In this blog, we aim to equip our customers with the confidence to create their own living soil blends using ingredients sourced from Australia. To start, we'll keep things simple and delve deeper into the topic in future articles.
We receive frequent calls from customers across Australia seeking the ideal soil recipe. However, it's important to note that there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all recipe. The perfect recipe will vary based on local and seasonal factors like rainfall, temperature, and humidity. For instance, the need for soil adaptation due to increased rainfall on the east coast of Australia in recent seasons calls for a different approach compared to dry spells.
A widely used and trusted recipe to set the foundation is as follows:
- 1 part Peat Moss, Coco Coir, or Leaf Mold
- 1 part Compost or Worm Castings (we suggest a 70:30 blend)
- 1 part Perlite, Pumice, or Lava Rock
Once you've mixed these equal parts, your soil is ready to be used immediately for seed raising and propagation. If you have picky seedlings, you may exclude some of the compost mixture. However, if you use a high-quality, screened, and matured compost like the one available on our website, you won't encounter any issues planting seeds in this soil.To add nutrition, growers have several options based on the plants they want to grow and their nutrient needs. This soil recipe works well for most herbaceous plants and vigorous growers with the addition of dry amendment fertilizers. We offer pre-blended, ready-to-use kits that make it easy for new gardeners. Our Go & Grow + Bud & Bloom nutrient kits are a great choice for those looking for a 100% organic option.
You can also create a living soil using more affordable, locally sourced materials. The key difference is allowing sufficient time for these soils, often made from pine-based potting soils, to activate and build their biology. Adding quality compost will help jumpstart this process, along with ¼ cup of each of the Go & Grow + Bud & Bloom nutrient kits. The dry amendment kits will feed the biology added through the compost.
Depending on the amount of pine/duff materials in the cheaper potting soil, it's recommended to let these mixes break down further for 2-6 weeks. During this time, it's important to aerate the soil mix at least once a week. When building soils for myself, I prefer to add the aeration component at the end. This not only reduces the volume you need to turn each week, but it can also prevent porous materials from becoming "saturated" before being placed in their final container. Aeration sources like Scoria/Lava Rock are best added when filling your final container to maintain the best soil consistency.