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Soil & Recipe

~A Cultural Healing and Life Compilation and Writing


A basic super soil recipe.  Understanding soil mineralization, soil ecosystem and brix in general will help you appreciate this recipe.

This soil is capable of lush growth and bountiful yields.  It is tried and tested via years of use.


Recipe list:

  • 1-large bag (2 cu ft) organic potting soil.  (no added fertilizers)
    • Add compost of mushroom, leaf mold and/or forest humus and/or ocean compost if soils do not contain.
    • Best practice is to add a blend of all.
    • Compost is carbon and is vital to your PH and micro life stability.
  • 1-large bag (2 cu ft) light mix (hanging basket mixes)
  • 1 cu ft perlite or comparative drainage product (choose a brand)
  • 1 cu ft worm dirt (worm castings) or (cow manure-composted)
  • 2 cup bone meal  (Alternative = soft-rock phosphate alternative)
  • 2 cup blood meal (Alternative - alfalfa meal)
  • 3 cup Kelp meal (I do not add to mix as I input during grow regular but this is normal part of recipe)
  • 4 cups fruit bat guano
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salts
  • 1 cup dolomite lime,
    • Can use agricultural lime but increase Epsom salts to 3/4 cup.
  • Biochar
    • Inoculate with natural farming inputs high in nitrogen.
    • Inoculate with equal amounts of garden teas and molasses.
      • Biochar
      • 1 gallon finished compost tea
      • 1 gallon finished worm tea
      • 1 cup of unsulphured molasses
      • Bubble 2 days.
  • +Pest management and brix additives.
    • BTI (gnat control)
    • Nematodes (optional pest control for most soil based bugs)
    • Rock dusts & azomite
    • Myco fungus and bacteria.



Break Down of Recipe

1-large bag (2 cu ft) organic potting - Examples:               

  • Any organic potting soil soil with good drainage.
  • You want soil with a mix of humus and ocean blends.
  • No chemical fertilizers
    • If you cannot find, add in the following type of composts
      • compost with ocean shells and kelp.
      • compost with good humus


1-large bag (2 cu ft) light mix type of potting soil.

  • Fox Farms Light Warrior soil, or promix or media for hanging baskets, or orchid mix it is likely suitable.
  • Any high drainage potting soil or soiless media
  • no chemical or additional fertilizers.


1 cu ft perlite (choose a brand)

  • chunky and not so fine.
  • High drainage is key for getting air to roots.
  • Some of the biggest indoor plants I have seen, were grown in only perlite.
    • I dont recommend only growing in perlite.


1 cu ft worm worm castings, (Cow Manure, composted is a very good alternative and some would say that about worm castings).

  • Add this in, in addition to any worm casting that might be contained in the other soils, you cannot have enough really.
  • This is key to jump starting the mineralization process.
    • Source of microbes and is where the bio life will mostly come from.
    • Watering in with a garden/compost/casting tea will help boost microbes too.
      • Generically I use basic veg tea without adding nitrogen other than castings and composts (my compost has some nitrogen from worm bin drainage)
      • You can adjust for the growth of the plants, using nitrogen aspects in vegetative periods and phosphorous when in flowering phases, generically spoken.
  • you will not burn your plants with correct castings.
    • Take it easy with worm bin drainage this is hot hot hot.
  • If you use your own castings you will see the sprouts of what you eat will come up initially when soil is put in grow room/container.  I let this happen for a moment as it helps jump start the microbe life in soil.
    • The sprouts of stuff gets recycled in compost bin but also can be used for making an IMO to help boost sprouts similar to roots excelsior.  I will write on that later.  


1 cu ft compost (optional). 

  • If only able to get basic soil and basic light mix
    • Add compost with sea minerals
    • Add compost with humus
      • Forest compost
      • Garden or home compost
      • Bokashi is a very good alternative for garden compost).


2 cup bone meal NPK -  3-15-0

  • This adds phosphorous.
    • (Alternative = soft-rock phosphate alternative)
  • Add fungi mycorrhiza as it breaks down the phosphorus and makes it available to the plant.
  • Plants can only get phosphorus from bone meal if the soil PH is below 7.0 (acidic soil).  (I have never seen as issue but if phosphorous is an issue than check PH out out due diligence.


2 cup blood meal NPK - 12-0-0

  • Add nitrogen and can be made into a liquid
    • (Alternative - alfalfa meal)
  • Lowers PH
  • I like for recharging soil
  • helps maintain compost
  • A single application of blood meal is usually effective for 6 to 8 weeks before subsequent feedings are needed.
  • Is quick acting and can burn your plants if you use too much.
  • Take it easy adding extra nitrogen to your recipe.
    • If young plants show a bit to high ec signs, reduce blood meal in the recipe by a 1/4 to a 1/3 next time.
    • It is easier to add than take away.  If you have light feeding plants use less and adjust accordingly listening to the plants.
  • Blood Meal works with bacteria and nematodes (worm castings and teas are typical source) in the soil to breakdown the powder into nitrogen components so plants can more easily absorb the nutrients.


4 cups fruit bat guano NPK 0-10-0 (NPK can vary but ensure higher in P than N)

  • adds NPK but also adds mico life like worm castings
  • Reduce and increase as per your plants feeding.  Reduce for light feeders but I would not increase without getting a feel for the soil and how it works with your plants.
  • Guano helps keep the soil loose and not bulky by aiding decomposition
    • This helps keep a good aeration at the roots.


1 cup dolomite lime

  • You can also use agricultural lime or garden lime but you might need to adjust the magnesium.
    • If using agriculture lime than increase Epsom salts by 1/4 cup per gallon which adjusts the magnesium.


1/2 cup Epsom salts

  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Magnesium is absorbed right when the seed begins to develop.
    • Magnesium assists with the process of seed germination, helping to strengthen the plant cell walls and improves received nutrients.
    • Magnesium assist with making chlorophyll
    • Magnesium helps the plant take in phosphorus and nitrogen
  • Sulfate, a mineral form of sulfur.
    • Sulfate is essential to the health and longevity of plants, and aides in the production of chlorophyll.
    • It works like a catalyst in the soil to make key nutrients more effective for plants, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.


2 cups of rock dust

  • (many do not do this, it is not needed but will increase brix if activated/mineralized by biolife) .
  • Rock based
  • Adds trace nutrients and macro nutrients.
  • Needs to be mineralized to work (biolife)


2 cups of Azomite

  • (many do not do this, it is not needed but will increase brix if activated/mineralized by biolife)
  • Clay based
  • Similar to rock dust
  • I like as it breaks down differently than rock dust. 


Pest Control

  • BTI, Mosquito dunks to chunks to liquid.
    • Sprinkle bti on the soil and mix real good.
    • Liquid drops (microlift) (a few drops will take care of 30 gallons of water)
      • work faster than dunks
      • Use yucca when watering to help even spread in medias.
    • Great protection for fungas gnats.
    • It will not prevent infection but prevent them from reproducing.
  • Predator nematodes.
    • Using these will prevent infestations
    • Some of these ambush and some actively hunt.  Horror movie monsters in miniature.
  • Neem (some use, some dont),
    • is not considered dangerous to bees and other pollinators.
    • I often just use a small amount around transplant hole when planting into new soils.
      • I do not use again unless their is a pest aspect than I will mix in a bit when I redo the soil for next round.
    • Meal and cake
      • Is high in nitrogen so if you use it, consider lowering nitrogen else where in recipe to compensate.
      • Stimulates microbial activity. 
      • Contains allelochemicals such as nimbidin and thionemone, which have some pesticidal properties
    • Neem oil
      • is rapidly broken down in the environment,
        • reapply every 3 to 5 days to maintain its effectiveness.
      • Oil is best use at first onset of an issue.


Mix it like it makes you cool and you want to be the coolest!  You can add biochar as well but I like this for recharging soil.  If you use biochar be sure to charge it first.  Otherwise it will remove nutrients from the soil.  A veg tea soak is a great thing to charge with.


Indoor Compost Bin


 "Fancy" compost, Lazy and easier keep bugs out  It takes 2 of these to process all scraps well.


This is nemotodes



Nematodes being added to worm bin



Example of potting soil mix.



Example of light mix



Drainage rocks



Homemade compost





homemade wormcastings



Soil being made




Epsom salts (Magnesium & bit of sulfur)



Rock Dust (long term mineralization)



Azomite - Long term mineralization



Bat Guano (this is for P-Fruit bat guano)



Bone and Blood Meal - These can be swapped out with viable replacements.



Myco & Bacteria



Gnat protection




Mix it very well, as if doing so makes you cool/popular.


You want to mix this very well.  We want to start the mineralization process but first we need to really mix it so lots of microbes and minerals are in effective contact.  The bacterial biolife can move around the media easy enough but we want optimal.

This soil is about minerals plus biolife and with the right environment they will make an ecosystem that will begin to mineralize the soil.  When this ecosystem begins and as it ages it will enable the plant to utilize the minerals and increase the plants uptake receptors for minerals such as calcium and this leads to a higher brix level.

Water in and cover, using compost as cover will help add in microbes. 

  • Some like to use clear containers and some don't.  I do not notice a difference in growing of the plants in terms of plant quality but clear makes it more loamy and I prefer this as well but use what you got. 
  • The important thing is time for the ecosystem to not just begin but to age.  You do not want to plant at the beginning as it can burn your plants.  I have used as soon as 2 weeks and I think it is still a bit hot for my plants but they grow out of it within a week.  If this is the case, let it cook a bit longer.
  • I like to let sit in containers for 2 weeks or more, keeping moist but not wet.
  • Then I put into grow containers and put in grow room and water in, water or tea.
  • Let sit for a few weeks
    • I have used within a week without issue but that is early for starting the soil system.
    • Cover media so not direct light or put a film over them with lights on normal,
      • Conditioning the soil ecosystem to new environment.
  • I use my castings so I have lots of seeds that will sprout from castings.  I use this a measurement that all is working but I wait a week once that starts and I let them sprout until they make their first leaves then I pull them and compost them. 
    • This gets the soil life going and now is when I transplant into the soil.
  • The rest is plant management as you can pretty much forget doing anything other than watering until about week 4-6 for some flowering nutrients or teas.
  • You can also obtain a measure of control like in hydro by using various organic boosters and I will later show to make.  These are a form of IMO's.  I will also show how you can capture and multiply and use your own microbes from various sources.  Fun days to come.


Some thoughts

This recipe comes from the base recipe that others made famous.  Once upon a time their was a group and over time this is the result of that groups work.  I was not their myself but I am in part the recipient of a good amount of that knowledge. 

Their are endless varieties of this now and as long as the bio life is active I am sure they all pretty much work.  I have added the pest management aspect and the rockdust and azomite.  Not exactly rocket science in the make up but it is the starting of the soil ecosystem and keeping that healthy that is the difference.  In some circles the rock dust and azomite inputs would be deemed wasteful.  It is for each to decide for themselves. 

  • The rockdust and azomite for me is more about assisting with long term stabilization which will take some time to initially be of benefit.  Thus if you are using short term soils then I agree this is without benefit all things competent.

I do not add kelp meal as I use it in liquid form.  I have never used it as media ingredient myself as a solid product due to my overall style.  If you do not regularly use kelp in liquid form, add in the Kelp meal when mixing your soil.



Another recipe take.

This is a recipe I know others use with equal success.  I have not used these numbers but I have seen the plants.  Same as above but different rates. 

  • 1 bale of soil (happy frog like): Find a blend of earthworm castings, bat guano and the composted forest humus or similar. No added ferts.

  • 1 bale of soil (Ocean forest like): Premium earthworm castings, bat guano, and sea-going fish and crab meal. Composted forest humus, sandy loam, and sphagnum peat moss give ocean forest its light, aerated texture. Anything with good aeration and chitin (crab shells and the like) and compost with good texture will do. No added ferts.

  • ½ + bag Chunky Perlite

  • + 30 pounds of Earth worm castings.

  • 3 c Bone meal +

  • 1 c pulverized dolomite lime

  • 1/2 c Epsom Salts

  • 1.5 c Azomite

  • 3 c Blood meal

  • 3 c Kelp meal

  • 2 cups fruit bat guano.


Thank you and I hope this post helps give an idea of soil that I use and a bit why.  If you have such interest, I hope it serves you well as it has me.


A very good Video and his recipe!

Very good video on super soils


30% Sphagnum Peat Moss
10% Redwood Bark
10% Coco coir
20% Perlite
5% Lava Rock
15% Compost
5% Worm Castings
5% Alaskan Humus

Nutrients should be added relative to the amount of base potting mix you have.

*BAT GUANO* (e.g. VermiBat by Vermicrop Organics)
4 lb / cubic yard of base potting mix
67 g / cubic foot
2.37 g / liter

4 lbs / cubic yard of base potting mix
67 g / cubic foot
2.37 g / liter

4 lbs / cubic yard of base potting mix
67 g / cubic foot
2.37 g / liter

2 lbs / cubic yard of base potting mix
33.5g / cubic foot
1.185g / liter

2 lbs / cubic yard of base potting mix
33.5g / cubic foot
1.185g / liter

1 lbs / cubic yard of base potting mix
16.25g / cubic foot
0.59 g / liter

1 lbs / cubic yard of base potting mix
16.25g / cubic foot
0.59 g / liter

*DRY POWDERED SEA KELP* (e.g. VermiKelp by Vermicrop Organics)
1 lbs / cubic yard of base potting mix
16.25g / cubic foot
0.59 g / liter

1 lbs / cubic yard of base mix
16.25g / cubic foot
0.59 g / liter


*Blood meal* (e.g. VermiBlood by Vermicrop Organics) — dried blood, not for the squeamish. Same NPK as feather 12-0-0. Very expensive. Contains iron. Very high protein content. Fine, water soluble. 

*Calcium Phosphate* — not my favorite. Cheap – gives you phosphorus and calcium. Popular with organic growers. Issues with contaminants. (Uranium, Plutonium, cadmium, arsenic) Not recommended for growing medicinal plants.

*Crustacean Meal* – combination bi-product - ground up lobster, crab, shrimp shells. High N content along with potassium and calcium. Chitin in the crustacean meal provides a defensive response in plants against insect predation, so it can act as a beneficial pest preventative.

*Fishbone Meal*— store in dry conditions. Mold susceptible. High N. Very high phosphorus.
*Glacial Rock Dust* — trace elements—soft rock phosphate. High Phosphorus mined rock. 0-3-0 ultra slow release. Not recommended for short cycle plants.

*Green Sand* — Sand or sandstone with a green color. High silica levels. Another mined product. Similar to glacial rock dust.

*Insect Frass* (e.g. Charge by Ecothrive in Europe or "Insect Frass" in North America) broad spectrum fertility and a hit of beneficials. Also contains chitin.
*Mycorrhizae* (e.g. Subculture M by General Hydroponics) – More economical to use in transplant (direct contact with roots) rather than blending with potting mix. Relationships tend to be long term so there's an argument that this is better suited for cultivating larger, older plants.

Don't forget—if you follow this recipe make sure you wet your mix with some water and give it some time to compost and pH stabilize over a month or so.


Reusing Soil


AGF-l7-lf7Cr0aUWTCxbyangcbD86AqDTtQloWb3OYR Frugal & Sustainable Organic Gardening


Reusing soil  is a simple as adding back more life, micro and macro nutrients while ensuring proper soil make up and good NPK.

  • A soil  test will tell you exactly what should be added and what is good.
    • Keep these records over time and if running similar crops under similar conditions (indoors) you can analyze the soil test after each batch to determine a customized process for your operation.


Basic restoration of soil recipe.

  • Worm castings 10-15 percent.
  • Fruit bat guano 5% (for phosphorous)
  • Compost, from sea (chitin) 5 -10%
  • Compost from mushroom and/or forest 5 -10%
  • Myco, beneficial bacteria, IMO, lab.
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium, epsom salts
  • Coco/peat 20%
  • Added top soil 20%
  • old soil 40%
  • Biochar (additional)
  • Perlite, vermiculite, rice hulls, biochar, drainage materials.

Mix very well and let sit.  Spray with lab when mixing if you have.




A song for you


The way to much information section!

This video explains soil textures, this is important to appreciate when making your own soils.  This knowledge can help you select from local sources and alternatives rather than name brands and such.




This video illustrates very well on how to select soils at various stores and working with what is available.  If you are inexperienced in selecting soils and ingredients on without a guide this is a must see.  Any thanks go to John from http://www.growingyourgreens.com/

  • John from http://www.growingyourgreens.com/ shows you from start to finish how to take an abandoned backyard space and transform it into a edible vegetable garden. In this episode, you will learn most everything you will need to know to start growing your food. You will discover the process that John goes through to select the best soil, build the raised beds, layout the raised beds, plant the raised beds and even install the drip irrigation system with a timer. This project took about 2 days to complete. Including 1 day sourcing all materials, and 1 day putting it all together.
  • My input to the video, I personally do not care about the omri certification but it does = to a standard but I consider this perhaps more classifications for profit that limit many viable products due to cost of process.
    • Evaluate and source your horticultural products to ensure they meet your personal and quality standards as applicable to each gardener.
  • Additionally the video illustrates extremely well how to understand, prepare and build growing areas.  In my opinion, he teaches and illustrates these aspects extremely well and I recommend all his videos at his channel.  


SOIL not DIRT - Dr Elaine Ingham talks Soil Microbiology


Preparing and conducting a soil sample

Preparing a soil sample - Video by Dr. Elaine Ingham





AAuE7mBaiT5FRToP7lCOlKXRDLh3rCSfVpt8Tk-T  SustainableStudies


How to choose a microscope for soil microbiology




AAuE7mBaiT5FRToP7lCOlKXRDLh3rCSfVpt8Tk-T  SustainableStudies

Water in Soil.

This video works well in understanding about soil textures by seeing how water flows in various soils.



Benefits of cow dung.

Vedic growing.


Dangers of indoor gardening

This section is put in as this is something we would consider a danger but I can see a law enforcement concern due to illegal indoor grows.  I recommend maintaining a low profile and communicating with the local law enforcement and horticultural clubs of your garden as to establish that it is a legitimate garden and offer them a tour if wanted.

  • If law enforcement visits you thinking it is an illegal garden you risk pets getting shot, those in house being shot, damage, potential confiscations of money and property depending on situation, appearance of criminality to public who only see raid, loss of rights of search due to misunderstanding to incompetence.  
    • This is why I recommend having law enforcement know of your legal garden.
    • Understand from a law enforcement perspective it can be difficult to predetermine such things.
    •  While I do not condone improper searches and abuse we also have to understand growing indoors can be a grey area and for those who are not criminals tend to go into this aspect naive.

I really do not have any other good input myself as I cannot imagine such a scenario getting out of control as produce and flowers do not look like an illegal product.  

I advise understanding but I also caution becoming to known publicly as thieves may target your grow lights.

  • When taking photos ensure to remove GPS data or any exif data that can identify your location if you post to social media.




 The Strumbellas Sings us out!







~A Proud Cultural Healing and Life Compilation

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Very Nice write up. I have been mixing good soil for about 20 years and love the medium. As growing is my hobby i spent the last few years expermenting with coco and just recently went to rockwool. I am sure i will return to mixing good (warm) soil as the plants love it. Thanks for a great write up.

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After I am done with the natural farming input section I will talk about integrating natural farming into the indoor garden.

Using IM04 and some other inputs makes virtually magic earth!  


I did similar to you I think.  I started with soil and then moved to passive hydro then to hydro in many forms settling in with ebb and flow and learning the plants and environment very well for these methods, by this time I had a very good understanding of plant physiology and what I thought I knew about plant nutrition and environment and I worked out much of what I talk on.  

I then made up my soils and ran the same plants side by side in hydro and soil and this is how I dialed in for my soil for the same type of plants.  

  • This helped much in advancing my appreciation of environment, nutrients and plant development in regards to how to better input for soil and hydro. 

I like best for hydro:

  • Blocks with drainage for your plant type are best practice but I never worked with.
  • Mapito.
  • Coco/Soiless Mix/Perlite.  



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