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Why Should I Not Use Miracle-Gro Potting Mix?


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#1 alienseeker

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 09:57 PM

I have used Miracle-Gro potting mix simply for the fact that it is cheaper to use then some of the brands like FoxFarms. I have seen a lot of people on the forums speaking against using Miracle-Gro, but they never state why. Is it all that bad? I just picked up seven 55-quart bags at Costco marked down to $7 (US$) each. Costco clears summer things out to make room for their Christmas items, so you can always pick up some bargains this time of year. I would like to hear opinions to why you think Miracle-Gro is so bad for growing mj? Since I have not done that many grows myself and have always used Miracle-Gro, I do not have anything to compare it to. I would love to hear your opinions and experience with it.
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#2 GoophyPhucker

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 10:36 PM

Ola AlienSeeker,
MG potting mix is "preferted" and it is a bit strong for MJ. the MG mix will work fine especially if you flush it BEFORE you start using it, also it will work way better if you add about 25% Perlite ..
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#3 dipez123

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 10:45 PM

I have used MG in quiet a few grows with pretty good results. The only problem I had with it is when you water it deeply those nute filled ball things all pop and give your plants a huge dose of nutes. Caused nutrient burn and dead plants on both cannabis and regular flowers. I have since switched to super soil as my base soil and it doesn't happen anymore. Super soil is actually cheaper than MG at my local stores.
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#4 Transcendence

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 10:50 PM

Hey man~ There is nothing wrong with it...I would just say its more of a starting kinda soil. Maybe you could do a small grow with a couple of your favorite clones and use Foxfarms ocean forest soil in one container and m.c. in the other and just use the same p.h.'d water for both plants and see the difference... I still use it some times just to start seeds. Also remember to store your soil outside of you grow area. Had a little fungus gnat problem and found them coming out of a bag of m.g. I had in my grow room! Lol. I now use fafard soil which is good and just amend it myself, one mix for veg the other for flower. PeAcE!
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#5 guestpatient

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 11:05 PM

Yo alienseeker. My aversion to such soils are that you lose the ability to control exactly what you want to put on your plants and are instead ,forced to "ride it out" on the ferts MG decided to use...which BTW, aren't cannabis or any other plant "specific". When it says on the label "Feeds For 6 MONTHS" it cancels itself out because I know that cannabis (indoors in MY garden) only takes 3 months start to finish. Most importantly...when I can't find info on WHAT KIND of ferts MG used in this product on their own website I steer clear because I like to know what goes on/in my MMJ. I've also seen fungus gnats hovering above/around/on the bags of the MG soil at my local Casa De Pot and it cause me to RUN the other way.... Not saying you shouldn't use it. That is your choice to make because it is your garden. good luck mp

#6 OniusOniusOnius

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 12:49 AM

Where to start? MG doesn't support microbial life very well because of all the "additives" (time release coating, EDTA, ect...) and chemical ferts. Also, no one has any idea what these "extra" ingredients do to humans when combusted and inhaled, aside from that they make you cough & hurt your lungs. High microbial life has been correlated with better smelling/tasting, stronger medicine. This correlation is not unique to the cannabis community either; many large-scale vegetable and fruit gardeners are seeing benefits as well. Correcting this is in MG would require weekly doses of fungus/bacteria inoculations (already included in Ocean Forest). Really it's just not right for MJ. Too high NPK for most vegging girls, and not enough Mg, Su, or Si for mature blooming ones. People who use MG often add Epsom Salts to it to make up for the lack of Mg, & Su. A Silica supplement should be used as well. MG has a high nitrogen content which cause it to create succulent plants that are VERY susceptible to fugus/insect attack. Nitrogen molecules require a lot of water around them in plant tissue, thus, explaining why MG makes plants more succulent. Raising your Ca to N & Si to N ratios will help combat this, as will heavy duty fans throughout the plants life. You should also ask yourself if MG really is cheaper than OF. $7 a bag vs. $15 may seem like a no brainer but it's not that easy, and simply buying the cheap one reflects a lack of foresight oh so common to the noob grower. For instance, my mother has always used MG for her ornamentals and asked me the same question you asked GP here. I told her to do a side-by-side with two clones I gave her and it was a total joke. Not only was the OF plant MUCH bigger an healthier, but the MG plant had to battle mildew & mites it's whole life while it's sister (one foot away) in OF barley noticed them. OF includes crushed crustaceans which have "chitosan" in their shells. Chitosan is like echinacea for plants. It revs up their immune system and makes their leaves tougher. I can't remember exactly what the final yields were but it was something like three-to-one. Think about what % yield increase you would need to make it worth it for you to spend that extra $8? 3%... 8%...? OF is MUCH cheaper in the long run when you think about all the things you have to do with MG to keep your plants healthy and free from harsh smoke.
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#7 Dudz

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 01:14 AM

Most importantly...when I can't find info on WHAT KIND of ferts MG used in this product on their own website I steer clear because I like to know what goes on/in my MMJ.



I second that. Too many unknowns.
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#8 Turf

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 01:36 AM

kinda curious about this myself.

i don't see any reason not to use it. i think it gets a bad rap because people don't follow instructions.

this is the chem nute version of supersoil.

i sent off an email to scotts for more info.....

here is an study of controlled release fertilizers specifically about trace nutrients availability. it shows that the nute dries up pretty fast about week 12.

http://ddr.nal.usda....IND43803484.pdf

without confirmation, i think that the MG is the osmocote + micromax trial in the above study.

will post back when i hear from Scotts
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#9 alienseeker

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 04:03 AM

Wow! Some great information here! I knew I should have checked with you people before purchasing all that MG. However, I was right there at Costco and they had just marked it down to $7 and it was going fast so I grabbed onto some. Now I guess I will be purchasing some bags of FF or some other mix and give it a try and then add some Perlite to the MG and flush it before I use it on the rest of the plants. BTW, this last grow I had problems with fungus gnats, whiteflies and powdery mildew, so, just maybe, some of this was caused from the MG. Even if not, I still understand about the problem of a pre-fertilized medium, which makes it harder to control your nutes when you first don’t know what you’re even starting with. Thanks You: GoophyPhucker, Dipez, Transcendence, medpatient, Onius, Dudz and TurfScience! You people are the best! Hopefully, at some point, I will also have enough information learned to past along to others. Thank you again my friends!
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#10 alienseeker

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 04:42 AM

Information from: http://www.ehow.com/...tting-soil.html

Here is the ingredients list of mix for MG:

Sphagnum Moss

According to Brandeis University, sphagnum moss grows as a strong, boggy mat that floats on top of water with shallow roots and a strong ability to hold water. It is generally light green, but also grows in colors of yellow, pink, brown or deep red. Sphagnum moss has a delicate system of capillary tubes that allow the plant to absorb water like a sponge. Its main use in gardening is to keep soil moist, particularly indoors where temperatures can dry soil quickly. It also contains a chemical called sfagnol, which possesses antiseptic qualities, preventing the growth of bacteria.


Perlite

Perlite is a generic name for a type of naturally occurring volcanic glass. When heated, this glass expands to 4 to 20 times its natural volume. In horticultural use, perlite provides soil aeration and moisture retention for indoor gardening, and is also used in soilless hydroponic gardening. Perlite advantages are that it is sterile and weed-free, and provides a neutral pH for plants.


Compost

Compost is made of organic matter, like leaves, twigs, grass clippings and kitchen waste, that decomposes into a rich, loamy, soil-like material. It is essentially an accelerated process that nature uses to return nutrients to soil. It provides a slow-release source of nutrients for plants, adds beneficial organisms to soil and increases moisture-holding ability in soil. Plants grow well in compost because nutrients are available over time. Using compost also helps to reduce pest problems.


Calcium Phosphate

Calcium phosphate is added to potting soil to provide the calcium that is important for chromosomal development and cell division in plants. It also provides resistance to plant diseases.


Ammonium Nitrate

Ammonium nitrate provides nitrogen to plants, an essential component that promotes growth and production of amino acids. You must use nitrogen with discretion because it causes such fast growth that new, thin plant walls may be vulnerable to diseases.


Potassium Sulfate

Potassium is a regulator of cell activity and thickens the outer walls of plant cells, which allows stronger growth and better resistance to disease. It does not become part of the cell structure, but is a mobile component that helps to regulate other nutrients.


Ammonium Phosphate

Phosphorus is essential to cell division and utilization of carbohydrates for plant nutrition. It is an important component in root growth and seed development. An excess of phosphorus can increase susceptibility to viruses and other disease agents.
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#11 Bueller

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 05:53 AM

I can taste MG grown pot,,,, strains collide in taste and smell and are offset by the chem pack. Results are average to good using the medium for MJ Bud density seems lighter, yield off in relation to FFOF. Comparison to FFOF is night and day with a side by side I ran a couple years back just to see. IMHO.... can be used but time release coated ferts can be and usually are problematic in the grow cycle. Pete
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#12 Brer Rabbit

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 07:06 AM

Great reading and input everyone thank's .
------------------------------------------
Dunno if it's a different mix over here but do know MG it's hot , where as it will burn plant's .
I know a mythbuster who does use with it and result's are mixed , personally i avoid it .
I try to source my compost from places that dont let it sit outside wet !
Using seedling soil and stronger compost on pot up as and when plant matures ^ said buster only uses on mature plant's .
We have added ferts from JIC . This and sterilised is what i look for .

THE JOHN INNES NAME
The composts were developed at the John Innes Institute, named after one John Innes, a nineteenth century property and land dealer in the City of London. On his death in 1904 he bequeathed his fortune and estate to the improvement of horticulture by experiments and research. The result was the establishment of the John Innes Horticultural Research Institute initially at Merton in Surrey, but now located at Norwich. (See Links page for more information.)
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPOSTS
Before the introduction of John Innes Composts, gardeners generally used a different compost for each species of plant. Usually the soil was not sterilised or heat pasteurised and consequently plant seedlings were often attacked and destroyed by soil-borne diseases and insects. Also the plant foods being added to the traditional composts were usually unbalanced, causing the plants to be either too "soft" in their growth and liable to diseases, or very "hard" and slow growing.
In the 1930's two research workers at the John Innes Horticultural Institute, William Lawrence and John Newell, set out to overcome these problems and to formulate composts that would give consistently good and reliable results. After six years of experiments they determined the physical properties and nutrition necessary in composts to achieve optimum rates of plant growth. They also introduced methods of heat sterilising the soil that eliminated pests and diseases, but did not cause any checks to plant growth.
The result of this work was the introduction of two standard composts, one for seed sowing and one for potting. These "John Innes" composts revolutionised not only the ways in which composts were produced, but also the growing of plants in pots. Now, after being used very widely for over 50 years, the basic formulae remain the same - tried and tested and still popular amongst discerning gardeners for growing the best quality plants with the minimum of attention. Naturally, the plant nutrients have been updated to gain the benefits of improved fertiliser technology.
WHAT ARE JOHN INNES COMPOSTS?
John Innes Composts are a blend of carefully selected loam or topsoil, sphagnum moss peat, coarse sand or grit and fertilisers. The loam is screened and sterilised and then thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients in proportions designed to achieve the optimum air and water-holding capacity and nutrient content for different types and sizes of plants. The basic John Innes Composts are:-
JOHN INNES SEED COMPOST - the traditional mix for sowing almost any type of seed, with sufficient nutrient for early development. May also be used for rooting soft cuttings.
JOHN INNES POTTING COMPOST No.1 - for pricking out or potting-up young seedlings or rooted cuttings. This composts has a carefully balanced nutrient content to suit most young plants.
JOHN INNES POTTING COMPOST No.2 - for general potting of most house plants and vegetable plants into medium size pots or boxes. Contains double the amount of nutrient in JI No 1 to suit established plants.
JOHN INNES POTTING COMPOST No.3 - a richer mixture for final re-potting of gross feeding vegetable plants and for mature foliage plants and shrubs in interior planters or outdoor containers.
JOHN INNES ERICACEOUS COMPOST - A specially formulated sterilised loam-based, lime-free compost with essential plant foods for most lime-hating subjects, such as Azaleas, Heathers and Rhododendrons, etc. Click here for more detailed information.
WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS?
The function of each of the ingredients in John Innes is briefly as follows:-
LOAM - Loam is the most important ingredient in the compost as it provides the main "body" of the compost. It also forms the base of plant nutrition by supplying clay, which has a cation and anion exchange capacity, that is, it absorbs and releases plant nutrients as required. Loam also contains essential micro-elements and some organic matter which provides a slow release of nitrogen to the plant.
PEAT - Sphagnum Moss Peat in the John Innes Compost increases the total porosity and improves both the aeration and the water-retaining capacity. Peat decomposes slowly into humus.
SAND - The coarse sand or grit is used as a physical conditioner to allow excess water to drain from the compost and thus prevent water-logging. It also helps to provide stability for larger plants.
FERTILISER - The compound fertiliser in John Innes Compost provides a wide spectrum of plant nutrients needed for balanced growth, including :-
NITROGEN - for top growth
PHOSPHATES - for root growth
POTASH - for flowering and fruiting
TRACE ELEMENTS - for colour and flavour
WHY USE JOHN INNES COMPOSTS?
As John Innes Composts have been used by growers and gardeners for over 50 years, they have clearly stood the test of time, and they are still popular for the following reasons:-
Loam-based - John Innes Composts are loam-based - a natural medium for growing plants. Loam contains clay, humus and trace elements which provide a natural reserve of plant foods and also an excellent buffering capacity - so that it can cope with some degree of over- or under-feeding of the plants.
Air/Water Balance - Loam, peat and coarse sand provide a good balance between the amount of water held by the compost and the amount of air space after it has drained. It is easier to achieve this when three main ingredients are utilised, than when the compost is made from only one material such as peat.
Easy to re-wet - The loam and coarse grit content makes a John Innes Compost very easy to re-wet after drying out, compared with all-peat composts.
Natural pH - The pH level of John Innes Composts is at the natural level for most plants, except the lime-hating varieties such as Azaleas, Heathers and Rhododendrons.
Higher Nutrient Levels - Because of the loam content in John Innes Composts, the fertiliser levels can be increased to suit the vigour or growth rate of the plant, which would not be safe in peat-based composts.
Longer Lasting - John Innes Composts last for a longer time than soil-less composts before it becomes necessary to water and feed plants in pots or containers.
Greater Tolerance - With both short and long term fertiliser release, natural drainage and water retention, a John Innes Composts has greater tolerance and gives the amateur gardener better all round results than soil-less composts.
IN CONCLUSION:
John Innes Composts mean easier management and better plant growth particularly for:-
Bedding plants and vegetable seedlings
Tomatoes, cucumbers and melons
House plants and interior planters
Tubs, troughs, patio planters and window boxes.


Perlite is an expanded volcanic rock , its great for aeration and drainage , also interrupt the breeding cycle of critters in soil if used as a barrier ontop of the soil .
Used in construction etc its cheap bought in bulk and i add @ 10 to 20 % perlite
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#13 jangel

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 07:13 AM

DO NOT use this on seedlings, unless you are trying to kill them. It is far too hot for them...try to find something with NO nutes in it....that is marked for seedlings and new plants. Peace
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#14 Dudz

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 10:30 AM

Something else that just came to mind.... re: the price. How big is the bag of MG soil? FFOF is 1.5 cubic foot. I think you may find a difference here, and that the price per cubic foot is not as different as it appears.
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#15 alienseeker

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 10:38 AM

Something else that just came to mind.... re: the price.
How big is the bag of MG soil? FFOF is 1.5 cubic foot. I think you may find a difference here, and that the price per cubic foot is not as different as it appears.


The MG bags are 55 quart bags; they are at least 1 1/2 times bigger bags than the FF mix. So, yes, they are quite a bit cheaper.
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#16 Methusela

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 12:23 PM

Where to start?
MG doesn't support microbial life very well because of all the "additives" (time release coating, EDTA, ect...) and chemical ferts. Also, no one has any idea what these "extra" ingredients do to humans when combusted and inhaled, aside from that they make you cough & hurt your lungs. High microbial life has been correlated with better smelling/tasting, stronger medicine. This correlation is not unique to the cannabis community either; many large-scale vegetable and fruit gardeners are seeing benefits as well. Correcting this is in MG would require weekly doses of fungus/bacteria inoculations (already included in Ocean Forest).


So: Onius, would you mind sharing what YOU use?
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#17 Methusela

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 12:32 PM

DO NOT use this on seedlings, unless you are trying to kill them.

It is far too hot for them...try to find something with NO nutes in it....that is marked for seedlings and new plants.

Peace




More specifically, which one do you use, jangel?
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#18 jangel

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 12:55 PM

More specifically, which one do you use, jangel?



Good question. I mix my own soil. I use ....let me see, a good base soil to start, such as Fafard's I think the last one I used was, with NO nutes added. It is usually called pro mix or professional outdoor planter mix ....so is soiless in the terminology of soil.

To that, depending on what the final use is, I add ingredients. For instance, for seedlings, simply adding a total of 40% perlite... works well for me. If there is already perlite in the base soil, I reduce it so it is aprox. 40% perlite.

OR I buy one that is mixed for seedlings and young plants. They do not need nutrients added. Again, I add perlite to it so there is good air circulation for the roots.

For vegging I add dolimite lime, bone meal and sometimes guano, for veg, not the hot one for flowers. (Not as much P in it)

For outdoors I add manures to the base as well as the above. Cow manure, chicken manure, sheep manure...bone meal, dolimite lime to buffer it.

For flowering indoors I add bloodmeal (small amount) to it and flowering bat guano. I have done this so many times I don't really measure any more.

Not good to use bloodmeal outdoors as the plants are quite often dug up because of the smell of bloodmeal.

I want to try subcool's mix as it is a good one and eliminates the need to feed your plants.

Keeping it simple is very important if you are a busy person.
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#19 Dudz

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 01:07 PM

The MG bags are 55 quart bags; they are at least 1 1/2 times bigger bags than the FF mix. So, yes, they are quite a bit cheaper.


I did not know this. Good info, thank you.
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#20 Itinkso

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 01:48 PM

i've used UK Miracle Grow potting soil and it burned the crap outta my seedlings....i then had a complete nightmare trying to work out what to feed and when....NEVER AGAIN for me...time release ferts make life to tricky...plain soil to add ferts too makes more sense to me!!!
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#21 Turf

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:06 PM

i heard back from the people @ Scott's. they sent all the labels i requested and i did a bit of research into what the product is.

the feed is a combo of Osmocote, for the macro nutrients, and Micromax, for the trace nutes.

from the label
it says it is a 21-7-14, but there is a star at the end!!!

that star* says that 15-3-8 is a coated slow release feed. the difference is the immediately available nutrients - thats about 28% of the total nutes in the mix, readily available as soon as you transplant. the rest of the nutes are released in a more controlled fashion dependent upon the soil temperature, the warmer it is the quicker it releases nitrogen. after about the 3 week of use the initial charge will be gone.

so this mix is designed to give you a full strength feed, and then a maintenance feed for which ever length of time you soil temps fall into.


Longevity: In general, the 60° to 70° F average media temperature range is associated with
Northern Tier and Pacific Northwest states. The 80° to 90° F range is usually associated with
Southern U.S. regions (West, Central, East). In Florida and other geographic areas, average
growing medium temperature can be higher at times. Growing medium temperature will
influence longevity of this product. However, once the nutrients are released, nutrient availability
is affected by the growing medium characteristics and the frequency of rainfall or irrigation, in
areas of high temperature and frequent heavy rainfall (continuous leaching), field longevity will
be reduced.
Occasionally, released fertilizer salts may accumulate on the product surface causing it to
appear whit. This is a normal occurrence and will disappear with irrigation.

LONGEVITY

At the following Average Media Temperature (°F)

........60°........... 70° ............ 80°............90°
6-7 months 5-6 months 4-5 months 3-4 months



Osmocote feed is made of the same things that make up every other brand of chem nute feeds. the only difference is the coating of the prills. they use a different thickness of resins to coat the the standard fertilizer prills to give them the slow release effect. the thicker the coating the slower the release.



This product is composed of granules of dry plant nutrients which have been
encapsulated within multiple layers of polymeric resin. Water penetrates the
permeable shell and dissolves the nutrient core. The resulting osmotic pressure
within the granule releases the plant nutrients through the coating and into
surrounding soil medium.
The only external environmental factor that affects product release is soil
temperature. Water has no effect. Decreases in soil temperature decreases
release. Increased soil temperature increases release. Actual product longevity,
as opposed to release, is independent upon individual cultural practice, climatic
conditions and soil temperature conditions.

this isn't a mix for starting seeds!!!! this isn't a mix to try and root something in!!!

it is a mix that should feed a healthy established rootball transplant into a new container for the stated time.

hope that helps!



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#22 jangel

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:55 PM

Thank you turf...good info like that is hard to beat! J
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#23 alienseeker

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 09:13 PM

Thank you Turf! I very much appreciate you taking so much time to provide me with some excellent information my friend!

Edited by alienseeker, 12 September 2011 - 09:14 PM.

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#24 sandbreak

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 11:41 PM

Turf, thanks so much for all the info.!

It's funny... I decided to use Miracle-Gro for my 1st grow, which is still in the flowering stage. Had absolutely no difficulty with my seedlings at all - if anything, they shot up like rockets in that stuff.

Everything seems to be fine at this time as well, though no doubt I could potentially get more from a different soil mix and combination of nutes.

the thing is, being a 1st-timer, I wanted to try and keep things as easy as possible, so I could just tend the plants, watch them grow, get to know a bit about them. Seems to be working so far!

I should add that I use flouros and am growing in a very small cab, so I don't have a lot of choices.re. setup.

one interesting thing - where there is an appreciable difference:

I transplanted 2 of my seedlings into AirPots and they're going great guns. But I didn't have enough room to squish a 3d AirPot into the cab and settled for a cheapo plastic flowerpot. The plant that's in the plastic flowerpot is growing much more slowly and is shorter than the other two.

Hmm...

Edited to add: No doubt MG does affect taste, as XBRpete said. The thing is, I'm planning to put 90-ish% of my crop into tincture anyway, since I think that'll work better for me than vaping. (And I don't smoke.)

Edited by sandbreak, 12 September 2011 - 11:46 PM.

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#25 sandbreak

sandbreak

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 12:26 AM

Also (and this might be the make-or-break thing, not sure), I'm growing an auto right now... maybe MG works better for these fast-finishing strains?

Not sure I would want to use it with non-auto strains.

Edited to add: the tap water here is very soft (comes from a mountain stream). I don't know a thing about actual test results and have yet to ph my soil or water.

That said, it would be interesting to see what would turn up on analysis of the mineral content of the water.

Edited by sandbreak, 13 September 2011 - 12:37 AM.

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