The purpose of this blog is to leave customers feeling confident enough to create their living soil blends from Australian sourced ingredients! We will keep it nice & simple for this first post and get deeper down the soil builders rabbit hole in future articles!
We get regular phone calls from customers all over Australia looking for the “perfect” recipe. And for purposes here today, let's establish there is no such thing as the perfect recipe! The perfect recipe will depend on a lot of local and seasonal factors including rainfall, temperature, and humidity. For instance, we have seen the need to adapt soils to the increased rainfall on the east coast of Australia over the past season, building vastly different soils compared to the drought-stricken years that have recently passed.
A tried & true recipe that’s used internationally to set the foundations is as follows. All these ingredients are available for shipping off of our website, or collection from our warehouse in Bellambi 2518.
1 part Peat Moss, Coco Coir, or Leaf Mold
1 part Compost or Worm Castings (we like a blend of 70:30)
1 part Perlite, Pumice or Lava Rock
Once you have your equal parts mixed, it is ready to use straight away for seed rai/sing and propagation. If you have particular “fussy” seedlings you can exclude some of the compost mix. However, if you have used a quality, screened, and completed compost like the one we offer then you will have zero issues planting seeds into this soil!
To add nutrition to this soil, growers have several options depending on the plants they wish to grow and their nutrient requirements. We find most herbaceous plants and vigorous growers do very well in this soil recipe with the addition of dry amendment fertilizers. We have ready-to-use, pre-blended kits available that take all the guesswork out for new gardeners, I suggest our Go&Grow + Bud&Bloom nutrient kits if you are looking for a 100% organic option.
It is also possible to make a living soil out of cheaper, more locally sourced materials. The key difference when using these generally pine-based potting soils is allowing enough time for them to “activate” and to build the biology up inside the soils. Adding in a quality portion of compost will help kick off this process, along with ¼ cup of each of the Go&Grow + Bud&Bloom nutrient kits. The addition of the dry amendment kits will help kickstart and feed the biology that has been added via your compost portion.
Depending on the amount of pine/duff materials in the cheaper potting soil you’ve chosen, I suggest leaving these mixes to break down further for 2-6 weeks. During this time, it is recommended to aerate the soil mix at least once per week. If I am building soils for myself, I add the aeration portion at the end. This not only reduces the volume you need to turn each week, it can also stop any porous materials from becoming “loaded” before their final container. Aeration sources such as Scoria/Lava Rock we find are best added when filling your final container to maintain the best soil consistency.