Right off the bat, for those of you that don’t know, TLO stands for True Living Organics. This TLO rule bending article today deals with some specific questions that require a bit of rule bending. Bending the rules is fine. It’s adaptive, but… You need to know the rules before you bend the rules.
Grab a copy of my 2nd Edition TLO book HERE on Amazon today and get started recycling your soil and enjoying top-shelf results.
Alright then, earthlings, let’s rock and/or roll with today’s “Letters” to Rev…
TLO Rule Bending, Question #1: Just Manure Soil Recycling?
FROM: Harry T.
“Hi Rev, I live in a place like bumfuck nowhere. We have a small animal farm. When I recycle my soil for TLO is there any way I can just use some cow poop, and that’s all? I mean, that will work, right? I just have no time for adding and keeping track of many additions. Thanks, I now have an indoor (thanks to thieves) garden, all TLO. I’m doing Micropond, and I recently added the churn too, and everything is rocking.”
Rev’s Answer to Q1
Hey Harry, salutations. The short answer is – yup – you sure can. But … and this is a big but … I would also add some kind of buffer, like dolomite lime. Unless you are using well water (or groundwater), that is over 50 PPM and at least 7.0 pH (7.5 pH would be perfect, I would say). Otherwise, the manure will create a firestorm of microbial action, and will naturally dive the pH hard. Per 1.5 cubic feet (9 gallons) of soil, add like 1-cup of pelletized or 1/2 cup powdered dolomite lime. You could add a cup of oyster shell (ground up) in place of the lime. Or a cup of DE (diatomaceous earth) would work okay too.
I try and always point out how adaptable TLO growing is. I know a guy that grinds up moose skulls for his bone meal, for real. Speaking of bone meal, add a cup of that as well. It will not only help with the pH buffering but will add some decent phosphorus for flowering. It adds much more, and it would really round your mix out. If you have cows, you must have alfalfa, so add a decent amount of this—like ½ gallon or so—your iron will get a boost, along with good nitrogen and potassium. Actually, alfalfa is a total nutrient for cannabis—and farm animals—wink.
Your garden soil will adapt; more specifically, the soil life will. Just remember to always have your buffering covered when recycling soil and additions of calcium and magnesium via the lime are awesome for cannabis. Cheers.
TLO Rule Bending, Question #2: Spikes?
FROM: Lily P.
“Rev! Thank you for the advice last year on drying our buds. It has made a huge difference. My question for you this time is about spikes. How many can I use per plant? Also, do you still prefer granular bird/bat guano to fill your spikes? Hugs, Lily.”
Rev’s Answer to Q2
Heh heh, aww, you rock Lily, and this is an awesome question. You can for sure do some TLO rule bending here, and I have used 6 spikes per plant before (5-gallon pots). If I were just using bagged organic soil, I would always do that. These days I use 2 or 3 spikes per plant, and only in their flowering containers.
Spikes are wicked effective, and so you wouldn’t want to be using 6 spikes with powerful TLO soil and using top dressings and anything like teas. That would be a bit too much. It would be tricky to manage the “burn” (pH diving) of that much “fuel” (available nutrients), ya follow? That being said, 6 spikes of granular chicken guano pretty much handle all your plant’s flowering nutrient needs. Top dress with a little bone meal, and you are set to rule.
Here’s an article you may also be interested in: True Living Organics Nutrient Spikes | SKUNK Magazine.
TLO Rule Bending, Question #3: Safe Available Zinc?
FROM: Fred W.
“Rev, I have a nutrient-specific question. I have been recycling my soil a few times now, I use some bagged compost because I have no castings or homemade compost, and I use bone meal, oyster shells, and rabbit poop along with the recycling soil.
Recently I have had problems with all my plants. I thought maybe my chlorine filters were bad but nope. I got a soil test, and it all looks good except for one thing I have almost none of, zinc. I realize adding zinc could be a problem. Is there any way I can get some zinc into my soil sooner than later without screwing everything up? Thank you.”
Rev’s Answer to Q3
Hey Fred, zinc is a lot like sulfur when it comes to dangerous potential, and you’re right. You should never add straight-up zinc to your living soil. I have never had a zinc problem, but I have had a sulfur problem way in the past when I first started recycling my soil. Lemme help you out in a broadband kind of way, heh heh…
- Blood meal, dried fish, kelp meal, spinach, broccoli, bean sprouts, and mushrooms all have decent amounts of zinc. In the future, I would incorporate some of these additions in your recycling.
Now, I’ll relate a little zinc trick I learned many moons ago from an old organic gardener. He always added SUN DRIED mushrooms to his soil. Sun-dried and chopped up, he just added them to his soil always for the zinc and other bennies. He used just the standard White Button and Cremini mushrooms like you can get at the store. Basically, any mushrooms will work here, but these two are pretty fat with zinc. Shitake mushrooms are especially fat with zinc, but way too spendy. For some reason the exposure to the UV rays makes the constituents of the mushrooms more readily available—as I understand it.
There ya go Fred, the long-term answer and the short-term answer to your question. Also, amigo, you can for sure compost a little bit. It’s not a huge deal. You only need to add about 1 cup of sun-dried chopped-up mushrooms per cubic foot of soil. Cheers.
That’s about it for me today. See ya back here next week. If you are thinking of getting some healthy new genetics for your garden, take a look over at Kingdom Organic Seeds and see some real exotic honeys.
I’m off now to make some hash, transplant some plants, and get my new stacked worm farm up and running. My 16-year-old worm farm is finally getting some tray cracks, and I can’t get replacement trays anymore. I’ll do an article about the new one when I get it all up and running and show you all how cool they actually are. L8r G8rs…
- REv 😊
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.