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  1. #1
    Shadbot 4.20 Shadimar's Avatar

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    Post What I Learned About Lime (The Hard Way)

    Well, I spent about a year with sick burned plants. Even shut down flowering completely for a few months last year because there was nothing to go in it. My garden went from a sea of green to a thrip-infested puddle of yellow.

    The culprit?

    I thought I had enough Calcium and microherd to keep everything balanced.

    Well, it turns out that when you add calcium carbonate to soil it's not actually the alkalinity of the calcium that neutralizes the medium, it's the carbonate ion. The mildly acidic carbonate picks up stray protons (hydrogen ions) and becomes a bicarbonate. If the soil becomes too alkaline it will give up the proton and revert to carbonate - thus keeping the soil close to neutral despite varying levels of acidic and alkaline compounds.

    Through my troubleshooting, I eventually came to the water pH. See, I used to check the pH of my water and bring it to about 6.3 but haven't needed to in years. Inevitably, while adding pH up and down, I'll toss in a bit of lime flour and then things will green up.

    Well, that's when it hit me. Over the last two summers I'd fluffed up my soil mix with two bales of peat and hadn't added any lime in literal years. I knew peat was acidic and used lowered pH, but as I mentioned I thought the high calcium levels in the blackstrap would account for it with help from the microbial life.

    I'm back on my way now to healthy green ladies after adding around 80 lbs over the course of a few months. The thrips vanished (I'd been spraying spinosad but some always survived) and fresh transplants have the flawless picture perfect look we're all more used to. It's still not balanced yet though as I have to continually top dress with more lime but since I perpetually recycle my mix and am liming at 5 tablespoons per gallon it will eventually stabilize. Hopefully before I run through another 80 lbs but even then it's not an issue.

    I've also got lots of ash to neutralize the boggy forest around me because *someone* has some exciting news about their home state this year
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  2. #2
    Data Nazi Lightly_Toasted's Avatar

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    Glad to see you are getting everything back on track my friend!

    LT

  3. #3
    Shadbot 4.20 Shadimar's Avatar

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    It was a struggle. I was deep into my "emergency stash" (what I call anything that gets put away for dry spells because it's not worth smoking otherwise) watching my seedling burn up and die. Luckily I had both a large supply of beans worth risking, and a large collection of garbage bud

    As so often though, it's the simple things. I'm seeing beautiful skeleton-white root systems again, and soft green plant tissue that looks like it should until they signal that it's time for more lime. Ideally I'd have mixed it in months ago so the soil had time to adjust, but only so much is possible. As it is, I went around a decade with only the lime I mixed in initially. Back when I thought 3 TBS per gallon sounded high.

    Hopefully this puts me fully back on track because I have a sneaking suspicion that this year's outdoor harvest is going to be amazing given that helicopters will no longer be an issue

    ..pending the Governor signing the new budget with a legalization measure in it. I don't know why it's in the budget or when it's planned to go into effect, but it's best to be prepared for a productive summer.
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