Soil vs Soilless Questions

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Trying to get my head straight on what's the difference in "soil" and "soilless" medium.

I get that coco, or peat, with Perlite would be soilless. Where I get confused is all these mixes labeled as potting soil. They're all some ratio of coco or peat mixed with other stuff. Stuff like compost, pine bark, various types of sand.

Are those soil or soilless?

I would say soilless. When I think soil I think what I dig up when planting a tree or my garden.

So what is soil and what is soilless?
 
I would define soilless as coco, pure verm, peat, peat/perlite, etc. No meaningful NPK.

I would call ^ plus some starter nutes, EWC, or whatever 'semi-soilless.'

Anything with organic matter added as a source of durable NPK, e.g. compost or humus, I would call soil. Soil doesn't need to be 'water only' but it does need to contain a macronutrient package that's more robust than a seed starter mix or a promix HP.
 
"Soiless" refers to media (soil replacements) that as you described are assembled from pure, clean, organic, etc. component ingredients. For ex., one product cites "Perlite, coco fiber, pumice, earthworm castings, bat guano, leonardite, volcanic rock dust, volcanic ash, kelp meal." Or think of "soillless" as reconstituted soil but without any dirt, nothing dug up from outdoors, maybe it's even been heated/sterilized, etc. "Soilless" mixes generally shouldn't come with any insects, worms, etc..

I presume "soil" refers to natural dirt, which besides ideally being 'living,' with a diversity of microorganisms and insects, also contains a lot, if not a majority, of inorganic material, particularly silica/sand, clay, etc. not included in soilless mixes.
 
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Trying to get my head straight on what's the difference in "soil" and "soilless" medium.

I get that coco, or peat, with Perlite would be soilless. Where I get confused is all these mixes labeled as potting soil. They're all some ratio of coco or peat mixed with other stuff. Stuff like compost, pine bark, various types of sand.

Are those soil or soilless?

I would say soilless. When I think soil I think what I dig up when planting a tree or my garden.

So what is soil and what is soilless?
I totally understand your confusion. The true definition of soil less = inert with no elemental nutrients. rock wool products, perlite and other rocks are soilless. Coco and Peat do have some elements but not in sustainable or balanced amounts for plant growth so they get lumped into soilless. Coco is a very specialized form of hydro and peat can go both ways depending on what is mixed with it. Any mix that has "compost" is soil.

I personally think a grower should cosider Hydro including Coco or True Living Soil and leave all of the stuff that falls in the middle alone.
 
I personally think a grower should cosider Hydro including Coco or True Living Soil and leave all of the stuff that falls in the middle alone.

Totally agree, I see a lot of halfway solutions go horribly wrong trying to blend styles that should live on opposite sides of the spectrum.
 
Great feed back!!!!!!

Cool info guys and it goes along with what I have been thinking.

I would call it like this:
Soilless = any combo of coco/peat and various inert stuff like Perlite, vermiculite, pebbles, sand, etc. Or in other words a man made media that provides structural support but no or very little minerals or nutrients.

Soil = Any combo of organic stuff that has minerals or nutrients. Things like compost, clays, sands, sticks, bark, rocks, you know all the stuff you see when digging a hole to plant something in the ground. My ground may be different but I have never dug up any coco or peat on my land. I have bought top soil by the dump truck and the bag and it did not have any coco or peat in it either.

So to me that says that the typical " potting soils" we use for cannabis is something in the middle.

Here is where Im going with this line of thought.

What pH do you use for fertigation?

I read that the recommended pH for soilless and soil nutrient solutions is quite different.

The medium I am using is a mix of coco, compost, basalt sand, expanded shale, worm castings, mycco.

Should this be treated like soil because it has compost in it?

Or is it soilless? It is certainly not like the soil I did up outside or in the forest etc...
 
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