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Hi all, was hoping to get some different perspectives on my no till super soil recipe. 

*Shout Out to Clackamas Coot who's recipe this is based on, Mike H, Tim Wilson, Tad Hussey, and Blacksmith Ben for the knowledge* 


Soil Base: 

30% Sphagnum peat moss

30% Pumice (half large pumice, half small pumice) 

30% High quality compost or worm castings

10% Biochar 


Amendments per cubic foot of base: 

1/2 cup neem cake meal

1/2 cup alfalfa meal 

1/2 cup crustacean meal 

1/2 cup kelp meal

1 cup Wollastonite

1 cup Cypsum

1 cup basalt


Cooking instructions: 

Lay out a tarp, use a plastic container, canvas soil bag, or just mix on the concrete

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and add water until soil is at field capacity (when you can pick up a handful, squeeze it, and only a drop or two falls) 

Cover pile with a tarp. 

Turn the pile the next day and then every other day for the next week or two (when the soil stops cooking) 

Check soil daily and keep at field capacity. 

Once soil is cooked add 1 cup Mykos per cubic foot, mix thoroughly, put it in growing containers, and water with compost tea. 


Soil care: 

Water soil when needed

1-2 compost tea feedings a week 

1 chitin tea every 2 weeks 

*Tip* I've found that adding a top layer of hay at 2 inches deep helps the soil retain moisture


Top dressing recipe per cubic foot of soil *only needed every 6 months - 1 year

2 gallons of high quality compost or worm castings

1/4 cup neem cake meal

1/4 cup alfalfa meal 

1/4 cup crustacean meal 

1/2 cup Wollastonite

1/2 cup kelp meal

1/2 cup basalt

1/2 cup biochar


Thanks for reading and as always, comments, critiques, and questions are welcomed. 

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It looks great but I'd have to source almost every ingredient online.  I'm lucky to be able to buy ProMix locally.  It's a 5 hour drive to a decent hydro store and I bet they don't have half those things.


I'm working my way to growing more organically but for now it's half and half with nothing totally organic. :(



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Thanks LabRat, 


I've heard great things about ProMix but haven't used it myself. Do you recommend adding any amendments?  


I also have to source much of the material online but in doing so I've found that the online prices are way less expensive than whats at the hydro store and I only have to buy the ingredients once a year which saves time, money, and keeps me from racking up an impressive collection of nutrient bottles :hippie:


No worries about not being totally organic, it's all about doing what works for you and keeps the plants healthy and tasty :rastatoke:


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I use AN nutes to feed them.  I don't get a lot of supplements tho.  Base nutes with Rhino Skin, (silica), Big Bud, (for bigger buds).  That's all the AN I use but I give them a few more things like CalMag, (very little), epsom salts and some molasses for the myco.  I give them some of my vitamins too.  B-Complex, zinc, selenium, iron and vit C.  Grind it all up and add a tsp to a 5gal jug of RO water once or twice per cycle.


I always just used the ProMix HP which has no nutes but a few grows ago started mixing that with their Vegetable & Herb mix which has added organic nutes and vegs plants well on it's own.  Now I'm using their potting soil blend that has nutes too and uses real dirt.  Either of those works well with the HP and all 3 are rated organic.  So my using hydro nutes is the non-organic additions.  I feed them a lot less using the enhanced mixes with the HP and burned a few plants figuring that out.


I was doing a lot of DWC over the years too.  Started experimenting with it back in 2001 when I just had an idea out of a grow mag and have done 40+ DWC grows since then.  Love my RubberMaid tubs. :)


I hate buying anything grow related online.  I'm too paranoid to leave paper trails digital or otherwise.  I have got to know the guy in the grow store down in Edmonton and if I need anything I'll phone him and order it up.  Phoned there last fall and ordered $800 worth of goodies.  A couple buddies that needed to go down there picked it up for me.  Got a slightly used TrimPro Unplugged trimmer off him for half price, retail $600, and it sure saves time and my arthritic hands a lot of cramping.


Was in BC just before that and blew over a grand on nutes and other stuff too.  Finally got a Light Rail and am using it now on my current grow with a 1000W HPS.  The Hortilux conversion bulb alone was $170 so I hope it lasts like the 400W one I have been using for 15 years to veg plants.  Well past it's due date but the plants grow under it just fine.


Here's my flower garden yesterday.  There are 3 larger OG#18 plants on the left with two on the right side.  The first one on the far right is a Purple Kush sitting on a stool because it's so short in comparison.  They are all from some clones a buddy gave me last Dec. and are in 16L pots.  Down the middle are a bunch of plants I grew from seed.  Planted 56 of one strain and 20 of the other and ended up with about 22 all told now growing in smaller, 10L, pots.  They're sitting on 6" styrofoam blocks so would be a lot smaller looking.  I bred some of each strain with pollen from 2 OTTO#1 males to get CBD crosses going.  Otto is only about 1% THC and 10 - 27% CBD.  I have a female Otto that is needing to go into flowering too and I'll be pollinating a lot of buds on her to keep that strain going.


These are all Day 35 of 12/12.







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Nice grow LabRat and thanks for the info! 


DWC growing is nice and some of the root balls I've seen come out of a 5gallon bucked are lubriciously large. I have many friends that swear by it and the results are always top shelf. 


Paranoia is understandable but it will soon be legal in the great white north :) and I look forward to seeing more of your grow. 


I think you'll be happy with the 1000w HPS but I found I have to change the bulb every 6-10 months as the light intensity drops significantly. 


27% CBD is very well done indeed. 


Thanks again

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Here is an estimated price breakdown of the ingredients I was able to find online. 


Base Mix                                          Amount needed per yard

Sphagnum peat moss = $50/yd                    8.1 cubic ft 

Pumice = $50/yd                                           8.1 cubic ft 

Compost = $30/yd                                        8.1 cubic ft

Biochar = $375/yd                                        2.7 cubic ft


Base Price total = $505/yd 


Amendments per 50lbs                  Amount needed per yard

Neem Cake meal = $60                            5.5 lbs / 13.5 cups

Alfalfa meal = $25                                     1.7 lbs / 13.5 cups

Kelp meal = $105                                      1.7 lbs / 13.5 cups

Crustacean meal = $105                          5.9 lbs / 13.5 cups

Wollastonite = $15                                    7.6 lbs / 27 cups

Gypsum = $40                                          15.2 lbs / 27 cups

Basalt = $50                                             15.2 lbs / 27 cups


Amendment price total = $400


The 50 lbs amendments are used to illustrate how easy and relatively inexpensive it is to scale up a grow. 


*Using this soil mix you do not need to add any nutrients, just water and occasional compost tea feedings*



Hypothetical green house thought experiment


100' long x 24' wide outer perimeter

2x 2' raised beds that are 93' long by 8.5' wide (this allows for a 2' space between the north, west, and east walls and a 5' space at the south for supplies, tools, etc...)

That brings the amount of soil we need to 117 yards


Amount Base Soil Needed

Sphagnum peat moss = 35.1 yards

Pumice = 35.1 yards

Compost = 35.1 yards

Biochar = 11.7 yards


Base Soil Total = $8951


Amount Amendments Needed

Neem cake meal = 642 lbs

Alfalfa meal = 197 lbs 

Crustacean meal = 691 lbs

Kelp meal = 197 lbs

Wollastonite = 888lbs 

Gypsum = 888lbs 

Basalt = 888lbs 


Amendments Total = $4439


Final total = $13390


It may seem like a lot of money, however the same amount of soil made by one of the soil builder companies will cost you over $40,000!


Hope this helps shed some light on how cheaply one can grow organically :) Its a bit of an upfront expense but you won't be spending money on nutrients anymore so you'll come out ahead 







Edited by LabRat
Corrections made to ingredient lists and costs.

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This looks like a great mix, TDDave!  I'm not familiar with wollastonite, but it appears to be similar to an amendment I love - azomite.  Happy to see basalt on the list, too; a living medium and paramagnetic rocks/sands go hand-in-hand.  And neem in the root zone!  Alfalfa meal is such an excellent soil conditioner!!


Excellent post:cool:

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Thanks frmrgrl.


Question for the group, I've been interviewing with a few rec farms in Oregon and Washington who want to go 100% Organic but have a lot of coco coir currently in stock. Does anyone have experience with using coco coir blended into a super soil mix? 


Most of the articles I've found online are from forums and it seems a 50/50 split between using it and throwing it out (or making biochar out of it) but I'd like to incorporate it into the mix... possibly a split between sphagnum peat moss and coco coir? 

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always great info in your posted ..i too use sunshine mix#4..i do amend with bloodmeal,bone meal, castings, kelp meal and have just started adding the crustacean meal ...as per one of your earlyer post ..so far so good everything seems to be running well with this recipe ..i was shown this by an old hippie back in the 70's and have used it ever since ..just tweeked in amounts of additives to fit my indoor  grows..i have used alot of guanos teas in the past but the dust from that stuff really messed with my breathing even with using a mask ..


sunshine mix is a peat based soiless  mix with , dolomite,paralit,vermiculite ..its very common in greenhouse use ..

the coco coir , there used to be a few folks on here that used it. i was talking to my guy at the green house i go to and he was telling me that peat moss is starting to run out and that there is a limit on how much would be availible in the future and that was why folks were switching over to coco coir ..i never new there was a chance peat would ever run out . i just assumed it was dead trees that has just broken down over time ..anyways it turns out that canada has more peatmoss then the world could ever use ..but the switch to coco coir was born out of the idea that peat moss was not a renewable resource ..lol..


sorry hope i didnt take everyone off topic..


i think the recipe looks great ..the amount of money it would take to use in a greenhouse setting is bit much for most but then most of us are not filling greenhouses and we are just personel growers ..i am sure this could be brought into range for a small growers in amounts bought of each ammendment... this being made on a commercial size grow it would be a great super soil mix ..



i always learn something new from your post...i always have to look stuff up to know what a certain thing is , like neem cake meal ..thats the first time i've ever heard of it ..thanks for teaching this old dog ..sometime i have to dust off that part of my brain..lol



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Thanks Weedmen, 


Great recipe you have there! Just curious, have you noticed and deficiencies during the plants life cycle? 


Crustacean meal is one of the most underrated amendments that's out there right now but has a ton of benefits in any type of garden. 


Are you using the guano teas for a nitrogen boost? If so urine does the job just as well with an undiluted N/P/K ratio of 11/1/2.5 (I prefer to dilute it 10:1 with water and live by the adage less more often) No dust or a trip to the hydro shop is needed using what you'd otherwise be literally flushing down the drain :hippie:


After hitting my head against a logic wall all week and speaking to a few old timers, soil experts, and microbiologist I can safely say that using coco coir in a soil mix will cause no problems and may even benefit the base soil. The biochar greatly increases the CEC and you can even do a 50/50 spilt with coco coir, local soil (whatever's in your backyard) and add the pumice and compost without issue... if one is really concerned with bumping up that CEC use sphagnum peat moss (if available) instead of yard dirt and mix in a bit of clay if needed. 


Here's a link from Dr. Dirt himself, Tad Hussey, on the pros and cons of coco and SPM


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i have to admit my recipe is much better for outdoor growing then indoors ..i do tend to see a little early yellowing when in budding indoors...my yields are no were near were i would hope either ...i have noticed some leathery leafs the last few runs, but started to change my additives to add  tomatoe nute that i seen frmgirl had been using and am just on my first run with it ..jobes organic tomatoe i think its called .. my bud sizes are much larger at this stage then in the past ..i had better yields when using the guano and much larger bud size as well ..and less yellowing early on in flowering..


the guano i used was a box set of 4 diffrent guanos ..it had two for flowering and 2 for vegging..i never used anything in replacement of the guano when i stopped using it ..i no i should have , but i just went with a tea of the additives i used in the soil and bubbled it for 24 hrs before use..i did use a little more of the bone meal as a top dressing about 2 weeks into budding ..


my buds are dense just not large as you would think ..

 i no others on here use the biochar . i just havent gone that way yet my self ..i should makes some and use it in my mix . 


my wife took sick after a car accident and i have been pretty busy tending to her so i havent been as attentive to things as i should lately ..dont let anyone tell you growing old is easy ..lol..it kiicks the shit out of ya every day ..lol..


urine i used to put around my gorilla grows back in the day . but it was more to keep deer away ..not sure how the smell would be in my house as a growing mix or tea..


i really have know exsperance with coco other then what i mentioned above ..but it does seem the mix of the two as a growing medium would make sense in a large grow or commercial setting ..i dont no anyone who uses ground soil indoors anymore ...



thanks for the info as always ..

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1 hour ago, weedmen said:

started to change my additives to add  tomatoe nute that i seen frmgirl had been using and am just on my first run with it ..jobes organic tomatoe i think its called

It is, indeed.  They make a couple formulas, I use the 2-5-3.  I personally think the "magic" in them is the diverse microbial population they add to the mix.

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My compost mixture is very similar and 100% organic with the help of the worm operation. The only things I don't throw in is meat and waste from the cats and the dogs. I'll have to say, I'm big on worm poop. I add in a little bit of a product that comes from Utah called Azomite. But you could also use ordinary fine rockdust. I also save my egg shells, crush and dry them and add them in. I also use a bit of gardening sand. Make sure it's not the type with salt of course. Being retired you got lots of time to fuss around. With my tea I add in a little fish meal at the time of feeding, she sure smells it up though. Harley Smith from NPK University ups the game with his version of bugs. I have his separate category of bugs for Veg and for Flower. Just a couple of others items to bring to your attention is the use of Silica and Yucca which are very beneficial and organic. I use the molasses with the bugs. I never use chlorinated water. My water sits for at least two days before i use it for the plants. They've been adding the ammonia molecule which takes a little longer to get out but I know I'm stretching it on the time. I got  the bubblers going too. Harley explains their uses and purposes of the Silica and Yucca better than me. It's cold right now in Calgary and I have my big containers full and down the basement which is maxed out because of the scrogging operation. My biggest caution  however is more towards watching not to overwater which kills a lot of plants for newbies like me. Sounds like everybody here has got their Cannabis nice and spoiled. My wife is a little jealous like I mentioned earlier, she says with all the attention I give them that I should be giving them names of girls and putting the names on the smart pots.

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3 hours ago, HERDEE said:

My compost mixture is very similar and 100% organic with the help of the worm operation. 

I use a JAWS organic mix By Sohum soils, which contains Azomite, its expensive and probably doesn't need anything for vegging but I do add teas I make up, but dont use fish meal, just Jobes 3.7.5. some worm casts, kelp meal  and organic molasses when in flower I just omit the worm casts.


I listen to Harley on youtube I just have him on in the back ground when I am painting and hope it all sinks in subliminally, I quite like him and his side boards lol.

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Great thread! The use of Biochar is excellent! Building your own soil is always much cheaper than buying and allows you the benefit of tailoring your mix to your needs. I think the original mix in this thread is absolutely great. I also think that one could produce equal or possibly even better results by building the soil by cheaper means. That said, were I starting a greenhouse operation that called for huge amounts of soil, and I could afford everything, I buy the stuff and go to town....if I were on a budget I may look to other means of obtain large amounts of compost/composted manure. Perhaps checking local old farms etc. I may also use sand in place of pumice. And if there was one element that I would add if at all possible it would be leaf mold. If possible I would even replace the peat for leaf mold. 

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Hi all! 


Man it's been a busy few months but wanted to pop back in and share a few shots and thoughts with the group. 


Like many of you have commented, budget is really the driving factor for a good super soil recipe and I've had to change mine dramatically but still finding excellent results.  Here's the updated recipe

Soil Base: 

15% Sphagnum peat moss (Freebie! was already at the farm and unused by previous "hydro" growers)

15% Coco Coir (Got 8 yards of this stuff for a $100 from another grow op)

30% Pumice (half large pumice, half small pumice, another freebie but can get for $50 a yard) 

30% High quality compost or worm castings ($6 a yard... yes $6 a YARD! and it's some good sh*t, pun intended)

10% Biochar ($160 a yard) 


Amendments per cubic foot of base: 

1/2 cup Bio-Live (this stuff is amazing, if you're growing organically on a budget this and AACT is all you need)

1/2 cup alfalfa meal 

1/4 cup fish bone meal

1/4 cup blood meal

1/2 cup kelp meal

1/4 cup green sand

1/8 cup humic acids

1/8 malted barley (seriously look this stuff up) 


So one of the main issues I ran into is having to mix all of this for a commercial sized operation but me and a couple of guys put in some "sweat equity" and was able to get 510  25gallon smart pots filled up in 2 days... then the waiting game began. First harvest was ok but only managed 1/4lb per plant yield on a few strains. Next harvest was much better and I found that pest management (a.k.a. spraying) didn't need to happen as often. Centipedes, ladybugs, mantis, and beetles had moved in and were eating the mites and such... still not amazing yields but better and great resin production. Third Harvest was mindblowing 1/2lb on 6 strain and no less than 1/4 for all others (5-6ft plants) 


Moral of the story: Use what you got, give the soil time to do it's thing, and feed it good teas. 



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Screenshot 2017-11-08 at 7.15.21 PM.png

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Thanks for the recipes I need to start doing this this year its getting expensive buying the ready made.

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