Roots soil has Thrips, Happy Frog has Root Aphids and OFF has Fungus gnats
AS a Soil grower this is something we deal with and adapt.
This article reflects the newest recipe TGA is currently using.
To me, there is nothing like the taste of properly grown organic cannabis. The subtle flavors and aromas created when using Mother Earth are pleasantly overwhelming to the senses when everything is done properly. As with many vegetables, a rich organic soil can bring out the best in a plant. Throughout the past 20 years, I have tried almost every possible way to cultivate our favorite plant and while hydroponic is certainly faster and more productive, I have developed a soil that performs extremely well with very little guess work. I don’t worry about PH or PPM (parts per million), I simply have spent a few years developing a n effective recipe. Using seven gallon nursery pots, I can grow plants from start to finish using only water. Other than a bit of sweat equity every 90 days or so, this takes a huge amount of science out of the garden and puts nature back in charge. This recipe is slightly different from the one I had used previously— the one so many consider to be gospel— and that has been passed around for years from grower to grower. I consider this version to be new and improved and reflects the exact formula I am using at the time this book was actually printed.
I always start with at least 6-8 large bags of high quality organic soil. The selection of your base soil is very important, so don’t cut corners here. I cannot possibly discuss all the different products but I will mention a few notable favorites. A good organic soil should cost between $8-10 per 30 lb. bag. To get a really good idea of what I consider to be a balanced soil, take a look at the ingredients of a product called Roots Organic:
Lignite*, coca fiber, perlite, pumice, compost, peat moss, bone meal, bat guano, kelp meal, Green sand, soy bean meal, leonardite, k-mag, glacial rock dust, alfalfa meal, oyster shell flour, earth worm castings and Mycorrhizae.
I have always had success in giving my plants a wide range of soil amendments; I figure it's like a buffet where they get all they need.
Another soil product we are now testing is called Harvest Moon:
Washed coco fibers, Alaskan peat moss, perlite, yucca, pumice, diatoms, worm castings, feather meal, fishmeal, kelp meal, limestone, gypsum, soybean meal, alfalfa meal, rock dust, yucca meal, and Mycorrhizae fungi.
The Roots Organic soil has typically produced a more floral smell in the finished buds, while the Harvest Moon generates larger yields.
If you have access to good local mixes like these, then I highly recommend starting with these types of products. We have also had decent results using larger commercial brands, but not without plenty of additives. The best result we have seen from well known soil that is available nationwide is with Fox Farms “Ocean Forest” soil combined in a 2-1 ratio with “Light Warrior,” also produced by Fox Farms. On its own, the Ocean Forest is known for burning plants and having the wrong ratio of nutrients, but when mixed with Light Warrior it makes a pretty good base soil.
You can also just use two bales of their “Sunshine Mix #4,” but this is my last choice and plants growing in this may not complete properly with my “just add water” method of soil growing. The concept with this concentrated soil is to not have to worry about mixing nutrients once the soil is made.
The mix is placed in the bottom ¼ to ½ of the container and blended with base soil. This allows the plants to grow into the strongly concentrated soil and, in the right size container, they need nothing else but water throughout the full growing cycle. With strains requiring high levels of nutrients like Cheese and Space Queen and other high energy demand strains, we go as strong as ¾ of the container with Super Soil but this is only with a small percentage of strains.
Here are the amounts we have found that produce the best tasting buds and strongest medicines:
8 large bags of high quality organic potting soil with coco and Mycorrhizae
I am currently using 6 bags of Roots 2 bags All Mix light and 1 bag Coco
25-50 lbs. of organic worm castings
5 lbs. of steamed fish bone meal
5 lbs. Bat guano (Bloom formula)
5 lbs. Blood meal
¾ cup Epsom salt
1 cup Sweet lime (Dolomite)
½ cup Azomite ( Trace element)
2 Tbs. powdered Humic acid
This is the same basic recipe I have used for 15 years. While I have made small changes in the ingrediants the basic recipe has stayed the same with the main change being the type of products we use. I do make small changes and that means the true recipe is always changing slightly but each of the changes is small and if I see no benifit I return to the previous mix. The hardest ingredient to acquire is the worm castings. Most people don't even know what this is. Be resourceful and find it! Worms make up ¾ of the living organisms underground and hold our planet together.
Be careful not to waste money on “Soil conditioner with worm castings.” Buy local, pure worm poop with no added mulch.
There are several methods of mixing this up well. You can sweep the ingredients off a patio or garage and work with it there on a tarp.You can use a kids’ plastic wading pool. These cost about $10 and work really well for a few seasons. Some growers have been known to rent a cement mixer and cut down on the physical labor. As long as you get the ingredients mixed up properly, that is all that matters.
This can be a lot of work so don’t pull a muscle if you’re not used to strenuous activity. The manual method is good for the mind and body. Working with soil keeps me in pretty good shape, but if you have physical limitations you can simply have someone mix it up for you while you supervise. One of the things I like about this method is that I can drop off plants to a patient and all they have to do is water them when the soil dries out.
Place a few bags of base soil in first, making a mound. Then place the powdered nutrients in a circle around the mound and cover it all with another bag of base soil.
Then, in go the bat poop and more base soil. I continue to layer soil and additives until everything has been added to the pile. At this point, I put on the muck boots. These help me kick the soil around and get it mixed up well using my larger leg muscles and not my back and arms. Then it’s as simple as my Skipper used to say: “Put your back into it.” This is hard work that I obsess on, even breaking up all the clods of soil by hand. I mix for about 15 minutes, turning the pile over and over until it is thoroughly combined. I store the mix in large garbage cans.
Before using it, the entire load is poured out once more and mixed well. Once placed in the storage containers, I water the mix slightly, adding three gallons of water to a large garbage can full. It will make the stirring harder next week but this will activate the Mycorrhizae and help all the powders dissolve.
Now, we add water and let it activate and form a soil web. 45 days of activating is best for this concentrate, its just gets batter after that I am running 8-10 weeks before using the soil these days.
Do not put seeds or clones directly in this mix. It is a concentrated mix used in conjunction with base soil. Place it in the bottom of each finishing container. Fully rooted, established clones should be placed in a bed of base soil that is layered on top of the concentrate. As the plants grow, they slowly push their roots into the Super Soil, drawing up all nutrients needed to complete their life cycle. Super Soil can also be used to top dress plants that take longer to mature.
I use this mix for a full year, just adding about 30-50% in the lower portion of the container, depending on the strain, and plain base soil in the top portion. (Base soil means your regular potting soil such as Roots, Harvest Moon, or even Sunshine Mix without the additives!)
Buds produced from this method finish with nicely faded fan leaves and the end result is a smoother fruity flavor. The plants are not green when done but purple, red, orange and even black at times. The resin content is heavier and the terpins always seem to be more pungent.
This method is used by medical growers all over with amazing results. The feedback I receive is really positive with reports of hydro-like growth and novice growers producing buds of the same quality as lifelong growers.