First grow, soil question

hello! i have several autos started in some peat pots. the medium is currently garick organic valley potting soil from mendards. i just put them into the peat pots because i thought i better double check on the soil first. i have run into some confusion on soil for autos. i was going to use this potting soil for the grow as i have read that autos don’t want a lot of punch, and do better on the “less is more” sort of soil. the composition is:

aged softwood and aged hardwood 80-90%
aged pine bark

because of the confusion i have run into, i have not planted them in this. my question is if this is adequate to use, or should i use my composted chicken manure with it? it has been aged for about 20 months. i have peat moss and perlite and vermiculite if needed to add to it.

i guess i am wanting some clear direction on how to proceed. thank you so much!

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@dbrn32 @MrPeat @Missiles can one of you help


Welcome to the forum. I used promix BX and worm casting and Bergman’s fertilizer and it works great for me but watch the PH 20200303_143125|690x388

Strongly suggest you not try to build your own soil yet. The main thing is properly buffered into a PH range that cannabis tolerates. Almost anything you do unless engineered correctly will cause you trouble. Usually late flower where you don’t need it.


I’m lazy and use FFOF as I have had great success with it. :+1:

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Another midwesterner lol, Menards is a dead give away.

Your soil is listed as “feeding for up to 2 months” that generally means it has time release nutrients. Not always though, so check the fine print on bag and see. If it does, you would be better off to avoid it.

This time of year farm & fleet or stock & field both carry fox farms happy frog, have one of those nearby? Otherwise I think I seem promix all purpose at menards and home depot. I’ve never grown in it, but I suspect it would be a lot more user friendly for a new cannabis grower.


@huny Welcome to ILGM forum. If you have a Rural King near you check and see if they have FoxFarm Happy Frog. The one near me does, I was a little surprised when I saw that they had it.


I am a Midwesterner and get fox farm, either ocean forest or happy frog from Blain’s Farm & Fleet. Convenient online ordering and drive through pick up. It also carries FF trio of nutrients.

I have used FFOF for all of my grows which to date are autos. I even punch it up a bit by adding organic compost. Only one strain of autos reacted negatively, Amnesia Haze. I am not convinced it was the soil though. Early on in this grow I did not PH my water guess it was 90% of the problem (PH of 7.5 it should be closer to 6.5) or I gave nutrients to early.

hahaha! yup midwest! i knew it would give it away, but oh well. lol

first, thank you everyone for the replies! i know you have all been there, starting out with questions, so i really appreciate it!

i have 7 plants started, and i have 5 gal. pots for each, so it would take a lot of dirt. a few buggers in all this: covid is making things difficult. not impossible, but difficult.

the closest thing outside of menards is about 45 min away (fleet farm or home depot, but not in the same place), and they do not have any of the things you guys have all listed. any if the other stores, i do not have.

the menards i have by me does not have any of those listed either, i DID see that the menards DOES have promix! it is not the promix bx though. i didn’t get it though as it was only peat moss from the look of it. they do not have the organic mix from promix. they are out of a lot of the things that the website says they have, but i get it. everyone seems to be putting in a garden this year, so a lot of out of stock.

my reason for growing is medicine. i have some pain and structural issues. now i WOULD go and just get all the heavy dirt myself because i just would, but my dr tends to get cranky at me when i do that sort of thing lol. so, i need someone to help me with the heavy lifting wherever i get the stuff.

i would have preferred to have a ready made mix, but i just couldn’t find one around me. i had learned that miracle grow is not a good idea, especially with autos though, correct? miracle grow and schultz seem to be the king and queen around here, so that is why i got what i did. it seemed the safest. i have been looking at the bag, and i cannot find anything that says that it feeds at all.
in fact, it says: a fertilization program should begin after application of potting soil. specific fertilizer and levels should be applied in accordance with current horticulture literature.

i could find nothing about any feeding from the potting soil mix at all that would happen.

i’m glad that others have used some of the fox farms and other mixes for their autos. so many online places say it is a no no for autos as it would be too much for them. this is why i say i ran into confusion. its good to know.

again, i am growing for medicines, not for customers. if i have an oops, its just an oops for me. that is why i started so many this time, backups just in case lol

i think i answered all the questions and gave more info. my preference would have been to just have a premade mix for my first grow, but i’m not seeing my being able to do that. money is a factor as well, so having a lot of expensive soil shipped is not really an option.

i’m not trying to argue with anyone or be difficult, just giving any info i can to help. i really do appreciate any help you guys are able to keep giving!

thanks guys!!

All of my autos except for on have been grown in a Fox Farms mixture. I mixed worm castings, perlite and epson salt to HF and OF. I set my pots up sorta like this

except I didn’t come up the sides with OF :v:


Straight from Garick website, is this what you have?

@huny I know Farm and Fleet in Ottawa Illinois
Has Ocean Forest and Happy Frog soils at least a pallet each and all of the Trio nutes in pint size.

oh no, honey. this one

i’m sorry. i didn’t realize they had two kinds with that name. it is the pink potting soil

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i am much further north of ottawa, and west. they don’t have it.

Here is a picture I took of the bag. Maybe this will help.

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@huny I’ve also used the Coco Loco soil. Can’t tell it isn’t Ocean Forest looks the same. I’ve got a Maui with a 30% petite added to my Loco. Good luck in your search. The Forum is always open.

If you are going to use something other than FF I would suggest you acquire some dolomite lime, a decent PH and TDS meter, do a slurry test (you can look it up here) and make sure your new potting soil is in the 6.3 to 6.8 PH range before using.


That should work, sorry about the confusion. I will second getting complete base nutrient package and tools to check ppm/ph and ph adjusting solution.

thank you, everyone!

ok, so i am glad that the soil i have will work, but sadly, i cannot get the fertilizer you are all saying to use. they are all sold out.

so, if i cannot use that fertilizer, what would you guys recommend?

and should i put any other amendments into the soil? should i use any peat, or composted chicken manure, or perlite or vermiculite?

thank you

edit: i apologize for not replying sooner, but the board software would not allow me to post anything for 24 hours, due to me being new.