HOWDY HOWDY… Here’s some of my latest flowering container tweaks for all-natural growers (version 2.0) using a higher quality soil that is well aerated; Ocean Forest soil or G&B brand soil are all good. All this info is based on 2 to 3 gallon containers under 300 to 400 watt flowering lights. If you are larger or smaller just do some math for proper ratios. I list air-pots below, and while I no longer use them, they work fantastic and you can easily employ these artisan methods using them as well. Let’s see what’s shakin’ aye?
Note the choices I have listed below. These all have their place depending upon your personal availability, and style preferences, etc. Allow me to just run down some of the relevant points as I see them, as a long-time grower, having used all of these extensively in the past and still use two of them regularly; the standard and the self-watering types both work well for me and each have their strengths.
Standard Containers: Your basic container, round or square, with a lot of good aeration/drainage holes present. Under 400 watts of HID metal halide (Agrosun Gold) I use 3-gallon pots to flower in and my plants get about 3 feet tall. If I am flowering topped plants trimmed to about 6 main branches this container always gives me the best biggest high-quality yields. Under 1000-watt bulbs I would go with 5 to 7 gallon containers in this instance.
Self-Watering Containers: I always use these for un-topped plants and they only hold about 2 gallons of soil (also called the 9” version); fantastic aeration and watering visa vi the design (see photo) and I recommend them highly. I’m not a big fan of shopping at “Wallyworld” but they normally carry these containers, or can get them easily. These pots produce the highest yielding and highest quality un-topped cannabis plants about 3 feet tall under the same 400 watts HID as mentioned above. Under 1000 watt lighting I would use the 11” – 13” version that holds about 3.3 – 4.0 gallons for untopped flowering at 4 foot plus. Note: I never bottom water plants by filling lower tray directly.
- Air-Pots: These are the fabric type pots, and hands down they work primo. The only reason I stopped using them was due to the fact that watering for my disabled-ish ass is quite the chore, and as a rule of thumb they require more water. But these pots produce robust growth using living soil. My best results using these in the past was when I used larger sizes; and again, for me personally these were a little unmanageable size-wise for me to move around.
The Flowering Container Artisan Build
When I transplant my plants into their flowering containers, they are coming out of 5-inch square pots. You will want a few things on hand for this build. First get yourself some quality all-purpose dry organic chicken guano, and my favorite at this point in time is the Espoma brand in the photo (I will give you a link to this fertilizer—and more—at the end of this article). Otherwise just get a dry organic granular all-purpose fertilizer with NPK numbers about even and less than 6—like in the case of the chicken guano in the photo at a 3-2-3 for N-P-K values (plus 2% calcium).
Next you will want some vermiculite, you don’t need a lot, and smaller packages of this amendment are easily found locally and online as well. Crab Meal is magical, and easily available online. Get yourself a good quality granular mycorrhizal fungus (myco fungi) product; Down to Earth brand makes some good ones and the type of myco fungi you are interested mostly in here is called: Endo Mycorrhizal Fungus. You will need some kelp meal, and some screened steer manure—any barnyard manure will work and you can screen it yourself as well. Here’s a quick reference list below for your convenience:
|Dried Chicken Guano||Dry All-Purpose Organic Fertilizer|
|Vermiculite||Perlite or Pumice|
|(Endo) Mycorrhizal Fungus – Granular||N/A|
|Kelp Meal||Alfalfa Meal; No Additives|
|Crab Meal||Feather Meal or Horn-Hoof Meal|
|Steer Manure Composted and Screened||Barnyard Manure Composted and Screened|
|Shredded Bark Mulch||Course Outdoor Bagged Topsoil|
|Powdered Diatomaceous Earth (DE)||*Optional: Good Source of Si and Ca|
First, if using a self-watering style container—highly recommended—you will want to fill the lower basin (see photo) with a blend of 50/50 steer manure/ vermiculite. Then cover the vented floor and the manure with about ¾ inch layer of soil.
- If using a normal style 3-gallon container, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of dried chicken guano, 1 teaspoon of crab meal, and 1 tablespoon of kelp meal on the floor of the container.
Then fill the container with enough soil to accommodate the root ball of the plant being transplanted. On top of this soil level then add a ½ inch layer of vermiculite and moisten with a hand sprayer, and then sprinkle down some granular mycorrhizal product before placing the root ball on top of the vermiculite layer that has been inoculated with Myco Fungi. Then fill with soil until appropriate level is achieved (DO NOT compact this soil you added; just a gentle shake is all it needs).
Spray down the top of the soil in the newly filled container with a hand pump mister. Then we will do 4 “spike” holes located near the outer edge of the container, as shown in Diagram 1; and you will notice how I am placing the spike holes at the furthest distance from living roots as possible, this is important. You don’t have to have a custom tool like mine, and a regular ½ inch dowel will work. You don’t want the spike holes too wide, and about ¾ inch diameter works best. Insert spiker tool, rock it around slightly to pack the edges of the spike hole and remove slowly, being careful not to knock soil back in the hole—the misting you did will help big-time with this.
Fill the spike holes up with the granular chicken guano, or all purpose granular organic fertilizer. Then sprinkle down an additional 2 teaspoons of chicken guano and 2 teaspoons of crab meal on the soil surface, avoiding the mainstem of the plant by 2 or 3 inches. For sure add a mulch layer now, and an inch-deep mulch layer is all good. I like shredded bark mulch here, but you could use a lot of things dried and shredded, like cannabis leaves, banana peels, tree leaves, etc.
Next, we do some voodoo in the catch trays. In the self-watering containers at this point you want to add to the lower catch tray 1 tablespoon of kelp meal, and 1 teaspoon of chicken guano—and if you want, ½ teaspoon of DE (see table 1). DE will add some silicon (Si) which is found in fairly high levels in cannabis resin—yay—and it also adds some additional calcium as well.
The standard containers are a bit different. You will want your catch trays to be of the proper size relative to your containers, so that runoff water will be caught and then absorbed back up within 45 minutes or so. I use the same amount of water to water both the 2-gallon self-watering and the 3-gallon standard pots: 1600 mL (about 1.6 quarts). The self-watering containers are built to hold extra runoff water for longer periods of time. So, with the standard pots, right in the catch tray you just sprinkle all around 2 teaspoons of steer manure and 1 tablespoon of kelp—and ½ teaspoon of DE as above.
I always trim up my plants just before transplanting them into the flowering containers, as you can see in the photo. Sometimes this style of trimming is called “the lollypop method”. This is also a great time to take cuttings to root. All you need to do now is just add some good water to your newly transplanted plants, chlorine/chloramine free water, under 100 PPM on a TDS meter and BOOM! You will rock and roll.
Afterword with Rev
In truth using any one of these recommendations will help you, as long as you don’t pour on liquid nutrients or use powerful teas, because these artisan moves will make sort-of “always teas” in your catch trays. In the catch trays there is a lot of air—which microbes love—and there is water long enough to activate the natural processes. It works out awesome, just don’t overdo it and you’ll be fantastic. Don’t disregard the mulch or the vermiculite, these are both deceptively powerful moves. Here’s some links below that might serve you, cheers.
Espoma Dried Chicken Guano: http://a.co/4vRAh46
I like to get the 25 lb. size but you can get smaller amounts.
Rev’s New Supernatural TLO Container Cannabis Growing Guide: http://a.co/3iFA77x
Crab Meal: http://a.co/8ORLK5x
Vermiculite Small Size: http://a.co/fVMW86w
Killer LED Lighting Source – My Latest Favorite is the HLG-300: https://horticulturelightinggroup.com