All over the world, growers are turning to Living Soil techniques over conventional forms of cultivation. The concept is simple: in nature, soil is not a sterile, inert medium, but is teeming with billions of different organisms all working together to comprise an ecosystem.
It’s rich in diverse forms of organic and inorganic substances, which nourish countless different species of earthworms, beetles, mites, nematodes, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. When these organisms feed on the matter available in the soil, they break it down into simpler compounds with smaller molecules.
Plants can’t absorb large, complex organic molecules – they need all of those invertebrates and microbes to break them down into those simple molecules so that their roots can absorb them. In conventional cultivation, we create artificial recipes of those nutrients that nourish plants relatively well. But it is extremely difficult to exactly replicate the complexity of conditions found in a natural ecosystem! We’re only aware of a fraction of all the specific different interactions that can take place.
Plus, in conventional cultivation, the nutrients fed to the plants may be of synthetic origin, or undergo extensive industrial processing to produce. They may be harmful to the environment in various ways – by releasing harmful greenhouse gases; by negatively affecting soil health and fertility long-term; or by contaminating rivers and oceans with chemical runoff, among other factors.
Instead, when we work with Living Soil, we use nothing but local, natural inputs that can easily be sourced and are sustainable to produce – such as compost, worm hummus, wood chips, manure, bone meal, insect frass, and so on.
We ensure our soil is of the right texture and composition to feed our soil organisms and allow them to thrive in optimum conditions, and in doing so, we produce plants that are of astounding vigor and health. Last but not least, we generally produce results that smell and taste more complex, rich and appealing than conventional cultivation can offer.
So this explains – albeit simply – why so many growers are turning to Living Soil. But the question remains: how do you go about creating a Living Soil that will produce excellent cannabis?
My Barcelona-based grow collective Terps Army Farm recently teamed up with Lurpe Natural Solutions, a family-run business based in the Basque Country that produces natural inputs to build Living Soils. Together, we made a simple recipe and made up a batch of soil to use in a LED testing project – which I’ll be updating you on in future posts!
Watch the video to find out exactly what to do – or follow the steps listed underneath if you prefer a text-based guide.
Living Soil Recipe:
60 L recycled Light Mix (we used Plagron)
20 L worm hummus
10 L coco coir
5 L clay pebbles
5 L perlite
Blend all ingredients thoroughly together, ensuring that the mixture is homogeneous. That’s it!
* This product also contains a sample of beneficial microorganisms. Give 1-2 teaspoons per 100 litres of Living Soil.
Seshata is European Senior Editor for Skunk Magazine and co-founder of the Barcelona-based, organic cannabis collective Terps Army Farm.