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Howdy, my esteemed homeskillets! In today’s article, TLO indoor growing with DE (Diatomaceous Earth), I’ll show you how to make this exotic addition pay off big, for those of you using living soil to grow cannabis all naturally indoors.
DE offers a good blast of calcium along with some silicon. It also greatly enhances bacterial activity due to its design/shape, and the pH effects of the calcium. It tends to buff the pH upwards a bit just like most bacteria like it. Next, I’ll go over some basic DE stuffs, a few rules, and then how to use it. Let’s do this…
Let’s Get a Little DE Overview
- Using DE for growing indoors or outdoors, you always want to use either food grade or agricultural grade DE. Any other grade has toxic crap galore and is used for pool filtration and other industrial stuffs.
- DE looks like a powder, however, they are the itsy bitsy teeny tiny skeletons of eukaryotic organisms (not really plant, animal, or fungus), combined with some clay minerals, which is nice. Iron and other micronutrients are present, along with a lot of Ca (calcium), and Si (silicon).
- Using DE growing indoors can cause problems with worms. If you have living worms in your living soil, you’ll want to use precautions I will tell you about below. The little skeletons are very sharp, and the poor worms can die the death of a million paper cuts.
- The porous and calcium-heavy micro-skeletons are like magnets to bacterial microbeasties, plus silicon is found in decent amounts in cannabis resin—wiggling eyebrows.
Road Rules for Using DE Growing Indoors
In my gardens, I have living worms that ride all the way through the process. They are in all my containers with living plants, and in my recycled soil bins. DE and worms do not get along. The remedies are simple, all you have to do is expose the DE to “nature” for 24 hours and all those razor-like edges of the DE will be dulled enough not to harm worms. What I mean by “nature” above is exposing the DE to decomposition processes.
In the photo above, you can see some of my living plant water bubbling away. One of my favorite ways to use DE growing indoors is in my cannabis water itself. I just always let it bubble with my water for at least 24 hours before use. That way I keep the worms happy in my plant containers.
In the photo above is a growing container’s catch tray with runoff water in it. There is some alfalfa meal in there because this is another TLO methodology known as Micropond Style. However, you can safely add DE by sprinkling a little bit (no more than 1/8th teaspoon at a time) right on top of this runoff water after watering. This protects any worms living in your containers.
Using DE in Your Living Soil
As the photo above suggests, using DE in your living soil mix is Da Bomb—sorry for the 90’s reference LoL—but you’ll want to do this carefully for a couple of reasons. First of all, the worms. But second, for any other larva/worm life in your living soil. These are all good guys, and DE will shred any kind of smaller worms along with any type of larva in your soil. Not good baybee.
How you do this is simple really, you expose the DE to nature first, you simply mix in your DE separately with a smaller amount of moist soil mix, say, a handful, let it remain exposed to air for 24 hours, and boom, you’re golden. Just mix it back in with your soil and all the minilife like worms and larva will be fine. I’m not sure if DE harms soil mites, but I would say it’s very likely. So, you’re protecting them as well.
I like to add DE to my compost collection for sure. I randomly just sprinkle like 1-teaspoon of DE on the collecting organic matter every time it fills by about 1/3rd or so. This not only keeps the minilife in your soil mix safe, but it also helps to buffer the pH of your compost supplies towards where the bacteria favor it the most. You always want to help the bacteria if you can, cannabis prefers bacterial dominant soil.
Methodology Using DE Growing Indoors
When you are mixing DE with your water, keep in mind this will bump up the pH and the TDS (PPM) values of that water as well. All good for sure, just keep tabs so it doesn’t get all out of whack. I highly recommend using DE in everything if you are using living soil. Use it, especially in your composting matter and your soil mix. The DE is like micro-coral reefs for the microlife enhancing their health, happiness, and capabilities. This, in turn, enhances your plant’s health, happiness, and capabilities.
Using DE Micropond style in the catch trays you can use it always, at every stage of growth. I myself add about 1/8th of a teaspoon to my plants’ catch-trays every third watering or so—it’s a loose schedule, but consistent over time.
Hope you all dug on today’s article. Get some killer cannabis seeds over at Kingdom Organic Seeds, and while you’re at it grab a copy of my True Living Organics 2nd Edition and learn the ways of Druid growing in living soil using containers. I’m outty for now mi amigos, stay happy, and I’ll see ya all back here next week. It’s off to some serious bookwork for this old stoner guy. L8r G8rs…
- REv 😊