Soil and container drainage questions

Had 2 sorry grows so it’s back to basics.Trying again in a month. 1st time using a 10g smart pot, and need ideas on capturing/disposing of runoff water. Given 20% runoff per watering and periodic flushings(?) thats a lot of water.
I’m using FF Ocean Forrest. How complete is it? Most sources say it’s “cradle to grave” but it comes with a feeding schedule requiring 3 additional additives. The chance of under/over feeding is my concern. Most advice I get “follow the directions” doesn’t pan when I can find conflicting info on the same site(not here).
I’m more into the soil feeds the plant as opposed to fertilizing a plant. I’ve used EM1 on both the previous grows and followed the FF schedule simultaneously and wonder if the poor performance was due to some conflict/ interaction.
My last question, Are there any amendments I need to work into the soil while I’m preparing?
I know these aren’t outright questions, but input is needed.

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Ok lets take these in order. But before i begin… EM1? I may need to google that.

  1. FFOF is good for veg in my book. May have enough for a week or two of bloom, but i veg for ~5 weeks and start seeing yellowing leaves shortly around flip.

  2. To supplement something to help the soil better feed the plant… id look into compost teas. I use fish emuls to keep it natural and it works. But im sure ff trio is better… built? only issue is if EM1 is beneficial bacteria, the salts in the Trio will actually harm the microbe herd.

  3. As a newer grower i wouldnt advise amending ur soil. I did it and followd the recipes around here pretty loosely but my ph kept wonking on me. If u want to add something. Id invest in a nice bag of Earthworm Castings.

Anymore questions feel free to tag me. Like @OldSmoker

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About the only amendment I would consider with OF is some perlite to improve drainage more. It isn’t necessary at all. FF nutes schedule is wildly optimistic: callouts of 1,800 ppm in feeding is double what I feed my plants in flower. You are wise to be leery of them and use only as needed. @PurpNGold74 gave good advice.

You don’t need 20% runoff and you CERTAINLY don’t when the plants are small. Putting a small plant in a 10 gallon pot is a recipe for over watering IMO. You would need to be very careful about amounts. Until the root ball encompasses the entire pot you won’t have much in the way of watering. Once it does though…some folks use a turkey baster and others a small submersible pump to remove excess. I take mine out on the lawn to water. You might put it in your bathtub. Or build racks to put a tray under like @Not2SureYet does.

Until you gain experience it is probably wise to stick with a particular line of soils/nutes and stick with it until you can identify issues yourself. Then you can branch out and play (see the pun haha).


Try using coco coir pith for your growth. That’s first amendment. Stop using soil for now.
I found out my plants prefer coco and they don’t die off. I saved two from dying off. I wish I could have saved more. You may have to switch to hydroponics to grow. Then mix your nutrients carefully. Make sure your water ph is nominal 6-6.5. Then start again.


I second the extra perlite. I used the FFOF and neuts with great results a full no issues grow! Didn’t start feeding until 5th week and then flipped them.

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I’m with you on the coco. That’s what I grow in and plant grows so much faster. Also it damn near impossible to overwater


If u go hydroponic try rdwc plants grow even faster than coco and it’s impossible to over water just add nutrition ph water to 5.5 to 6.0

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I use ffof, ff happy frog, and seedling mix. Ocean forest is great until about month 2-3. After that I start feeding.

If you’re quick and keep plants small I have gone to harvest with just ffof.


Thanks for all the great input. I use graduated pots before parking the plant in it’s permanent home, I use regular potting soil and progressively add Ocean Forest in increments as I transplant to larger containers,the final container wholly OF and the plant hopefully acclimated.
EM1 is a compost tea, touted as harboring beneficial organisms… about all I know about it.
Out of curiosity… I recaptured the soil from my last container grow, of the 7g I had in the pot, I got back 1.5 g, the plant absorbing the rest. With that in mind, is top dressing practiced? I grow ornamental’s and cullinary herbs, some love top dressing to some it’s deadly. Stands to reason that I’d have to eventually feed in one form or another, I’d prefer not having to rely on the liquid nutrients for the majority of the grow.
Flushing: If the plant is grown in OC with no added liquid nutrients, then the need to flush is eliminated?
Concerning runoff: I’ve seen the 20% rule on multiple sites, The theory being that it purges salts, and provides a specimen for checking the pH. I did find it helpful knowing the pH was the same out/in, but I wondered if I was also flushing goodies the plant likes. Is this concern unfounded?
Lastly, I’ve gardened with Earthworms for years, and had a active colony in my grows. I’ve noticed in my other horticultural endeavors that some plants love them while others can’t take the “hot” soil which worms produce while doing their thing. Any thoughts?
One more question, Does pH down compromise the calcium in soil/water? My well water is hard and runs a consistent 7.0 pH, I used pH down to bring it to 6.5 but developed a calcium deficiency. Did one cause the other?


There is no way I’ll get all of these lol but I’ll try:

I have generally done top dressing of natural fertilizers with soil grows (I believe the ‘Black Magic’ dry fertilizer which is all natural and optimized for cannabis). Dolomite lime for PH buffering in poor soil, earthworm castings they LOVE.

Unless you see issues that require flushing then I would not.

I don’t water to runoff every time. I’m in Promix and my schedule is per GH: feed, feed, feed, water to runoff. One of my feedings is to runoff; the others are not.

I have added earthworms to soil grows but couldn’t tell you if they helped or not. My gut feel is they did a good job.

A change in PH could introduce a ‘lockout’ if your element is being pushed at the wrong PH. I do not know about PH down and calcium but I use it every day with no issues. I’m guessing that your plant has consumed the onboard calcium and is showing a deficiency; CAL MAG haha. Trivia: PH down is phosphoric acid which is a beneficial micronutrient.


Haha u did pretty well… didnt leave me any to answer