Ph issue or deficiency?

Discussion in 'Organics' started by papa canna, Nov 18, 2017.

    papa canna

    papa canna Well-Known Member

    I cant tell whether or not im having a ph issue or a P or K deficiency. I also cant figure out should I be ph'ing my tap water or not? i'll test it again but it comes out of my tap around 8.5 give or take. that seems very high. I did buy some Natural ph down from earth juice at the hydro store today. But i've been using gen hydro's standard ph down to ph my water to around 6.5 since I started this run.

    I'm now in week 3 or 4 of flower and my leaves first started getting yellow / brown speckled spots in the middle leaves. Then they yellow out and die. They are now doing that at a fast rate. I cant tell if I just havent fed the plant enough or possibly ph issues. I was told my soil should be plenty fertile with nutrients for the run. but I did veg for 6 or 7 weeks due to a stunting issue. and I also give compost tea once per week. I typically need to wait 3-4 days to water, thats when the pot feels dry. Trying not to over water.

    My soil mixture:
    1 bag FFOF
    1bag FFHF
    1bag GO ancient forest Alaskan humus
    30% perlite
    12 cups EWC
    2 cups kelp meal
    2 cups 0-8-2 bat guano
    2 cups dolimite lime
    2 cups happy frog general purpose 5-5-5

    Compost tea:
    1/4 cup The Guano Co dry bloom formula
    2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
    2 Tbsp EWC
    2 Tbsp 0-8-2 Bat guano
    2 Tbsp happy frog general purpose 5-5-5
    2 Tbsp Kelp meal
    ~4 Tbsp 2-4-1 Hydrolized fish fertilizer

    The tea quantities are rough estimates. I dont actually measure.

    projectinfo Well-Known Member

    Yes ph your water
    Richard Drysift

    Richard Drysift Well-Known Member

    8.5 out of the tap is super high. Any way you could try a different water source like rain, RO, or distilled water? Even just to see if in fact it is your water supply ph causing this issue? You shouldn't need to ph the water in a soil grow but I would adjust it down too if the water was 8.5 ph.
    I use water collected from a dehumidifier that runs near my grow areas which has been working well for years...with no checkin ph at all. Once I sent my soil ph out of whack using a high PK bloom booster that produced very similar issues to what you are having; fans yellowing off and dying in mid bloom phase; makes sense it could be an absorption/ph problem. The fix was clean water; plain and simple. If that doesn't help try top dressing with EWC and fish bone meal which should help boost the P levels if it was lacking.
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    kratos015 Well-Known Member

    Good morning papa canna! Any way we could perhaps get some photos so we can get a better idea of what's going on?

    I have a hunch based on prior experiences of mine and I have a feeling your guano tea is the problem, but it's hard for me to be certain without actually looking at things myself.

    You see, the thing to consider (and that's kind of tripping me out right now) is that in a balanced soil you should absolutely never have pH issues. The reason for this is because your microbiology will actually control the pH and allow it to fluctuate to the particular levels it feels the plant needs at that particular time. In fact, these same microbes are even capable of regulating chlorine levels in the soil! So even if your water has chlorine in it, a well balanced soil (and therefore microbiology) will actually devour the chlorine and eliminate all but what is needed. Even with 500ppm SoCal water I didn't need to dechlorinate my water as my soil would balance that out for me.

    To make sure you do in fact have a pH problem, don't pH just your water as that doesn't paint the entire picture. Instead, water the girls like normal and allow the water to settle in. Get yourself a tray and/or dish underneath after you've allowed the water to settle. Then, continue watering the pot until you start seeing runoff in the dish you placed under the pot and pH that water. In fact, why not check the pH of the tea you've been brewing, you might be surprised to discover just how out of whack it is too.

    Looking at both your soil mix as well as your compost tea recipe (and the fact that a tea is being used) leads me to believe you're actually experiencing a problem with nutrient toxicity rather than anything else. Myself, as well as many others have actually started to shy away from bat guano as a whole because it's much too finicky and there are cheaper options that will do what guano does without the associated problems. Bat guano is hot stuff, like, really hot. FFOF is also some pretty potent soil as well. You only added 2 cups of guano and 2 cups of the 5-5-5 Happy Frog (which also has guano in it by the way), so the soil recipe you're using at this point looks pretty balanced for the most part actually.. assuming you only add water and nothing else.

    I think your culprit is the compost tea, and what you're experiencing now is exactly why I stopped using teas and recommend people NEVER use them unless it's an EWC+molasses tea. I can probably guess what the plants look like right now without pictures because I had the exact same issue years ago when I started organics. The plants are yellowing out of control, lots of burnt leaf tips, and they likely look rather sickly and slightly droopy all the time yes? Possibly even a little necrosis throughout the plant as well if I had to guess? Your growth has likely stunted as well, if not come to a complete halt.

    I had this exact problem when I made my teas and determined the issue was the fact I was brewing a tea with alfalfa meal and guanos. Like I said above, your soil looks pretty balanced to me and I don't think the issue is with your soil at all. I'd replace the guano with something like crab meal instead because crab meal is lighter than guano, doesn't burn, and provides more to the soil than any kind of guano ever could.. but regardless of that fact, even with the guano in it the soil looks rather balanced to me still.

    The tea, however, is throwing your soil out of balance. You see, when you make a living organic soil, you're essentially creating a soil that only needs water. Those organic amendments don't actually provide any of the advertised NPK ratios until they break down into actual organic matter.. take the guano for instance. Just adding guano to your soil doesn't give you the 0-8-2 NPK, you get that NPK when the bat guano decomposes in the soil. Here's where things get even more interesting though, your plant actually communicates it's needs to these microbes via the rhizosphere and the microbes will then provide the plant's roots with what it's asking for. So your soil has 0-8-2 Guano, and 5-5-5 general purpose, and 1-0-2 kelp meal (that also has a plethora of macro nutrients) right? So your soil essentially has everything it needs just the way it is. Your plant can tell the microbes that it needs some nitrogen, so it will actually send microbes to the 5-5-5 general purpose Happy Frog product in your soil to start decomposing that 5-5-5 organic amendment. After the microbes finish eating, they go back to the roots and pretty much defecate the needed nitrogen right on the roots for the plants to readily absorb. Same thing with the bat guano; the plant will tell the microbes it needs phosphorus, so the microbes will munch on the guano, come back to the roots and defecate phosphorus near the roots for the plant to absorb. Etc. etc.

    I bring all of that up to demonstrate that the soil you constructed by itself pretty much only needs water and that's it. The soil has everything the plant needs, and if you allow the plant to remain in control of choosing what it needs then your soil alone should be more than enough. If you start seeing deficiencies, simply top dress with more 5-5-5 Happy Frog, cover that with compost, and that's it.

    The reason I wanted to establish the fact that your soil has all it needs for the plant is to point out why the teas are actually messing you up. You see, with your soil, the plant can decide when it's hungry and the plant can decide exactly what it wants to eat and when it wants to eat it. This is because the organic amendments in your soil haven't fully broken down yet and the plants can just tell the microbes to specifically decompose something to provide the plant with the nutrition it needs.

    However, here's what happens when you're brewing a tea. When you brew a tea, you're making everything you put into your nylon stocking/sock/teabag/etc immediately available for the plant. So lets take the guano for example again; in a balanced soil all by itself, the guano will be decomposed at a rate that's comfortable for the plant and you likely won't experience burn if you use the stuff in moderation. That 2 cups of guano will take a while to decompose into organic matter inside of a soil mix. However, inside of a compost tea, that 2 cups of guano is going to be made available to the roots immediately. Remember how I said that with a soil that only uses water and nothing else the plant is able to control exactly how much it wants to eat? With a tea that's not true. With a tea, everything in that tea is readily made available to the plant whether it's good for it or not. So if your plant has sufficient levels of P, but you're adding a tea with high amounts of P, the plant is going to uptake the P in the tea whether it actually needs it or not.

    This is why I recommend people stay away from teas because this is exactly what happens. When I first started organics, I got into subcool, then got into the Rev and all his ridiculous tea recipes and such. I kept making his teas because "He's the Rev and he's so much smarter than I am", but I never actually stopped to understand how organic soil and teas work. I was doing things without understanding them. So I kept mindlessly brewing the teas at his advice, once a week, like you are. For the first few weeks, my plants were kicking ass and taking names and I thought I was the shit. Then I hit week 4 of flower and was met with severely stunted growth, airy bud sites, excessive yellowing, burnt tips, and necrosis galore. The plants pretty much never looked happy (leaves were never upright, slouching, drooping, dry texture, etc) until I decided to stop brewing teas entirely. I stopped brewing the teas and stuck to just water and within 2-3 days my plants were looking better.. but unfortunately this was around week 6-7 of flower and I was already much too late.

    I apologize for the lengthy response, I struggle with being concise and it's something I'm trying to work on. However, based on what I'm seeing in just text and without photos, I'm pretty damn sure the issue you're having is the teas you're feeding them. As you said in your original post, your soil is in fact fertile enough to take care of the plants, but when you add those teas into the mix you take control away from the plant and put it back in your hands. Brewing a tea is no different than buying synthetics because both the guano tea and synthetic nutrients will be available to the plant instantly, so if you give them too much or too little your plants will suffer. By letting the soil and the plant control things, you'll never give them too much or too little because it isn't up to you. That's why I love organics, I always struggled with giving the plants the exact amount of everything they needed.. with organics, you just make a good soil and leave them alone aside from the occasional watering and top dressing.

    Again, I apologize for the lengthy wall of text. If you have any questions or anything you're still unsure of, I'll help out to the absolute best of my ability. You're still not quite in week 5 yet, which means that while you'll still have some issues no matter what, you're also in a position to mitigate a lot of the damage. I'll do what I can to help because I know just how deadly these teas can actually be. You're talking to someone that only pulled 1lb from 2000 watts from 12 7g pots because I listened to the Rev and brewed teas with guano and alfalfa. I wouldn't wish that shit on anyone.
    papa canna

    papa canna Well-Known Member

    Actually I appreciate all the detail and time that took. Those symptoms are all very familiar. They didn't stretch AT ALL. Smallest flowered plants I've had.I think I will cool it on the tea a little. So that soil formla doesn't look low on N? I didn't have a great source of nitrogen. So I'm top dressing with a little been cake that I just got. Here are the photos, though they don't do the situation justice due to the hps
    1126171037a.jpg 1126171037.jpg 1126171036.jpg
    DonBrennon likes this.

    kratos015 Well-Known Member

    If you were low on N then it would have been noticeable when you were in veg so I'm inclined to think that's not the issue here. I've rarely ever had an actual N deficiency ever, especially in flower. In fact, any time I get symptoms of N deficiencies the issue is usually with my watering practices and is rarely an actual deficiency in my experience.

    You're using Fox Farm's Ocean Forest and Happy Frog which are actually pretty damn good soils believe it or not. In fact, if you don't dilute the Ocean Forest it tends to be too hot for plants that are smaller than 12 inches and will cause issues. The Fox Farm soils in conjunction with your 5-5-5 Happy Frog should have you covered. My soil only has 2-3-0 Crab Meal and 6-1-1 Neem Meal in it as well as the kelp meal of course, those 3 amendments are pretty much all I've needed for the last year since using CC's mix. I also like to supplement with 5-1-1 Fish Emulsion during veg and the same 2-4-1 Fish Hydrolysate you use during flower. If you're top dressing with the neem cake and 5-5-5 Happy Frog that should have you covered for the most part, especially if you're using fish products. In fact, not only are those 3 amendments and fish products enough for me, but I run CO2 and I still don't experience any N or P deficiencies although I'll need some langbeinite after this next crop because the CO2 causes your plants to use the hell out of K and Mg.

    Those pictures are great though, they look similar to mine when I was experiencing this issue.. except mine looked much worse. At least you have more experience than I did when I was experiencing this issue, stop using the tea and use nothing but water for the next 4-7 days and see if you notice any improvements. The reason I'm confident the issue is with your teas and not the water is because I experienced this exact same thing. I thought chlorine was my problem at first, so I started bubbling my water for 24 hours before brewing teas and watering. Nothing. So then I thought the chloramine was the issue, went to Petsmart and grabbed a chloramine remover for fish and used that. Nothing. Then I thought my water was the problem, so I started filling up 5g jugs at my local water machine and supplementing that with CalMag to compensate for the lack of minerals in the water. Still nothing.

    Then I finally read someone point out that Alfalfa Meal and Guanos are "hot" and will burn.. despite the fact that everyone at the time said "teas don't burn ever". I stopped brewing teas, switched back to my tap water and used nothing but that for 3-4 days and that managed to fix things. Unfortunately for me, I was in week 5 by then and it was much too late by then. Fortunately, things don't look too bad for you and you can reverse some of the effects at this point for sure. Just stop using the teas and use nothing but normal water for the next 4-7 days and you should start to notice improvements for sure. Otherwise what'll happen is the yellowing will only get worse, the necrosis and brown/dead patches will also get worse, and while you'll have plenty of pistils forming they'll never fill out and your buds will be totally airy.

    The thing that trips me out, is the compost teas were the shit for me in veg. Plants looked pretty damn healthy during veg and even seemed like they were excelling. But once I flipped to 12/12 then things just went straight to hell.

    Just stop using the teas for a week and see what happens, I wouldn't even use the fish hydrolysate until things get back to normal. Nothing but water for 4-7 days until you notice signs of improvement and once the plants look like they're ready for food you can start hitting them with the fish hydrolysate again. It was tough for me to let go of the teas personally, but that's because I was still in the synthetic nutrient mindset and simply could not let go of that. My plants and yields suffered until I pulled my head out of my ass and realized the teas were hurting me. It's good to be humble and take advice from people that are smarter than you or more skilled than you at something.. but eventually you get to a point where you have enough experience to know what works best for your particular situation. Coot's recipe was like that for me, Coot only used 33% aeration in his mix and it simply didn't work for me. Obviously I'm not going to sit here and say I know more than coot because I just don't.. but I also knew enough to know the 33% aeration simply wasn't enough for me. My EWC weren't as good as his though, which is why the 33% aeration worked for him but not me.

    Just provide nothing but water to the girls for a little while and let your soil/microbes take control of things from here. This reminds me so much of what I experienced using teas that I'm pretty damn convinced this is what the issue is. I'll be hoping for the best and I'll also be hoping that the next time you post in this thread it's to let us all know that the problem is fixed and that you're on your way to a kick ass harvest.

    tl;dr: I'm 99% certain the tea is your problem, use nothing but water for the next 4-7 days and let us know if things improve.

    DonBrennon Well-Known Member

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    MustangStudFarm Well-Known Member

    I noticed that I was having problems after using tea, black strap molasses. I finally got my soil tested and I was way too high in P and K, the same thing that was in my tea... I was also using coco coir for worm bedding, the castings were through the roof in K and sodium. Since then, I avoid adding anything with K in it and Kelp is on that list too. I had to dilute with Pro-mix and then add kelp then because I was low on Cu, B, Mn, and all of those... Anyways, tea was my worst enemy for a while and I didn't know it!
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
    kratos015 likes this.

    MustangStudFarm Well-Known Member

    I thought that I had Mg def and it turned out that I had K tox that was locking out the Mg. I bet that you are in a similar situation! I bet that you are dealing with a Tox issue rather than a Def... The only was to fix it was to dilute it with inert Pro-Mix. I found out the hard way that Peat by it's self will lower your PH, Mg, and Ca. Pro-mix is PH adjusted already and I think that I am going to have to cut my compost with it. Anyways, here is a pic of my soil test...
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    MustangStudFarm Well-Known Member

    This pic was after I used the soil, look at how the K and Sodium jumped up. I was using the coco coir worm castings, but I bet that you have similar problems...Sorry about the writing on the test.
    kratos015 likes this.

    kratos015 Well-Known Member

    I've been wanting to send my soil in for the absolute longest time but I just don't have the funds yet, but man is it worth it. Only a soil test can truly give you an idea of where you're at because otherwise all we can do is guess! That's why I'm so cautious when I feed with pretty much anything, because a soil that is well balanced not only doesn't really need much else.. but if you aren't careful about what you add to your soil it could throw things out of balance.

    Thank you for posting that soil test though by the way, really puts things into perspective for sure. You always see people recommending that you don't overdo things with your nutrients, specifically Phosphorus, but seeing what's considered "optimal" in terms of numbers is interesting to see. Seeing this test is giving me a further understanding of Coot's recipe and why he uses so little amendments and puts so much emphasis on his castings. You're rather fortunate to be able to get these tests though, now that you're armed with this kind of information it's only a matter of time until you get things optimal and then nothing will stop you! I'm curious to know more about your soil but I don't wanna derail the thread. Hoping Papa canna comes back soon with some good news for us :D
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    MustangStudFarm Well-Known Member

    I was using and it was $50 and they had the bar graph with their tests... That was the tests that I had pics of... Give me a minute and I will find the test results from the $25 place, just as good, but there is no bar graph.

    MustangStudFarm Well-Known Member

    I had to take a pic of an e-mail. I had to take 2x pics to get the whole page, there are 2 samples here. I found out the hard way that peat moss will lower your PH, Ca, and Mg. The sample with lower PH has more peatmoss.

    MustangStudFarm Well-Known Member

    Look at the Exchangeable Hydrogen, my soil test shows that it is high and the PH is low. Ca will bump H and raise the PH, so dolomite and oyster shell flour is my fix. I also added a little kelp and I am hoping that it will not throw my K into tox levels again. I was about to send in another test very soon to see how well I "fixed" my soil. I let it age before I send it in.
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    Wetdog Well-Known Member

    You're close, but not quite there ... yet.

    Think maybe Coot uses so little amendments in the mix because perhaps the amendments get run through a worm bin and the resulting vermicompost is used as a stand alone fertilizer? Thus the emphasis on the castings?

    This is exactly what's happening and there is a thread over at GCO discussing the simplicity of it that I started. It's stupid simple, just takes some time for the worms to produce the amended VC.

    GMM has been ranting about amending his compost for years and Richard Drysift is there as well.
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    kratos015 Well-Known Member

    I suppose that's my fault for wording it improperly, you can tell with my drawn out posts that communication isn't exactly my strong point xD

    I recently read an interview where Coot explains that is exactly why he uses so little amendments. If I'm not mistaken, doesn't he have a 100g smart pot filled with peat, neem, kelp, crab and OSF? I've tried finding more info, but that's really all I've managed to ever come up with. There perhaps any way you can link me to the GCO threads you're talking about? Would very much like to read as much as I can about worm composting because I want to do it better than my last attempt.

    I've been attempting to take compost more seriously because, as you, coot, and others have pointed out, a legit and properly made compost makes everything else foolproof. That's why I spend $25 per cuft bag of CoM Lobster compost. From what my research has shown, that's one of the better brands out there if you are still waiting on your compost/worms to do their thing.

    Very much appreciated, as always.

    Wetdog Well-Known Member

    I really have no idea what Coot uses for a worm bin, but can tell you that a 100 gal smartie is a bad idea. The very first harvest would drive that point home. But, there is nothing like experience to really learn something.

    Really haven't read any interviews or watched any by Coot, or anyone else for that matter, for a couple years now. Trying the 'new and improved' every few months just seemed to waste more time and effort than it saved. Guess you noticed this with your adventures with the Rev's teas. Find what works best for your particular style and environment, fine tune that and pretty much ignore everyone else. Tips and shortcuts are always welcome though, when it's VOE (Voice Of Experience).

    I've found that the best information usually comes from gardeners rather than those who just grow mj and my best success was when I started treating mj like the rest of the garden plants rather than something special.

    Do you have a worm bin going? That should be your #1 priority right now. The hard part with worms is not loving them to death, mainly from over feeding and too much moisture in the bin.

    Really can't comment on the CoM stuff since I have never bought or used any bagged compost or soil mix. Have always made from scratch for going on 45 years now.

    I use a peat based bedding for my worm bins. A friend of Coots who has a small organic farm and who clued me in to this whole thing, uses his thermal compost in his big flow through bin. A third uses leaf mold compost for his bins. All work great and the point is, you aren't limited to using A, B, or C. You use what is most convenient to source.

    A P.M. will be along
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