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FarmerPalmersNT

Building the mega bed

28 posts in this topic

As per my previous thread here:

I am going to attempt to convert to no teas. I decided a huge bed was the way forward so got the very biggest one I could fit in my tiny no till room. Its a 100 gallon/380 litre beast. Its roughly 85x85 across and 50cm deep. 

 

At the moment I have what I thought were four 70 something litre root nurse fabric pots. Turns out they are actually 39 litre....oops. They have served me extremely well and I've had a lot of cycles through them (maybe 10 or so).

 

Originally the plan was to use these in the greenhouse, but owing to my shitty maths it has become necessary to recycle the soil in these and use it in the new mix. I figure this will help speed up the cycling of the new soil anyway.

 

Here's the existing mess, I ran some freebie auto seeds through them just to keep them running and so cleared those out first and fed them to the worms, the rest is a load of neglected nonsense from the clone room:

 

 

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Next cleared it all out:

 

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Wanted to bed the pots on something better than the impermeable polystyrene I'd used to get it off the cold floor. Originally I was considering removing a section of the concrete floor and part burying it but soon decided I couldn't be arsed so decided on a sand bed instead.

 

 

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The blumat was caked so will need a proper scrub:

 

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Next in went the frame - the weight of the soil was likely to deform the pot a lot so knew a frame would be needed:

 

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Recovered the room in decent diamond mylar as the flat white paint had seen better days.

The green cable is a heating cable to keep the bed warm in the winter, frame is sat in an old tent tray. I know some people use trays for run off, but I am of the belief that if set up right no run off is the way to go.

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The sand and hydroton pebbles should provide enough heat distibution and drainage for the bed. Frame is made out of old tent poles that I have a fricking ridiculous pile of...

 

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Then in goes the BEAST:

 

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The sheer volume of soil I needed to make up here was just crazy. It has been a full days work, and I'm proper knackered! Mix was 100l irish moss peat, 40l worm castings, vermiculite, horti sand, rock dust, crab meal, neem cake, malted barley, kelp, aloe powder, cocnut powder, bone, dried blood, vermipost plus the four pots I already had.

 

The old pots really surprised me. The ones that were very recently chopped were just a solid mass of roots - like a complete solid mass. The ones that had been chopped 2 weeks earlier were already back to soft, crumbly lovely textured compost. Just incredible what these things can do to a root ball in no time. I do have LOT of worms. I had to cut the pots off.....but to be expected given they are ancient.

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Repotted some of the salvageable companion plants - chrysanthemum, greek basil. Sown in some hairy vetch, clover and more basil. I've gone off clover a bit though. Although its prolific it can swamp young plants and I can see some difficulty reaching the back of this pot. Its also a bit of a mite magnet, which can be useful for managing them off the plants but I'm going down the repel route this time.

 

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Light mulch layer next with some straw that has been in the worm bin a few days:

 

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Then a layer of fresh straw to keep the heat off the growing cover crop. I also popped a few dwarf peas in too - they are well tasty and a good N fixer.

 

large.20180416_183359-756x1008.jpg

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Watered in with a quick compost and dead root tea (I stick a root ball in the bubbler for a few days to get a few root munching bugs going at the end of a grow). I won't be using teas with this bed, but wanted to give it a quick kick start as I've got some sour dosidos that need growing :D

 

The sides touch the tent a bit, which isn't ideal but I figured the extra soil volume provides more benefit. So bollocks. 

 

Ideally this would be in a room that I could walk around, as I suspect the plants will get big in this setup. Headroom has also become an issue due to the sheer depth of soil. Think I'll be topping a fair bit....

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I've got some dripper extensions for the blumat, you can daisy chain them so one cone effectively manages 2 drippers. This will be needed given the size of the pot.

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where does your run off go?

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looking good dude:thumsup:

i think using your old soil was/is a great way to hit the ground running.i think my newest pots would have benefited from this; been a bit weak first time round....

can't wait to see the beast make some beasts;)

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10 hours ago, bazil brush said:

where does your run off go?

 

It doesn't - there is none. I adjust my blumats until I get a very small run off then back off a 1/3 turn. Run off in no-till is a bad thing in my opinion, especially given I will be relying on solid amendments only.

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35 minutes ago, buddy13 said:

looking good dude:thumsup:

i think using your old soil was/is a great way to hit the ground running.i think my newest pots would have benefited from this; been a bit weak first time round....

can't wait to see the beast make some beasts;)

 

Me too - bit scared they will be monstrous in that pot though. I don't have the headroom for trees anymore with that pot height, so if that happens I'll need to make some modifications I think.

 

First time round will probably be a bit iffy... I don't know how hot the soil is exactly due to the mixing of the current ones, and I'll be ballpark guessing my first lot of amendments. 

 

My plan is that I will only do the following:

- Add a dead root tea at the end of every grow (just old rootball and molasses) to help break down the old ones as this has been a successful tactic.

- Then on with the new solid amendments and occasional cover crop rip up and refresh. 

- Vermipost, popcorn sprout mulch and malted barley at the start of flower.

 

Aside from IPM and any training/pruning that should be entirely it. Once I have a mix that works I'll keep a big bag of it so the only thing I need to do is sprout some popcorn every three months and keep feeding my worms. I have a working auto top up on my reservoir coming from a massive rain water butt so I don't even need to water them.

 

The whole pot is covered by a single 315 CMH so light is minimal, but I had my biggest yield per watt/plant or area EVER with a 400W HPS (it was just completely insane) in the old pots so this should be fine in theory. 

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nothing a bit of supercropping won't deal with;)

 

always a guess on the first run but as I said before reusing your old/good soil should get you much closer....

 

sounds like my kind of plan, minimal input, leaves more time for observing and :skin_up:.

 

will be interesting to see the power of 1 315 too.....

good luck dude:v:

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wow you have gone deep into no till territory with this one haha I love it. 

 

Interesting soil mix, I don't use crab meal, I use oyster shell, and I don't use coconut powder or aloe powder. I do use coconut water mixed into a bi weekly watering though. 

 

I like to use Gypsum for a nice sulphur source, have you put lime in ? 

 

I was gonna go full no till but in the end I just use pots, but its the same principle, I just throw a handful of amendments in when I pot a new plant in and water with plain de chlorinated water  

 

So much easier than Coco. 

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10 hours ago, LEDBUDZ said:

wow you have gone deep into no till territory with this one haha I love it. 

 

Interesting soil mix, I don't use crab meal, I use oyster shell, and I don't use coconut powder or aloe powder. I do use coconut water mixed into a bi weekly watering though. 

 

I like to use Gypsum for a nice sulphur source, have you put lime in ? 

 

I was gonna go full no till but in the end I just use pots, but its the same principle, I just throw a handful of amendments in when I pot a new plant in and water with plain de chlorinated water  

 

So much easier than Coco. 

 

Dont talk to me about lime.... I cocked up last time I used it! I am planning on just amending the reservoir water if needed moving forward.

 

Re. Crab meal, it's better than oyster as it contains chitin. This encourages bacteria that will produce enzymes that break down insect exoskeletons. Another indirect IPM method. I dont usually add the powders to the soil, but as im not adding teas anymore figured it would help. A lot cheaper than coconut water or aloe gel! I have a lifetime bag of each.

 

I also added ground cloves, forgot about that. They are a very good manganese source, which I have had minor issues with (partly ph related tbh).

 

Go full no till, you'll never look back!!!! I still have an aeroponics setup and a bubbler/dwc which I use in the other room for quick breeding stuff as I can set up and strip out on a whim.

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