Peyote and san Pedro beginners guide to growing
I wrote a beginners guide PDF book on how to grow psychedelic cacti like peyote and San pedro because there are none i can find.
I also operate an instagram page devoted to teaching others about psychedelic plants and how to grow them specifically peyote and other psychedelic cacti. I have over 5000 posts on my page with free informstion on how to grow. I have been growing for roughly six years and put a lot of effort into making this 50 page PDF guide.
I also plan to continue writing a larger hard copy to be published next year. Here is a small excerpt from the guide on cactus soil. soil recipe here: I have listed my soil mix time and time again so now it is time to put one down to paper that will be more perminant. I have mixed soil a lot lately so recent experience being fresh in my mind should help me better describe and tell what you need and what to get for making your own cactus soil.
I will start by explaining there are 3 parts to your cactus soil mix. The inert/aggregate mineral materials, the organic material, and the fertilizerssince I have both organic and mineral based fertilizers i make it its own category.
Aggregate: this is a fancy word for rocks and other hard materials like sea shells and crushed coral that can be used in cactus soil to help spread out organic matter in your pots as well as provide surface area for kicrobes to thrive in the roughness of the stone. There is a term i forget for the maximum microbes to surface area every rock type has and ones with pores and pits are better than smooth rocks for the most part and harbors more potential nutrients in the pores for microbes to get in and colonize.
Some types of products i use are Turface MVP or Allsport which is clay particles baked at a high temp like terra cotta pots to make them solidify and not turn back to mush when subjected to water
Perlite should almost be a given but i try to not do a hell of a lot of this of i have other options like pumice. Mainly because perlite likes to hold more water and is a lot softer material than most other aggregates. Holding water isnt always what you want for your cactus soil though it can help if you live in an especially dry climate PERHAPS. but I'd still just stick to other methods like watering more often rather than using Perlite since its a cheap out. It is still a basic staple to most soil blends. I buy large bags because it is cheaper in bulk.
Pumice is a harder. Perlite like material made from epanded volcanic rock if i remember correctly im writing this offthe top of my head. I haven't had access to this material for long but so far hands down it beats out Perlite for use in cacti and regular gardening as well. Very versatile and not as lite as perlite and easily blown away (or in your face/lungs).
I got it at a store called 5th season in south carolina that had a lot of nice stuff i could go broke on in one trip. I got 2 bags 40+ pounds each of pumice and it lasted me a while but i always need more pots and soil and aleways run out of ingredients.
Chicken grit/crushed marble/crushed granite you can sometimes find this at your local feed and tractor supply store but if you are like me you can't find a good size grit unless you go hours out of town. I got a bag of crushed granite from the 5th season store as well. Loved the size of the rock chips.
An easier to get material is Coraline from the pet store which is crushed shell and coral which makes good rock and may add some calcium to the soil. Its also good for pH balance and microorganisms to colonize. Little pricey but better than just aquarium gravel.
Speaking of: aquarium gravel is a good source of rock in a pinch. I prefer the uncolored variety as natural looking as you can get it. Also somewhat pricey compared to some other products. But if its all tou have Perlite, aquarium gravel and Coraline all 3 make for a good start for minimum diverity in the stone type you are using. I use 6 or more different types of rock in my soil normally.
Ok next was a gold mine of usefulness I found which was called Permatill but was a type of slate rock expanded using high temperatures. Similar to pumice only way harder and very useful in gardening and cactus soil. It is also very beautiful to look at and makes a nice top dressing if you like a darker colored stone.
And there also Vermiculite but i have not used this in my soil directly other than happening to have it in some bagged soil i use sometimes.
So thats about it for the types of rock i use. Theres others out there I wanna try like red or black Lava rock which is expensive here far from volcanic activity. But i may order a ton of it on a truck one day for 500 bucks to be able to mix soil for years.
Next i will talk about some of the fertilizers i have used and continue to use. Much like I avoid things labeled cactus soil i also avoid fertilizers labeled for cacti specifically.
So i use some fertilizers in my soil as im mixing it and some in the water when i water them. Because of the types i use being slow release and mostly non water soluble so thats why they release slower. So feeding even with food in the soil from mixing it is ok for most cacti.
Blood meal is a hreat spurce of nitrogen and even if its 12-0-0 normally at least half or more of that isn't readily available amd released to the plant all at once. Takes a while to break down. I find blood meal to be great in its preformance but i want to make my own instead of contributing to buying the waste from meat factor farms. The other downside is lots of animals like to fuck with blood meal because they smell it and think its food for them. Have had peppers dug up for the blood meal under them.
Bone meal is very similar to blood meal on its usefulness and its especially good for cacti who need more phosphorus and potassium at least more so than they need nitrogen. So bone meal is typically 0-11-0 or it can have nitrogen in it sometimes like 4-12-0 which i kind of like. Animals also love to dig this up so please keep that in mind as you plant your expensive cacti in soil made with it. I don't normally have issues with it so just be careful and remember everyone has a different cactus growing experience. Here deer haven't fucked with mine half as much as the groundhogs.
Alfalfa meal is good because it is normally 2-3-2 or some such on the NPK percentages and that potassium at the end is difficult to get anywhere else. I have to do more research but for organic sources of potassium alfalfa meal is one of the only choices. I like it a lot though. Just keep it dry in storage if you don't want it to clump up on you.
Kelp meal has sometimes less than 1-1-1 NPK ratio but it can be higher one i read said 1-0-4 which is great for potassium! Even still that's great as a low level fertilizer its hard to use too much. But recently i learned kelp meal is even better than just its NPK value. It contains Natural plant growth regulators or PGRs like auxins, cytokinin's, and gibberellins. These can be readily avalible to plants but using microbes in the soil to help break this down is even better. It also contains 70 vitamins and minerals and many of these can be needed by plants in the soil or by the microbe assisting the plants. Much soil lacks micro and macro nutrients or trace elements that help life thrive in and around the soil. It can take several months for kelp to really fully be utilized by plants or microbes in the soil. I need a 50 pound bag.
Next i think i will talk about Crab shell meal and shrimp shell meal. Very similar products. Only ever tried crab shell meal because i thino it had a higher calcium level and lower nitrogen which is good because i sometimes struggle to keep the nitrogen levels low mixing all these various fertilizers together for one batch of soil. Calcium is great for cacti and crab shell meal is super slow release with plenty up front too. Deafinatly in my must have list. Thats why I'm telling you about it after all.
Next there is Cottonseed meal which can be up to 7-3-2 on the NPK scale which is a not high on the nitrogen but het its all slow release mostly at least. And most cacti can handle more slow release fertilizer and not burn but some will rot. More likely if you give um too much nitrogen they just branch like crazy. Other brands say 6-3-2 or 6-0-4 on the NPK ratio. Just read your bags and mind the numbers.
So there are some others like fish bone meal and feather meal i don't use specifically but would if i had access. Bat guano and horse manure also makes nice cactus soil and other livestock poop if dried and leached well with water..
Speaking of fiah there is Fish emulsion like Alaskans brand which is 5-1-1 NPK and when i fed it to my plants any of them i gave it to produces several basal branches and sustained them really well. It was one of the best accidental fertilizers I used and was amazed with the results. I probably used way to much too.
So Worm castings can fit into this catagory of fertilizers but i also include worm castings in the next section since its a smaller section and worm castings are below 1-1-1 on their NPK ratio for most kinds of shit. I want to make my own worm farm to get more Worm castings than i can use and maybe i can store them. But worm castings are a great source of bacteria for soil and plant health. Makes good compost tea.
My go to mixture for the organic half if my soil mix is Coconut coir also known as eco earth when sold in the pet store. I prefer the bricks of it i can expand with water rather than the lose stuff in the bags. Some farm or hydro stores sell bricks of coconut coir cheap and i prefer theirs but the stuff in the pet store works great.
That mixed with the worm castings is a great start. But i try to add at least one more organic soil consonant which is just some local soil from my backyard which can be small amounts of sand and topsoil followed by lots of red clay which i love for my cacti soil mixes. Depending on where you live if its overly sandy im not sure how much local soil i would use
I sometimes use composted manure like Black Kow brand but i try and mostly avoid bagged soils. But if you cant find much else it does work well. Aside from this i also use Coast of Maine brand bagged soil which is about the only one i will use and its not sold aroud here like most htings on my list.
Sometimes i also use spent soil from old potted plants for mixing into my cactus soil. Or if you grow pot the spent soil from that mixed in with my other ingrediants makes good cactus soil.
Now is like to take a little more time here to explain the Microbial additives i use in my soil to help promote healthy living soil and natural soil nutrient cycle and exchange. The 2 products i have tried this far are EM·1 Bokashi and Great white. Both have been amazing products but i am partial to the EM·1 because i had such great results with it my first year using it.
I would now like to go into a little more microbiological research. It is one of my favorite topics and though i only took 1 class of it in college so far i would love more and have spent a lot of time reading on the topic for human and plant applications. Especially having to read it for plant applications since in college it was focused more on medicine rather than spil or plant use.
So as im writing this to make sure i provide accurate information in looking things up as i go. Im confident in my own abilities but i want to freshen them while passing it onto you and some of this is new to me or expands on what i already knew.
So EM1 is a "probiotic" that can be used on soil and plants. Probiotics can be defined as "...live microbial supplement which benefits the host by improving its microbial balance." Which is to say it is a additive to you or your animals or plants to help balance any microbial overgrowth of potentially harmful bacteria. Bacteria themselves are not normally harmful or pathogens. It is only when they are in an imbalance that we develop disease and the general same can be applied to plants. Many bacteria or yeasts/molds only become pathogens when their complimentary species of other microorganisms are not there to balance each other out.
So there are 3 main micro organisms in EM1. The first is a lactic acid bacteria called Lactobacillus casei and it has a long history of agricultural and human medical use. Lactic acid producing bacteria are typically Anaerobes and thus do not like oxygen. These microbes are used in your soil mixture or in making compost teas out of comparable vegitation or even live fermented plant juice FPJ out of plants like aloe. Yet to try this but seems worth a shot!
Lactic acid produced from natural fermentation of organic amter is one of many metabolites produced by bacteria in soil. Normally a plant would not be able to use much from fresh or woody organic matter especially cacti but lactic acid fermenters create many smaller and easier to use macro and micronutrients from larger otherwise unusable material to the plants. Yeilds of corn and duckweed exposed to certian types of lactic acid more than doubled grow and yield.
This also goes back to stuff like the kelp meal i use in my soil mixture. These bacteria and inoculants i use and am telling you about so you can benefit from as well are great at breaking down alfalfa and kelp meal and turning them into PGRs or Plant growth regulators. The natural metabolites from bacterial composers are Plant Growth Regulators; auxins, Gibberellins, etc.
Rhodopseudomonas palustris is also in the EM1 product. There's a lot of information to try and brows and condense but safe to say overall this one seems pretty good at increasing plant yields and reducing the need for fertilizers. Helps break down hazardous materials in soil into non problem materials. This is a particularly interesting bacteria in that it can use all four modes of metabolism that support life: photoautotrophic, photoheterotrophic, chemoautotrophic and chemoheterotrophic. Making it ideal for use in soil and with plants and for foliar application. Though cacti im not sure use foliar applications as much as soil drenches.
The next bacteria is EM1 is a yeast that is commonly used in baking and brewing since the dawn of man Saccharomyces cerevisiae and im sure its a composter in the soil much like the others i have mentioned. Anything that helps fermentation seems to help plants. The other two have a direct immune boosting effect on the plants. Not sure if this yeast does or is just a composter. After a quick read apparently yeasts may communicate with the overall biosphere or rhizosphere of organisms living in the soil creating a web of connectivity between fungi and bacteria that would normally never cross communicate. Even if the yeast isn't talking directly with the plants roots it is communicating with the organisms who are talking to or exchanging nutrients and beneficial hormones with the plants in return the plants feed them some sugar.
Actually i think i recall 40 to 60% of a plants sugar creation goes into feeding and attraction microbes in the soil to share the sguar with in return for some things from the soil or metabolism of the microbes that the plants cannot get to or produce themselves otherwise. Soil microbiology should be a lot more important to anyone growing plants if most plants devote so much of their own energy to feeding and attracting microbes.
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