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  • Writer's pictureJeff

It is all in the prep work...

Well, it's that time of the pattern of farming - the modified macberry moonshine cycle is done and harvested, so it's time to get the greenhouse cleaned, and the soil prepped for the next round. I know everyone has their own method, and style, and no two climates and gardens are the same, but this is how I am doing it!

After the harvest, I start by bleaching and spraying down my plant table, as well as spraying a vinegar /bleach / Dr. Bronner's solution on the gravel in the greenhouse. With as many pests are in Hawaii, its best to start as clean as possible. Obviously, greenhouse with open end walls, pest come back, but if nothing else the extra piece of mind, with the added benefit of killing any weeds wanting to start coming up thru the gravel. After the bleach dries, I move the seedlings down from the upper area where I germinate / shelter them and get them transitioning into the bigger, full sunspot. Hard to see in the picture, but there is led shop lights running down the middle of the greenhouse which I run for a few hours at night to keep them in veg.

The next step that I find to be critical, is doing a good auguring to the old pots - this helps keep the soil light and fluffy and not compact. I know - there some strong no till beliefs and people out there, and for a long time, I was one of them. However, and much trial and error, I found that no till works great outdoors in beds, but not necessarily the best bet for pots. I like to give them a good auger, which breaks up the old root ball, and fluffs everything back up, and allows for easy transplanting back into these pots as well. The main key to this - fabric pots vs metal auger....only one winner...and spoiler alert, it is not the fabric pots. I try not to go directly for the sides, although mistakes do happen lol.

These are what I use - as you can see, I've used mine enough I've worn the paint off lol

After a nice fluffing up, I put down my top-dressing layer. I've used a lot of products over the years, and many of them work great. Honestly, this is an area I know is blasphemy to say, but cannabis and hemp are weeds! They aren't picky, and they are some delicate orchids. Nearly any quality amendment increases the health and vigor of your plants, really just comes down to what's available near you, and what makes the most sense for you and your garden. My personal favorite product is actually not available here in Hawaii, which is super lame, but such is life. Hawaii is very strict about the Life forms that can be shipped / imported in and bio-live, from down to earth, which is my favorite dry amendment, is one that has beneficial fungi and bacteria, which Hawaii won't allow importing. But on the mainland, bio live is a great product. Some other awesome ones - BE-1 Organic Pellets, Nutri Pellets, and the neem meal and feather meal both from down to earth. This time I was lucky enough to find some nutri pellets in stock on this crazy rock we call home, so each pot got about 3 cups/

I don't get paid to endorse these pellets, they just are a product I use and like. I have gone pretty heavy and not burned, and the plants love it. Best part is, it's easy! I just grab whatever cup is around and get to top dressing. Generally, I give these 25-gallon pots about 2-3 cups, although I will confess, I am not very scientific with my measurements. It also works great on the fruit trees / moms as well. All around, a product I definitely can stand behind from my usage.

After topdressing, I wet the pellets down to get them activated so to speak. They don't actually start breaking down until they get rained on or watered.

Then the final stage - While the seedlings get used to the greenhouse location, and finish filling up the 1-gallon pots with roots, I tarp the pots. This keeps the sun off and gives a big boost to the fungal / myco life to heavily colonize on the top dressing. In this run, the Vietnamese dalats will likely get 2 more weeks of veg in the 1-gallon pots. Then when its go time, Ill pull the tarp, and transplant the babies in! Here in Hawaii, because we are so close to the equator, the UV index is much higher, and we have very consistent day / night temps. These things come together to make plants that veg very fast. So, it will be pretty amazing to see how big they can get with a little veg time. And hopefully when we pull the tarp in a few weeks, we will see a nice crusty layer of mycelium colonized up the soil surface and the top dressing

All in all, the wheels of farm life are turning here! If there's any questions on my process, feel free to comment, or email me! cheers.

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Jan 28, 2022

Great post. Never tried an auger. I toss my used soil in a cement mixer with amendments after the grow. All goes in a pile and cooks till the current grow is finished. Thanks for the update.

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