The Great Myth Propegation / a note from Gas
Living Organic Soil: What does that mean?
Living organic soil (LOS), is soil that functions on the level of the soil food web. In this case we have applied it to indoor and outdoor cannabis cycles for those people who have a greater concern as gardeners and cannabis growers in terms of organic gardening principles, quality product, nutrient value, preserving soil, sustainable practices, sourcing local materials or amendments. This term living organic soil means a lot more than the cannabis magazine subculture’s take on cannabis growing practices.
For years cannabis growers have been following myth based gardening principles laid down by the introduction of the hydroponic supply industry and the so called ‘guru’s’ of the underground grow industry as far back as the early 1980’s. These nutrient and equipment supply companies targeted (in general capitalist manner) a certain demographic of consumer by profiting off the common man’s willingness to acquire information and advice.
These so called grow guru’s with little or zero botanical education began offering advice that seemed ridiculous but was somehow received by the public as gardening truth. For decades soil based cannabis growers were told to throw away a soil mix after its first use, as well as to adjust the PH of the water / nutrient solution using PH adjustment products before watering plants. Magazine articles in popular stoner rags also led people into purchasing expensive bottled nutrients, bagged soil mixes, and pesticides.
Anything resembling any type of bug was considered a bad thing and should be dealt with immediately with some form of chemical agent. The very act of throwing soil away was an insurance measure to protect the gardener from pests and a nutrient exhaustion concept which had no basis in reality. This was absolutely ridiculous and for many in the legitimate gardening world we still remain absolutely dumbfounded by such ignorant practices proliferated and passed on to one grower after another as legitimate botanical biology.
Change came in the information age thanks to the Internet and the introduction of cannabis grow forums. Users freely posted information and gardening solutions which was actually factual and based in reality.
Thanks to some of these people with user names such as
ClackamasCootz (AKA LumperDawgz), Microbeman, JayKush, and the like, we soon were led by the hand to the promised land of natural gardening.
It was not until after more notable online organic cannabis growers began to incorporate native top soils from their region into a planting medium and experiment with running a soil food web based indoor cannabis garden, that soon the hydroponic and soil growers began to pay attention. Cannabis grow forums began showing photo’s of thriving gardens full of healthy plants which had used topsoil and soil from the humic layer of the soil biosphere. These gardens were not utilizing standard cannabis PH adjustment protocol, and they also utilized locally sourced amendments, such as dynamic accumulating types of plants to feed the soil food web. This didn’t make sense to the stringent hydroponic growers who were following the bottled nutrient industries exactly calibrated feeding schedules and PH adjustments. This went against everything the last 30 years of magazine canna-culture had been telling us. Soon one of the main things that supports life on earth, the soil food web (SFW) was challenged by the biggest know-it-alls of the cannabis grow culture.
Heated debates centering on biology from the organic side of the coin clashed with the chemical reactions CEC exchange and PH must-do’s from the ‘chemi’ side. These debates were an everyday occurrence on some forums and this became global entertainment to many, while breaking down barriers and creating gardening evolution to others.
Soon things began to take on acronyms to ease the repeated conversations on the subject topics and this is how ROLS/No-Till became a new concept in cannabis gardening method. I coined the term ‘ROLS’ simply to ease this transition for new organic growers looking to learn more from the SFW way of doing things. ROLS simply means recycled organic living soil. With Clackamas Coots indispensable organic solutions to common cannabis growing problems combined with Tim Wilson’s previously explored no-till SFW system, the movement took a life of its own. Confidence was roped in for those who were absolutely frightened to let go of the old myth-based methods. It was a frightening prospect to hand over years of said cannabis gardening advice from culturally elevated magazine guru’s in place of this home-grown group of free thinkers. What if these crops failed?. The biggest question in the minds of these folks was, “will I get a successful harvest following the simplicity of ROLS/No-Till”? It wasn’t long before more and more people posted results of strikingly healthy plants with beautiful foliage which for some reason lacked the common grow magazine photographs showing leaf tip burn and/or leaf curl from force fed bottled nutrients, additives, bagged soil mediums, and myth based gardening nonsense. All these great results were accomplished without adjusting the PH before watering or buying expensive hydro-style products.
What was happening in the soil that the hydroponic based growers could not understand was the fact that the SFW was now in charge of the processes through which soil health and plant growth are regulated and have been since plant and soil life began on this planet.
What this means for the indoor cannabis grower is that the CEC (cation exchange capacity) is controlled by the presence of humic material in the soil and other molecular ionic reactions, as well as the very life the soil contains.
Humic material or humus is the most critical of the components. Humus is the final phase of organic matter decomposition. It has a high cation exchange value which self regulates PH via these ionic reactions from the natural bloom and decay cycles of earth...the soil food web. Science does not know what humic material is yet.
Many things make up a functioning SFW. One of the most important of these are the micro-organisms a living soil biosphere contains. Bacterial colonies and fungal networks, insects, arthropods, and vermi-life are also noted as key players in the SFW.
An observant person can visually note how organism populations control nutrient availability and release rates over time. Fungal colonies break down raw organic materials such as lignin that other organisms can not, making them bio-available to other forms of life. Bacterial colonies play a key roll and also make plant nutrients available. Rotifers, protozoa, and other aerobic forms of bacteria all have a roll to play.
Today most soil scholars agree that soil organisms and the other life forms which occupy the SFW are considered to be signs of very healthy living soil.
Fast forward to the here and now organic cannabis grower. We as a group have collectivity experimented and applied the SFW to the indoor cannabis cycle, working out the myths, problems, and other shenanigans of the past 30 years. This ultimately proves that if you assemble the components of the SFW correctly, mother nature’s hand will guide your own to understanding that what isn’t broke doesn’t need to be fixed.
As humans we thought we could dominate the SFW and better humanity through chemical agricultural practices with the introduction of chemical companies and the petroleum by-products as far back as the 1930’s. At the time it seemed a reasonable way to rid ourselves of a waste by sending it through the still unknown SFW...and subsequently the very food and water we need to survive, and at the same time profit off the exploration of how chemicals could change our lives for the better. Since then massive contamination of ground water and unexplained diseases of all types have become prolific to the human race.
With the turn of the century we have had a global environmental awakening. As human beings, agriculture is part of our very evolution. Subsequently we respond to the cues the earth has gifted us with. An organic solution exists for everything. This applies to both food and medicine, whether grown at home or as part of a large scale agriculture operation.
As we reach a new age in seeking solutions to problems the human race faces, it is imperative that we act on the tools of the natural world which are already with us. We have carried these methods and practices for thousands of years before corporate profit changed and disrupted the very way life functions on earth.