If you’ve ever visited St. Joe Hydro you might have heard us talking about something called “living soil.” What do we mean by “living soil,” and why do we love it so much?
Potting soil vs. living soil
Most commercial potting soils you buy at garden centers contain all the necessary elements to grow big healthy plants – topsoil, along with a bit of peat moss and either pearlite or vermiculite to keep it loose and retain moisture. Better potting soils will contain a fertilizer boost that claims to “feed your plants up to three months!”
Once the food in the potting soil is used up, the soil becomes inert. It’s relatively useless unless you work in fresh nutrients. This is a costly and unreliable method for most growers, so instead of renewing the soil, they throw it out once it’s spent and start fresh.
Living soil is formulated to support not just your plants, but a whole range of living organisms that work together to deliver nutrients to your roots much more efficiently than ordinary, sterile potting soils. Living soil blends contain fungi, beneficial bacteria, nematodes, earthworms, and other micro and macro organisms. These organisms break down organic materials in the soil into components that are easy for the plants to absorb.
Living soil is never tossed at the end of the growing period. Once you’ve harvested, you simply re-introduce a few key nutrients back into the soil (this is called “re-amending”), water well, and let it sit for a couple of weeks to allow time for the living organisms to work their magic. By the time you’re ready to plant again, your soil is as good as new!
The Benefits of Living Soil
- Re-use the soil for many years.
- Reduce labor, cost, and your carbon footprint.
- Consistently and reliable achieve better grows and exceptional yields!
- Avoid salt buildup from using synthetic nutrients.
- Boost and support your plants’ immune system.
- Acts as a buffer against diseases, pests, underwatering, and other problems.
- Eliminate the need for toxic pesticides/fungicides.
- Save money on fertilizers.
- Perfect for beginners.
St. Joe Hydro’s top picks for Living Soil
Here at St. Joe Hydro we carry two exceptional brands of living soil that we highly recommend to anyone, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced pro wanting to try a new method. Whichever brand you choose, we guarantee you’ll be thrilled with the results!
Build-A-Soil 3.0 Recipe
Build-A-Soil’s 3.0 is a blend of premium, high-quality, all-natural ingredients sourced only from the best producers of nutrients. It’s a super-rich blend of ingredients such as “Malibu Dynamic Compost,” “Thorvin Icelandic Kelp Meal,” “Grand Mesa Colorado Volcanic Basalt,” and “Organic Non-GMO soybean meal.”
Labeled “artisanal” for a reason – this is a nine-course plant banquet on steroids! Chock-full of micro-fauna and flora food, all you need to add to this blend is water. Then sit back and watch your plants grow… and grow… and grow…
If you really want to spoil your green babies, 3.0 is the way to go!
Created in Southern Humboldt County, California (hence “SoHum”) and perfected in Colorado, SoHum’s line of premium potting soils come already infused with beneficial microbes. It’s creators used the power of geoponics (that’s the science of soil in agriculture), practical experience and extensive testing to bring only the best to the home grower.
SoHum’s developers are so passionate about living soil their brand won the High Times S.T.A.S.H. award in 2017 for “Best Potting Mix.” They provide a plethora of educational materials on the mechanics behind living soil in an effort to spread this amazingly simple and effective method to more growers around the globe.
Although both brands are exceptional when it comes to ease of use and high yields, SoHum is hands down the most in-demand with our customers. We can’t hardly keep it on our shelves!
One main difference that makes SoHum so popular is that it is lighter than Build-A-Soil. This means you can determine moisture content by gently lifting the potting container. With some experience you can tell by the weight if you need to add water and how much.
Build-A-Soil uses heavier potting soil materials, so you won’t be able to tell moisture content by lifting it. This means you’ll want to finger the soil every now and again or use a measuring device to gauge if and when you need to water.
Living Soil Simplified
Living soil is a potting soil blend enriched with a diverse range of living microorganisms – bacteria, fungus, worms, etc. – that helps break down organic nutrients for your plants to easily feed on as they need.
Living soil enhances the health and growth rate of plants, helping them resist pests and diseases, and producing outstanding yields that you couldn’t achieve with ordinary potting soils or liquid nutrients alone.
This is by far the easiest method to growing, indoors or outdoors. All you have to do is add water, and at the end of the season, replace lost nutrients in the soil and start over. Living soil lasts for years, saving you hundreds of dollars both in start-up and long term costs.
We recommend the living soil the most to beginners for it’s forgiving nature – if you make a mistake, you have a good chance to correct it before you lose your crop!
Ready to give living soil a try? Come visit our store in the good ol’ Southend. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions and get you started down the path to bigger, greener, better plants!