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  • Organic Soil Growing 101

    Organic Soil Growing

    Introduction



    In the food industry an Organic certification means that a food was grown under conditions that meet or exceed the conditions for being considered Organic.
    With Marijuana it seems more realistic to call the system or process in which we grow Organic or not Organic.
    That system, of course, excludes synthetic agrochemicals and Includes the living helpful microorganisms.

    What is Organic growing?

    I found a wonderful quote:

    "An organic farm, properly speaking, is not one that uses certain methods and substances and avoids others; it is a farm whose structure is formed in imitation of the structure of a natural system that has the integrity, the independence and the benign dependence of an organism" Wendell Berry, "The Gift of Good Land"

    Farm isn't what most of us have but it is good quote nonetheless.

    Our model is the natural.

    At its simplest Organic growing is a seed that grows in the ground under the Sun.
    The soil it grows in has been formed by natural processes and the nutrients in the soil provided by natural mineral and decayed organic materials.

    In our current state of grow technology Organic growing includes the traditional as well as commercial products.
    We use electrical lighting to simulate the Sun.
    We trim and prune our plants to utilize the space we have indoors instead of letting it grow big outdoors.

    It may seem hard to grow Organically but it isn't.

    -----

    I will share what I know about the basics of Organic growing indoors. I also present information I have gathered from the internet.

    I trust others will contribute also since the subject is vast.

    These entries are meant to be added to, updated and improved upon.

    The goal is to inform, be a primer on getting started and provide some basic information to help the new Organic gardener..

    Material and topics provided here can always be improved with research on your part.

    Each topic will have it's own title so that the reader can find the one they want fast

    The Source of information I have gathered will be in text and in the color BLUE. You may wish to read up on what I have referenced.


    I welcome correction and suggestions.

    Randy

  • #3
    Natural Soil Types

    Natural Soil Types

    Sand, silt, and clay are the basic types of soil. Most soils are made up of a combination of the three. The texture of the soil, how it looks and feels, depends upon the amount of each one in that particular soil.

    The type of soil varies from place to place on our planet and can even vary from one place to another in your own backyard.

    Source : library.thinkquest.org/J003195F/newpage4.htm

    Soil types are a major factor in determining what types of plants will grow in a certain area.

    Plants use inorganic elements from the soil, such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, but the community of fungi, bacteria, and other microscopic creatures living within the soil are also vital.
    These living organisms help with the decomposition of dead plants and animals, breaking them down into soils

    Source : library.thinkquest.org/17456/soil1.html


    Soil is not only a support for vegetation, but it is also the zone (the pedosphere) of numerous interactions between climate (water, air, temperature), soil life (micro-organisms, plants, animals) and its residues,

    Source : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedology_(soil_study])

    Comment


    • #4
      Container Types

      Appropriate Containers

      Containers are available in many sizes, shapes, and materials. All containers, whether clay, wood, plastic, or ceramic, should have an adequate number of holes in the bottom for proper drainage. Additional holes should be drilled or punched in containers that do not drain quickly after each watering.

      Setting the container on a solid surface, such as a cement or patio floor, reduces drainage. Raising the container one or two inches off the floor by setting it on blocks of wood will solve this problem.

      Source : wvu.edu/~agexten/hortcult/homegard/cntanegrd.htm

      Most of us will choose a plastic type container. One common to find in a garden center. You could use anything as long as it is free of contaminants and drains well except aluminum (*). (See below).

      The style of growing is also a factor

      Growing clones in a 2 gallon pot is different from a mother plant, grown from seed, in a 7 gallon pot. A community grow uses a planter box approach where all the plants share a common soil.

      In all container types the basic concerns are the same. Aeration, moisture and nutrients. Nutrients from an organic source of course.

      Using a plastic type pot, I suggest to place small rock or other non toxic material in the bottom and place some fabric screen over it then put the medium in. This removes the need to elevate the pot for drainage.
      In the community grow or planter box types not only drainage is important but airflow to the root zone.


      --------

      (*) Aluminum may cause health problems so no sense in growing in an aluminum pot.

      "Active and passive smoking of tobacco or cannabis will increase the body burden of aluminum and thereby contribute to respiratory, neurological and other smoking-related disease."

      Source: sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TDC-4J9MXY7-N&_coverDate=03%2F31%2F2006&_alid=509946205&_rdoc= 1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_qd=1&_cdi=5195&_sort=d&view= c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_useri d=10&md5=856aa7d7a0496bf4d2f032177333129f
      Last edited by Randy High; 12-30-2006, 05:04 PM.

      Comment


      • #5
        Organic Soil Mixes

        Organic Soil Mixes


        A simple way to start is to buy a premixed Organic soil from a a retailer. These may be simple or deluxe soil mixes. The guiding rule here is nutrient content and soil structure.

        Not only are the elements of Nitrogen( N ), Phosphorus( P ) and Potassium(K) necessary but secondary nutrients and trace elements are too.

        Secondary nutrients are Sulfur, Magnesium, and Calcium.

        Trace Elements

        Iron (Fe): A key catalyst in chlorophyll production.
        Manganese (Mn): Works with plant enzymes to reduce nitrates before producing proteins.
        Boron (B): Necessary for cell division and protein formation; also for pollination and seed production.
        Chlorine:
        Copper (Cu): Catalyst for several enzymes.
        Molybdenum (Mo): Helps form proteins; assists fixing nitrogen from the air.
        Zinc (Zn): A catalyst: must be present in minute amounts for plant growth

        Source : green-hands.com/soil/trace.html

        In an Organic soil a continued supply of these things are generated by the breakdown of materials and/or the addition of natural fertilizers. In a bag soil these should be there and last a while. However, the "Zing", as I call it, fades and we must feed the soil as well as the plants. Consider a good commercial mix a place to start and a solid foundation to work from.

        If you want to make your own soil mix see the entry on "Making your own soil mixes."

        When choosing a commercial organic soil mix a little research helps and the wisdom of a community such as GrowKind.com can go a long way. I have had some problems with mixes containing redwood and the loss of nitrogen. Perhaps that's just me.

        I thought to list some trusted sources for soil mixes so I asked the Growkind members what they were using and here are several replies:

        Originally posted by beautifulnugs
        "If you want to buy a decent bag of soil Fox Farms Ocean Forest is the choice if they sell it in your area. If they don't have that look for Black Gold which some people say is even better then Fox Farms. No premix will usually be as good as a homemade soil mix, but those two are the best I know of in the states"
        Originally posted by wormsway.com-customer
        "From outdoor container plantings to hanging baskets and indoor kitchen gardens, Black Gold All Organic is fit for any project. A loamy mix rich in micronutrients, All Organic contains Canadian Sphagnum peat moss, compost, earthworm castings, perlite and pumice. You can count on quality as every bag of Black Gold All Organic features the seal of approval from the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). Dry contents of BGAO916 will fill approximately 8 one-gallon nursery pots."
        Originally posted by jersydude
        "Randy, I now use Fox Farms Ocean Forest and I think it's very good.
        Before that, I used a local brand of unfertilized potting mix called JungleGrowth and it had the perlite and all that good stuff. I just added worm castings to it and pulverized dolomite lime and I did very well with that also."
        Originally posted by foxfarmfertilizer.com
        Ocean Forest® Potting Soil

        Good Things From the Earth and Sea

        The ultimate potting soil-everything your plants need, in one bag. Ocean Forest® is a powerhouse blend of premium earthworm castings, bat guano, and Pacific Northwest sea-going fish and crab meal. Composted forest humus, sandy loam, and sphagnum peat moss give Ocean Forest® its light, aerated texture. Start with Ocean Forest® and watch your plants come alive!

        Garden tip: Perfect for containers and ready to use right out of the bag. Ocean Forest® is pH adjusted at 6.3 to 6.8 to allow for optimum fertilizer uptake. There's no need for nitrogen fertilizers at first; instead try an organic blend like FoxFarm Big Bloom™ Liquid Plant Food to encourage strong branching and a sturdy, healthy growth habit.
        Originally posted by OldGrowerDude

        " PRO MIX BX comes in big cubes- 3.8 Cu. Ft. Compacted for about $30

        http://www.premierhort.com/eProMix/H.../fProMixBX.htm

        Perfect consistant blend and is nice and airy good drainage perlite etc! Comes with a minimum of starter nutrients so you can customize with your favorite nutrients and is perfect for cuttings/seedlings too, I can't say enough about how good this stuff is. here's the list anyways:

        Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss (75-85 % / vol.) Macronutrients
        Perlite - horticultural grade Micronutrients
        Vermiculite Wetting Agent
        Dolomitic & Calcitic Limestone (pH adjuster)

        Each 3.8 Cu. Ft. Comp makes about 45-50 gal of moist ready soil. This is the way to go if you don't wanna make a bunch of trips for dirt every month, but I can not guarantee if they are available at the garden stores in your area (I would hope so though they are at like every one around here hehe).

        Just remembered they have other kinds than BX also, but they seem kinda lame I like to add my own nutrients but you may find use for them. The most common to find at garden stores is the BX."

        ----

        Others are talking about miracle grow organic soil mix but, there is some concern about it's sources of nitrogen. Again what is considered organic legally may not be what growers of marijuana want to feed their plants.

        Yes I'm skeptical about anything miracle grow claiming to be organic. To it's benefit a few gardeners here are saying good things.
        Also as of late I have read of poor results using miracle grow organic soil mix.

        Check out what is in a soil mix if possible but buying a bag is a bit easier than mixing your own and the experiences of others helps make the choice safe and satisfying.

        Any soil mix can be improved with natural amendments. Depending on the growing condition you may wish to add more perlite to a mix. This may be helpful if drainage is a concern. Greensand and kelp meal provide trace elements and compost is always a good thing IMO.

        The goal in container growing is to drain well while retaining good moisture content. This is due to the roots and microorganisms needing oxygen.


        Also see the feeding your soil entry


        ---------------------------------

        Thank you jersydude, beautifulnugs, OldGrowerDude and easygRoer..



        ---------------------------

        Edit:


        Organic soil manufactures : Note.. The best starter soils are materials the customer can maintain with Organic material feeding.
        Counting on liquid commercial products to make your product viable is lame IMO.

        To benefit the Organic Grow scene is All my motive is.

        Say I'm stoned say I'm crazy just say!
        Last edited by Randy High; 01-21-2007, 04:15 PM.

        Comment


        • #6
          Substrate growing.

          Substrate growing


          Some Organic growers use a substrate environment with Organic fertilizers. Substrate growing is on the edge of what I consider an living Organic system.

          The fact that microorganisms can cling to the substrate materials is the bottom line for me to consider substrate growing an organic system. Yet it is closer to hydroponic then to soil in that there isn't a way to cultivate the helpful microorganisms to any useful population..

          Substrate materials include Peat moss, perlite, coco peat and coir.
          I would assume one could add things like rice hulls as well and it would work just as well.
          Liquid organic fertilizers are used to provide the nutrients.
          They are applied and the action of substrate is like a sponge to hold the liquids.




          I welcome news on any other natural materials.

          -----


          And as always corrections are welcome.

          Comment


          • #7
            Compost

            Compost

            Compost is the aerobically decomposed remnants of organic materials (those with plant and animal origins).

            Source : wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost

            Compost is the Organic gardener's delight. Providing nutrients and materials that feed both the plant and microorganisms in a soil.

            Sources of compost range from home made to commercial. From screened to micronized.

            Compost can be mixed in a soil, applied as a top dressing or made into a tea.

            Compost can be made from yard waste or store bought materials.

            Compost can be made by worms this is called vermiculture.

            Basically compost is the harnessing of nature's powers to reduce materials into a plant useable and microorganism usable form.
            The process of breaking down materials is going on at all time is healthy soils. It is a part of the soil food web.

            From : wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil_food_web


            " The soil food web is the community of organisms living all or part of their lives in the soil. It describes a complex living system in the soil and how it interacts with the environment, plants, and animals."

            Compost is a product of a controlled pile of materials and microorganisms.

            A mixture of what are called greens and browns are provided for microorganisms to feed on and they in turn reduce materials to compost.
            Last edited by Randy High; 12-30-2006, 02:34 PM.

            Comment


            • #8
              Composting

              Composting

              Ahh A favorite topic of mine.

              I remember my first pile. How I was amazed to the point of telling my then wife "It's steaming it's steaming oh cool!"

              That was a day I tell ya...

              Composting is a passion to some ( me included ).

              The basic idea is that a mixture of green and brown materials mixed together into a pile that is kept moist will decompose into compost with the aid of microorganisms and some fungus into a material that feeds plants and soil microbes.

              " All composting requires three basic ingredients:
              Browns—Includes materials such as dead leaves, branches , twigs
              Greens—Includes materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds
              Water "

              Source epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/composting/by_compost.htm


              Serious tho, over the years since my first pile I have made many a pile and harvested some fine compost with a little effort.
              This last season I employed a very small space and made a compact but bountiful harvest.


              I suggest learning all you can by searching the internet. There is more useful information there then I can provide here yet, I can share my story of how I made my basic soil I use today.
              A soil that is over five years old.

              I needed a large volume of soil for a new planter type room.
              I had two choices; buy bags of soil or compost some.
              I chose to compost. In the planter box!

              I bought peat moss, a large bag of Guinea pig food pellets, a large bag of green sand, some coco bean hulls, some sulfur and some lime, some bone meal and maybe a thing or two more I don't recall.
              For microbes I bought a bag of top soil.

              I mixed these together using no particular measure and wet them.

              In a day or so it became active and I began to turn the pile.

              Soon it was clear to me I used too much Guinea pig food pellets ( alfalfa based ) and I had a very hot and ammonia rich pile( a sign of too much nitrogen )
              So I now had to turn this several times a day to let the excess ammonia escape and keep the pile temperature down.

              During the turning I added a large bag of perlite to aid in aeration
              .
              In the end I had a nice looking soil base that has served as the foundation for season after season.

              See "recycling the soil" entry for how I do this.

              Here are a few sites I searched for a few links to add to this post.

              By no means is this the only source for the composter.
              There are many ways and many styles of composting including industrial.

              epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/composting/by_compost.htm
              vegweb.com/composting
              compostguide.com


              It would be foolish of me to say this covers composting. I suggest a search of the Internet and read up.


              -------------------------------

              Worm composting, also known as vermiculture is another type of composting I have tried.

              I had these large fabric bags; the kind materials come in for feed mills and I filled them with the veggie stuff they toss out at the grocery store.

              In time the worms ate and reproduced but it wasn't the best bin.

              after that season I spread the material out in the garden and let them go free.

              I think this is a wonderful way to produce compost and indeed Tea's.

              From : earth911.org/master.asp?s=lib&a=organics/composting/wormcompost.asp

              Vermiculture Worm Compost
              Composting with Worms
              Worms will eat most of your organic waste
              Let worms eat your organic waste! They will happily turn it into some of the best fertilizer on earth - worm compost, otherwise known as worm castings or vermicompost.
              This is a fascinating, fun, and easy way to recycle your organic kitchen wastes.
              Worm composting, or vermiculture, requires very little work, produces no offensive odors, and helps plants thrive.
              Only a few things are needed to make good worm compost: a bin, bedding, worms, and worm food. By following the steps listed below, you will learn to make, take care of, and use your own worm compost.

              -----

              A source for composting worms is cosmo!

              A small business they sell a wonderful product. Be aware that this is more than a box of worms. It's the source for the serious vermicomposter.

              alcasoft.com/cosmos/index.html

              you are also welcome to search for other sources. It's that I spoke with Paul and he spent time explaining things to me when I first started out.
              That is worth the mention here.


              ----

              An addition 7-18-07

              Here is a link to a thread on composting with wonderful pictures.
              http://www.growkind.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26276

              Randy
              Last edited by Randy High; 07-19-2007, 01:19 AM.

              Comment


              • #9
                Recycling the soil

                Recycling the Soil


                For most container gardeners the expense of buying soil mixes is acceptable and provides consistant results.
                Some mix up materials and create their own soil mixes while others may wish to reduce costs and recycle their used soil.
                The idea of recycling soil is the same as composting.
                For all who wish to recycle used soil I suggest the grow be done with natural fertilizers.
                Still, others use a planter bed and removing and replacing many cubic feet of soil is just not practical.

                Avoid fertilizers made from metals and such.
                New materials, greens and browns and amendments are added and the soil is worked just like a compost pile, watered and turned till the biological activity subdues.

                Materials I have used are wood shavings, rice, alfalfa, greensand, kelp meal, bone meal, coffee and a compost tea I sun dried into a powder that included pureed bananas, as a compost source, to boost the potassium.

                For potassium one could add Mushroom compost or maybe banana flour ( I have not tried that so you are on you own there ) And also potash.

                Fred Gardener wrote :

                "I use rock dust and oyster shell and rock phosphates and crushed rock. I couldn't grow a garden without mineral supplementation."

                Source : counterpunch.org/gardner05142005.html

                I thank Fred for pointing that out to me today. I kind of lapsed on the mineral aspect in my soil.

                ---
                Also as a bonus for researching a few things today I discovered Azomite. Azomite Trace Mineral Fertilizer is natural mined rock from a specific volcanic deposit in central Utah. Azomite has 67 major and trace elements, so its name means "A to Z Of Minerals Including Trace Elements."

                Source : wheatgrasskits.com/azomite.htm?gclid=CLiG9Ma-rIkCFR0cYAodE2akQw
                ---

                The materials you use are up to you.

                Here the greens and browns added combined with broken up root mass provide the food for microorganisms. When it is done I consider the soil "recycled."

                This is the basic idea and how I recycle. I'm sure other gardeners will have suggestions and methods.

                Also the materials I use are just my choices.

                After the soil is recycled it will be good to add the basics back. I find that the nitrogen has been employed and I also add trace elements with liquid kelp. Then I add a feeding layer of materials so that microbes get right on munching.

                Again it is good to research things and read what others have done and are doing.

                ------

                I like Fred.


                -----

                Here is a link to a thread that covers composting and recycling of a large soil bed ( Indoors! )

                It's a good read with wonderful pictures.

                http://www.growkind.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26276
                Last edited by Randy High; 07-19-2007, 01:22 AM.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Making your own soil mix

                  Making your own soil mix


                  Soil mixes share one common concern. Provide good drainage while holding moisture. This is accomplished by mixing materials in proportions that favor this desired result.
                  A soil mix provides the structure the roots live in and the materials it's made of feed the biological life that provides the nutrients plants need.

                  It is important to think NPK and Trace elements as well as secondary nutrients in your choices of materials.
                  Things I know to use are compost, perlite and peat moss. To that I could add things such as alfalfa meal, kelp meal, bone meal, greensand.

                  The truth is I've never been a measuring kind of gardener so I have no stories
                  of add 1 cup this per quart that.

                  If I was to make a soil mix I would start with peat moss ( some are trying coco peat and coco coir ) To that I would add compost. I'd love to see a mix that is 35 - 40% peatmoss and 60 - 65% compost. The compost should be screened but not the micronized kind.

                  Mix it up. Now to this add perlite. Here is the thing you are using your own judgment on how much is right. We are aiming on well draining yet water holding. A lot depends on where you are in the world and what conditions you have. Very arid and you need more water holding. Cool and humid you need less.

                  Mix it up.

                  At this point we have a base soil.

                  To this I want to add things that provide nutrients. I like kelp so I would add kelp meal. I also like bone meal so I would add some and for minerals plus trace nutrients I have used greensand. However, today while researching things I found Azomite, a natural source of minerals and trace elements. I'm looking into that now.

                  To this I am thinking I would add dolomite lime. I like ground coffee so I would add some coffee ground. not instant coffee. Since I feed with fish emulsion I skip adding things like blood meal or alfalfa meal yet a little alfalfa meal might be helpful. So I add a little.

                  Once I have mixed it is good I'll lightly wet it and let it stand a few days before use. This gives it time to react and settle down.

                  Well that's me.




                  ----------------------------


                  I welcome better instructions on a soil mix.

                  If you ask 10 organic gardeners you will get ten differing points of view!

                  Do you have a recipe? Share!

                  Know of one you think should be here share!
                  Last edited by Randy High; 01-21-2007, 04:08 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    What is Peat Moss?

                    What is Peat Moss?


                    Sphagnum is genus of between 150-350 species of mosses commonly called peat moss, due to its prevalence in peat bogs. Members of this genus can hold large quantities of water inside their cells; some species can hold up to 20 times their dry weight in water, which is why peat moss is commonly sold as a soil amendment. Peat moss can acidify its surroundings by taking up cations such as calcium and magnesium and releasing hydrogen ions

                    Uses

                    Decayed, compacted Sphagnum moss has the name of peat moss. Peat moss can be used as a soil additive which increases the soil's capacity to hold water.

                    Source : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphagnum

                    Don't confuse sphagnum moss with sphagnum peat moss. Sphagnum moss and sphagnum peat moss are not the same product. Sphagnum moss is used in the floral industry to line wire baskets and make wreaths. It is the LIVING moss that grows on top of a sphagnum bog. Sphagnum peat moss is used as a soil conditioner by gardeners. It is the dead material that accumulates in the lower levels of a sphagnum bog. Harvesters of the horticultural peat moss remove the top few inches of the live sphagnum moss before harvesting the peat from the lower levels of the bog.

                    Source : ext.vt.edu/departments/en.../sphagnum.html


                    Most of us know it by the bag it is sold in.

                    It's a material that is useful in soil building.
                    Last edited by wawona; 12-31-2006, 06:28 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      What is perlite?

                      What is Perlite?

                      Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content. It occurs naturally and has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently

                      Properties and uses
                      When it reaches temperatures of 850–900 °C, perlite softens (since it is a glass). Water trapped in the structure of the material escapes and vaporises and this causes the expansion of the material to 7–15 times its original volume. The expanded material is a brilliant white, due to the reflectivity of the trapped bubbles.

                      Source : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perlite

                      Perlite is use to help add air to soils. It also aids in drainage.

                      It's light weight and large size make it useful to the task.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        What is Dolomite lime?

                        What is Dolomite lime?


                        Derived from a naturally occurring limestone deposit, this powdered fertilizer is a valuable source of calcium and magnesium and helps prevent soils from becoming acidic.
                        ----

                        You will find reference to at least four kinds of lime in agriculture:

                        crushed limestone [Calcium carbonate (CaCO3)],

                        dolomitic lime [Calcium-magnesium carbonate (CaCO3--MgCO3)],

                        burned or quick lime [Calcium oxide (CaO)], and slake or hydrated lime ]Calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2)].

                        Of these, dolomitic lime appears to be the best additive to raise pH and promote growth.
                        This is because dolomitic lime includes manganese and because dolomite lime acts slowly and continuously, and hydrated lime acts almost instantly.

                        Use hydrated lime instead of dolomite lime for faster results, but don't use too much; you can create toxicity problems, which won't arise with dolomite lime, by using too much hydrated lime.

                        Always use fine dolomite lime, since coarser grades take years to have a substantial effect. Dolomite lime is available at most nurseries.

                        Source : sdfern.com/lime.htm


                        --------------------

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          What is Fish Emulsion

                          What is Fish Emulsion?


                          A liquid organic fertilizer made from emulsifying fish byproduct and waste; sometimes containing small amounts of kelp or seaweed as well.

                          It is a fairly mild organic fertilizer with a NPK ratio of somewhere around 4-1-1, making it a good choice for tender plants and seedlings.

                          Because of its organic nature, it has a rather disagreeable odor, which is sometimes reduced or eliminated in manufacturing. (However, even the deodorized types can still carry a distinct smell, especially in a warm enclosed environment like a greenhouse. Trust me.)

                          Source : davesgarden.com/terms/go/350/


                          There are 3 different types of fish fertilizer on the market-

                          Natural Organic fish emulsion, amended fish emulsion, and enzymatic fish fertilizer.

                          I've already described how natural organic fish emulsion is manufactured. Amended fish emulsion is produced the same way, but it has more than 1% synthetic materials, usually urea, added. A good example of this is Atlas Fish Fertilizer, sold only in California (and manufactured by Alaska Fish Fertilizer), or the K-Gro brand sold at K-Mart.

                          Enzymatic fish fertilizer usually has a NPK of somewhere around 2-5-3 (vs. 5-1-1 or 5-2-2 for fish emulsions), which is a good way to tell which means of manufacturing was used. The enzymatic method has fish scraps being placed in a stainless steel vat, and enzymes are added to cause it to deteriorate. Then the remaining stickwater has the oil skimmed off, and is boiled down to a 40-50% solid solution. At this point the NPK is about 2-0.5-1.5. Then phosphoric acid is added to kill the enzymes that were added (and the pH needs to be lower than 4 for this to happen), then some potash is added to raise the pH level to about 4.5.
                          The amended fish emulsion is less expensive because any fish solubles can be used, which are less expensive than the higher quality ones required for Alaska Fish Fertilizer. Enzymatic fish fertilizer is very inexpensive to manufacture, has very low shipping costs (since it is usually bottled where it was manufactured), and uses chemical enhancements to raise the NPK.

                          Source : rainyside.com/resources/fishfert.html

                          Worth a full read IMO ^^^^^^


                          ---------------------------

                          It is a source of nitrogen often used in a mix with liquid kelp.

                          yeah stinky but good.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            What is Alfalfa Meal?

                            What is Alfalfa Meal?

                            Alfalfa:
                            Alfalfa is a plant used widely as animal feed and occasionally as a food for human consumption. It has been cultivated since at least the 5th century BC, with a surge in popularity around the start of the 17th century.
                            Alfalfa has a number of rare characteristics which differentiate it from other food crops. It is toxic to itself, so it cannot reproduce in areas where a crop already exists. For this reason, it is necessary to plow an alfalfa crop which has finished before planting the next season's crop. The mature plant is very high in fiber, making it less than ideal for human consumption, though fine for most domesticated animals.

                            Alfalfa sprouts are very popular as a healthy supplement to salads and other raw foods for people. They are often touted as one of the best sources of a wide range of minerals and vitamins. One cup of alfalfa sprouts contains 0.8g of fiber, 1.3g of protein and a minuscule amount of sugar. It is vitamin rich, with small amounts of beta carotene, vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate, and a substantial helping of vitamin K. It also contains a good range of minerals, with some calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, and larger helpings of copper and manganese.

                            Source : wisegeek.com/what-is-alfalfa.htm


                            Alfalfa Meal
                            2.5-1-1
                            Alfalfa Meal is a reasonable alternative to blood meal as a source of nitrogen and is nicely balanced with phosphorous and potassium. It's carbohydrates and protein make it an excellent soil conditioner by encouraging microbial activity in the soil.
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                            Guaranteed Analysis:
                            Total Nitrogen (N)
                            0.6% Water Soluble Natural Nitrogen
                            1.9% Water Insoluble Natural Nitrogen 2.5%
                            Available Phosphoric Acid (P2O5) 1.0%
                            Soluble Potash (K2O) 1.0%

                            Source : .biconet.com/soil/alfalfameal.html


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                            Alfalfa may be sold as a meal or as a pellet. It is also the basic ingredient for rabbit and guinea pig food pellets.

                            May be used in a soil mix, as a top dressing and made into a tea.

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