Dogg Farm “One and Done” Potting Mix

Never heard of it before? Now you have! :rofl: This is my soil mix recipe. Hat tip to “Mr Canuck’s Grow” on YouTube for bringing my attention to it.

70% coconut coir
20% quality worm castings
10% aeration (perlite/vermiculite)
Organic dry fertilizer blends
(The next 2 are optional, but recommended)
1 scoop of home soil (provides trace minerals and good luck)
Mycorrhizae, when transplanting

As you may have guessed from the name, this is my homemade version of the popular bagged potting mixes on the market. It’s preloaded with microbes and organic fertilizers but I wouldn’t quite call it a “living soil” - it’s sort of a shortcut to that.

There are distinct advantages to making it yourself. It can save you some money. Since you’ll be mixing it up fresh, you’ll know exactly what went in it, and when it went in.

Maybe you can even add some of your own inputs if you have a source of good compost or organic fertilizer. Or coconuts. You can sort of treat this recipe as a template.

The coco coir is serving to create the soil structure. It’s nice and fluffy, so it holds plenty of air, but it can also hold many times it’s weight of water. The air is the critical factor though - if you’ve been growing in straight topsoil prepare to be amazed.

You can save some money if you buy it in bales but it needs to be rinsed properly. That’s a topic in its own right and I went into more detail about it here.

The worm castings should need no explanation. Even people who don’t garden know you want worms in your garden. They’re little fertilizer factories and they poop out black gold for your plant.

If you don’t have a source of good quality compost, or even if you do, pure worm castings are like the top of the compost food chain. “Vermicompost” is generally a blend of worm castings and peat - you don’t want that, we’ve already added the peat component.* Look for 100% pure castings, especially if you saved some money going with the brick coco.

*Vermicompost will work fine too, you’ll just want to adjust the ratio - maybe add a little more.

The compost ingredient adds readily available nutrients for your plant, and also inoculates the soil with beneficial microbes. These will work in harmony with your plant to break down the organic fertilizer inputs into the nutrients that your plant needs.

For the aeration ingredient, you can go with trusty old perlite or vermiculite. Or if you’re starting to nerd out on this soil stuff (you’re still reading so I’ll take that as a yes) there are organic options like rice hulls.

For the fertilizer, I’ve been using the Down to Earth blends, 4-4-4 Vegetable Garden for veg, and 4-8-4 Rose and Flower for flower. These are a mix of things like kelp, fish bone meal, seabird guano, feather meal and so forth. These ingredients won’t all be readily available as nutes for your plant; the microbes in the soil will break them down over time, creating sort of a slow release.

You could add these components separately and create your own fertilizer blend, but make sure to consider the various feeding schedules for each one. I think there are fully veganic options available as well.

Why the home soil? Your plant and it’s soil are a living system we still don’t fully understand. I don’t have any science to back this one up, but there’s something that the plants and soil in your location know about growing there. In my case, my soil is also quite sandy and it’s a good source of silica.

Since we’re sort of taking a shortcut to living soil using this recipe, I like to add in the mycorrhizae. I’ve been aware of that stuff since I got interested in vegetable gardening years ago. I knew it as something you wanted in a good healthy soil, but I didn’t know you could buy it in powdered form until I started growing my own medicine.

It’s expensive, and you do need to select one that’s formulated for cannabis. You might even have enough of it in your compost already, so you may not even need it. But I’ve been using it. I generally apply it at transplant- I’ll sprinkle some directly on the roots and also the soil bed I’ve made in the new pot.

I always mix up just the right amount of my potting soil either on transplant day or a couple of days before. That way I know Day 1 of the feeding schedule for the fertilizer I use. I don’t use any bottles at all with this blend. I just stick to the directions on the box - in my case, feed (or transplant) twice a month.

I just eyeball the amounts. I try to actually calculate the amount of fertilizer that’s directed but I just eyeball that too. The plant won’t mind a little extra love with these nutes, if you’re making it up fresh.

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Mr Canuk grows some big stuff…nice recipe
question…since it is heavy coco…what is the watering / feeding schedule
I did a DWC years ago and fed 3 x a day in coco…90/10 cocoa, perliite…nutrients based on age and hydro based

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For water, I’m using tap water that’s been dechlorinated and aerated for 24hrs, then pH’d to around 6.5. I live near the Great Lakes so we have pretty good tap water here. I water when dry, with no runoff - usually every day, or every other day. I gauge whether I think it needs water based on the weight of the pot.

For feeding, I just use the same worm castings and fertilizer that went into the mix. Every 2 weeks I feed or transplant, except when they’re in the seedling stage. In that case they’ll go about a month.

Then I just add water.

If you want to use bottled nutes instead, you could treat this mix just like whatever bagged mix you’ve been using. In that case you might want to water with runoff and test pH and PPMs if that’s what’s directed.

I personally don’t use them cause I’m a bit of a romantic about the plant + soil relationship. The plant uses some of the sugars it produces through photosynthesis to feed the microbes in the soil, which in turn break down the organic matter in the soil into nutrients your plant can use. It’s thought that the plant will actually produce sugars to feed specific microbes, effectively “requesting” the nutrients it needs from the soil.

If you’re growing outdoors in a very hot or dry climate, the ratios might need some adjustment. I’d probably lean a little heavier on the compost to make a denser mix which should retain water a little longer.

so are you watering wet to dry or just watering x amount of times as a feed like hydro?

Yep just wet-to-dry.

It’s actually rare for me to go two days once it’s out of the seedling stage. I’m growing photos and right-sizing the pots, and over time I’ll sorta get a feel for how much they’re drinking in a day.

when in coco, it is NOT how much they are drinking…it is like hydro where you are force feeding them. In a heavy coco substrate, most of the liquid passes through

I’m not quite sure what you mean - if you’re referring to using this blend with bottled nutes, I’d definitely appreciate if you could expand on that as I don’t actually have any experience using them with it.

This is really just a classic potting mix ratio, except they usually call for peat moss rather than coco. There’s a lot of reasons coco is better than peat. But they serve the same purpose.

I was just trying to explain a little bit about what I’ve learned about soil stuff. Like a book report. And offer maybe a lower cost alternative that’s working for me at least.

SOIL - organic, living or even blended…contains nutrients. Coco, peat - do not…they are blank substrates that ONLY HOLD MOISTURE. Food must come from added nutes. In a hydro system, we sometimes feed 3,4,5,6 times a day as (depending on the system) the roots are provided necessary nutrition / oxygen. Same for any blank substrate - clay pebbles, stones, coco, peat, perlite, vermiculite…substances that do not contain nutrition or biological action to facilitate growth. When I grow in coco / peat STRAIGHT…I feed like 3 times a day. Doesn’t have to be that way but like people, when you do not have a substrate proving CONSTANT nutrition, we suppliment

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Sure. Like I said, the coco is serving to create the structure of the soil. It’s the worm castings and organic fertilizers that are providing the nutrition.

If you look at the ingredients for FFOF, you’ll find them to be very similar to this mix. I copied this from their website:

Our most popular potting soil, Ocean Forest® is a powerhouse blend of aged forest products, sphagnum peat moss, earthworm castings, bat guano, fish emulsion, and crab meal.

Aged forest products, sandy loam, and sphagnum peat moss give Ocean Forest® its light, aerated texture. Start with Ocean Forest® and watch your plants come alive!

I think they’re using wood chips for aeration which is an organic option. They’ve probably been composted for a year or so though. Perlite is probably going to be a more readily available option for most folks - you can find it at most hardware stores that have a gardening section.

This is a great recipe. Worm castings, like bat guano, is one of the major additives we can use to make a living soil. Both are considered soil conditioners as well as fertilizer, and should be used in most grows, in my opinion. There are veganic fertilizers out there, I’ve never used them, yet.

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