Soil-less Organics with Professor Matt Rize

Matt Rize

Hashmaster
Soil-less Organics with Professor Matt Rize
What does Organic Soil-less Mean? And Why Do We Use Molasses? Part 1

From my blog: http://mattrize.blogspot.com/2010/10/what-does-organic-soil-less-mean-and.html

Molasses is commonly used by medical Cannabis gardeners, indoors and outside. The use of molasses is highly controversial on the ganja forums. We all agree that molasses is great for brewing ACTs and AACTs (Active Aerated Compost Teas). Molasses use, beyond food source for microbes in teas, is still a debate.

Old school outdoor organic folks grow in the ground, or in an aged and conditioned True Soil. These folk are wise, but often limited in regards to advanced indoor soil-less cultivation. The old school growers claim "molasses has no affect at all on yield or flavor". They may be correct with regard to their style of growing. We'll get to that soon.

Most of us, the medical Cannabis cultivators, cultivate our medicine indoors for various reasons. We use something that is called an "organic soil-less" media in our pots (containers).
To understand how molasses is used indoors we must understand a few things.

1) What is a "soil-less" media?
2) Why is everyone using soil-less instead of soil?
3) And how does soil-less media affect beneficial soil life and the soil-food-web (organics)?
then...
4) What is molasses?
5) What are root exudates?
6) What does molasses do in a soil-less media?
7) Possible downside to using molasses...?
8 ) Do you use molasses during the flush?

1) What is an Organic Soil-less media:

Growing plants in containers without soil can be split into two categories.

A) True Hydroponics, aka liquid culture: A nutrient solution is recirculated with food (usually synthetic) and this feeds the roots to make our precious flowers.
B) True Soil-less, aka aggregate culture : A nutrient solution is supplied to plants by watering through the media, and either drained-to-waste, or reused.


Soil-less grow media has often been called hydroponics. But that is not exactly correct. Nutri-culture has been suggested to be a more accurate term for various forms of soil-less growing. And soil-less growing itself is separated into: Inorganic Media and Organic Media. Inorganic Media is also farther separated into Natural Media and Synthetic Media.


THE MEDIAS EXPLAINED:


True Hydroponics: circulating solutions, aeroponics, static solutions


Aggregate System -> Inorganic Media (Hydroponics) -> Natural Media: sand, gravel, rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, pumice, expanded clay.

Aggregate System -> Inorganic Media (Hydroponics) -> Synthetic Media: oasis, hydrogel, foam mats (PET) and (PUR)

Aggregate System -> Organic Media: Peat, Sawdust, Bark, Cocofiber (the non-soil dirts).

So I am growing in an Organic Media, mostly peat, coco, and bark. But the majority of indoor growers are using perlite, which would technically make that media a combination of soil-less organic media and soil-less inorganic natural media. BOOM.
__________________
Matt Rize - Cannasseur for Life
 

Matt Rize

Hashmaster
Also from my blog: http://mattrize.blogspot.com/2010/10/soil-less-explained-part-2-why-use-soil.html

"Soil-less Growing Media Explained Part 2: Why Use Soil-less?

The short answer is simple preference. The long answer is much more controversial. Here we go.

IMO soil-less organic media with soil-less inorganic natural media are ideal for advanced indoor gardens.

Here are my reasons:

a. Water Retention: Soil-less literally/practically means lower water retention in comparison to true soil. By having lower water retention we can feed more often, which is important when relying primarily on liquid/powdered plant food. Faster wet/dry cycles may speed up the overall life-cycle, a common claim of hydro growers.

b. Perlite: This goes back to water retention. The soil-less community loves perlite, although personally I am attempting to give it up completely for reason's related to my grow ideals. My mom and grandma explained to me the importance of perlite for container plants. Some plants need it, some don't, ganja LOVES it. In containers perlite helps fight soil compaction... but watering gently and slowly does as well.

c. Coco/Peat/Bark: These are the popular soil-less organic choices, although I'm not sure as to the proper label for the amendments. ie rice hulls, small sticks, EWC, and compost. These natural and organic products are great for growing Cannabis. pH seems to be the major issue in these products, as their buffering capacity is generally less than true soil.

Coco/Peat/Bark are extremely common for growing Cannabis. In fact, around here the majority of indoor gardens are soil-less organics. The common Cannabis designed potting mixes that most indoor folks use: Ocean Forest, Happy Frog, Promix, Sunshine, Roots Organics, Light Warrior, Bio Terra Plus, Humboldt Nutrients mix... these are all technically a combination of soil-less organics (peat or coco plus other stuff) and soil-less inorganic natural media (perlite). Of exception is the Bio Terra Plus which is actually just soil-less organic as it contains no perlite.

d. Control: By not having food in slow release form you are in control over what the plant gets. It is then your job to "read and feed" your plants. This really gives you the opportunity to learn what your plants use (food) and when they use it (stage of life cycle). This also lets you push your plants to the max while keeping it organic.

e. Chlorosis: Advanced chlorosis at harvest may lead to smoother smoking flowers. Soil-less media has no slow release food, so Nitrogen must be provided or the plants instantly yellow. This is true until two weeks from harvest for all soil-less organics. Once the N is cut the green is literally sucked from the plant, by design for soil-less organics. This means the freshly dried herb will have a jump start on the curing process. The chlorophyll is consumed by the plant. This reveals the secondary pigments already present in the leaves and flowers but buried in a sea of cholorphyll. Secondary pigments (not green) include: purple, blue, lime green, red, orange, gold, and other light green colors.

Here goes the numbers for Bio Terra Plus. This is a super heavy (high water retention) soil-less media because it has no perlite.

Organic matter min 75% of gross product
Electrical Conductivity: 1.1-1.3mS/cm
pH (H2O): 5.5-6.5
Water Retention: 7.1 (gms per gm of organic matter)
__________________
Matt Rize - Cannasseur for Life
 

EyesofTheWorld89

Active Member
those buds look pretty frosty. Im a soiless organic grower myself. I use promix bx/oceanforest and sometimes happy frog but I think its got shitty water retention. For nutes I use the BMO lineup which is a worm casting, bat guano based liquid fert, molasses during flowering, and lately ive been using botanicare PBP and liquid karma as well. So ive read your stuff before and know your all into the "plant based ferts" but you also use worm castings. Whats your feelings on using bat guanos?
 

Matt Rize

Hashmaster
those buds look pretty frosty. Im a soiless organic grower myself. I use promix bx/oceanforest and sometimes happy frog but I think its got shitty water retention. For nutes I use the BMO lineup which is a worm casting, bat guano based liquid fert, molasses during flowering, and lately ive been using botanicare PBP and liquid karma as well. So ive read your stuff before and know your all into the "plant based ferts" but you also use worm castings. Whats your feelings on using bat guanos?
Thanks for stopping by. I am WAY into plant based extracts and vegan organic nutrition. That thread can be found here:https://www.rollitup.org/organics/364864-vegan-organics-professor-matt-veganics.html#post4611429 but is huge so I'll just answer.

NOT a big fan of bat guano. There are environmental concerns with wild harvested animal products like bat guano. Also, bat populations are at risk because of general habitat loss and/or degredation. Other possible concerns are over non-fruit bats and heavy metal bioaccumulation.

Soft rock phosphate is my number one P source. It is cheap, and can be added to teas. Also, citric acid and other weak acid root exudates breakdown the SRP and make it available to the roots. IN FACT, as Cannabis science grows we are finding that P is not needed in the large amounts as N or K, or even Ca.
 

EyesofTheWorld89

Active Member
Yeah I really didnt know about much about the guano trade until today. There are animals threatened by it, but also people who depend on the trade in these poor countries to eat.
 

Matt Rize

Hashmaster
Yeah I really didnt know about much about the guano trade until today. There are animals threatened by it, but also people who depend on the trade in these poor countries to eat.
I view bat guano like other environmentally sensitive and limited renewable resources, there has to be a better option. Or at least a proper balance in P source to reduce the global demand. Guano should be used by locals to grow food, instead of buying our garbage processed food. But there I go preaching...

I always choose animals over man, and preservation over conservation. Personal choice. When the lions attack magicians I cheer. When that matador got a bull horn through his face I also laughed, score one for the bulls [video]http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DLWvutny7juk[/video]
 

Matt Rize

Hashmaster
This was a main source in defining SOIL-LESS ORGANICS as it applies to Cannabis gardening.

http://ressources.ciheam.org/om/pdf/c31/CI020854.pdf

"OVERVIEW OF SOILLESS CULTURE: ADVANTAGES, CONSTRAINTS AND PERSPECTIVES FOR ITS USE IN MEDITERRANEAN COUNTRIES
C. M. OLYMPIOS
Department of Vegetable Production. Agricultural University of Athens.
Botanikos, Athens 11 8 55, Greece
 

Matt Rize

Hashmaster
I don't agree with this definition of soil-less with regards to Cannabis, but it is worth reading.

http://vric.ucdavis.edu/pdf/hydroponics_soillesscultureofgreenhouse vegetables.pdf

Soilless culture is an artificial means of providing plants with support and a reservoir for nutrients and water. The simplest and oldest method for soilless culture is a vessel of water in which inorganic chemicals are dissolved to supply all of the nutrients that plants require. Often called solution culture or water culture, the method was originally termed hydroponics (i. e., "water working") by W. F. Gericke in the 1930s. Over the years, hydroponics has been used sporadically throughout the world as a commercial means of growing both food and ornamental plants. Today, it is used widely in research facilities as a technique for studying plant nutrition. Various modifications of pure-solution culture have occurred. Gravel or sand is sometimes used in soilless systems to provide plant support, and retain some nutrients and water. The retention of nutrients and water can be further improved through the use of spaghnum peat, vermiculite, or bark chips. These are the most commonly used materials, but others - such as rice hulls, bagasse (sugarcane refuse), sedge peat, and sawdust - are used sometimes as constituents in soilless mixes. Straw bales have been used as growing medium in England and Canada. Rockwool (porous stone fiber) is used in Europe, but there is little experience with it in this country. Since the major constituent of the media in artificial growing systems may be solid or liquid, it is appropriate to use the term soilless culture in reference to this general type of growing system and reserve the term hydroponics for those in which water is the principal constituent. Soilless culture methods may thus be classified as either solid- or liquid-medium systems.
 

Matt Rize

Hashmaster
http://www.cannabase.com/cl/bcga/soil/potmix.html

"Introduction

Since the 1960s, most commercial greenhouse businesses have been using potting mixes that contain no real soil at all. These types of mixes are referred to as soilless mixes and are made from ingredients such as sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite or perlite. Producers began using soilless potting mixes because of the problems associated with using topsoil: quality topsoil was hard to find, it was too heavy for good air and water circulation, and it often contained disease organisms.

All good potting mixes should:

1) Provide water and air.

Potting mixes are made of both solid particles and the open spaces (pores) between them. Large pores are filled with air and small pores hold water. A good potting mix should have a balance of both solid particles and large and small pore space. Potting mixes with too many large pores require frequent watering, but those with too many small pores are too heavy and can promote disease. It is important to handle a potting mix carefully once it is made to avoid compacting it and losing the air spaces.
2) Retain fertilizer.
Potting mixes made mostly from sand will have little ability to hold plant food, while mixes formed from lots of peat moss or compost will hold plant food well. The pH of the mix also affects nutrient availability. Peat moss, which is the most commonly used ingredient in potting mixes, is very acidic (low pH). Dolomitic limestone is often added to adjust the pH and bring it closer to neutral. Compost and sand are usually neutral (depending on what they are made from) and may require less limestone when they are used in potting mixes.
3) Support the plant.
4) Be of consistent quality.
 

Matt Rize

Hashmaster
And while I do not like perlite, it is technically considered organic when it comes to certifications, but not soil-less. I consider it an "inorganic natural media".

http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/potmix.html#ingredients

Perlite
Perlite is a volcanic rock that is heated and expanded to become a lightweight white material. It is sterile and pH-neutral. When added to a soil mix, perlite can increase air space and improve water drainage. It is a hard material that does not break apart easily. Perlite pieces create tiny air tunnels that allow water and air to flow freely to the roots. Perlite will hold from three to four times its weight in water, yet will not become soggy. It is much lighter than—and can be used instead of—sand.
 

sharpshoota

Active Member
Soil-less Organics with Professor Matt Rize
What does Organic Soil-less Mean? And Why Do We Use Molasses? Part 1

From my blog: http://mattrize.blogspot.com/2010/10/what-does-organic-soil-less-mean-and.html

Molasses is commonly used by medical Cannabis gardeners, indoors and outside. The use of molasses is highly controversial on the ganja forums. We all agree that molasses is great for brewing ACTs and AACTs (Active Aerated Compost Teas). Molasses use, beyond food source for microbes in teas, is still a debate.

Old school outdoor organic folks grow in the ground, or in an aged and conditioned True Soil. These folk are wise, but often limited in regards to advanced indoor soil-less cultivation. The old school growers claim "molasses has no affect at all on yield or flavor". They may be correct with regard to their style of growing. We'll get to that soon.

Most of us, the medical Cannabis cultivators, cultivate our medicine indoors for various reasons. We use something that is called an "organic soil-less" media in our pots (containers).
To understand how molasses is used indoors we must understand a few things.

1) What is a "soil-less" media?
2) Why is everyone using soil-less instead of soil?
3) And how does soil-less media affect beneficial soil life and the soil-food-web (organics)?
then...
4) What is molasses?
5) What are root exudates?
6) What does molasses do in a soil-less media?
7) Possible downside to using molasses...?
8 ) Do you use molasses during the flush?

1) What is an Organic Soil-less media:

Growing plants in containers without soil can be split into two categories.

A) True Hydroponics, aka liquid culture: A nutrient solution is recirculated with food (usually synthetic) and this feeds the roots to make our precious flowers.
B) True Soil-less, aka aggregate culture : A nutrient solution is supplied to plants by watering through the media, and either drained-to-waste, or reused.


Soil-less grow media has often been called hydroponics. But that is not exactly correct. Nutri-culture has been suggested to be a more accurate term for various forms of soil-less growing. And soil-less growing itself is separated into: Inorganic Media and Organic Media. Inorganic Media is also farther separated into Natural Media and Synthetic Media.


THE MEDIAS EXPLAINED:


True Hydroponics: circulating solutions, aeroponics, static solutions


Aggregate System -> Inorganic Media (Hydroponics) -> Natural Media: sand, gravel, rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, pumice, expanded clay.

Aggregate System -> Inorganic Media (Hydroponics) -> Synthetic Media: oasis, hydrogel, foam mats (PET) and (PUR)

Aggregate System -> Organic Media: Peat, Sawdust, Bark, Cocofiber (the non-soil dirts).

So I am growing in an Organic Media, mostly peat, coco, and bark. But the majority of indoor growers are using perlite, which would technically make that media a combination of soil-less organic media and soil-less inorganic natural media. BOOM.
__________________
Matt Rize - Cannasseur for Life
+rep nice, thanks for the info!
What is your soil less organic mix??
 

elduece

Active Member
Hi Matt, I will be doing a soiless veganics/AACT and/or General Organics cycle.

What do you think of a low phosphorous soiless medium to stimulate fungi activity during bloom? I thinking just adding 0-3-0 rock phosphate and mychorri* fungi as the sole source for P for these pots.

What do you think is a good substitute for perlite and peat moss?

So far my ingredients include: Coco, earthworm castings, rock phosphate, greensand, azomite, sweetener lime, Alaskan Ancient Forest compost, epsom salts, powdered kelp. What do you think?
 

Matt Rize

Hashmaster
Hi Matt, I will be doing a soiless veganics/AACT and/or General Organics cycle.

What do you think of a low phosphorous soiless medium to stimulate fungi activity during bloom? I thinking just adding 0-3-0 rock phosphate and mychorri* fungi as the sole source for P for these pots.

What do you think is a good substitute for perlite and peat moss?

So far my ingredients include: Coco, earthworm castings, rock phosphate, greensand, azomite, sweetener lime, Alaskan Ancient Forest compost, epsom salts, powdered kelp. What do you think?
NICE! Everything looks great in your list of ingredients. For a lightener pumice stone is a good option, but if you lift pots to know when to water this won't due. I've actually started using grade 3 perlite, just a little. The grade 3 perlite (aka big and chunky) is a higher quality product and has very little dust. The perlite won't affect the media pH if it is not crushed.

SRP 0-3-0 will be a good phos source, but don't forget that potassium levels are almost always in higher demand than phos. the kelp should provide potassium for you.
 

sharpshoota

Active Member
BioTerra Plus. Coco/Peats/Bark
cant go wrong with canna, thats a pretty good organic soil. I read you dont like perlite, but what do you use to help promote better drainage?? I was thinking of adding an inch or 2" layer of hydroton in the bottom of my containers... whats your opinion?


I am more familiar with hydroponics and how to feed hydroponically, than soil, thats why I would rather go the route that is more similar w/hydroponics and hydroponics feeding... Also, I thought the whole idea of soilless was so it would not have any nutrients in it, that you would basically supply them nutrients every watering, like hydroponics?? I am wanting to be able to make my own teas, and nutrient mixes.
Is there any way I can make a too strong batch of compost tea? (not intentinally)
In a soil less mix, would i still add things like forest humus to promote the healthy bacteria and microbes etc?? becaue i am trying to go with more plant based products after reading ht 420th.


Please teach me professor!! i have much to learn!!
 

Matt Rize

Hashmaster
cant go wrong with canna, thats a pretty good organic soil. I read you dont like perlite, but what do you use to help promote better drainage?? I was thinking of adding an inch or 2" layer of hydroton in the bottom of my containers... whats your opinion?

I am more familiar with hydroponics and how to feed hydroponically, than soil, thats why I would rather go the route that is more similar w/hydroponics and hydroponics feeding... Also, I thought the whole idea of soilless was so it would not have any nutrients in it, that you would basically supply them nutrients every watering, like hydroponics?? I am wanting to be able to make my own teas, and nutrient mixes.
Is there any way I can make a too strong batch of compost tea? (not intentinally)
In a soil less mix, would i still add things like forest humus to promote the healthy bacteria and microbes etc?? becaue i am trying to go with more plant based products after reading ht 420th.
That 420th HT article was written by my twin sister and I contributed. The book is in the works and goes way deeper/nerdy. :)

->Drainage: The BioTerra Plus doesn't really need any lightener, but most mixes do (not light warrior obviously). BTPlus has high-end gold peat that creates air pockets and keeps the soil-less mix light. Most other mixes contain roughly 15-30% perlite for the very reason that it is the no.1/cheapest soil lightener. Perlite is not bad for everyone, and I'm using a large grade perlite that puts off very little dust. This dust is bad for a couple reasons.
1)It's a nightmare for mucus membranes.
2)It affects soil pH.

Pumice stones are also great for adding some air to the soil mix, but if you are growing in pots, and lifting to see when to water, stones won't due. If you are growing in a bed, or huge pots (15 gallon+), then pumice stones will work out great.

A layer of high air material on the bottom of the pots is a good thing generally, although I do not practice this personally.

Also, I thought the whole idea of soilless was so it would not have any nutrients in it
That only applies to inert soilless products like stone and perlite. Peat breaks down and releases nutrients, but not as much as we need. The roots actually dissolve the peat with weak organic acids, breaking them down. After a really good run I'll have half as much media as when I began.

Soilless mixes are amended with meals and rocks to add nutrition presale, that's what we buy for growing generally (fox farm, roots organic, earth juice, biocanna ect all make soilless mixes. Mixes being the key word. pH is buffered and food is added.

I am wanting to be able to make my own teas, and nutrient mixes.
I hear that. Teas are easy, but you need a good compost source with diverse microbial life to get a good tea. I've been using alaskan humisoil as my 'life' source.

Making your own nutes is no biggie either. Fermented plant extracts can be made at home. You can harvest and dry wild grown plants and save them for teas all winter. It really depends on where you live as to the specifics of which plants you will want to harvest. Comfrey, nettles, dandelions, much more all have nutrition that you can extract and feed to your plants.

But these kinds of teas are meant to supplement TRUE SOIL, and you want to do soilless. Soilless grows in advanced indoor gardens scenarios require immense amounts of nutrition to be input, in a short period of time. That is why I use biocanna flores with the bioboost. Together the plant hormones, the fruit acids, and the fermented plant extracts are a killer combo from sources around the globe. Simply put, you can't make it at home.

Is there any way I can make a too strong batch of compost tea? (not intentinally)
Yes, follow directions! Usually AACTs (active aeration compost teas) get diluted 1:30.

In a soil less mix, would i still add things like forest humus to promote the healthy bacteria and microbes etc?? becaue i am trying to go with more plant based products after reading ht 420th.
I would say yes, but realize you are combining soilless and soil. This is what most of us do... I think. I mixed a few handful of alaskan humisoil into my BTPlus. Soilless can mean a lot of things as it includes many media types. It doesn't really matter if you are soilless or soil. I mixed happy frog (closer to soilless) and ocean forest (closer to soil) with some extra perlite for years. You just have to take into account what is present in the pots, so you can know when you will need to start feeding.

PEACE
 

sharpshoota

Active Member
Ahh ok, very interesting. I wasnt really wanting to create my own nutrients, I meant nutrient batchs and knowing exactly what im feeding at all times ex. hydro.

Cleared up some grey areas for me i think im heading in the right direction
thanks for the knowledge bro!!
 
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