CrunchBerries’Probiotic SIP Thread

Welcome to the Probiotic SIP thread everyone! Let’s use this space to share what works, what doesn’t, and learn from each other in the process. I’ve been apprehensive to start this thread as I don’t know everything and wanted to do the thread justice. What I do know is, this is the easiest method I have come across and grows exceptionally healthy and tasty plants! Also, I thought it would be cool to have a repository of everything I have found and learned in one place.

OK just a brief over view, this method is using probiotics and sips, 100% true living organics, but it’s a lot more that just a sip pot, and takes organics to an entirely new level! Once it’s set up, it’s literally the least amount of work out of any and all methods of growing! And super cheap! Also one the best parts, is the growth rate is twice as fast as any other organic soil methods ive ever seen. Hydro growth with organic taste! Its all about letting Mother Nature take control, and you getting out of the way!

I would like to first pay homage and give respect to those who have blazed the Probiotic SIP trail and provided the community so much great information. They are, in no particular order, Alan Adkisson, Hyroot, Shulby, Projectinfo, HumanRob, @OkieWormFarmer, @nube, Headtreep, and the dude that changed my view on growing plants and offered up his time and energy to creating a fairly comprehensive breakdown of the process Greenthumbs256. Also, to @BeagleZ for nagging me into doing this thread. Ha!

Link Farm:
*Green’s Probiotic Method: GREEN'S PROBIOTIC METHOD | Rollitup

*Shulby’s Garden: ShLUbY's Garden | Rollitup

*Hyroot’s Garden Organic no till, probiotic, knf, jadam, vermicomposting, soil mixes, sips etc... Q & A | Rollitup

*ProjectInfo’s Thread: Info's Probiotic - No Till - Sips 2018 | Rollitup

*HumanRob’s SIP thread: SIP thread -- (Sub-Irrigated Planter) | Rollitup

*Headtreep’s ROLS and No Till Thread Recycled Organic Living Soil (ROLS) and No Till Thread | Rollitup

*Alan Adkisson on Shaping Fire

*Probiotic Farmers Alliance: Probiotic Farmers Alliance / Probiotic Products Beta Testing Community | Facebook

*27 Gallon DIY Worm Bin

*DIY 7.5 gallon SIP

*Effective Microorganisms Resources
Brewing SAM PNSB.pdf (1.4 MB)

*DIY Photosynthesis Plus(PSB/PNSB) & Cyanobacteria recipes. -

*Expanding EM1

*Grokashi Recipe

Organic IPM Spray

*LABS Videos:

*Grokashi website

*Food Grade Buckets

*Setting up an EB

*Garden Patch SIP

*EB Dimensions

*Kevin Jodrey talks SIPs

*5 gal bucket sip

*Sip designs: micros, 30 gal

*Maddawg’s DIY SIP Sermon

Grokashi-Probiotic Farming

*Growing With Fishes Podcast Episode 61 w Alan of Gro-Kashi

@iamyou_youareme ’s Kashi Tutorial

@Stankonia ’s 17gal Tutorial

What are probiotics and why should I care?
Probiotics - for plants
Date: July 8, 2015
Source:American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA)

In plants, beneficial bacteria and fungi are endophytes. Scientists have known for decades that plants like legumes (peas, beans, and lentils) have beneficial bacteria in nodules attached to their roots. These bacteria “fix” vital nitrogen, turning it into a form the plant can easily use. However, researchers have recently found some nitrogen-fixing bacteria actually live inside plant tissue–in the leaves, stems, and roots – with impressive results.

This endophyte-plant relationship is partly a matter of speed in adaptation. “Plants have a limited ability to genetically adapt to rapid environmental changes (heat, drought, toxins, or limited nutrients) and so they may use microbes that do have this capacity to rapidly evolve due to their vastly shorter life cycles,” she explained. “By having the right microbes for the conditions, the plants are healthier. That is how it is similar to humans taking probiotics to improve their health.”

Sub Irrigated Planters:
Sub-irrigated planter (SIP ) is a generic name for a special type of planting box used in container gardening and commercial landscaping. A SIP is any method of watering plants where the water is introduced from the bottom, allowing the water to soak upwards to the plant through capillary action.[1] It is possible to automate the watering and thus SIPs are popular with professional landscapers in buildings or urban settings. Commercialized versions of a Sub-irrigated planter condenses humidity from the environment and feed it directly into the plants’ roots. SIPs are available as commercial products or as do-it-yourselfprojects made from plastic buckets,[2] boxes or storage totes.[[3]

Some examples:
(Sub-irrigated planter - Wikipedia)


City Pickers

Why Probiotic SIPs?
Most soil growers have the main issue of over or under watering! SIPs solves that and perfects it, allowing the soil to drink as much as it wants when ever it wants!

The top is fungal dominate from using Grokashi/Kashi and is more alkaline. The Grokashi breaks down the top and makes nutrients more available in a plant friendly way. The black cover, creates an environment very similar to the rain forest! At any time if you peel back the black bag, you can see water dripping from the top of the bag! Soil stays super moist 24/7! So moist, any plant grown in a regular method would likely kill the plant, but not with this method, and the magic starts here!

The bottom is bacterially dominant by using either LABS, Em-1, Photosynthesis+, or some combination. You are adding effective microorganisms and a rich, diverse, array of life. The bottom becomes more acidic from using a microbial inoculate. This where I believe most of the magic happens! Microbial inoculates are the gas that makes the car run! It fills the soil with tons and tons of life! With out it none of this works!

The more neutral middle is the party! When filling my SIPs I add 1 cup Oyster Shell per cubic foot to act as a ph buffer. Nutrients are more available at varying Ph levels, so the plant takes what it wants when it wants.

My Process
EB setup: CrunchBerries’Probiotic SIP Thread - #271 by CrunchBerries

  1. I have been using new organic bagged soil (Mother Earth Groundswell, Coast of Maine Stoningtons, BAS 3.0, or a mix of the three) at the start of each run. Any organic bagged soil or living soil recipe will work wonders. One major thing to keep in mind when running new soil, is to not veg too long. You don’t want your engine to run out of fuel too early. Recycled living soils will give you more staying power to veg longer and grow larger plants. When running new soil, I would flip as soon as the plant becomes comfortable in their new home and shows signs of growth. Once the roots hit the reservoir they take off, so be prepared.

  2. In earthboxes I would pack the wicks tight all the way to the brim of the planter, watering as I go to ensure compaction. Earthboxes are known for drying out, so pack that wick! No need to pack a wick in the 27gal DIY SIPs, as the whole floor is a corrugated drain pipe/vermiculite wick.

  3. Next I add a place holder pot and fill the planter 1/2 way with soil, then add 1 cup of Oyster shell per cubic foot.

  4. Add more soil. You can fill the planter pretty full as you can really mound up the soil and topdressings.

  5. Next up, topdressings! I only top dress three-ish times during a run. Once a couple weeks before planting, when I set up the SIP. The second lasagna layer at planting and one more at flip. I top dress in this order: Malted Barley, crustacean meal, Insect Frass, home made EWC, Bu’s Blend compost, and lastly Grokashi.

After a couple days with the top on.

  1. On planting day, i lift the place holder pot out and add mycorrhizal fungi in it’s place. In the past I have used Mykos and Azos, but received a couple samples of BioAg’s VAM- Endo Mix that I love. After giving the hole a good mycorrhizal dusting; I plant, backfilling with the soil from the pot i just removed. After the plant is tucked in, this is when I add my second top dress.

  2. Like I said earlier; If you are using virgin soil ,then once the plant shows signs of new growth then I would flip to flower. On flip day is when I add my last top dress in the same order specified above.

  3. Watering: I use 3/4 tsp LABS per gallon every time I fill the reservoir and keep the reservoir topped off from initial set up to harvest. I also top water a gallon twice a week. Lately I’ve been doing one Aloe, Coconut, AgSil 16H silicate and the second an SST and FulPower. Some times throwing in a Comfrey extract.

  4. After harvest I always dumped, reamended, and saved the soil. I would then start anew with fresh bags of soil and repeat the process. I have enough recycled soil and am using this in the new 27gals, where I will try my hand at no-tilling and see how far I can get before dumping and starting fresh.

  5. My initial re-amend recipe per 4 cubic feet of used soil from two Earthboxes.
    *4 cups Oyster Shell
    *3 cups Azomite
    *4 cups Gaia Green Rock Dust
    *6 cups Basalt
    *3 cups Gypsum
    *1 cup Langbeinite
    *1 cup Greensand
    *1 cup Insect Frass
    *1 cup Alfalfa
    *1 cup Crustacean Meal
    *1 cup Fish Meal
    *2 cups Kelp Meal
    *1 cup Neem and Karanja
    *Bunch of Rice Hulls and Pumice for aeration.

  6. That’s pretty much it! Crack a brewski, keep your reservoir filled with your favorite microbial inoculate and watch the magic unfold before your very eyes!


I’ve Been waiting for this!!!
Outstanding thread brother, so well detailed and organized. You put my random ramblings to shame :rofl:

@LegsMahoney , @bassman5420 check it :+1:


Thanks man! I hope it’s useful!


Hell ya, glad ya made this thread, I have loved using the earthboxes and mini earthbox pot I 3d printed. I actually am making more as we speak because I love how it is working on the clone I put in one. I will be combing through here and the links for sure.

@CrunchBerries Thank you for making this thread and @BeagleZ thanks for tagging me in on this party :+1:


pretty cool! i look froward to the knowledge dump i can roll around in and absorb!


Hey man, nice thread!!! Thanks for the shout, I’m going to list some of the things that I’m doing with mine and I don’t want you to think that I’m telling you that you are wrong. I learned the method from Hyroot and it took a LONG time to really sink in because KNF/JADAM is confusing. KNF is pretty complex and I only got as far as making FFJ/FPJ. I was wrong to assume that FPJ was fertilizer when it’s actually more a microbial feed that also contains vitamins, enzymes, and amino acids. Hyroot wasn’t using KNF, he was using JADAM, which is fermenting without sugar. It takes longer to make, but I’ve been having good luck with my stuff lately. I’ve been watering with LABS, JADAM, and FPJ during flower. KNF can get expensive by having to buy the brown sugar, but I ended up getting a Sam’s club card and it helps keep cost lower. You can sometimes find bulk bin brown sugar, but they have kind of disappeared since covid.
I like your top-dressing, but you say that you are doing it in layers? I hired a soil agronomist and he told me to use the compost to mix in meals to help them break down. Also, I did a little research on how to break down chitinase from the crustacean meal. Malted barley is good, but also the Streptomyces from the Grokashi will help break it down. Streptomyces is the white fuzzy growth. I don’t want to say anyone is wrong when they call it “Mycelium” but I’m not completely sure that is what’s going on. Alan Adkisson says that he uses beet juice for the Streptomyces culture, and I wasn’t using beets for a long time, so I wanted to see what I was missing out on by not using beets in my homemade 'kashi. I went down the Streptomyces rabbit hole for a few days and learned a few cool things about it. Such as, the fuzzy growth will produce in 2-4 days and then it will start getting discolored. What is happening is that the Streptomyces is producing an antibiotic to stop other strains of bacteria from forming. Found out that they use Streptomyces in pharmaceuticals to make antibiotics. The downfall to this is that I use BT to control fungus gnats(they LOVE SIPS) and I think that the 'kashi overpowers it and gives them a safe place to live, away from my BT lol. I was using powdered BT because it was way cheaper than mosquito dunks, maybe I’ll start spraying it on the topdressing. I still haven’t figured out the perfect method to keep fungus gnats away because the “Mycelium mat” is the perfect food for them.


Im not sure if you mentioned it but what type of media do you use? Pure soil or a mix? I am wondering about the ability of soil vs a perlite mix in microbial colonization.


Once I started using my own homemade EWC, I haven’t really had an issue with fungus gnats. At least nothing a sticky trap or two can’t handle. Unlike my first run with this method where I was breathing them like oxygen.


Apparently, I don’t have the right nematode in my compost, so I’ll address that issue. I kind of forgot about it, but it might be a lot more important in my greenhouse soil compared to my indoor mix. It’s actually beneficial for me to see if there are fungus gnats in my compost because the same nematodes that eat the gnats also eat thrips. I think that it’s time to buy some black soldier flies and nematodes for my worm bins this year… You might be lucky and have the right nematode strain in your EWC, that would be nice huh!!!


Welcome brother Bassman! Would love to see some pictures of your 3d printed sips! So cool!


In the past I used bagged Mother Earth Groundswell, Coast of Maine Stoningtons Blend, BAS 3.0. These have all been mixed together with some home made mixes added and recycled. Does that help?


Welcome brother Cornbread!


I think it has to do with the neem and karanja I feed my worms, but that’s just a hunch.


That coasts of maine stuff looks fantastic. Have you measured the microbial content of your boxes in anyway? Like what media blend produces the greatest concentration of microbes :nerd_face:.


I was hyped on CoM because I could get it local, but there is little to no aeration and my plants just seemed unhappy. I mixed some of the Mother Earth with it to increase aeration.
Soil is going to create the greatest concentration of microbes, but that takes time. That’s why recycled soil gets better with age.


I agree about the soils and the microbes… perlite and activated carbon have tons of surface area for colonization. Wondering if you had noticed a difference in growth with heavily aerated media; ie: perlite heavy.



I don’t really use perlite as it breaks down quickly and floats in your soil. Lava rock, pumice, and rice hulls are all great for adding aeration to your soil and last longer.


Beautiful thread @CrunchBerries I only grow in SIP’s too. I just finished up a couple of DIY’s so I can get two in the tent instead of one huge one. If the new ones work well I’ll make a few more to have sitting there waiting for runs.

I also learnt most of what I know about SIP growing from @Greenthumbs256. Had some great conversations with him.

Thanks for reminding me I’ve reached out to him to see how he’s going these days.

I also grow with EM1 in the res I have never top watered will try on this in the next grow … touch wood I haven’t had any gnats during my SIP grows when I was growing with SWICKS, fabric pots sitting on lava rock I might as well have been breeding gnats :laughing: not growing trees.

I did have an infestation of what Reiko thought were soil mites. They were EVERYWHERE I mean falling onto the tent floor then they’d die I’d never seen anything like it. They seem to be around with the EM1.

This is what I had


Had the top covered with thick black plastic.

This round I’m going to use @nube 's modified coots recipe for the next run. Look forward to learning more in this thread from all other SIP growers. :evergreen_tree: :seedling:



Aaaand subscribed! This is awesome @CrunchBerries gotta head back to the top and read down but stoked to see all this info. I just picked up an EB this year that I’m gonna run some veggies In it outside to get my feet wet with it, but it’s only a matter of time till I fill it with herb. :grin: thanks for the heads up @BeagleZ :v:t2:


Welcome and thank you for the kind words @invisible!

If you talk to greenthumbs tell him to join us!

I used Em1 for my first couple grows, but have moved to using LABS as it’s free and you get a more diverse population of microorganisms. Here is the best video I have found on expanding em1.

I never top watered for a couple grows and then decided to give it a try with fingers crossed. The top is now moist, feeder roots are reaching up, and I get to add some extra goodies. Greenthumbs said specifically not to top water, but I have had great success and little to no gnats.

I had the same infestation. I think it was coming from using BAS 3.0. There were literally tens or hundreds of thousands of them everywhere, except on the plant. This picture is from one corner of the planter. I was definitely nervous when I first saw them, but they didn’t affect the plant. The little bastards did eat all of the Grokashi fuzz before it really bloomed.

Me too! This is still considered new “tech” so we all still have a lot to learn from each other. Funny story. I went to the hydro shop to start sourcing materials and amendments when I first started with this method and the dude literally laughed in my face and basically said the idea was stupid and wouldn’t work. Who’s laughing now, hydro guy!

One thing I’ll be doing differently with the first round in the 27 gal’ers is to use an airstone in the reservoir. I’ve heard mixed feelings about it, but a dude the other day confirmed he had been doing it for a while with even better results! I think he is going to do a side by side and report back. I’ll detail my experiences also.