I'm mixing up a couple of cubic feet of soil (15 gallons). This is a basic no-till recipe. First I got together my base mix: 5 gallons of hydrated sphangum peat moss, 5 gallons compost, and 5 gallons of aeration. The compost consists of 2 gallons of Malibu biodynamic compost and 3 gallons homemade vermicompost with worms. The aeration consists of 4 gallons scoria lava rock and 1 gallon of rice hulls.
First, I dumped out the compost and mixed in my ammendments. I added 1 cup of kelp meal, 1 cup of neem meal, 1 cup of shrimp meal, and 2 cups malted barley powder (not shown). This was then mixed well.
Next I add my minerals to the amended compost. I added 2 cups gypsum, 2 cups oyster shell flour, 2 cups glacial rock dust, 2 cups basalt, and 1 gallon (16 cups) of biochar. Again this was mixed well.
Finally I added the hydrated sphangum peat moss and the aeration. This was all mixed well one final time.
The soil was split evenly into four #5 fabric pots, then a cover crop of clover was sprinkled on the soil and covered with barley straw.
Everything in the recipe brings something to the table. I would like to take the time to provide a brief description of each item and it's purpose(s). Feel free to skip the rest of this post if youre not interested. @G-paS, @Thegrowguyapple, and @miyagi may find this interesting.
Let's start with the single most important component of the recipe, compost. Compost brings beneficial microbes as well as providing some nutrition. Compost also provides disease, pathogen, and pest supression. Vermicompost brings everything in compost with even more beneficial microbes as well as calcium carbonate.
The sphangum peat moss brings microbes, water retention, carbon, and a high cation exchange capacity (CEC). This is the source of organic matter that will support the soil food web.
The aeration is what provides the roots with oxygen. The rice hulls provide short term aeration as well as a long term source of silica. And the lava rock is mainly just aeration and a minor source of minerals.
Next we move on to the ammendments. Kelp contains macro and micro nutrients, as well as chelating substances. The neem offers macro nutrients as well as pest suppression. The shrimp provides macro nutrients, calcium carbonate, and chitan. The malted barley powder provides a lot of different enzymes such as phosphatase, chitanase, urease, and amylase.
Finally the mineral mix provides, obviously minerals, but also improves soil texture. The gypsum provides calcium and sulphur. The oyster shell flower provides calcium carbonate and helps balance pH. And the glacial and basalt provide an array of micro nutrients and minerals. The biochar provides a lot of surface area for microbes and increases CEC.
Finally the mulch layer also serves a purpose. The clover are nitrogen fixers, they will absorb nitrogen from the air which when later chopped returns to the soil. The clover will also loosen the soil as the roots begin to grow deeper. The straw mulch keeps the soil moist and provides a home for soil life.