Just a handful of articles, again, not trying to hijack your thread.. I just feel I'm making a rather bold claim and feel I should back it up with citations is all! And for what it's worth, you and greasemonkeyman have taught me a ton with your posts and I've always had a great respect for the both of you.
The thing I found incredibly interesting about cannabis is how much it has helped organic cultivation as a whole gain more exposure in terms of both practice and research. From what I've read, apparently organic chemistry wasn't an official field of study until the discovery of petroleum in the 1850s. And on top of that, little of the advances in organic chemistry have been related to soil/soil sciences/horticulture/etc until recently. In fact, ever since the legalization of cannabis in various states we've just recently begun to discover new things about not just the cannabis plant, but living organic soil and how it works. Despite the millions of microbes we know exist, there are tens of millions of microbes that haven't even been identified yet by scientists estimates.
Living organic soil is probably one of the best things I've discovered. With it, not only can just about anyone grow quality cannabis, but quality vegetables as well. Could you imagine if every back yard were full of a living organic vegetable garden? If that happened then Monsanto wouldn't stand a chance!
I didn't even know this journal existed, I'm gonna browse through the entire thing as I'm sure there's something for me to learn from it considering your experience. I'll be subbing this as well because now you've got me incredibly curious about terpene producing bacteria living 12 inches below the soil.. if that proves to be true it could be absolutely game changing for not just cannabis but agriculture as a whole
i came to a simalar conclusion about super soil, at least for my current grow indoors anyway. it dosn't make sense for non-huge pots indoors. it is expensive and takes an outdoor space and a month to prepair properly. some bugs i don't want to have to balance. if the mix is not right or too hot during the grow it causes problems. outdoor it works but i find the plants want more so i give organic powders that last months. the bugs and microbes feed em aminos and micros but it takes months to kick in. indoor i go from small pots to big pots in a short time but there is a limit and i can't imeadiatly plant everything in large pots due to space constrictions, that leaves no room for the old big pot once a plant is chopped. huge pots are out of the question. i need a stedy ph and the ability to fine tune the feeding so i do use liquid. i want to replace or better source it so i use potassium sulfate and rock and seaweed and fish derived stuff. i avoid guano unless it's seabird and i avoid petrolium derived nutrients and peat and rockwool in order to to be responsible to the enviornment. i'm opting to go on half solar and wind if i understand the deal right .
Ah thank you for taking your time, what wonderful food for thought came of it!
I love your reasoning regarding the cover crops in indoor gardening!
Indeed, in their function as intercropped fertilizer they just don't make sense in an artificial environment.
This also applies to having permanent ground cover growing to assure the stability of the microbial herd!
The idea in this case is to have a mixed vegetation covering the soil always, with the main focus on having plants in that mix who have similar microbial needs as our desired crop. So when we go to sow, say corn (no-till! just poking holes in the ground and inserting seed, or worst case opening planting furrows), the microbial community corn needs is already fully active in the soil and the seedling can just click itself in (and into a mycorrhizal network that works for it too).
When we grow our cannabis back to back in our no-tills, we are getting the same effect automatically. Our time horizon is different than in the outdoors, and if we plant that next plant as soon as the old one is harvested, the microbial herd that fed the previous plant will still be there.
Cover crops, or maybe more correctly, ground cover, of course are also good for just covering the soil, giving it protection from sudden changes in temps, humidity, and the impact of the elements. But we can give our pot soils that with simple mulches, which add organic material back in too. Given our accelerated time cycle, that is probably the more effective way to go anyway.
That leaves possible allelopathic effects, but we can have those plants on the side, sitting in soil that is more suited to them. Plus our environments are generally less inhabited, even if we do tend to them in a nature-friendly way.
So yeah, so much for cover cropping/ground covering indoors!
I do admit, I am finding a chance companionship that established itself in one of my pots quite convenient though:
A borage sprouted itself when the previous plant, a Pineapple Express, was sprouting too, and its leaves would get mulched in every time they'd start overshadowing her. When she overtook it, it stopped growing, and remained a midget for the rest of the grow.
Towards the end, it then started blooming and another borage sprouted, which is now babysitting my seedling in the same manner as its brethren before.
It has something hand-and-glove to it, and the current Berry Bomb seems to approve
As for the microbial herd, I have a first story for you!
Today, I was able to confirm that when we see deficiencies in our plants, indeed, there is trouble with the life in the soil.
I had mixed up a nice compost-heavy potting mix for a NorthernLights#5xHaze seed, and microbially it was an active soil, if more on the bacterial side. I sprouted the seed directly in there (did you know that seeds put out exudates even before sprouting, prepping up the microbial life outside for when it does!!), and she was quite happy for the first 8 days.
I still don't know exactly how I did it, but I managed to cause a microbe armageddon and on day 9, my baby girl greeted me with a bright yellow - everything! Like from one moment to another, she sucked all the nitrogen out of herself. So 3 days later and the comfrey I had watered & mulchged not helping, I looked at the soil life. And yeah, there were diverse bacteria and even some fungi, but nooo cyclers. Not a flagellate, amoeba, or nematode in sight, not even anaerobic cyclers, like ciliates or rotifers.
So I did a number of things. Topdressed with older VC (that was kind of dormant though), fed them sprouts juice and comfrey, and went on to uppot her as soon as her roots started poking out the bottom holes. I had just harvested some VC, also very bacterial but with a heckload of flagellates, amoebae and nematodes doing their thing, so I used it to help repopulate those, which had been so strikingly missing from the soil before.
A few days later, the NLH is starting to green up, if still lightly.
When I went to check the soil today, I found a completely different picture:
A very diverse bacterial herd, beginnings of fungal growth, lots of amoebae and flagellates, and a nice nematode presence. Far from ideal, but clearly shifted, to something that is visibly becoming functional. Giving us a first glimpse of how indeed the health of the plant corellates to the state of the soil ecosystem.
If this were an experiment, my proceeding would have to be deemed sloppy - bringing in so many variables with the changes I made without checking in between! But since we're just observing, I'm allowed to do that
So I will continue to check the soil and the VC I add, while supplementing a bit with fresh plant juices and topdressings because I still think my soil mixes are a bit weak on the long-term nutes, no matter how much I say to myself, it's the microbes babe, it's juust the microbes haha
See how the plant is doing, and how that reflects in the soil populations. Fun times!
I only vegged for two weeks, and barely two weeks at that my dude! The first two rounds I did five weeks and then almost four for the second. This round I flowered em even smaller and I still had to tie some buds back so they wouldn't smash the light. The soil life is definitely geared up and suited for cannabis!
Liquid nutes and powders pollute the local water table friend. Not chastising you, but if you're worried about peat and rockwool ruining the environment, then you should look at your nutrient regimen as well. And if you had a proper soil environment your ph wouldn't be an issue.
great, thank you. i am woriedabout all of that. i was not chastizing anyone either. this is how i found out about the other stuff too. i have some questions. first i'd like to say that i recycle my soil as super soil for outdoor pots. i don't have much run off ever. indoors all the nutrients are used up so nothing goes down the drain. outdoor as i said is amended with raw organics so i'm sure i'mnot polluting any water table. potassium and smal amounts of sulfur might go in the ground but 10 sqft of lawn does 10 times more harm than my pots. so what is wrong with liquid kelp or rock or fish ect. dirived naturally? is my npk realy going to harm anything? i'm not salting the earth with it. it's not like chemical fertilizers. my ph is beter when i use a fresh bag of soil or a complete aged super soil. i can't cook soil at my apt without bugs and a lot oftime and it's not right for my indoor grow. i don't have the benifit of a basement or a yard right now. i'm doing the best i can.
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