Living soil organics questions

Discussion in 'Organics' started by Greenthumbs256, Aug 31, 2017.


    Greenthumbs256 Well-Known Member

    Hey guys I've got some questions and I can't seem to find a straight answer. I want to start a no till living organic I want 2 15-20 gallon smart pots. My first question I plan to add ewc(1/3), a good local compost(1/3), and my existing soil (1/3),. I plan to add kelp, alfalfa meal, bone and blood meal, azomite, bokashi, and inset frass, some red worm wiggilers, alskan humus, and cover crop plus a straw mulch.
    Would this recipe be sufficient to support a living soil? Also when it comes to watering I've gotten pretty good with aact.
    Do I make simple teas and feed once a week?
    Also do I need to let this recipe cook for. amount of time before planting in it?
    Am I missing any main ingredients?

    green_machine_two9er Well-Known Member

    Don't forgot proper airstion. For no till you could up to 40% perlite or pumice stone. Or some kind of airstion. Also I would like to see some oyster shell. For buffer. Some gypsum. Crab meal. Neam meal. And maybe a few other sources of rock minerals. Azomite is ok. But a more divverse mix would be preferred. Some rock phosphate. Some basalt or other rock dust. Some carbohydrate source for fungal food. Brown rice or oatmeal or something like that. And aact should only be used once or twice a run. Not every week. Or even every month. One time during veg. And one time during flower should be sufficient.

    RandomHero8913 Well-Known Member

    You won't find a straight answer as everybody thinks their way is the best.
    But in generalities, like Green Machine said get some aeration in the mix so it doesn't just turn to mud on you. I would let this sit for a little bit as you're adding Blood, alfalfa, and bokashi to the mix. I second the use of oyster/gypsum, crab, and neem.
    If the plants are looking sad an EWC slurry is a quick and fast way to help them out. You can make as many teas(compost) as you want but after a certain point you won't see the plants respond like they first did.

    Hpo777 Member

    Pretty solid. All you need to do is trial and error. Try this mix...try to add something or take something away each grow. Pay close attention to everything and one day you'll have your perfect soil! Like they said everyone says theirs is best lol I got my recipe from Big Harvest Small Space(great read!). Personally I'd say no on the azomite. Top feed the azomite later on on their final pots as it feeds back depleted minerals. I only use an EWC teas with mammoth microbes. I just pay attention and listen to what they want then add that. Feed your soil! Not your plant! Biggest habit to break in OLS. Your goal is to have a complex living soil, don't get caught up on bacteria there is plenty of it already! Yea I'd let it "cook" at least 30 days to ensure all nutrients are bioavaible.

    Small space big harvest
    ANYTHING by Elaine Ingram(great YouTube stuff as well)
    Teaming with microbes
    Teaming with fungi

    Those are amazing books FULL of info for you!

    MistaRasta Well-Known Member

    Everyone does things differently, you won't get a right or wrong answer.. Your mix looks good, a few suggestions..

    -Yes, your recipe will support a living soil.

    -you can make teas if you'd like in the beginning but the more 'alive' your soil becomes the less you'll have to use them.

    -I'd let it sit for a week or two to let everything cycle properly

    -I'd cut the blood meal as the alfalfa will be all you need (and then some) for Nitrogen..Not to mention blood meal is extremely hot and water-soluble which bypasses the food web making it somewhat pointless in a living soil system, and will burn your plants up if not used properly.

    Also Consider cutting the Alaskan Forest Humus as well, it's just Premeir Peat mixed up with sawdust.

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017

    Greenthumbs256 Well-Known Member

    Thank you guys so much it's very appreciated my only question do I have to use worms. My girlfriend doesn't like the idea of them possibly crawling out and around the house.

    Greenthumbs256 Well-Known Member

    I kinda feel all this is pointless without the worms

    green_machine_two9er Well-Known Member

    They sre not needed for everything to work. Worms are more important in a farm making compost than in the soil.
    714steadyeddie and MistaRasta like this.

    MistaRasta Well-Known Member


    The worms might make it about a foot away from your pots, dry up and die. They can't just crawl around your house, they're not snakes.

    If you're keeping your soil balanced and healthy the worms will have no reason to leave the pots..

    IMO, you'd be better off making a worm bin, you'll get everything you need from that and your soil won't break down into complete humus nearly as fast.

    I kept worms in my pots when I did coots mix, they definitely help. I think it's just more of a diminishing returns type thing tbh. The top half of my soil was worm castings by the time my first round was done.

    green_machine_two9er Well-Known Member

    Did you use red wigglers in your pots. I always wonder if a few nightcrslwers would be better.just to stir things up
    MistaRasta likes this.

    MistaRasta Well-Known Member

    I've always done a mixture of both. Anytime I put in an order to uncle jims worm farm for say 2000-5000 red wigglers I'd always at least order 100- 250 night crawlers.

    The night crawlers are more sensitive to cold temperatures and will leave your pot at the first sign of discomfort..but they're well worth having around as they can move a lot of dirt in a day and they can go about 14 inches deeper than the reds, bringing up metals that fall down to the lower parts of the pot in solution over time.. They'll eat and breed excessively under proper condition as well.

    I think youll see your humus product break down faster with the addition of night crawlers, but that's just from my observation.

    Try them out next time you order,
    They're cheap.

    Wetdog Well-Known Member

    I've done a mixture of RW and Euros almost from the very beginning, going on 8 years now. Have no idea of the % of each, it's whatever they balance out to. But, for sure, start a worm bin. If anything is a game changer, that is.

    On worms in the pot; I've stopped purposely adding worms to growing containers for the same reasons MR noted. But, there are still worms in there.

    I'll try and explain. When I first started out, Was just adding fresh VC both to the mix and in top dressings. There were cocoons, baby worms and those that were missed when harvesting. There were always some worms in the containers and it worked great.

    Then, I got the "good idea" that if some worms were great, a bunch of worms would be fantastic. So I baited a gob with melon rinds and added them to growing containers. Turned out to be too much of a good thing and became a sorta worm bin. The % of castings went way up, the humus got broken down much too quickly and it ended up way too dense for good root health. This happened over time as it does anyway, but much faster than normal. Like in one season or less where two seasons is normal.

    Anyway, now it's back to just the fresh VC and the 'some' worms that go along with it. The cocoons hatch, the baby worms grow along with the missed worms, turn and help aerate the soil without overwhelming it. Everything is in better balance.

    Greenthumbs256 Well-Known Member

    So when you started about how many worms to a 20gallon pot?

    Wetdog Well-Known Member

    Around 20 or so is a good start. I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but the population can and will increase pretty quick in a rich organic mix. One worm can produce up to 1,000 offspring in 6 months and that's a geometric progression, like 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and so on, not a linear progression, like 2, 4, 6, 8, 10....

    Plus, the cocoons in the fresh VC add ~5 to 8 babies with every hatching, so even a very few worms become a lot of worms in short order.

Share This Page