A micro living organic soil grow

Well, they say it can’t be done, or well maybe it can but a pain in the ass with the watering/feeding frequency and the lack of room for error, maybe a few other reasons I’m not thinking of… well maybe this sort of newb over here can make something happen, or some sort of hybrid, what could go wrong right? :wink:

These grows might sort of be some experiments, we’ll see where it ends up going…

A lil bit about me, you may have seen me (previously Yawningtears) around lurking, asking stupid questions or making dumb suggestions, I don’t have that much experience under my belt, but I have consumed quite a bit of knowledge of which a lot has already probably slipped my mind and have a few handy skills a bit you could say.

The funny thing was that I was getting into growing because of covid, I was going to just grow food, and even for some dumb reason(not the most reliable choice in a crisis) wanted to pursue aero, and AAA aero at that (still might attempt later as I already built and parted much of it).


Then, after building a shell of a greenhouse, my buddy hands me a Mimosa, Purple Punch, and a Rainbow Punch and is just like, baby sit them for me for a few months while I go out of town…

Well he never came back so that turned into an adoption and a hobby was born…

That grow was ok, my friends loved it (I think cause sun grown), but it was a nothing special grow of Fox Farms and bottled nutrients with some definite nutrient deficiencies, bud rot and powdery mildew (I cut it all off and did some bud washing, I think it was ok :grimacing:)…

Even did a couple rounds of bubble hash and qwiso but gonna skip those pics for now unless requested.

Well, fast forward a bit and I’ve decided to go down the micro grow route, maybe even try my hand at some fun breeding or at least some seed making and hopefully give back to this great community one day.

I decided for another dumb reason that I wanted to build my own cabinets and made this crazy rigid tech box (I could do another write up/build if anyone is interested) with a few more planned to be built (1 prop/early veg, late veg/mother’s, regular flower, maybe a male/breeding tbd); they are approx 24x24x36”high:

A few other things, trying some blumat surface mount/cap mat setup…

Built my own Bridgelux EB series Gen3 lights (4k veg, 3k flower)…

The soil builds are going to get out of control, more on that later(gonna try some horizonal)… for now, the seedlings are in Buildasoil light, with aloe, yucca, mycos/benes, humic/fulvic, soy aminos, fermented grains, RO water (yeah, it’s stupid, I won’t know what went wrong lol)…

Trying some weird two container method with vermiculite in bottom, then coffee filter, then soil (separation for transplanting purposes ease; hand watering for now, not cap mat yet)…

Should maybe mention I started six seeds(F/photo), somewhat random but I think at least two strains may be suited for somewhat tropical environment (I’m SoCal marine but figured I might have high humidity and raise temps to compensate) but could be wrong (blueberry, super skunk, Uk cheese all from strainsupermarket). Put them in the RO water with a drop/splash of h202 for approx 24 hours, then threw in the 1/4” deep hole soil(pinched soil on top with aloe/myco) on the first night according to the moon gardening app :grin: (also started some catnip slightly before to test a bit)

So it’s been about a week since they have risen out of the soil, had some issues wary with heat and lack of humidity as I had the lights way too bright and humidifier issues and controller issues (cotyledons suffered); was pushing 90-95F… now I think I’m settled at 77F and 70% RH in trying to determine VPD in conjunction with figuring out leaf surface temperature differential on seedlings (I think the driest green zone on the 0 differential might be the safest bet for now?)… also been doing some foliar stuff, including one application of drzyme… also topped with some diatomaceous earth for some silica…

I def do (a lil) and mostly don’t know what I’m doing hehe, bought too many things, and welcome all ripping and constructive criticism, I’m sure I have left out a bunch, this is def somewhat of a trial for now hence why I ran those somewhat easy to get-ish strains vs some other “special” ones I have…

I should also say I am thinking of transplanting to maybe 3/4 filled 1 gallon pots and possibly half filled 5 gallons later for moms… am thinking of maybe taking 1-3 cuttings of each to save as moms while the “from seeds” plants go to flower.

That’s about all I can think of for now.

Also want to say thanks to some people around here who have helped, inspired, and shared seeds with me along the way and if I forgot anyone, truely apologize as there are so many people, but know I truly appreciate it(in no particular order): @Sebring @lefthandseeds @ReikoX @LemonadeJoe @JoeCrowe @Mr.Sparkle @Gpaw @nube @seven_trees @misterbee @heathen @Guitarzan @TerpSneeze @Chronickyle @ChronicMcBudz @ChemicalDependant @Seamonkey84 @Tinytuttle @Meesh @lotus710 @PlantShepherd @Badger @mr_jones15

Also want to give a big shout out to a veggie grower who I found on YouTube and has been there to bounce so many things off of, Kurafortak, this guy knows what he’s doing and is pretty next level for hpa.

40 Likes

This will be fun to watch! I’m especially interested in seeing how you fair with that RO machine in soil. I had no luck with it. Always an issue. I ditched it and just leave a bucket of water out to dechlorinate at all times and use that. Couldnt master the art of ph fussing in soil. Wishing you magical green thumb juju! Happy growing! :seedling: :green_heart:

3 Likes

Thanks, I should prob ph my water again, I’m pretty should it is 7+ however while maybe I should be, I’m not super concerned because apparently the soil will dictate it more than the water. I believe the water won’t change it much because of its lack of buffering and the Humic is supposed to help broaden the range as well… I’m also looking into some KNF and may incorporate some aspects, well I sort of have a lil bit I believe with some Organics Alive ferments, but also have some OHN and some fermented comfrey extract coming… might make some LABS…
Yup, I’m all over the place :rofl:

7 Likes

I really like that box! I’ll follow along for the ride. Might learn something. You have a lot going on there lol

2 Likes

Made my first comfrey juice last year! Great stuff! As a matter of fact, my comfrey is out of dormancy now and starting to grow in. Def gonna be more tea in the summer. I’ve been planning to attempt to make some LABS but have yet to try it. Plant potions are fun! lol

My water is like 5.5 here and my soil ph is still 6.6 so it buffers it. Just not thrilled with the amount of salts, zinc and other crap in the county water, but not much I can do about it with the amount of water I need outdoors. I believe you said you are in So Cal as well, so you already know that it never rains here. Gotta hand water everything all year practically.

2 Likes

I’ll follow along! I’m doing something somewhat similar, really interested to see how smaller living soil grows turn out

1 Like

Nice! I like your setups! Will keep checking in on this.

1 Like

I was just thinking I need to use bigger pots to retain heat at night. It’s not so much you CAN’T do small containers, you know, just it’s not easy. Although this is micro… hm, alright. More please!

1 Like

22C and 45% is my sweet spot, it works out pretty good vpd for all stages.

3 Likes

I forgot to mention, pretty sure my water has chloramine instead of chlorine, so I think that presents its own challenges and it may be an issue for the cap mat system we’ll see… I forget which thing I learned today, but their is some knf that helps with chloramine apparently.

4 Likes

For better or worse (mold issues?) I’m growing in a basement in SoCal and the temps down there haven’t ranged more than 65-75 so far so hopefully I’ll be good.

5 Likes

Thanks man, will keep that in mind…

Was reading this VPD guide by pulse and was interesting to see how the ranges effect drinking and eating, might play with it, well sort of already have (tho without enough for results I guess)

1 Like

You will probably want to think about an a/c or dehumidifier down there. Humidity is average 67% here. It will get stuffy down there by summer guaranteed. You only need to worry about it in bud, but still…

I actually predict it being swampy down there by June. Well too swampy for budding plants.

2 Likes

I will tag along.
You will be able to pull it off. Just leave plenty of room up top for top dressing, and do alot of teas and you will be fine. I would consider ditching the RO. If it is a 3 stage system just pull the RO membrane. You want the carbon to filter the chlorine and chloramine but you want the rest, so a 2 stage carbon and sediment filter is what you should use.
Especially in such small containers.
Good luck. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it.

4 Likes

You may very well be right, I may have to address or it might be fine, I’ll have to give a run down of that area more when I have some time, but it is a fairly large area that is vented to the outside with some circulation fans and a fair amount of dirt (not the most ideal spot, kind of like worst of both worlds, the higher exposure to bugs without the sun and the indoors without the lung room control, opposite of a nice light dep, enviro controlled greenhouse with supplemental lighting I suppose).

Here is some of the ambient in the lung room and box over the last three days of things getting figured and dialed in and box being opened a bunch of course (maybe hard to tell much from, not sure):



6 Likes

Nice. Like what I’m seeing

1 Like

I have heard this somewhat about RO but still not 100% sure how it’s bad for the plants/soil… one thing I’ve heard it being called dead water… and also not sure if I heard something about it robbing minerals since it is devoid and sort of needs to be filled? Also and I’m not a fan of is the wastefulness of it unfortunately :confused:

Anyway, it’s basically a five stage with I believe a post carbon… I think it is sediment, gac and I forget the other third probably common one pre filter…

Water has always been very interesting to me, just recently heard about the fourth phase of water, hydrogen water (h30?), de&ionization and the O.R.P. of water, the amount of energy it takes to freeze water vs cooling it, I think there is a difference between alkalinity and ph (think ppm I believe), I just today heard about some natural sort of low frequency energy that flows through water (forget the name)… it is one of the most simple yet complex things ever I feel like, pretty fascinating really…

3 Likes

The sound all around you is ripples traveling through the air like water on a pond. Physics is quite lovely indeed.

I don’t know that I buy into RO being harmful. Will it have no nutrients? Sure! But I wasn’t looking for nutrients from my water… so no harm no foul right? “Dead” Water. Ha. The soil was dead at one point too, was it not, before it became living? But I’m neither a chemist nor a botanist, so what do I know.

4 Likes

I forgot to mention I have already had two floods lol both fortunately non damaging, well one may have possibly hurt the youngins a bit when the tray flooded while I was asleep… right after I had fixed that… not too long after that my security alarm (Abode makes a pretty good product, this is my second for a second location I got used, added a rope expandable leak detector and a smoke detector signal sensor both of which set off the hub fairly loud, can send me notifications on my phone away from home, and can link into IFTTT where I will be trying to connect to a smart switch to flick on closing a NO solenoid on the main RO line) went off for leak detection when the tiny tube for the Blumat surface mount popped off its quick connect… that was a fast mess and stoppage mostly onto the concrete floors, glad I have electronics raised a bit… sometimes spilled water is just a convenient step done for cleaning :wink: speaking of which, gave the box a diluted isopropyl wipe down a couple days ago, may make that a weekly routine, maybe switch to vinegar as that is more the knf way…

Also in terms of an automated response to a problem like a water leak, was thinking about getting one or two of those fire extinguishers balls that auto disperse on contact, but man are those things a lil pricey!

Also by the way, I am using my tankless RO system straight (besides sink drinking water) to my blue mat system with an RV pressure regulation which is working pretty good it seems (turned down enough not to pop off the line of course)… at first I got a pressure regulator from sustainable village (they carry a few kinds) that ended up being more a flow regulator than pressure (“sennheiser 10 psi”; tried to save money) which also popped off before… but yeah tee off that main line, then rv pressure regulator, then Blumat and I have another tee near with a line coming off with a stop valve that makes for a nice lil RO type hose (maybe I’ll convert it to an actual/better hose later, but still convenient for now) and I just use a five gallon bucket under the hose for cleaning or whatever…

I think if someone is in a dry environment, cap mats might be worth looking into as they have that passive humidifier side effect and you can just potentially vent/intake with fans to dehu.

1 Like

Looks great! Love UK Cheese! Be careful, growing cannabis is highly addicting! I found it to be a gateway plant to growing other plants. :joy: :v:

5 Likes