You are what you eat. In the case of your plants, they are what they eat. We use an adapted 'coots' soil recipe from America using organic materials to create a 'living soil' that is teeming with microbial life. This is the way soils work in the wild; a number of natural phenomena leave organic matter and trace elements within the soil. Micro-organisms such as mycorrhizal fungi, trichoderma, and bacterial species form a symbiotic relationship with plants, breaking down these elements into plant available forms in return for exudates (secretions from the roots) that the microbes feed upon, helping plants to expand their ability to feed, obtain water, and so thrive in their environment.
Healthy soil makes for healthy plants and we incorporate all the elements required to recreate a natural soil that is constantly improving:
Nutrient rich mediums - fresh microbially active worm castings full of worm cocoons that will hatch and tend to your soil for you. Combined with sphagnum peat moss with a neutral pH and great water retentive ability.
Natural Aeration - Buckwheat hulls that offer great aeration properties and break down over time making silica available for your plants to draw upon. The hulls are great organic matter and as they break down that protein will be used as a source of nutrition for your plants.
Microbial inoculations - Our Bokashi is bursting with lactic acid bacteria, yeasts, and other micro-organisms that improve soil health. We also have straight microbial inoculation with our Microbiome product that introduces several species of mycorrhizal fungi, trichoderma, and bacillus. These work to fix nitrogen, outcompete pathogens, improve water and nutrient uptake.
Cover crops - We select species for cover crops that accumulate nutrients from both the air and the ground releasing them into the soil. They prevent compaction, suppress weeds, and inhibit evaporation.
Soil Amendments - these plant, mineral, and insect produced materials provide proteins, nutrients, and the required elements that the microbes will break down for the plant to feed upon.
Bio-stimulants - naturally occurring biological products that enhance growth, nutrient uptake, and microbial activity to ensure that you get the best from your plants. We recommend you use these after ensuring that your mix is working for your plants rather than automatically including them to ensure that everything else you are using is performing properly.
We would recommend using 50 litre plus pots or beds to ensure the soil biome you will be building can sustain itself properly. You can use a 40 litre pot however it is in our opinion not as efficient as 50 litres and up. You can use smaller volumes however these will need regular refreshing with compost teas and careful monitoring to ensure they still perform. This recipe will make 50 litres or just under 2 cubic feet/ 15 gallons.
1 cubic foot = 28.3 litres 1 gallon = 3.8 litres.
Medium and aeration should be 33/33/33 split so 16 litres/4 gallons of each worm castings, sphagnum peat moss, and buckwheat hulls.
then for every cubic foot or 28 litres of the mixed medium add
1/2-1 cup of Neem Meal - stable npk and pest suppressant
1 cup of Kelp Meal - nutrition, minerals, and natural growth hormones
1 cup Gypsum - calcium and sulphur are essential for plant growth needed for cation exchange, nitrogen metabolism, and activating enzymes.
1 cup Oystershell - slow release calcium
1 cup Frass (we use black soldier fly frass (high in protein and chitin reducing the need for additions such as Krill meal) this modifies microbial behaviour stimulating fungi and also provides some of the building blocks for systemic acquired resistance.
1 cup Greensand for trace minerals, silica (improving cellular strength, chlorophyll density, and abiotic resistance to stress from weather and temperature) and gentle addition of potassium: vital for movement of water, nutrients and carbohydrates.
1/2 cup of Soft Rock Phosphate. Phosphorus is necessary for storing and transferring energy produced in plant cells, facilitating cell division (growth) in plants, and flowering and fruiting processes.
For veganic gardeners we leave the oystershell out and you're ready.
When watering we recommend rainwater, reverse osmosis water, or using a water conditioning additive to remove all traces of chlorine or chloramine. We can advise on low cost options for water conditioning products.
This recipe provides a solid basis for natural microbe driven growth. We provide starter kits for newcomers to living soil methods, lowering the buy in price to get going and try it out for yourself. These can be found in our product menu. Veganic version available choose this option when adding to your basket.
We can also advise on larger situations where large raised beds or allotment situations may benefit from careful soil amendment. We believe our range to be supported by levels of product knowledge unparalleled in a retail setting and will always make time to answer your questions.