No-Till Coco

Discussion in 'Autoflower Myth Busters' started by Saint Skinny, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Stinkybudz

    Stinkybudz Auto Warrior

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    I actually pH my water for my plants around 6.8 to 7.0 for my super soil now with Dr earth juice natural pH down it's just citric acid crystals. I'm just using my unadjusted tap water for my worm bins to keep them from getting to acidic in the high peat based I have. I read in some vermiculture books that peat was a poor medium to raise worms in commercially or even for hobby use. But just like us using peat based mixes ph, moisture level, and other pH adjusters like dolomite lime are necessary, I've noticed more in photos than autos that my runoff will get relatively acidic near the end of the flower period if it has been vegged for a while in the same medium, although I think the maturity of the plant does cause nutrient intake to drop compared to water which would lower runoff pH I noticed that I needed to be much more diligent to get my runoff up in comparison to autos that spend less time in the same medium, I have not had a chance to compare to say a photo flowered right after rooting in it's medium.

    As far as red wrigglers vs Euros ive read under ideal conditions the wrigglers will edge out the Euros. Lb for lb of material converted into castings. Before I tried a coco base for the wrigglers I struggled with them when I first tried raising worms a few years ago. The Euros are much more tolerant to moisture and pH in the bin it seems. As my first run of wrigglers offed them selves over three or four days. Even with light over the bin they crawled out and into the carpet to dehydration death. First day was probably 75%, and the remainder over the next few nights, where as the Euros keep trucking. Now that I'm using coco they are probably 1:1 with the Euros, but I keep my Euros as they are better for fishing and are my fallback if I ever experience such a wormicidal incident as that first go years ago...
     
  2. Stinkybudz

    Stinkybudz Auto Warrior

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    I'd also like to mention the Euros are much more effective at going to a depth of 3-6 inches and I'll see even more as the medium fries and they chase the moisture deeper, the wrigglers like to be in the top 2-3 inches as a topfeeder, making the wrigglers more suited to flow through systems and Euros incredibly resistant to plastic bin life. I currently have my wrigglers in the vermihut and they and I both love it, I can't compare to the squirm factory worm in but I can say that it's half the price and the new updated model is out addressing it's shortcomings in relation to the squirm factory worminn2.0
     
  3. Stinkybudz

    Stinkybudz Auto Warrior

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    Awesome I've got to try rice hulls as well in my next run, how do you think they will respond to autopots? I find my worms love old root balls the best too, I apologise I meant I take old dried material such as stalks and old material from BHO or Bubble runs to get it a little more digestible, and have only fed that to the Euros because of the moisture resilience.:baked::digit: on a side note I can't believe how fast I converted from chems to organic with a few supps to full organic and reusing everything and reducing my waste as well. So amazing. Cheers mate
     
  4. Beast in the East

    Beast in the East Auto Warrior

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    @Stinkybudz really good to learn all your observations. I've not tried Autopots or dedicated SIP (Sub Irrigated Planter) containers specifically, but I have some experience with bottom-watering a bunch of little mother/backup plants in 1020 trays. These plants are around 5 inches tall and live in 6 inch square plastic pots that I have arranged adjacent to each other in standard black plastic 1020 trays. I would keep about an inch of water in the bottom of those trays consistently and the plants' growth rate increased very noticeably. This worked amazing with my standard coco/castingsORcompost/rice-hulls mixture in roughly 1/3 portions each. I would sometimes pull the plant out of the pot to check out the roots and would see worms inside those little root balls! Really neat seeing them loving the constantly saturated soil.

    I had to stop bottom watering for the following reason - those pots would run short on nitrogen or magnesium, and so I would add synthetic nutrients to correct - which was working well. Then I decided to add some bottled "liquid organic" fertilizer and sh*t hit the fan! The soil runoff was stinky and anaerobic smelling. The product I added was General Organics Grow. Since that happened, I'll never use anything except super soil or "clean" synthetic fertilizer. Currently I use Grow More Mendocino water-soluble powder to quickly correct deficiencies and feed backup/mother plants. I used Canna Substra bottled synthetic in the past with much success. That being said, I would much prefer my plants get their nutrition from super soil filled with nutrients from the beginning.

    This is a nice tidbit of information for everyone to be aware of! Would be nice if the worms could just leave notes in the "suggestion box"

    Interesting the Euro worms didn't try to escape. I received a bunch of red wigglers from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm and they were really upset upon arrival. They did try and crawl up and out of the bucket I had them in. After a few days of settling in and finding the food & moisture, they didn't try to escape as much. I followed the instructions in this you tube video where a bucket with tight fitting lid with a hole cut in the top is used to raise worms. It really worked well for me, here's the link:
    . The worms can't seem to crawl upside down far enough to get themselves out of the hole.

    On a side note, I flower in 3 to 10 gallon fabric pots and the worms love to climb out and hide underneath the fabric pots. I always find worms under each pot. In the most recent flowering period, when filling the pots with soil, I accidentally substituted my worm farm bucket rather than using a bucket of cooked super soil (I use the same kind of buckets for everything, so I got mixed up). So that means one of my 10 gallon fabric pots has probably 2,000 red wigglers in it! Going to be interesting to see the outcome. I'll bet top dressing that pot will work wonders!

    Also I've got to start measuring my runoff pH regularly. I'm probably missing good information about my plant and soil health. You mentioned the runoff becoming more acidic - that really interesting to me. I've been trying to find actual scientific research on what happens at the soil chemistry level when plants feed, but with no luck. My current understanding is that plants release acidic hydrogen ions that dislodge positively charged plant nutrients from CEC sites in the soil, like when they pull Calcium and Potassium from the soil and allow it to become soluble in the soil water, where it's available as actual plant food. My hypothesis is then: plants using up the soil nutrients will cause the pH of soil to fall due to hydrogen ion buildup on soil CEC sites. That would jive well with the consensus that autoflower plants are light feeders, and as such the soil pH will not drop as far when compared to a photo plant which is a much more heavy feeder.
     
  5. Stinkybudz

    Stinkybudz Auto Warrior

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    Same here regarding how much I actually measure runoff but I will say that just going organic has alleviated so many of the issues I had related to runoff and pH prior !!!
    I cannot wait until agronomy and horticulture allows themselves to converse with cannagardeners and compare their anecdotals to other research and even further hypothesis and theory because I feel like their in the equivalency or the medical field in the 1940s very outdated!!! Leaps and bounds will be made purely through this sharing of information. I've found so little research as well which amazes me as a canna farmer you and I are asking these questions how has NOBODY in a world where we rely on farming to at least be a portion of our diet we need to survive, answered this. I'm afraid it has more to do with plant this Monsanto seed, add this Monsanto proprietary chemical don't understand anything about what you're doing we'll sell you a chemical for it mentality that has destroyed this q&a where as you and I are actually observing these affects and effects first hand and asking the questions to understand why and what we are doing to the plant we are taking better care of than these corporations with our planet, our health, and most importantly our species and all of their health's. I will say after going completely microbial that I love knowing and understanding it. I get more of a fix knowing I successfully fed the microbial and healthy symbiotic relation to my plant than the actual success of my plant LOL. And to any organic doubters not only am I seeing bigger buds with a closer attribution of what the plant actually needs I don't see the need the flush or anything. I'd like to note your observations using a synth nute because I've read what I could as well and am not afraid to use a synthetic nutrient to feed my organic plants although at nowhere near the rate I use to, as ive noted it only takes a fraction of the nutes to allow the microbial herd to take these chelated nutrients and make them available to the plant. I've noticed such improvements in my plants by maintaining this balance and it's probably due to the innate amount of attention we pay ( and our gross obsession with care/input and thc output), but perhaps it allows us a larger gradient to observe these differences compared to say food crops. Sorry for all this hijack but I just love picking a sophicasted mind and bouncing my own ideas and anecdotes against. Good day :gary::coco:
     
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  6. fryge

    fryge Welcome to the CannaZone

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    actually, there is a lot of research, but you do need the right words to google(not with cannabis, but stuff like uptake of nutrients is so general/basic/shared between plantspecies, it doesn't matter which species you take, although there can be some details that are different, but the basic underlying mechanics are the same). I think searching for rhizosphere may yield some results, or something like 'plant-soil interactions'. and if you didn't know it already, try google scholar(scholar.google.com), it's way better as regular google when you want to find good scientific information. (although maybe in this case regular google could be better, since google scholar looks trough science papers, so you'll mostly find very specific information, but it might be too specific if you just want a good overview instead of that one detail. also if something is so basic/universally accepted that there's no new research into it it can also become harder to find with google scholar).
    (and when you find an interesting article and want to read more as just the abstract, but you can't use university-access to get around the paywall, you can use https://sci-hub.tw/ )

    I'm not really an expert on all the stuff that happens in the soil, I have had a few courses that (partly) dealt with it, but soil can get pretty complicated I think, I find the plant-stuff(whatever happens in the plant, or how a plant reacts to it's environment) easier.
    one thing that I have had in multiple courses is the difference between the 2 forms of N-fertilizer, nitrate and ammonium. to keep pH stable, you need a good ratio between them.
    to be taken up by the roots, nutrients need to pass into a root-cell somewhere. so they have to pass a cell membrane.
    there is a charge-difference between the inside of the cell and outside. so when a nutrient passes the cell membrane, it needs to be compensated by moving another ion with the same charge out of the cell.
    amonium=NH4+, a positive ion, so the plant releases H+, lowering the pH in the area around the root.
    nitrate=NO3-, so OH- gets released, increasing pH.

    there are also some specific differences between nutrients though. I think I get the stuff around N pretty well, but the stuff around CEC I need to read up on some time, I have a vague idea of it but don't fully understand it. but N is pretty simple, it's mostly in the soil solution, and leaches out. not like P which gets buffered in the soil over longer periods of time.

    I think a lot of other nutrients are also positive ions(K+, Ca+, Mg2+), so they would also have an acidifying effect.
    there are also some acids produced by the plant, then exudated, meant to make more P available(often P is present, but not in a form plants can directly take up, for example rock phosphate). so that could play a role in the pH going down too. although that's more species-specific, some plantspecies are very good at making these acids, but others rely more on mycorrhiza to get sufficient P. I'm not sure where cannabis fits in that spectrum.

    this free e-book is nice, it's more focussed on the plant's side than the soil, but chapter 4 would be usefull: http://plantsinaction.science.uq.edu.au/content/422-rhizosphere-chemistry

    and I found this page which also deals with how nutrients are taken up, but it's kind of short: https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/plant-soil-interactions-nutrient-uptake-105289112
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2018
  7. Beast in the East

    Beast in the East Auto Warrior

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    @fryge this is amazing knowledge! For some reason I was thinking the plant traded a positive for a negative ion, but I now know it's incorrect. Makes total sense why the plant benefits from both forms on Nitrogen. The links you provided are excellent as well and exactly the right information we need. I'll look into more "rhizosphere chemistry" online (google scholar, maybe there is a MOOC on Coursera that includes a section on it.) Thanks so much.
     

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