I love spending countless hours on my computer looking for cannabis strains, going through seed producer and breeder websites sucking up information like a sponge. What are the new breeding and cultivating techniques and philosophies? What stands behind a seed brand? I just love seeking out all this info. One thing that I see more and more often is that seed companies promote the using of Living Soil, while cultivating plants from their products. On a personal note, I must say I am happy when I see that happen, because I have been a fan of Living Soil for years now. I love the fact that this growing method is fully organic. It allows the plants to decide for themselves what and when they “eat”. It makes live easy for the grower. I, myself use a recipe called Super Soil, that was made, tested and developed by legendary breeder and grower Montgomery “SubCool” Ball. Over the years I have come across many different recopies, various names for this type of substrate. What is Living Soil, Super Soil, TLO (True Living Organics). Hot Soil (or whatever name it is given)? The ideology is the same. It is a type of soil that is very rich in natural nutrients, microorganisms and bacteria. The composition of this soil gives it the ability of homeostasis (self-regulation). This is important in understanding how it “works”. In this article I would like to introduce you to the subject of super soil. There will be more articles on this subject coming.
The recipe I use, is one I received from a friend that got it from SubCool. It is for a large scale production and this is the original version of the recipe (only changed to the metric system):
- 400L Good quality soil (8 bags of 50 Liters) with coco mixed in (if the soil you buy does not have coco in it you must add it accordingly)
- 0.8Kg Worm Castings
- 2,5Kg Bat Guano
- 2.5Kg Bone Meal
- 2.5Kg Blood Meal
- 2,5Kg Powder Oyster Shell
- 1,4Kg Kelp Meal
- 1,4Kg Alfalfa Meal
- 100g Epsom Salt
- 130g Dolomite
- 260g Azomite
- 55g Humic Acids
- 250g Mycorize
This is of course to make a big amount but we will shortly provide a scaled version for those who want to make less, a We will go into every ingredient separately.
Once you have all the ingredients, the method of preparing the soil is easy. You take all the carefully prepared elements from the list and mix them thoroughly!! Take your time and spare no effort in mixing! It is best to spread a tarp to keep the products clean of bugs, leaves and other things commonly found on the ground. After you finish mixing the components, you should store the mix for about three months, in a temperature above zero degrees. It is a good idea to keep it in some form of containers during this time. This will keep out contaminates such as bugs, animals, plant parts and others getting into the mix. I myself use plastic barrels. I have seen people just cover the soil and leave it. As this is OK, I do not recommend it. Here I would like to warn you about a common mistake. If after the 3 months you see white fungi in the soil do not throw it away. If you see this white “spiderweb” that looks like mold, do not be scared. This is actually very positive. All you have to do is mix it in again. Not all fungus is mold, there is a lot of positive types of fungi in the soil.
The first question that pops to mind is “where can I get everything needed to make my own Super Soil?”. As I mentioned in the beginning, fortunately it is becoming more popular so it is becoming easier to get everything. At this moment you can choose many options. We here at Breed Bros are working to get a collaboration with Mycoterra. This company has everything on the list in high quality. We also work with a company Lurpe. On our website you can buy “pre-made” packs, that you just mix with soil and you are ready to go!! Some Seed companies have also taken an interest in this market and sell their own “Starter Packs” that also allow you to cultivate in Living Soil. It is important to remember that you really need quality and the products should be organic. A correctly prepared soil should be enough to feed the plant until the end. If that is not the case, don’t panic. There are many organic “tea’s” (natural fertilizers) you can make at home. We will cover this subject in the future.
An important element of using this type of Super Soil is to only do it during flowering of cannabis. This is a “hot mix”. It means that the substrate is rich in nutrients. If you give it to the plant to soon there is a risk of overfeeding, “burning” or even killing the plant. It is recommended to put a layer of regular soil on top of the super soil and let the root penetrate to the bottom.
On many sites they will tell you to only use water when growing on Living Soil. This is true for the most part. When you gain experience, You will be able to prepare the soil in a way that the nutrients in it are enough for the whole flowering cycle, but if you do not as I said it is not a problem, you can use organic ‘tea’ to supplement. It is also worth noticing that on many websites you will find the information that when you use this type of soil, you do not have to check the Ph or Ec levels of the water you use for your plants. That is only partially true. If the water has extreme values it is better to bring it within norms. If the levels are too high or too low it will hurt the plant.
This article is just an introduction to this fascinating and broad subject that we will take a deep dive into in future articles.