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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Like many who have grown their share of marijuana, I’m skeptical of claims that make the noble art of cannabis cultivation seem, well, too easy. Nurturing this weed through its vegetative cycle and then through flowering requires an attention to detail and a tuned-in way of being aware of the plant’s needs, and no product can replace that.

But I was nonetheless intrigued when an Ideal 420 Soil representative offered to send me a sample bag of their growing medium to try. At that point, I had no excuse; I had to ask myself, “What’s the harm in giving it the once through?”

“We cover the science of soil, so growers can focus on what truly matters: the plants themselves,” Ideal 420 Soil tells us. “Our product has been perfectly balanced in its elemental ratios; therefore, nothing but water is needed or necessary. In fact, we kindly ask that you allow the system to thrive by not adding any outside products.”

Supplied with my sample bag of Ideal 420 Soil was a bottle of RhizoStym™, but I never used any of it (I’ll try it out on future plants); I wanted to know if the soil itself, by itself, was truly self-sufficient.

So the bag arrived: a half cubic foot of soil, just enough to fill a five-gallon bucket. The ingredients were listed as Canadian Peat Moss, Vermiculite, Silica Sand, Calcium Clay, Rock Phosphate, Sulfate of Potash, Humic Acid, Fulvic Acid, K-Mag, Glacial Rock Dust, and Azomite.

According to the bag blurb, the soil is “Perfectly Balanced – ‘IDEAL’ Interrelated Structure of Organic Components.” “Perfection in Biology, Soil Chemistry, and Elemental Science,” the bag reads. “Designed to Just ‘ADD’ Water.”

“Really?” I thought. “Just add water? We’ll see about that.” (I strictly followed the label instructions to use only reverse osmosis [RO] or distilled water — I used only distilled.)

I particularly wanted to know the truth about whether Ideal 420 Soil works as advertised, after reading a particularly clueless “review” of it on Rollitup.org by some clown with the screen name “Corbat420“… because reading his “review” quickly revealed that he’d never tried the soil at all, opting rather to make a bunch of assumptions about it. To review without ever trying? For shame!

It didn’t make me feel any better about the level of “reviewing” on Rollitup.org when another reviewer — this time, one who at least actually tried the damn stuff — stopped his test after three weeks! This guy, “Hudsonvalley 82,” apparently decided the soil had “horrible drainage” and “terrible results” after just three weeks of trying. My guess is he quite possibly doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing, as I experienced excellent drainage and impressive results.

In any event, I chose a bag seed that I’d discovered in some dispensary Frankenstein (a pure or almost pure indica strain), and the Ideal 420 Soil experiment began on April 7 when the seed sprouted.

“Just Add Water,” indeed! That’s exactly what I did through the summer months as the plant grew under natural sunshine on my deck. Sometime in June, when the plant was getting too big to be on the deck anymore, I moved it inside, into my LED Phototron (200 watt saucer at the top, and six 20-watt tubes up the sides), but the Frankenstein had bigger ideas.

It seems she really liked Ideal 420 Soil; her rich, green hue and vigorous growth bespoke a very happy plant. It wasn’t long until it became necessary to switch her to a 12/12 light/dark cycle for flowering, and still she outgrew the vertical space available in the Phototron, at which point she was moved under a 400-watt high pressure sodium lamp.

Now, this wasn’t part of the original plan, but it just so happened that I had another plant going at the same time, also from a stray dispensary bag seed — this one was from some weed identified as DJ Short Blueberry. To my surprise, the resulting plant turned out male, but not wishing to waste the quality genetics, I let the male in the closet with my already heavily flowering Frankenstein female, and he decisively pollinated her.

The challenge facing my Ideal 420 Soil, of course, became that much greater with the seed production process, but to my considerable surprise, the plant stayed green and healthy from top to bottom, with none of the yellowing shade leaves often found on late-stage flowering plants. For science’s sake, I harvested some of the seeded Frankenstein at 7 weeks (49 days) of flowering, some at 8 weeks (56 days), and the final portion at 9 weeks (63 days).

Seed viability, not surprisingly, was increased in the 8- and 9-week versions, with more fertile, speckled seeds populating the calyxes, and the smoke got slightly heavier and stonier, expressing its indica characteristics more fully. And incredibly, the plant never showed any signs of nutrient deficiency, even through the intensive process of seed production. Even at 63 days of flowering, the entire plant was still green.

After a few weeks of curing, the Frankenstein turned out to be excellent medicine, with a deep, stony body high — plus many viable seeds from the cross with Blueberry. I call the resulting cross FrankenBerry. More exciting cultivation adventures beckon!

Ideal 420 Soil

Ideal 420 Soil Facebook page

Ideal 420 Soil Twitter account

Remember: 3.5 months into this plant's life, it still has received no nutrients (July 26) [Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]
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Remember: 3.5 months into this plant’s life, it still has received no nutrients (July 26)
[Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]

August 23: 9 weeks flowering, and now seeded; still no nutrients added [Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]
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August 23: 9 weeks flowering, and now seeded; still no nutrients added
[Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]

Seeds of the future: FrankenBerry (Frankenstein & DJ Short Blueberry), grown in Ideal 420 Soil [Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]
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Seeds of the future: FrankenBerry (Frankenstein & DJ Short Blueberry), grown in Ideal 420 Soil
[Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]

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