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Rev Up Your Living Soil

Rev Up Your Living Soil

Full Glory Living Soil Grown Cannabis

Supercharging Your Living Soil – The More Ya Know

Howdy one and all. As I have said for forever now: “if your soil isn’t alive it isn’t soil, it’s dirt.” Leveraging Mother Nature’s powers are what this is all about. You don’t need any bottles of liquid nutrients, when growing in this soil mix, in fact, they are counterproductive. Building a powerful soil mix for your containers is where it starts, some top dressing is all you may want to do.

The easiest and most basic way to do this is deceptively simple. If you are skilled at making good diverse compost, and/or earthworm castings, simply cut some good bagged soil (like Ocean Forest) in half with your compost or castings, then add some perlite. 5-parts soil/compost mix to 1-part perlite is all good. This one move will really bring your soil up a huge notch. Just don’t screw it up with liquid bottled nutrients.

When leveraging the living soil, you want your water to be between 55 – 85 PPM with a pH close to neutral (7.0). You can customize your water simply, or more complex, depending upon your desires. Check out this article by yours truly: Waterworld by The Rev –But for now, let’s get into the living soil…

What You Will Need

I’m going to keep this all really simple and straight forward as I can. When I say “cooking” what I actually mean is accelerated composting. This fast composting, or cooking, is enhanced by some additions that also result in a powerful soil mix for your plants, and all you need to do basically is water them—boom! Just some basic organic dry elements are needed, and these are easy to source.

A Compost Tumbler That is Always Cooking Soil
A Compost Tumbler That is Always Cooking Soil

Once you make your blend, it will need to cook for at least 15 days, 30 days is better. You can mix it up on a large tarp and just keep lifting the sides to mix it up a few times per week. The best way to do this is to use a compost tumbler, like in the photo above. Put one of these in a sunny spot and you can for sure cook your soil mix within 15 days. This powerful living soil isn’t smelly or messy at all, so don’t worry about any of that.

Start out with some higher quality bagged soil. For the purposes of this article I am going to use a bag of Ocean Forest soil, by Fox Farm, as the amount to work with. These bags are 1.5 cubic feet, and that comes out to equal about 9 gallons of soil. If you are working with two bags, or whatever, just do the math for your ratios. Just remember 1 cubic foot of soil equals 6 gallons of soil. Let’s make some magic…

Revving Up Quality Bagged Living Soil

Ocean Forest Soil by Fox Farm
Ocean Forest Soil by Fox Farm

If you are using a compost tumbler for this (highly recommended) simply add about 1/3rd of the soil to the tumbler. Then mix the ingredients below with another third of the soil and then add it to the tumbler. Finally add the last third of the bagged soil on top, and give the tumbler 6 or 7 full turns. Make sure all the living soil in the tumbler is moist and not soaking wet. On a tarp, or in a tumbler, you will want to mix this living soil mix up once every other day a little bit until done in about 15 – 30 days.

Per bag of Ocean Forest soil, 1.5 cubic feet (9 gallons):

  • 4 cups alfalfa meal
  • 2 cups crab meal
  • 1 cup of greensand or clean sand like riverbed sand
  • ½ cup granular bird or bat guano (not high P types)
  • ¼ cup dolomite lime
  • ¼ cup DE (diatomaceous earth) food or agricultural grade only
  • 3 tablespoons blood meal
  • 3 tablespoons bone meal (or fishbone meal)
  • 1 tablespoon langbeinite

Like I said, in a compost tumbler that is in direct sunshine for half a day or more, two weeks is all you will need. And if you are using a tarp, or a tumbler out of direct sunshine, I would go 30 days until I used this soil mix. Dry (US) gallons are slightly larger in volume than liquid (US) gallons, so you can measure with standard 5-gallon buckets, by adding an additional 20% (or 1/5th) to the 5-gallon bucket of soil, to equal 5-gallons of soil, dry measurement gallons.

These Fat Gooey Buds Will Smoke as Good as They Look – Smooth and Elegant
These Fat Gooey Buds Will Smoke as Good as They Look – Smooth and Elegant

Revving up Used Living Soil

Here’s the super-cool part, you can reuse your living soil, yeah, plus recycle all your stems and leaves all chopped up with it to make your soil better than ever. Same timetable applies here, 15 days cooking in a sunshine exposed compost tumbler, 30 days cooking on a tarp or in a tumbler out of any direct sunshine. And please feel free to add other things to this, like kitchen scraps—no meat, cheese, peppers, onions, fruit, fat, butter, or salt. Banana peels, potato skins, cannabis matter, and cantaloupe rinds are primo.

Per 1.5 cubic feet (9 gallons) recycled soil and roots, stems, and leaves:

  • 5 cups alfalfa meal
  • ¼ cup DE (diatomaceous earth) food or agricultural grade only
  • 2 cups crab meal
  • 1 cup of greensand (or clean sand like riverbed sand as a second lessor choice)
  • 1 cup granular bird or bat guano (not high P types)
  • ½ cup dolomite lime
  • ¼ cup blood meal
  • ¼ cup bone meal (or fishbone meal)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons langbeinite

Your overall soil mix volume will actually grow over time believe it or not. If you have access to good quality bagged earthworm castings, feel free to make this 20% to 40% of your final soil mix by adding this at the end of the cooking process. You can store your soil mix in large totes, just drill a few small holes around the sides about an inch off the ground level. When you are not cooking your soil mix in your tumbler, you can be making compost if you like. These tumblers make primo compost out of all your organic scraps, along with any extra cannabis matter you have along the way.

See Also
Love What Bone Meal Does

A Bowl I Use to Collect Scraps for my Tumbler
A Bowl I Use to Collect Scraps for my Tumbler

Additional Information

The most excellent chicken guano, granular version is by Espoma, and can be purchased on Amazon: Link to 25 lb. Chicken Manure on Amazon – You could get all the ingredients on Amazon if you wanted to. The Langbeinite is by Down to Earth brand, and is something you for sure don’t want to go overboard with. The water I use on my living soil has a touch of langbeinite dissolved in it as well.

All these additions have been added for specific reasons, don’t worry about the seemingly high levels of blood meal and guano. So, pretty much all the nitrogen will become immobilized when it is used to build the bodies of the microbial life—biomass—and the blood meal has a lot of great things for a true living soil. If I were going to buy a compost tumbler today, after looking around for a while, I would likely get this one: Cool Compost Tumbler on Amazon.

Plenty of Top Shelf Buds are Headed Your Way
Plenty of Top Shelf Buds are Headed Your Way

Rev’s Tip

Some Dry Amendments I Always Have Lying Around
Some Dry Amendments I Always Have Lying Around

Remember to never compact your soil in containers. Not at all. So, when you transplant, your soil should be somewhat moist, but not wet at all. I like my plants to be about halfway between their wet and dry point when I transplant them. When transplanting them when dry makes it easier to damage roots in my experience. Because when you are transplanting them when they are wet can get unruly in containers over a couple gallons in size. See ya all back here next week, L8r G8rs.

  • REvski 😊

 

 

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