Soil decision dilemma

So I have yet ANOTHER dilemma. This one is about soil.

Question#1. Should I use that frog soil alot of people mention?.
Should I use soil I prepared for the vegetable garden which consisted of:
Bags of topsoil
Bags of cow manure
Bags of potting soil
The ratio at first was 3 bags topsoil 120pds, 1 bag cow manure 40lbs, half bag potting soil 20pds.
When that yielded a 0 harvest I then changed ratio to 3 bags topsoil 120pds, 2 bags cow manure 80pds, half bag potting soil 20. And that also yielded a 0 harvest.

The interesting fact that I should point out about the soil I prepared:
A. All soil was placed in containers.
B. Radishes, lettuce, onions were planted.
C. Only thing that grew was a little bit of foliage, no bulbs grew on any of the radishes, the lettuce never grew farther than the first two leaves
D. Hours and hours of messing with a garden that yielded me absolutely nothing but a bunch of anger because I spent hours mixing up that soil and constantly monitoring a bunch of what turned out to be 0 harvest.

I don’t know what is wrong with the soil, the seeds were new

So now I’m wondering if I should grow my two GangsterOG plants in that soil I made that couldn’t even produce 1 radish or 1 head of lettuce.

Thanks to everybody who is always answering my questions.

I would personally go with a mixture of fox farms happy frog on top and ocean forest on bottom half of pot. I’m on my first grow and I’ve had great results using the two. Don’t need any nutrients for about a month. Keep it simple to start by using a cannabis friendly soil. And then add the fox farm trio down the road.


@Shaggy1987 has you covered Stick with cannabis friendly soil.

1 Like

Myself for soil mixture; I do one (small) bag potting soil, 2/3 bag cow manure, 3 good scoops chicken guano, and one full bag (small bag) perlite.

I mix it all together and let sit for at least 2 weeks (stirring every other day) before using as my soil mixture.

Then, when I move to larger bucket, my mixture stays the same except for adding more chicken guano (extra 2-3 scoops) if I’m continuing veg or if I’m going to flower soon I’ll add locally caught fish parts (about 2 medium size fish equivalent) and some extra cow manure to help with the process.

I hope this helps.

1 Like

I would stick with a prepared soil that is properly buffered for cannabis. Fox Farm, Black Magic, Coast of Maine, and Black Magic are all good choices.


Agree with @MidwestGuy mixing your own is not as simple as buying a few bags of stuff and mixing together stick with a good premix I would add roots organic to his list


This answers your question IMO.

Building a quality soil for cannabis can be done but better to work off of someone else’s recipe that they spent the time developing.

You need things like bat guano, gypsum, earthworm castings, bone meal etc. and has to be PH’d to cannabis range (dolomite lime).

Here is a great soil recipe from one who is no longer with us (RIP Garrigan62):

@garrigan65’s soil recipe:
Full Recipe
8 1.5 cubic ft bags of Roots Organics soil or a high-quality organic
potting soil with coco fiber and mycorrhizae (i.e., your base soil)
25 to 50 lbs of organic worm castings
5 lbs steamed bone meal
5 lbs bloom bat guano
5 lbs blood meal
3 lbs rock phosphate
¾ cup Epson salts
½ cup sweet lime (dolomite)
½ cup azomite (trace elements)
2 tablespoons powdered humic acid

1/2 Recipe
4 1.5 cubic ft bags of Roots Organics
12.5 to 25 lbs of organic worm castings
2.5lbs steamed bone meal
2.5lbs bloom bat guano
2.5lbs blood meal
1.5lbs rock phosphate
3/8 cup or 6 tablespoons Epsom Salts
1/4 cup or 4 tablespoon sweet lime (dolomite)
1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons azomite (trace elements)
1 tablespoon powdered humic acid

1/4 Recipe
2 1.5 cubic ft bags of Roots Organics
6.25 to 12.5 lbs of organic worm castings
1.25lbs or 20 ounces steamed bone meal
1.25lbs or 20 ounces bloom bat guano
1.25lbs or 20 ounces blood meal
3/4 lbs rock phosphate
3/16 cup or 3 tablespoons Epsom Salts
1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons sweet lime (dolomite)
1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons azomite (trace elements)
1.5 teaspoons powdered humic acid

1/8 Recipe
1 1.5 cubic ft bag of Roots Organics
3.125 to 6.25 lbs of organic worm castings
.625 lbs or 5/8 lbs or 10 ounces steamed bone meal
.625 lbs or 5/8 lbs or 10 ounces bloom bat guano
.625 lbs or 5/8 lbs or 10 ounces blood meal
3/8 lbs or 6 ounces rock phosphate
3/32 cup or 1.5 tablespoons Epsom Salts
1/16 cup or 1 tablespoon sweet lime (dolomite)
1/16 cup or 1 tablespoon azomite (trace elements)
3/4 teaspoon powdered humic acid

This better
Soil Recipe to be mixed with 1 to 1/1/2 cu ft of base soil

.3125 lb or 5 oz Fishbone Meal 3-16-0

.3125 lb or 5 oz Steamed Bone Meal 2-14-0

.625 lb or 10 oz Bat Guano 0-7-0

.3125 lb or 5 oz Blood Meal 13-0-0

.3125 lb or 5 oz Feather Meal 12-0-0

.375 lb or 6 oz Colloidal Rock Phosphate 0-3-0

1 tbsp Potassium Sulfate 0-0-53

1 tbsp Souluble Kelp Powder 0-0-17

1 tbsp Mycorrhizal Fungi (300 spores per gram)

3/4 tsp Powdered Humic Acid (90 % pure)

1 1/2 tbsp Epsom Salt

1tbsp Sweet Lime (Dolomite)

1 tbsp Asomite (Trace Elements)

6.25 lbs Worm Castings


Those are quite the recipes. I never even heard of some of those ingredients.


Thank you for finding and posting the ingredients!


Went thru this thought process 5 grows ago. Went with Roots Organic and have never looked back. No issues, Ph spikes or crashes a thing of the past just effortless grows with Jacks.

1 Like

I would add rocket fuel soil too the list i have used it and also sohum professional soil for a water only.

Coast of Maine Stonington Blend also use their dry amemdments. You can get 2 plants in 5 gallon pots from seed to harvest for less than 100 bucks in medium and nutes. Follow their feeding schedule and water. The only time you will check runoff is if your start to see issues. Easiest and most efficient way to get the results you want as long as your lighting is appropriate.

1 Like

Radishes won’t bulb up if there’s a calcium shortage, so 1st id slurry test to see if the pH was at a point of lockout and if that is fine then add eggshells. Or follow the KNF formulas for either toasted eggshells or toasted bones dissolved in apple cider vinegar.

To me, Jacks is so easy to add after a month after choosing FF or some other good potting soil.

I can’t spend hours in this growing thing… simple and gadt also works.

Good luck!


Well i am just lazy i suppose . No way i would mix my own soil. I just go with Fox Farms or Roots Organic. Last time i did Roots Organic and this time i went with Roots Organic LUSH. After 35 days or so i may start using some Roots Organic liquid feed depending on how they respond to the LUSH.
Here they are at 28 days.


Ta ta ta ta tasty tasty…


Nice looking setup


Are there worms in the soil when you turn it over, or water hard?

I have found that cow manure can be too hot for plants (and worms) the first season. It often has to cook down a season to be fit for plant growth. 40 lbs is quite a bit, I usually suggest an half cup per cubic ft of soil. Then you doubled down and added another 80 lbs of manure. High nitrogen burning the plants is a real possibility here. If that’s the case it should be perfect next year.

Also, topsoil is a great starting point for above clay or rocky hardpan. Great for contouring a yardscape or flattening out a hillside but, it also is VERY prone to compaction. It’s the main reason most do not recommend it for container or raised beds without adding lots of loosening amendments to fight compaction. Especially with 120lbs manure, which I find also is prone to compaction. I don’t think the small amount of potting soil (fluffy) would be enough to prevent compaction. I bet if you fluff it up with some leaf litter (falls for free in the fall) and chipped wood and or char it would gain more bulk and loosen up. Does the soil clump together in tight shovel full; or does it loosely run off a shovel? Specifically after it has sat undisturbed a couple weeks?

Crushed lava rock would work well too, or perlite. But the perlite would not last as long as the lava rock, and it tends to float up in the soil with watering/rain over time. More so outdoor when it rains hard. Personally I would add all these to what I normally see sold as topsoil to prevent compaction. If it compacts then there is not enough oxygen for good plant roots on annual crops. Tree roots are different. Compaction would also prevent the manure from cooking down properly to be less “hot” like it would normally in a loose pile. If there is lots of dirt clods, or it’s easy to make dirt balls (like snowballs) then the soil is probably too compacted. Hope that makes sense.

I second the soil slurry test to make sure it’s not something obvious. High N could easily be all that’s wrong from the cow manure not cooking down yet. Especially if you live somewhere without much rain to flush and mix it. Or lack of Ca (or Mg) as @borialis suggested. I love KNF methods myself, so second that and love the suggestion. But that’s another thread ha.

Where did you get the manure also? Less likely, but a surprising common thread topic on my fruit forum is contamination. Many leaders/moderators there have been very vocal on my fruit growing forum about broadleaf herbicides being used on hayfields as a common practice now. The problem is that the poop from these horses and cows fed grass from herbicide treatment is no good for the garden. Farmer is like awesome, no broadleaf contaminates in my hay, it’s worth more. Or a cattle farmer will buy bulk hay and doesn’t know it’s been herbicide treated; broad leaf contaminated hay is often deemed worthless because some of the seeds and weeds can irritate or get lodged in cattle/horses. So I am told anyway…. Then think nothing of it and pile the manure into the manure compost pile. Basically, all the fruit growers suggest sprouting a handful of pinto beans or green beans in a cup of any grass eating manure product before spreading it. If the beans don’t sprout, or grow twisted and gnarled, then it it likely contaminated. This is something I would have never thought of myself.

Here is a quick cut and paste from the fruit forum:
Licensed sprayers please weigh in.
So basically hay, grass clippings and manure can contain ‘persistent’ herbicides, which, even after composted can kill or distort growth in fruit trees, garden veggies, potted plants, etc. Their half-life is about 18 months. The active ingredients of greatest concern are picloram, clopyralid, and aminopyralid because they can remain active in hay, grass clippings, piles of manure, and compost for an unusually long time.
Apparently the instructions for these say that whatever is sprayed with these ‘persistent’ herbicides is not to be used for composting (for just these reasons).
*Anyway this problem is showing up in backyard gardens. *
So, where does the responsibility lie to inform people about these so that doesn’t happen to us? I called a local supplier of compost and he was totally unaware of the problem. What’s more, his attitude was more like, “Well, we’ve never had that problem. We can’t send every thing we get to the lab. (Let us know if it causes you problems.)”
For now, it looks like my only recourse is to get a small sample, plant some beans in it and see if they get distorted growth. I’d like to convince my local guy to at least ASK his suppliers (he wouldn’t give me the info so I could ask), but maybe, if the law says something about this it will motivate him. So that is my question.

You get the idea. Yikes. Just something to think about.

1 Like

No worms. And I never gave it time to cook. I mixed it together and tried to grow vegetables right away.
It did appear to be compacted to much. I thought that maybe there was not enough
of something else.
And it always appeared to be to wet towards bottom of buckets.
The cow manure came from a place that sells stuff for growing gardens.
I now have all that topsoil mixed up and covered up with a couple tarps to keep it dry over the winter.
I always thought it odd that lettuce and radishes which is easiest thing to grow, didn’t grow well in my gardens. Someone else mentioned if I had calcium deficit radishes would not grow.

1 Like