Soil Debate and Suggestions

So here’s the deal:

Happy Frog PH soil, Fox Farm nutrient trio, CalMag.

5 Gallon buckets with drainage. Indoor grow.

In prior grows I depended on a blend of soil such as: Happy Frog + Miracle Grow, Happy Frog + Black Gold. Always a 2-1 blend with Happy Frog being the Majority. Unfortunately, I have had some issues.

My last grow I had some nutrients issues and learned that depending on the soil to provide all the nutrients is a huge mistake and even though I quickly put Fox Farm liquid nutes to the mix, my crop suffered.

I also had an autoflower that refused to step from the veggie stage to the flower stage even after a light change to force flowering as in feminized seeds. Also this plant grew huge and died from the inside out. Very Weird for an autoflower !

Anyway, The main focus of this topic is to solicit comments from professional growers who may have seen these issues and can provide some knowledge.

I also wanted to spark a debate about my current grow as it relates to soil and nutrients.

Thanks in Advance.

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Learn the basics. If you want to use FFHF use it and stick with it a grow or two. If you want to add Black Gold or cannabis friendly compost, do it and stick with it a grow or two. The same for nutrients. The Trio is fine, I used it. Just know you need to add CalMag and do several complete flushes. There are many growers around here that use FF products so you can find a lot of support.
Basically what I am saying is reduce / eliminate variables so you know what you are dealing with. Individual plants, strains and phenotypes present enough hurdles let alone intentionally creating more. I know because I was / am a master at not KISS


Hey Boss!!
Here’s something not completely different but could make big difference in your harvest.
I’d start with a 75/25 mix of coco coir & perlite.
You’ll need to feed your girls weekly using a Hydroponic schedule.
If you haven’t tried hydroponics Coco coir is soil like but holds more O2 and is very forgiving.
I have used Viagrow coco coir and worked really well. You’ll need to supplement with hydroponic nutrients but you’ll see vigorous growth.
Coco is like soil but you have more control if your girls need adjustments.
If you decide to go coco then do a bit of research it’s readily available here.

Good luck :four_leaf_clover:

Hmmm? Are you watering in addition to feeding? Weekly feeding is in essence defeating the purpose of coco. High frequency fertigation is a benefit of coco. Also “very forgiving” is not a characteristic I associate with coco. Because coco is inert and unbuffered like soil, effects whether positive or negative occur more rapidly in coco than soil.
I switched from soil to coco several grows and very much like what it offers. I use it in autopots as well as top feeding. As a matter of fact I fed Jack’s 321 to my two plants in 5 gallon fabric pots filled with coco on the 13th and it is time to feed them today. I could feed every day but choose not to.


Beardless makes a good point about not changing things all the time. What I learned here from the good growers is that they don’t do things differently each time. They found a system that works and stuck with it. I too use coco and Jacks 321. Water every day and feed every other day until week 4 then feed every day from then on. I like it because its cheap, fast and easy to mix, lands on the right pH every time so I dont even check pH anymore. Water to run off and remove the runoff and water the tomatoes with it. I am not chasing an extra 1% of THC nor trying to get an extra ounce out of the harvest. Honestly most of the time that is just genetics and not growing technique. All I care about is not killing the plants before they mature.
So keep it simple. The plant will do most of the work.


I believe its better to use coco coir with peat moss and perlite mixed with organic compost and worm castings and bat guano and volcanic rock dust fertilizer rather then starting with a ready made bag soil thats goin to be too hot or not enough food for the plant or bad drainage

Hey @Spiney_norman not sure I got that message out of @beardless post. But my point was to try a hydroponic mix and feeding schedule. Coco coir holds plenty of H2O and O2 making it readily available. Soil has to do the organic thing down in a bucket. So you not only have to keep that organic “engine” tuned in and fight the too much water not enough mutes on a daily basis. Whereas hydroponic grows are more forgiving and allows you to make amendments almost immediately if your soil gets out of whack.
How long does it take to make overwater over feeding adjustments in soil grows?
Also, I’d add that with Coco it is inorganic so those pests that can live in a nice organic soil have no place to feed.
In hydroponics you’ll need to keep your roots healthy, GH Subculture M, and inoculated against root rot with beneficial fungi.
I like to try different methods after doing a deep dive and find benefit.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Just do your research and use best practices.

That is what I meant by learning the basics and completing a couple of grows before changing things See post 2 in reply to OP.

In that sense I agree with you. The critical part is recognizing the problem at the same pace coco does. I think experience plays a significant part in that aspect.

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One issue you had was this. You used FFHF soil with Miracle Gro. Happy Frog is still hot but not as bad as FFOF which is extremely hot. Then you loaded it into over drive with Miracle Gro.

I’d rather dig up some soil than use Miracle Gro.

The other soil I have no clue about. I use only Fox Farm soils and nutrients. :+1::+1::+1:

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i got a question… people say that you shouldn’t use miracle gro soil because of it being way too hot or whatever, looking at a bag of mg moisture control it is .21-.11-.16 and ffof is .30-.45.05 and ffhf is .30-.30-.05…im just confused here i suppose lol

From what I understand MG has time released nutrients in it the more you water the more you release unlike say Fox Farm where the more you water the more depleted the soil becomes.

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In my experience soil is a poor medium to grow cannabis. Soils great for outdoor long grows.
Indoor grows or crops that we want a larger yeild and a faster production soil less or hydro is just so much better and easier.

Unless the growing container is huge soil runs out of nutrients and has to be fed one way or the other in flower. So instead just run a soil less medium and feed from day one for better results and less changes. Doesn’t have to be salt based can still be organic and teas and things.

I grew in fox farms soils and grew in the dirt outside, autos and photos.
Wish I tried coco the first day I grew rather then years later.


Hi Everyone,

As the topic creator I am really enjoying this debate and have already learned
some new things.

I think in my case that the PH controlled Happy Frog is the way to go
for this grow. But this time around I will start a liquid nutrient regimen
as soon as they are mature enough.

Since auto-flowers grow so fast I will have to closely monitor growth
to ensure I start the nutrients at the right time but also I will have
to start off with less nutrients and then scale up since the problem
seems to be that the soil loses its ability to provide nutrients over time.

Any suggestions on the nutrients would be appreciated as far as
the amount that should be administered. I know that the manual
that comes with the Fox Farm Trio tells you to administer way
too much and that half the suggested amount is better.

I’m wondering if using the Fox Farm and the CalMag will
be too much of a good thing so to speak. Maybe stick
with one or the other?

I think the game plan is sound, I’m just debating the nutrients
at the moment.

I could use a little advice and hope this adds to the debate/discussion.

Indoor weed is finicky :smirk_cat:

:poop:happens and dormant genes express themselves sometimes. :man_shrugging:

That was just rude. Maybe a bug? :bug:

My opinion is Cal-Mag with every feeding. It generally only adds about 100 ppm to the mix in a gal of water. That has been consistent for me using Cal-Mag+Iron.

If something worked for you before why would you change it? I am curious about the auto flower…it wouldn’t flower? Was maybe a male plant? Any pictures of that plant? I am a newbies but I actually hope to depend on the soil most of the time and just have nutrients available as a just in case. Although I do currently add nutrients at flowering based on this forum.

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Not a Male plant. No pictures (long dead)

I’ve heard that Coco might be something to check out.

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I wonder if peat moss be used instead of coco? Like would a mix of peat and perlite suffice as a medium for hydro or does it retain too much moisture? So far, for me, autos in 3 gal soil have topped out at just under 3 oz per plant. I am growing one in a 5 gal fabric pot now to see if it produces more.
I am gonna start reading more from @Nicky as I am considering going soil-less next year.

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My advice is ditch any nutrients and use only FFOF and perlite (30% seems to be what people like)

Ocean forest is pretty hot (loaded with nutrients) it will take your plant through an entire grow with autos if in a large enough container. 5gal buckets is probably good, though 7-10 gallon would be better…

But don’t mess with liquid nutes at all if you’re harvest is really suffering or if it’s just to big of a headachest first. Get a few clean runs in then step it up. You’ll still have great nugs in the end.

Just cut them out and look into organic top dress types of feed and only use them if the plants ask for it, running the 5gal pots will do great I believe with just a little nutes towards the end running just FFOF.
And give cal-mag along the way in small amounts 2-3ml per gallon…

2 of mine are in only FFOF the other 5 are in fox farm OF,HF,and SF mix, all with 30% or so perlite.
They are right at 6weeks today and nothing but water first 4 weeks and cal-mag at 3ml per gallon the past 2 weeks.

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Sorry to say but this generally doesn’t work out.

Most autos if grow in under the correct conditions will use up ffof in 4-6 weeks roughly and that means another 8 weeks of feeding.

@1HappyPappy you haven’t added anything and they are in 5 gallons? At 6 weeks?
Would you mind doing a soil slurry test with distilled and showing us your values? Ppm and ph?

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Yes I can tomorrow, I’ll have to buy some distilled water.

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