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Offlinekreg
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Pasteurizing Soil
    #852773 - 11/29/21 12:23 AM (1 month, 22 days ago)

Was mentioned in another thread but I figured the discussion and the note deserved it's own thread, user sugarbearcrisp pointed out to me that you want to run your seedlings safe from bacteria and endospores or molds, seems obvious but it's something I never really thought about.

I still have questions though, if I keep my house soil in a big plastic tote, could I just boil some water and pour it over the top layer, wait a few minutes, then would it be safe to use? Safe from molds and funguses I mean
I actually do already mix in some wettable sulphur powder in there I can't even remember who told me to do that, but the idea is pest control.

Other notes? Anyone else got questions? I love my soil (and coir!) I'm not ready to move onto hydro


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Offlineyoosername
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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: kreg]
    #852781 - 11/29/21 08:57 AM (1 month, 22 days ago)

I have never found it necessary to pasteurize soil.  From seed I do a 12-24 hour soak in well water, then plant directly to jiffy peat pods.  Once the seedling sprouts or up to two weeks after, I transplant the pod to a 1 gallon pot of soil, where the plants will stay until they show sex.  They get about 15-20 watts per square foot of LED lighting for seedling and veg stages.

If you are losing seedlings, I'd suspect soil quality, or watering issues.  If they are getting real lanky, probably not enough light.

Are you dead set on organics?  I've been experimenting with semi-hydro (DTW coco) and things are going pretty well so far, I could walk you through the basics of coco growing and point you in the right direction if you are interested.

Otherwise, if you want to continue down the organics route, your eventual goal should be running raised beds and reusing the soil each time, amending the beds after each cycle based on a soil test.


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Offlinekreg
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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: yoosername]
    #852784 - 11/29/21 09:29 AM (1 month, 22 days ago)

Not necessarily dead set on organics moreso i prefer not to use synth salts for as long as i can, i dont like raised beds but i have been reusing my soil for 3 years. My first 2 years i had zero problems with seedling's damping off and dying suddenly


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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: kreg]
    #852790 - 11/29/21 10:23 AM (1 month, 22 days ago)

Over time with living soil, the soil composition will change to mostly compost.  At this point you need to cut it with peat and aeration.

When reusing soil it's also possible to build up unhealthy levels of pathogens, so you may want to consider starting with new soil and see if that takes care of the issue. 

I wouldn't reuse soil that has been fed synthetic nutrients.  If you want to reuse soil, I'd learn true living organics.  With organics, the soil becomes more fertile over time as the microbial biodiversity develops into a soil food web. 

Pasteurizing might help depending on which pathogen you're dealing with, but generally I would expect to see more issues the longer you are reusing soil with synthetic nutrients.


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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: kreg]
    #852794 - 11/29/21 11:15 AM (1 month, 22 days ago)

Pasteurization requires maintaining a steady temp for a certain amount of time. Sources range from 140F to steaming (210F+) for at least 30 minutes.

Dry soil has a specific heat of 0.2 cal/g or about 840 KJ/KG.

So for every KG of soil at room temp (which works out to about 3 cups of compacted, medium grade soil), assuming your tub is perfectly insulated, you'd need 3/4 cup of boiling water to reach a final soil/water temp of 140F. Since your tub is probably poorly insulated, I would recommend at least doubling that amount of boiling water. This will likely completely saturate or even over-saturate the soil with water, so you'll need a way to drain the soil after it soaks.

Finally, even with double the required amount of boiling water, there's no guarantee that you'll get the right temp/time curve that is required near the inside surface of the tub. Soil is a pretty decent insulator, so the temp curve will drop off pretty steeply near the inside surface of the tub. You could get around this by over-saturating the soil and thoroughly mixing every few minutes to make sure the soil is mostly evenly heated, but with that much water and mixing you risk leaching out most of the water-soluble nutes/minerals.

If you are going for a small amount of soil (say for just filling a few solo cups for seed-starting) then leaching isn't too big of an issue, because the seedlings can sprout and thrive off of the stored nutrients in the cotyledons until they start to shrivel up and a set or two of true leaves appear. After that, you start to work in some gentle organic fox farm nutes, starting lean and working up to let the plant develop roots that can extract and utilize the nutes without too much excess building up. Once the plants are established, you can probably transplant them to a bigger pot of unpasteurized soil.

You can also pasteurize soil in the oven, just make sure to spread it out thinly (1-2" max thickness) on a cookie sheet or something, make sure not to set the oven temp higher than 180-200F, leave it in the oven for 45-60 minutes (to allow everything to come up to temp), and keep an eye on it to make sure nothing starts to smoke or flame up.

Another alternative is to sprout in rockwool cubes. These are usually mostly sterile from the beginning, provide a really nice root environment for the seedling to develop, and can just be directly transplanted to soil once the seedlings are established. You can still use the organic fox farm nutes on rockwool, and if you ever do decide to switch to hydro, rockwool is compatible with that setup as well.

Best of luck!


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“The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you” -NDT


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Offlinekreg
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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: Data]
    #852796 - 11/29/21 11:18 AM (1 month, 22 days ago)

My phone keyboard is typing whatever it wants i gotta come back later on comp


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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: kreg]
    #852798 - 11/29/21 11:29 AM (1 month, 22 days ago)

sorry this is really annoying I think my phone might have malware on it, both of the supported touchscreen keyboards have this weird bug where the suggested words are often not even words, like weird video game people names and stuff, and the non-words cannot be removed, so when trying to type real words the non-words overfill the suggestions.

yooser my house soil has not had any synthetic nutes used with it
Started with happy frog then ocean forest then stonington fed with nectar for the gods later when needed and then another organic line meant for hydro their calmag is very popular. Also I added the wettable sulphur to the tote for microbugs, don't know if I already mentioned that. I've been holding off on using the soil for most of the year I thought it had too much nitrogen in it because the last thing I added to it was ocean forest after I harvested a couple big plants and put really dusty soil back in, thought it would need it.
The last time I looked in my tote there were 4 huge coprinids(ink caps) the size of cubensis, like I got excited thinking some cubes spawned in their somehow at first because they were chonkin. Heard that can be a good sign... maybe not if fungal stuff causes dampening


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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: kreg]
    #852799 - 11/29/21 11:37 AM (1 month, 22 days ago)

Thank you data I saw someone mention info similar to that on shroomery before way back when some folk thought pasteurizing coir was necessary and their were people that were making fusses about how boiling is riskier than real pasteurization etc etc the higher temps breaking things down allowing trich to colonize easier or something. I wasn't registered when I read most of it.

Ok so what about using a bucket? What if I measure out some soil to a bucket, then measure some boiling water per the math you provided, maybe pour off the excess moisture after soak
Would that be good to go?


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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: kreg]
    #852803 - 11/29/21 11:55 AM (1 month, 22 days ago)

I would suggest adding the soil to an old pillowcase, put the pillowcase/soil in the bucket, then soak in boiling water (I'd suggest doubling the minimum required boiling water). The pillowcase will help you drain the soil after soaking.

Wrapping towels or foam around the bucket, and putting a lid on the bucket, will help with evaporative and conductive cooling.

I actually remember the old days of pasteurizing coir, and I think you're right. The higher temps can kill off beneficial organisms that are necessary for making organic nutes available for the roots, and prevent more invasive pathogens from establishing and wrecking things.

You can usually find soil probiotic supplements that can help replace any good things in the soil that is lost during pasteurization, but it sounds like yoosername has more experience or a better understanding of this topic. :pipesmoke:


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Offlineyoosername
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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: Data]
    #852806 - 11/29/21 12:37 PM (1 month, 22 days ago)

Quote:

kreg said:
sorry this is really annoying I think my phone might have malware on it, both of the supported touchscreen keyboards have this weird bug where the suggested words are often not even words, like weird video game people names and stuff, and the non-words cannot be removed, so when trying to type real words the non-words overfill the suggestions.

yooser my house soil has not had any synthetic nutes used with it
Started with happy frog then ocean forest then stonington fed with nectar for the gods later when needed and then another organic line meant for hydro their calmag is very popular. Also I added the wettable sulphur to the tote for microbugs, don't know if I already mentioned that. I've been holding off on using the soil for most of the year I thought it had too much nitrogen in it because the last thing I added to it was ocean forest after I harvested a couple big plants and put really dusty soil back in, thought it would need it.
The last time I looked in my tote there were 4 huge coprinids(ink caps) the size of cubensis, like I got excited thinking some cubes spawned in their somehow at first because they were chonkin. Heard that can be a good sign... maybe not if fungal stuff causes dampening




I've also heard that fungal dominant composts are best for horticulture.  You're also right about it being a fungus, there are like 3 different fungi that cause damping off.  Fusarium, pythium, and one other. 

I would make sure you have aeration for at least 30% of your soil mix.  Rice hulls, pine bark nuggets, perlite, and pumice can all be useful in that regard.  Most people add at least 25% perlite to their FFOF right out of the bag.

Quote:

Data said:
I would suggest adding the soil to an old pillowcase, put the pillowcase/soil in the bucket, then soak in boiling water (I'd suggest doubling the minimum required boiling water). The pillowcase will help you drain the soil after soaking.

Wrapping towels or foam around the bucket, and putting a lid on the bucket, will help with evaporative and conductive cooling.

I actually remember the old days of pasteurizing coir, and I think you're right. The higher temps can kill off beneficial organisms that are necessary for making organic nutes available for the roots, and prevent more invasive pathogens from establishing and wrecking things.

You can usually find soil probiotic supplements that can help replace any good things in the soil that is lost during pasteurization, but it sounds like yoosername has more experience or a better understanding of this topic. :pipesmoke:




I agree that a probiotic such as em1, tribus, or a homemade indigenous micro organism culture should probably be used after pasteurization, alternatively a little high quality EWC could be mixed in as an inoculant. 

I never had much luck with pasteurized straw as a substrate, though looking back I think it's because I ran the pasteurization too hot.


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Offlinekreg
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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: yoosername]
    #852809 - 11/29/21 01:27 PM (1 month, 22 days ago)

oh shit i put some straw in there but its not pasteurized , now that you mention aeration

hmm


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currently growing:
colorado hammer
blue cheese
gelato


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Offlineyoosername
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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: kreg]
    #852816 - 11/29/21 02:31 PM (1 month, 22 days ago)

No need to pasteurize straw for mulching, I was talking about mushroom substrate there lol.

But yeah, aeration helps prevent the soil from going anaerobic, which can cause huge problems.


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Offlinekreg
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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: yoosername]
    #852825 - 11/29/21 03:37 PM (1 month, 22 days ago)

I will be employing the boiling trick next time I need to transfer up, the hammers hopefully won't want to be in solos much longer. I think I actually have a modded drain bucket somewhere maybe.. like I drilled holes in bottom of it for stuff like this could place it in another solid bucket maybe then like gravity bong it out after it's soaked


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Offlinekreg
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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: kreg]
    #852920 - 11/30/21 02:43 PM (1 month, 21 days ago)

Damn I can't find my strainer bucket, don't have an extra pillowcase I can kill. But I do have lots of wettable sulphur.. I had been mostly using it as a spray, but if I'm looking at worrying about a fungal problem couldn't I just toss a bunch more into my soil container and give it a really good stir?

I was thinking about transplanting up one of the hammers soon in a mix of mostly coir and the house soil, yknow wait-and-see science :#


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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: kreg]
    #852923 - 11/30/21 02:56 PM (1 month, 21 days ago)

Quote:

kreg said:
Damn I can't find my strainer bucket, don't have an extra pillowcase I can kill. But I do have lots of wettable sulphur.. I had been mostly using it as a spray, but if I'm looking at worrying about a fungal problem couldn't I just toss a bunch more into my soil container and give it a really good stir?

I was thinking about transplanting up one of the hammers soon in a mix of mostly coir and the house soil, yknow wait-and-see science :#



You mean mixing more sulfur into the soil? I wouldn't recommend that, it can really throw the soil pH off and result in nute lock.


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Offlinekreg
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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: Data]
    #852924 - 11/30/21 03:19 PM (1 month, 21 days ago)

Ahhh, frustrating. See, this is important but it's like the first mention of it I've came across as an importance.


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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: kreg] * 1
    #852945 - 11/30/21 05:30 PM (1 month, 21 days ago)

I have a move that will work for everyone. All scientific analysis need a control variable. So I've just up potted one of the hammers out of solo into a 1.5 gal of mostly coir, the infamous house soil at the bottom of the container, some loosely mixed in at the middle and at the top not much at all mostly coir. It's a large tote I forgot the exact size in volume but it's 4x2x2 feet approx, it had about 1tbs of sulphur powder added and mixed in day before yesterday when I picked out the coprinids. It's about 5/6th full of soil the last container i emptied in it looked like mostly coir.

If it thrives, then I may be safe not to pasteurize my house soil, if it dies then I think at this point it's fair to say it's fungal, not nitrogen.


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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: kreg]
    #853533 - 12/13/21 12:02 AM (1 month, 8 days ago)

:takingnotes:


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Re: Pasteurizing Soil [Re: ares]
    #853534 - 12/13/21 12:41 AM (1 month, 8 days ago)

So far the two hammers i pottd up to unpasteurized soil are OK! Someone pointed out to me that fungal provlems thrive in MOISTURE! Meaning not enough  dry time! maaaaybe im off base here.. but i started another  fem seedling and treating it like a cactus its alive and almost outliving all the fems ive starred before it this year!
egg on my face  i really knew better!


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