What's your Favorite Living Soil Recipes?

I’m trying to figure out which direction to go with Living Soil. I want to do some test runs with living soil and Aquaponics.

What is everyone’s favorite Living Soil Recipes from scratch? I have seen some post (@Sebring) with starting with old grows soil first. I don’t have that option at the moment

Thanks in Advance…


This is what I currently do, excuse the copy/paste wall of text.

The base soil mix is compose of:

1/3 Sphagnum Peat Moss
1/3 Compost or Vermicompost
1/3 Aeration

For each cubic foot (7.5 US gallons) of soil add:

1/2 Cup Kelp Meal
1/2 Cup Neem Meal
1/2 Cup Crustacean Meal
1 Cup Malted Barley Powder
4 Cups Mineral Mix
6 Cups Biochar

Once mixed and added to the container, sow a clover cover crop and add a straw mulch layer.

At the beginning of each cycle and right before flowering top dress with 1/4" of vermicompost.

Watering Schedule:
Watering is done every two-three days. Every other watering is one of the following teas:

Sul-po-mag - Once a month
1 Gallon Water
1 Teaspoon Sul-po-mag
Add an airstone with the water and sul-po-mag and let set for a couple of days until soluble.

Neem/Kelp tea - Once a month
5 gallons Water
1 cup Neem Meal
1/2 cup Kelp Meal
1/4 teaspoon Aloe Powder
5 ml Silica
Place neem and kelp in a tea bag (I use a bag my worms came in) and steep overnight. Add aloe and silica before drenching the soil.

Malted Barley Tea - Once a week
1 gallon Water
1 oz. (28 grams) Malted Barley Powder
15 ml Fulvic Acid
1/4 teaspoon Aloe Powder
5 ml Silica
Grind malted barley powder in an old coffee grinder and place in a tea bag. Steep for no longer than four hours. Add fulvic acid, aloe, and silica before drenching the soil.

Coconut Water Tea - Once a week
1 gallon Water
1 teaspoon Coconut Water Powder
15 ml Fulvic Acid
1/4 teaspoon Aloe Powder
5 ml Silica
Mix all ingredients and drench soil.

Foliar Spray (IPM) - Once a week
1 gallon Water
15 ml Neem Oil
1/4 teaspoon Aloe Powder
10 ml Silica
In a small shot glass add silica to the neem oil and stir until completely homogenous. Add to warm (at least 75F) and mix thoroughly. Add aloe and spray immediately before lights out.

List of amendments and their benefits -

Aloe Powder - Adds saponins, rooting hormones, and salicylic acids.

Aeration - Can be perlite, pumice, lava rock, rice hulls, etc. I use a mix of 60% lava rock and 40% rice hulls. Adds oxygen to the root system, gives surface area for microbes to live on, and prevents compaction.

Biochar - Adds a lot of surface area for microbes and I creases CEC.

Clover Cover Crop - Adds nitrogen fixation, reduces erosion, and loosens the soil.

Coconut Water Powder - Adds enzymes, auxins, and micronutrients,

Compost - Adds microbiology, water retention, humic acids, and pest and pathogen prevention.

Crustacean Meal - Can be shrimp, crab, krill, etc. Adds macro nutrients, calcium carbonate, and chitan.

Fulvic Acid - Fulvic acid (Ful-power) enhances nutrient uptake, cell division and elongation, and enzyme activity.

Kelp - Adds macro and micro nutrients, chelating substances, and plant growth hormones.

Malted Barley Powder - Adds enzymes such as phosphatase, chitinase, urease, and amylase.

Mineral Mix - Equal parts of oyster shell flour, gypsum, basalt rock dust, and glacial rock dust. 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.

Neem - Adds macro nutrients as well as pest suppression.

Silica - Adds pest and disease control, strengthens stems, and can be used as an emulsifier (i.e. use with neem oil). Pro-TeKt and agsil 16h are good brands.

Sphagnum Peat Moss - Adds microbiology, water retention, and high CEC.

Straw Mulch - Adds water retention, reduces erosion, home for soil life, and adds carbon for decomposition.

Sul-po-mag - A mined mineral that adds sulfur, potassium, and magnesium

Vermicompost - brings everything in compost with even more beneficial microbes as well as calcium carbonate.


@ReikoX Thank you for your wealth of information. Do you add worms directly to your bads or just use the castings? How long do you use this soil? Forever as long as you are feeding it?


I dont add worms directly, but they tend to come along with the castings…
This is a no-till recipe. Chop, drop, and re-plant.


I agree! Just remember that all the drenched and sprays are optional. If the plants are happy then #LITFA!


You can find some goodies in this thread as well.


Thanks @Tinytuttle, I’m going to start my worms this week and start putting all the soil additives together as well.


@Sebring I have been seeing stuff about using the drinch as a foliar spray and it will keep the bugs and mildew away. Have y’all had success with that as well? Also what’s your fav cover crops? I’m thinking of using mint or clover.

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Mints are definitely a pest repellent plant I used snipped branches lain across my outdoor plants last year and felt they did really well, having some next to your plants would be more beneficial imo but it is very invasive so put it in a pot mostly buried to help contained.


@Tinytuttle, yes you are correct about it trying to take over. My mom put some in her outdoor tomatoe beds and it was everywhere in no time. I wonder if Mint helps with the nitrogen in the soil like clover does. I was thinking let it take hold and then mulch it into the soil just before flower.


I use clover, comfrey, and whatever weeds blow in :wind_blowing_face:


mountainorganics.net check out his posts


I wouldn’t chance it with mints bits of stems could start new plants some plants can just lay over and start a new plant a technique called layering I have done salvia’s which are in my front flower beds that can easily do this .


chamomile is a good one. Anything in the mint family including lemon balm are really really invasive. I’d go with clover


@ReikoX @Sebring @Tinytuttle if you all use teas for foliar sprays, What type of sprayer do you use for your foliar spray? I heard on a podcast that a sprayer with a real fine spray will actually cut or harm the good bios in the teas.


I use a Chapin concrete sprayer, I dont usually do microbial teas. Usually I just do botanical teas (soak plant matter in water).


Currently testin out the most half-assed batch of soil ever mixed up, using a base of earthworms raised on black leaf bedding. Cut that with perlite and coco coir, and a little alfalfa and hollytone. Landed somewhere around 10cuft for well under $100 and the plants haven’t been wanting for too much. Pretty sure a dose of rock dusts would cover their complaints.


Sounds like a pretty good mix to me never heard of holly tone what’s this Mysterious additive ?



Feather meal, Chicken manure, Bone meal, alfalfa, greensand, sul-po-mag, and sulfur. Got it on sale because the bacteria in it has a shelf life, something like $10 for 27lbs.


They only things I’ve ever have done foliar wise is compost tea or a worm tea diluted out in a watering can and applied that way or my favorite way is using one of those ortho hose-end sprayers fill with undiluted tea and with max setting and have at it this is my fav it had a shower setting and a wide angle spray pattern