The idea of a “Supersoil” has always been to build a blend of soil with enough nutrients for the entire life cycle of a plants life. Most “Supersoil” recipes require a composting or “cooking” process of about 4 -6 weeks. The soil and amendments are allowed time to break down with the assistance of microbes to help facilitate this “cooking/composting” process. A “Supersoil” is typically composed of two parts, the first being a “base soil” which is mostly coco coir, sphagnum peat moss, and perlite. After a base soil is created, different amendments are added in the form of anything from Bat Guano to Rock Dust to Fish Bone Meal. Some recipes are different from one another and thus have different amendments which have been combines to create a complete fertilizer. The trick with “Supersoil” is to make sure ALL the nutrients are available, and that your plants do not encounter an deficiencies during the growing process. Some growers may choose to add a compost tea, or a seed sprout tea to supplement different nutrients, microbes or enzymes. NO-TILL Gardening is becoming more popular for these reasons and many more, one advantage being that the a grower is able to yield multiple crops out of the same soil, in the same container. It should be noted that on average, these styles of organic growing typically require using a 10 gallon to 100 gallon container; in-fact it is not unheard of to grow multiple plants(ex. 3 plants) in one large container (ex. 100g).
Some of the older recipes have been collected here from over the years gathered from various resources, forums and hand written notes. Some of these recipes are not complete, some of these recipes are quite a bit more labor intensive than others. Another example of organic gardening uses Bat Guano Teas and other liquid amendments to feed an organic garden over the course of the crops life. The trick with this method is feeding the plant what it wants before it wants it, it can be tricky to figure out. Some of these recipes are for re-building large quantities of used soil can be a hassle, but certainly come in handy when considering the cost of new soil and bottled nutrients. Enzymes and organic amendments can be used to revitalize used soil, but a stong microbe heard is required to properly break down any left over unwanted materials in the soil. When in doubt, send it off for testing, or try in a test container. No matter the method, the objective has always been to have something that feeds your pants FROM START TO FINISH, it is for this reason why there are so many options for building a “Supersoil”. We hope these recipes can be a resource and a guideline for everyone looking to make growing easier; and organically too!
Original ``Supersoil`` Recipes
8 – 1.5 ft3 bags of High Quality Base-Soil
1 – 33lb. bag of Worm Castings
2.5 lbs. Fish Bone Meal
5 lbs. High Phosphorus Bat Guano
5 lbs. Blood Meal
2.5 lbs. Bone Meal
3 cups. Oyster Shell Flour
3 cups. Kelp Meal
3 cups Alfalfa Meal
3/4 cup Epsom Salt
1 cup Dolomite Lime
2 TBS powdered Humic Acid
TOTAL = ~$300
8 – 1.5 ft3 bags of high quality base soil organic potting soil with Mycorrhizae
1 – 25-50lb. bag of Worm Castings
5 lb. Steamed Bone meal
5 lb. Bloom Bat Guano
5 lb. Blood meal
3 lb. Rock Phoshate
¾ cup Epson salts
½ to 1 Cup cup Sweet Lime ( Dolimite)
½ Cup Azomite ( Trace Elements)
2 tbs. Powdered Humic Acid
Living Organic Soil
“The reason we put this system together is for those that want to have a birds eye view of the entire process from start to finish. Many people want to grow naturally and just don’t trust that it will work. Some are doing it now but they are missing some key element and it’s not coming out quite right. Once you get the full picture and understand how flexible this whole system is you will “get it” and create your own system that works for you and your situation.
The ultimate goal is to use nothing but home made compost that has been created with all of the nutrients built in. If you can get to the point where your soil is so alive and healthy that all you have to do is plant a seed and add water, then you have arrived. Having the best soil doesn’t have to take forever and in the mean time there are many Compost teas, Botanical Teas and fertilizer inputs that you can add to Build a soil for long term production.
The modern way is to use chemistry to make NPK and several micro-nutrients available to the plants through use of plant ready water soluble nutrients. The PH of the nutrient supply will heavily effect the outcome of the plant. This is the “Feeding the plant” Paradigm.
The organic way is to build a compost based on the plants that are high in nutrient content and to utilize organic amendments that work in harmony with the plant and the soil. The BuildASoil way is to combine premium compost materials with diverse mineral inputs and utilize biology along with science. We are constantly getting our soils tested and adjusting so you don’t have to. We want diversity and we want it all in the soil. The nutrients aren’t immediately available in the organic system, we will rely on the biology of the soil to naturally produce nutrients for our plants based on it’s growing needs. The soil food web is the cornerstone to cultivating plants in a Living Organic Soil System. The soil life is active and healthy and helping to make these nutrients available, and the plants growing on this Living Organic Soil have free-choice of any nutrient they want, in balance, a balance designed by intelligent science and observation. But it doesn’t come in a bottle. The other nice thing about Building A Soil for All Natural production indoors, is that you have a blank canvas to work with… you can literally build the best soil possible. While working on large outdoor farms, you have to work with the existing soil and improve it over time. ”
This guide is for Herbs and Vegetables, but will work with most fast Annual flowering plants. If you have a strange plant that you want to grow, consider it’s native soil and best recreate that. This information works absolutely perfect for food and flowers. The entire system is meant to be more sustainable and also use local resources when possible.
This information is mainly for growing in containers and raised beds for the home gardener. If using containers for the patio, the greenhouse, or indoors, use as much soil as you can afford. I prefer a minimum of 5-30 gallons of soil per plant if growing in containers. Tomato’s love the half whiskey barrel size, but bigger wouldn’t be an issue except for moving it around. The larger the soil volume in your container the easier it will be to keep moist and keep alive with many different microbes and critters. The smaller the container the more botanical teas and compost teas you will end up using along with a little more attention to detail.
Rule #1: Don’t try to grow a plant, instead BuildASoil that does that for you: Use Premium inputs and get premium results. Your goal is to build the best soil possible and keep it like a pet. Keep it moist and alive as best as you can, input more than you take out and the soil will last forever as it continues to evolve and become more blessed with life.
Rule #2: Learn to make your own compost and your own Earthworm Castings: You would be surprised how small of a space you can make quality compost in. Search our website for “indoor compost” and you will see what I mean. But if you really can’t do the whole compost or worm bin thing, then I suggest you learn to find a really good source for local compost that is affordable. If you can’t find compost local then use our pure worm castings. The shipping keeps the price a little high, but my goal is to make this as affordable as possible for everyone to benefit from.
Rule#3: Use premium quality compost or earthworm castings, preferably home made. Yes I said this twice. It’s that important.
Rule #4: Don’t be tempted to go back to the bottled nutrients: Even if they say organic, because nothing will be as good as you own soil. The big bottled nutrient companies buy ingredients in bulk and often use soy and cotton that are GMO and full of pesticides. Get this right and your garden will be more productive and more nutritious than ever before. Don’t worry about growing plants, focus on building soil!
Rule #5: Avoid ingredients that say they are organic but really aren’t good for the environment. The Organic Label is slowly selling out in the marketplace depending on who is doing the certification. Don’t worry if it’s not organic as long as you know where it came from and that it is good stuff. Think about each ingredient in the products you purchase. Just because the nutrients at the grow shop have cool labels and high prices does not mean that they will grow better plants.
Rule #6: No matter what else you do, make sure you MULCH. If you skip Mulching you are missing the boat.
Integrated Pest Management: Use a basic home made pest spray every 3-7 days during vegetative growth phase for pest prevention.
Don’t buy expensive bottles of organic pest control spray. Make your own!!!
You can use just soap and water. You can add the Neem oil with just soap and water. You can do soap, essential oil, and water. The point is, you don’t have to use all the ingredients at the same time, but you do require an emulsifier. If you are using soap and not agsil16h to emulsify than make sure you are using enough soap to emulsify the oil. Shake every minute or so while spraying and use right away.
*Pro Tip: Switch it up and don’t let the bugs get used to what you’re doing. This is KEY to winning the war.
1. Neem oil or Karanja Oil (natural insecticide safe for plants and worms etc.) 1oz per gallon water.
2. Agsil16H (Potassium Silicate) 1.5 Grams of Agsil16H per Ounce of Neem to Emulsify.
3. Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps to emulsify Neem oil and kill bugs (1 Ounce per gallon prevention and 2 ounces per gallon infestation)
4. Aloe Vera 200x powder – Great additive to any spray (1 gram per 199 grams water makes about 3/4 cup pure aloe vera juice and that is good for 3-4 gallons water)
5. Essential Oils: Cinnamon, Rosemary, Eucalyptus and others. (5-10 Drops per gallon total)
6. Neem Cake: Soak (with or without a bag) 1 cup in 1 gallon water for 24 hours and strain. Use soap or emulsifier at 1 ounce per gallon then spray! Also, Top dress with dry neem cake at 1 teaspoon per gallon of soil for container plants to prevent house flies and mites from developing in the soils surface.
*Use all sprays right away!
Spray in the early morning or late evening. Spray more often when it’s hot out and when it’s raining. Spray less in the winter, maybe once every 5-10 days as preventative measure.
Insects lay eggs on the underside of the leaves. Hence it is important to spray on the underside of the leaves as well.
It is better to use low concentration of extracts frequently.
Each acre of land can be sprayed with 15 gallons of ready to use solution.
Pro Tip: You can use garlic and Cayenne pepper too. Get creative and test the new recipes on 1 plant in a small area first.
Seedling or Cuttings:
The BuildASoil Methods DIY vs. Premium Products
Soil Recipe: (Purchase From Us, Purchase the DIY kit from us, or completely make it yourself)
1 Part Canadian Sphagnum Peatmoss
1 Part Premium Thermal Compost (Feel free to use up to half as Vermicompost or Worm Castings)
*Notice: The compost is the single most important ingredient, don’t skimp.
1 Part Aeration/Drainage (We use Pumice, Rice Hulls, Grow Stones)
Per Cubic Foot of total soil volume add:
½ Cup of Each: Premium Kelp Meal, Premium Neem and/or Karanja Cake, Premium Crustacean Meal
2 Cups Basalt, 1 Cup Gypsum and 1 Cup Oyster Shell Flour
Bonus: Add ½ Cup Fish Bone Meal and ½ Cup Malted Barley Powder
Mix and plant right away or tuck away and let compost for a couple of weeks first. Either way.
How to prepare your soil for planting:
Ideally we want to get our soil out of the bag and into the grow containers and in the actual grow space we are using. If you are going to use some soil for cloning or seedlings you can do the same thing in very small containers however most growers just use soil without the cover crop and top dressings until transplanted into their final homes. It’s up to you!
- Pour soil into Geo Pot. (15 Gallons Per Plant Minimum)
- Water slowly to evenly saturate. (We use the Chapin 1949 Sprayer) Use 10% by volume water or 1 gallon for every 10 gallons of soil used. Tip: Use Aloe and Yucca to help hydrate the Hydrophobic Peatmoss.
- Sow Cover Crop at a rate of 1 tablespoon per sq. ft. of your soil container. Basically just sprinkle it everywhere evenly.
- Then sprinkle ¼ cup of craft blend per plant around the base. (Or Any well rounded organic amendments)
- Follow this with 1/8 cup per plant gro-kashi or home made Bokashi.
- Cover all of this with about ½” of our BuildAFlower Topdress or your own Vermicompost.
- Add 100-500 Red Wigglers per cubic foot of soil used as budget will allow.
- Last cover with 1-3” thick layer of barley straw or any of your preferred mulch. Careful to leave it fluffy enough or thin enough for the cover crop to sprout through. Although the cover is pretty good at it so don’t worry about it too much.
- Gently mist or water in so as to bring this whole top dressing all together and to moisten the straw.
Now that you have prepared your soil you are ready to follow our proven and simple schedule. Here are the options you have!
Instructions for using the BuildASoil Schedule:
Option 1: Purchase our BuildASoil Bundle and follow along our basic grow system.
This is the preferred method for easily duplicatable results that support great companies
Option 2: If you have more time then follow our program with 100% DIY inputs and save $$$
This is the preferred method if you are someone who really likes to make everything from scratch. You can do this 100% or pick and choose from it.
Option 3: If you hate systems and just want a loose guideline to follow then you can cover your bases with larger soil containers and something close to this schedule.
14 Day Watering Schedule:
*NOTICE: Switch from Aloe to Coconut when going into flower. Use this cycle from 1-14 and then repeat until harvest.
Day 1 Aloe Water
Day 2 No watering
Day 3 Malted Barley Top Dress and/or Compost Tea Recipe
Day 4 No watering
Day 5 Plain water
Day 6 No watering
Day 7 Kelp/Alfalfa Tea or Sprouted Seed Tea
Day 8 No Watering
Day 9 Plain Water
Day 10 No Watering
Day 11 Aloe Water
Day 12 No Watering
Day 13 Compost Tea or Sprouted Seed Tea
Day 14 No Watering
30 – 40% Sphagnum Peat Moss or Homemade Leafmold
20 – 30% Small Lava Rock, Perlite, Buckwheat hulls, rice hulls etc. something for aeration
5 -15% Topsoil (You can skip this if you are unsure of the quality of your topsoil)
*Don’t worry about being exact, just get a good mix together and lightly moisten it all and add your soil amendments and then let sit for 2-4 weeks before planting into it. You can mix it up on a tarp and then wrap it up in the tarp until it’s ready or you can scoop it all into a trashcan or just simply into a huge pile in the garden. With all these premium ingredients it would be bests to keep this soil mixed up and covered. This will allow it to heat up and breakdown any of the ingredients that require more composting before you plant into it.
4 Gallons of water in 5 gallon brewer will allow for foaming
1.5 cups of Earthworm castings or high quality compost screened so as not to clog the compost tea brewer.
1/3 Cup Non Sulfured Molasses
Brew for 24 – 30 Hours at between 60 and 80 degrees F for optimal results. If colder brew for 30-34 hours if warmer brew for 20-30 hours.
*Without a microscope and Dissolved Oxygen Meter we really don’t know what is going on in the Compost Tea. I would recommend using EWC Slurry if you don’t want to worry about all of this. To make a slurry use 10-20% vermicompost to clean water and brew for 24 hours.
Use this if your plants aren’t taking to the new soil well, or if the new seedlings aren’t growing as fast as you think they should be. Compost tea will help kick start the nutrient cycling that occurs when soil micro-life breakdown the organic soil amendments into available plant nutrients the plants can uptake.
Often times when you see a plant that is yellowing or has strange growth it is because of a nutrient deficiency. Adding more fertilizer is NOT the problem when you Build A Soil properly. The nutrients are Absolutely in the soil, and this cuts all the guessing out. If you use a compost tea in this situation you will more than likely see all of the plants start miraculously growing healthy again within 48 hours. The great thing is you won’t need to spend any time diagnosing for plant health issues because it’s all in the SOIL baby!
Here is the basic Compost Tea Recipe you should always be using. Unless you have expensive microscopes and a complete understanding of the process’s involved it will be best to stick with this recipe.
You will Need a compost tea brewer, if you don’t have one, then check out the DIY Tutorial instructions here or email me and I’ll help you build a cheap one that will work alright to start.
(If you don’t have the resources to build a proper brewer, don’t try and half ass it…. just make Earthworm Casting Slurry Instead and feed that to your plants.)
Seeds have all the enzymes ready to create life and we can harness this with sprouts. Think of this as a do it yourself enzyme tea that costs pennies.
This super seed tea will change your game completely and is worth the extra time it takes. Use this weekly or at least once per month especially towards the finish of your plants.
Ingredients: 2 ounces of Organic Barley Seeds, Corn Seeds, Legumes, really anything but it works best with barley because barley is cheap and also high in nutrients.
I use a seed sprouter but you could easily use a jar. Take your 2 ounces of seeds and soak them for 8-12 hours or so and then rinse well. This is key, because you will be rinsing off a compound that inhibits growth on the surface of the seeds and we don’t want this in our finished product.
Once the seeds are soaked and rinsed you can leave them kinda moist in the bottom of the jar and let the sprout over 2-3 days. Once the tails are as long as the seed itself you can then fill the jar with water and let it sit for 3 days or you can blend up the seeds and mix with 5 gallons of water to use immediately.
Acadian Kelp Meal @ 1/2 Cup per cubic foot
Neem Cake / Karanja Cake @ 1/2 cup per cubic foot
Crustacean Meal @ 1/2 cup per cubic foot
Oyster Flour @ 1 Cup Per Cubic Foot
Brix Blend Basalt @ 2 Cups Per Cubic Foot
- COMING SOON
Gypsum Dust @ 1 Cup Per Cubic Foot
- = Available @ AggressiveGarden.com
Per Cu.Ft. of Base Soil
1/2 cup organic Neem meal
1/2 cup organic Kelp meal
1/2 cup organic Crustacean meal
1/2 cup organic insect frass
1/3 cup Gro-Kashi
1/3 cup Karanja Meal
1/4 cup of fish bone meal
1/16th cup of Modern Microbes
3 cups of some Rock/Mineral Mix
2 part Oyster Shell Flour
2 part Gypsum
1 parts Glacial Rock Dust
1 part Basalt
1 part Calcium Bentonite
2 CuFt Sphagnum moss
1 CuFt Pumice – Lava Rock
1 CuFt Biochar – Charged – Modern Beginning
1 CuFt Rice Hulls
2 CuFt Humus – 1/3 Compost(Malibu Compost / Oly Mountain) and 2/3 Earthworm Castings
*If on hand throw in a few handfuls some probiotic herbs – comfrey, nettle, dandelion, etc..
Old School Recipes
Cataloged & Comprised from Oline Forums
1 tablespoon Blood Meal per gallon or 1/2 cup per cubic foot of soil mix
2 tablespoons Bone Meal per gallon or 1 cup per cubic foot of soil mix
1-tablespoon Kelp Meal per gallon or 1/2 cup per cubic foot of soil mix
(OPTIONAL) 1 tablespoon per gallon or 1/2 cup per cubic foot of Azomite to supplement the K (potasium) in the Kelp Meal and seaweed extract.
*Mix all the dry nutrients into the soilless mix well and wet it, but don’t soak it. Use Liquid Karma and water @ 1 tbs./gal. Stir and mix it a few times a week for a week or two so the bacteria can get oxygen and break down the nutrients and make it available. And don’t let the mix dry out, keep it moist and add water as needed. It’ll also have time to get the humic acids in the Liquid Karma going and the dolomite lime will be better able to adjust the pH of a peat based mixture too.
1/3 Cup – High Nitrogen Guano (Mexican Bat Guano / Peruvian Seabird Guano) per Gallon of soil mix
1/2 Cup – High Phosphorus Guano (Jamaican/Indonesian Bat Guano / Seabird Guano) per Gallon of soil mix
1 Tablespoon (TBSP) Kelp Meal per Gallon of soil mix
*OPTIONAL – 1 Tablespoon (TBS) Azomite / Rock Dust per Gallon of soil mix
1 Cup – Earthworm Castings (EWC) per 5 gallons of water
5 tsp. Black Strap Molasses per 5 gallons of water
Bubble/Aerate it for 24 hours @ 70 degrees.
1/3 cup Peruvian Seabird Guano (PSG) -or- 1/3 cup High N Bat Guano (Mexican)
1/3 cup Earth Worm Castings (EWC)
5 tsp. Maxicrop 1-0-4 powdered kelp extract or Acadian Kelp extract.
(That makes the “dry mix”. You can make all you want and save it to use later.)
Mix with water @ 1 cup of dry mix into 5 gallons of water to make the tea.
To that 5 gallons of tea add:
5 tbs. Liquid Karma or a good Humic or Fulvic acid
5 tsp. Black Strap Molasses
Use it to water with every 3rd watering.
2/3 cup Peruvian Seabird Guano
2/3 cup Earth Worm Castings
2/3 cup High P Guano (Indonesian or Jamaican)
5 tsp. Acadian powdered kelp extract
(That makes the “dry mix”. You can make all you want and save it to use later.)
Mix with water @ 2 cups of dry mix into 5 gallons of water to make the tea.
To that 5 gallons of tea add:
5 tbs. Liquid Karma or a good Humic or Fulvic acid
5 tsp. Black Strap Molasses
Use it to water with EVERY watering.
You can use queen size knee high nylon stockings for tea bags. 3 pair for a dollar at the dollar store. Tell ’em you use them for paint strainers. Put the recommended tea in the stocking, tie a loop knot in it and hang it in your tea bucket. The tea should look like a mud puddle. Agitate the bag in the water vigorously. An aquarium pump and air stone will dissolve oxygen into the solution and keep the good bacteria (microherd) alive and thriving. Let it bubble a day or two before you use it. If you find you are making too much tea and having to throw it out, use 2 1/2 gallons of water and cut the nute amount by half.
40 gallons used soil
4 cups alfalfa meal
4 cups bone meal
4 cups kelp meal
4 cups powdered dolomite lime
30 pound bag of earthworm castings . . .
4 cups of Greensand
4 cups of Rock Phosphate
4 cups of diatomaceous earth
Organic pH issues
I hear a lot of people asking or talking about the pH of their organic soil mix or organic nute solution and how they might correct or adjust it. pH in organics is not an issue like it is in synthetic growing.
The best place to settle the pH issues in organics is within the grow medium. A medium rich in humates (humus) is the place to start. Humates work to “buffer” the pH of organic mediums and the nutes you pour (or mix) into it.
Humates come from compost, worm castings and bottled humus. If you use a peat based medum, use dolomite lime to raise the pH of the acidic peat. Dolomite should be used in any soil or soiless medium to provide magnesium and calcium. But since we are talking about pH here, I’ll mention dolomite lime’s pH correction benefits.
A medium of coir has a pH near neutral (or 7.0). But humates are still neded to allow uptake of organic nutrients that are outside a near neutral pH range.
With an active medium rich in humates you can pour in nutes like Pure Blend Pro, Earth Juice and guano teas way outside the optimum pH range without worry. The humus will allow the nutes to be taken up through the roots, even at such an extreme pH reading.
So throw those pH meters away folks and enjoy the ease and safety of organic gardening.
Chlorine tap water
Just a word of caution for you organic heads out there…
If you are tapped onto a municipal water supply that uses chlorine to kill bacteria in the water, it’ll do the same thing to the bacteria (microherd) in your organic food source.
Always bubble your municipal water in an open container (5 gallon bucket) for 24 hours before adding ANYTHING organic to it.
There is absolutely no reason to “flush” organic nute solutions from your soil mix. In an organic grow, the plants don’t take up the organic nutes (guano, bone, blood or kelp). The bacteria eat the organic nutes and excrete food that the plant can feed off of. So the organic nutes don’t need to be flushed because they never enter the plant. And besides, meals like kelp, bone and blood along with worm castings and dolomite can’t be flushed from your soil mix anyway. If you use guano and seaweed, try using plain water or worm casting tea for your last watering or two so the plant can use up what’s left in the soil. But drowning your soil with water isn’t necessary.