Coot's soil 'cooking' - white fuzz on top ? + other questions

Discussion in 'Organics' started by alphapinene, Mar 8, 2018.


    alphapinene Active Member

    what's up fellow farmers :D ...I'm currently in the process of 'cooking' 15 gallons of Clackamas Coot's living organic soil indoors. Today is day 5 and upon opening the lid to check I noticed a bunch of white fuzzy spots all over the top layer of the soil- is this beneficial fungi establishing mycelium? Or something to worry about? s1.JPG ss.JPG sss.JPG super soil.JPG
    The soil is cooking in a plastic storage bin (I drilled holes in the bottom/sides for oxygen) with a lid loosely on top. I try to keep the soil moist - but i'm having trouble. How often should I water? and how much is enough? I usually mist with about 2-3 water bottles worth of water and turn the soil to even the moisture out - I stop watering when the soil clumps up into balls upon squeezing them with my hands, is that good? also, how often should I turn the soil? Should I even turn it at all now that fungus is forming?
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018

    vostok Well-Known Member

    IME: the white mold/fungus is a much needed item in all soils

    it helps the plants feed between the roots and the nutes

    use the volume of fungus to assist you in watering the soil

    water the soil as you do

    then turn it over digging in the mold

    return for a check in 2-3 days depending on temps

    reapply water...test Ph check to see if you are still growing the fungus

    if not reapply water

    use the mold as a tool

    good luck
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
    chiqifella likes this.

    chiqifella Well-Known Member

    wet the material and mix, weigh it even, dont wet it again until around 80% of its water weight is gone.
    fungus on top, fungus among us, its all good long as it stays off your green
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
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    alphapinene Active Member

    ok cool - I did add Ancient Forest Alaskan forest humus as 1/2 my compost (other 1/2 EWC) maybe that's the culprit :mrgreen: I heard it's loaded with fungi/bacteria
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    ShLUbY Well-Known Member

    totally normal. it's just the inoculation (cooking) of all your soil organisms, mainly fungi is what you're seeing in this instance seeing the white mold and what you're actually seeing is the reproductive structures of the fungus, it's releasing spores to spread throughout your medium. you have the right idea, keep the soil moist, but not wet. turn it every few days for the first couple weeks, and then only once weekly for the last couple weeks. good to go after that. do not overwater. there should never be run off (especially when you are growing plants in it... no run off). there is no need to check the pH during the inoculation process. it's going to vary while the organisms are doing their thing, and the soil mix/ecosystem is stabilizing. the most important thing is when its done, it should smell like a fresh forest after a rain. this usually becomes pronounced during the third week, and by the 4th week, you'll definitely be ready to plant in it.

    Good luck dude! come back with any questions at any time!
    chiqifella likes this.

    alphapinene Active Member

    thanks for the info man! cleared a lot up :D I'm new to this whole 'living organics' thing - I just started reading 'teaming with microbes' and am absolutely fascinated.

    lovin the avatar :bigjoint:
    DonTesla and chiqifella like this.

    ShLUbY Well-Known Member

    haha good deal man. I made the switch almost 2 years ago i think... been loving the shit out of it ever since. it's one of those things where the more you learn, the more you try and change things and you can rabbithole yourself into a unique situation lol. keep learning, keep reading, and rely on your experiences and you will do well.

    cartmaaaaaaan brah!
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    kratos015 Well-Known Member

    Organics is incredible once you get things dialed in. The beauty of it is that you're essentially putting your plant (more specificially, the roots) in control of things in conjoined effort with the microbes, and even organisms that are now in charge. The soil becomes a living entity and proceeds to react with the roots of whatever has been planted. Eventually, you begin to realize just how important keeping things simple truly is. When you have a living and breathing organic soil with as little ingredients needed then things become truly easy. I use 3 amendments mixed with the 1:1:1 ratio of peat/perlite/compost, so should I experience any issues with my soil there are only 6 components of it to look at.

    The biggest/most common issues with starting organics tends to be over watering and sometimes, the type of water you are using. Overwatering is even worse in an organic grow because not only is your plant suffering, but your soil as well, especially should things turn anaerobic as a result. And, depending on what is in your soil and the type of water you are using, that can also cause issues. As ShLUbY pointed out, it can be tough not to rabbithole yourself, especially considering the amount of problems overwatering and certain waters will cause. I only recently switched to RO water after troubleshooting everything else but the water. The calcium in my water was scaling up and creating salts, choking my roots, spiking my pH (calcium scaling=calcium salts, which is pretty much dolomite lime!), locking out nutes and wreaking all sorts of havoc. I suppose the water would have been fine if my soil wasn't full of Oyster Shell Flour, Crab Meal, and various minerals that also have calcium. It only took me so long to notice because my smart pots started to get the scaling on them too!

    Pretty much, as long as your soil has good drainage, aeration, and sufficient organic matter, and good water then it will always have microbes. So long as you keep those things in check, you can re-use the soil for many a cycle.

    Keep reading Teaming with Microbes and always ask questions. There are tons of pretty knowledgeable people around this section that are always happy to lend a hand.

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