Still new to the web page so not sure if I’m posting this in the right spot, as this is more of a growing method than a grow hack, but wanted to share a method I’ve been using for a while that seems to work very well.
So a couple years back I was growing in DWC, which had been producing great results for years, when a serious case of root rot spread throughout the garden. After trying to battle it with a long list of additives, none of which seemed to work for more than a couple of weeks, I decided to change my growing method all together. So I tried both coco drain-to-waste and water-only organic living soil in a side-by-side experiment. The coco was run using Canna brand coco (not compressed), Canna coco A & B, Botanicare Cal-Mag, Dynagrow Pro-Tekt, and RO water. The living soil was made from a super-soil recipe that TGA Subcool had posted online (props to Subcool!) and grown with only RO water throughout the entire cycle (I’ve since started adding some unfiltered tap water to bring PPM up to 100ish. I’m on a well, 600 PPM out of the tap. Thanks to Tad Hussey for this tip!). While the living soil run was easier to maintain and produced what seemed to be higher quality flowers, the coco DTW vegged way faster, similar to what I saw in DWC.
So I wondered if it was possible to combine the speedy veg growth of coco with the ease, cost, and quality of flowering in living soil. Turns out the answer is a resounding yes! Once a cut would show roots (I clone using Rapid-Rooter plugs, Clonex gel, and clone dome) I would transplant them into a 1/2 gallon fabric “transplanter” pots that have a velcro strap that can be undone at transplant time (see pic #2). After they reached an appropriate size (see pic #1), I would transplant them into 15 gallon fabric pots filled with the living soil. To make this easier I would fill the 15 gals about half way, set a gallon jug in the middle, and fill the rest of the way (see pic #3). Then I water over the top of the buried gallon jug to settle the soil around it, wait a couple of minutes and pull the jug out. This leaves a nice hole that the root ball of the plant will easily fit into (see pic #4). Then simply pat the soil around the root ball, water, and transplanting is done! I then veg for 7 days before throwing those 15 gals into flower. Not long ago I started using Mammoth P once a week and the plants loved it. I’m gonna grab some Recharge soon and see how it works with this setup!
I would recommend this method to anyone who is currently growing with salt fertilizers and is interested in trying an organic living soil grow. A big deterrent from making the switch is the waiting period in which you have to let your soil “cook” (this process can be sped up by applying lactic acid bacteria serum, or LABS). Using this method you can start growing in a more familiar, controllable setup while your soil cooks, then have fully vegged plants ready to transplant by the time your soil is done. Once you’ve made your soil initially, you can simply re-amend at the end of every cycle for a fraction of the initial cost. I’ve been reusing my soil for over 2 years now and have had great success.
Has anyone else tried this method? If so what kind of experiences have you had with it?
If anyone has any questions about making living soil, reusing living soil, making LABS, or anything else mentioned above, please let me know in the comments.
Hope this info helps, peace DGC!