Living soil water issue?


I’m having what I think may be a magnesium deficiency, please correct me if I’m wrong. I recently transplanted into a living soil mix. Recipe was taken from the BAS website. I thought maybe it was the transplant but I’m beginning to question my water.

I’m on well water. Water is hard and high in sodium (70 ppm). PH is 8.7. I’ve ordered an RO but it hasn’t arrived yet. In the meantime, I’ve been using a tiny bit of Citric Acid to PH down to 6.5 and cutting the water in half with distilled.

Should I continue to water as I am, half RO half well water, PH down to mid 6’s when I get my RO filter? Should I just go RO and add in some epsom or gypsum? Any help would be appreciated.

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@GreenJewels @Skydiver @ChittyChittyBangin

I’m just starting my living soil journey. I don’t ph my water at all. I went and bought a boogie brew plus in-line water filter for 65$ off Amazon. Did wonders for my water ( actually fit for human consumption now ) ( I don’t know why we would need an ro for living soil? The soil itself is the buffer for ph )

It kinda looks like what my plant looked like when I was feeding about 4 tablespoons of flower girl nutes early in the grow. I can’t diagnose your plant because well I just trial and error my grows. I’ll ask questions at times but mostly just search for answers. Everywhere not just ilgm.

The people I tagged maybe able to help. They are organic growers. If you want some good information search “organic growers mosh pit”

Good luck getting things sorted.


Thanks for the tags.

I got the RO filter because of the sodium. Most people I talked to said that even if it didn’t cause a problem initially that eventually I’d have a problem indoors because the salt would just keep building up. I have no idea. I drink my water, I didn’t think I would have to RO it.

I’m very new to all of this so it’s quite the learning curve


If you have a ph meter and distilled water, run a quick soil slurry to see where your soil ph is sitting… your plant will go through some weird variations during veg… remember with organics and living soil, you wont see an immediate change. It can take a week or two to really see if amendments change anything.


That looks like a magnesium deficiency to me. I have that issue with my reused organic. I add it anyway to new soil. Couple tablespoon epsom salt. Top dress it in. It will not hurt at all if not the issue. I typically do simplest solution first. This will absorb much faster than typical top dress nutes. Results will show faster. If doesnt fix it can do a harder hitting solution. If the soil is alive and thriving it will regulate anywhere from 5.5 to 8.5 or so. My reservoir water is 8.9 at times. Runoff testing organic soil/living soil for nutrient levels wont be accurate at all. I dont see any transplant shock at all. Nice girls. Just my thoughts.

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Is this how they looked prior to the transplant?
How long ago did you transplant?
If they looked that way prior it will take some time for things to correct itself.
I’m seeing what looks like to me assuming the lighting isn’t causing color issue so I see Nitrogen deficiency, also magnesium deficiency and possibly some calcium spots.

The fresh soil should help correct things.
As far as your well water if it’s actually only 70ppm total that’s not bad at all. Did you have a water test done the reason I ask is you mentioned sodium specifically at 70ppm and that it’s hard which normally is from calcium in it.
The PH at 8.7 is something I would address. Your current mix should work until your RO water filter arrives. The RO will essentially be neutral at around 5-10 ppm and you can’t check the PH unless you raise the PPM to around 100ppm to get an accurate read.
I use RO or water from my dehumidifiers most just straight up most of the time unless I’m adding some sea 90 or other soluble powdered amendments from time to time. I don’t check water PH nor PPM unless I run into an issue.

You could do a foliar spray using epsom salt about 1/4 tsp per quart just make sure it’s well dissolved before applying.
Just keep the left overs and use again over the next several days as it doesn’t go bad.

Quick nitrogen
Healthy piss in a container and dilute that 10:1 one being the urine and 10 the water and water them with it.

If they are fresh from being transplanted I would just wait 4-5 days observing things as getting better or worse or staying the same as that can happen as she puts down roots in the new home before concentrating on the above soil growth.

Hope this helps
Enjoy the day


Unfortunately, I’ve been too cheap to buy a proper meter. I’ve been using the PH stuff you use for fish tanks. It’s probably not super accurate but I’d hoped I could get my water in range.

Thank you. I have some Epsom salt already mixed up that I was using for a foliar spray, maybe I can hit them with that.

Do you add epsom salt every water or only if you see an issue?

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I transplanted on Wednesday so it’s only been a couple days. They were starting to look a little bleak when I transplanted. I had them in 1/2 gallon pots and I thought they might be hungry. I had them in Coast of Maine Stonington. I had put kelp and EWC along the way. It seemed like every time I watered though I would see yellowing a few days later. I was only adding 1/4cup for each 1/2 gallon pot, every 3 or 4 days.

Before transplant.


Water Test

I appreciate everyone’s help. I’m going to foliar spray them with some epsom salt in the AM. Hopefully that does the trick.

Here’s some shots from right now. Seems some have gotten a little worse.

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Once is good. The foliar or top dress.

That group shot of them looks good to me.
Let us know how things look over the next week.

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Thanks. That group shot was pre transplant.

I will definitely report back.

The high sodium is working against you. That coupled with high pH is the worst combo. The high sodium will reduce the availability of the feeds. What I mean is, the sodium being dissolved in the water reduces the solubility baseline of your water. Even if your pH was correct, that high sodium will prevent ions (food) from being released into the water. Even in living soil, that’s a tough one to beat.

Mixed with a high pH it’s a perfect storm of a bad combo: high sodium and high pH.

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You could make something like this. Out of a kiddie pool and a bucket and clear tarp. Or 30 gallon fish tank with a 10 or 5 gallon inside as the collector. If you have space…

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A couple of questions.

I thought if I was doing half distilled and half well water I would essentially cut my sodium levels in half? Does it work that way? I was also PH’ing my water down to 6.5ish.

I have my RO filter in place now. Should I continue doing the half and half or should I go straight RO and add minerals to it? If I should be adding minerals to the RO, what do I add and how much per gallon?

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Just wanted to give an update. I’ve sprayed the ladies a few times this past week with a water/epsom salt solution and they’ve started to come around. Appreciate everyone’s help.

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Half is a good mix, especially if they are responding well. Half is where I would start if I was not using a meter. You understood diluting it correctly.

I missed that RO unit was on the way. I thought I read it was a next year purchase.