Soil FQA

What is a Super Soil

The Fextern Super Soil is a ready to use, “just add water” system for growing organic cannabis or vegetables in living soil. It is a 15-gallon fabric pot filled with premium, hand mixed living soil. Each bag includes cover crop seeds, organic barley straw mulch, and is completely ready to plant.

What’s in Super Soil?

Our craft soil blend is curated specifically for growing elite quality cannabis. We obsess over finding premium inputs, as they say garbage in= garbage out!

Aeration: Lava rock, growstone, rice hulls, charged bio-char Fibre: Sphagnum peat moss Compost: Local organic grass fed cow manure, local earthworm castings, mushroom compost, insect frass, Amendments: Kelp meal, Crab meal, Neem Cake, Malted Barley flour, Fishbone meal, Oyster flour, Gypsum, Andesite rock dust

Do I need to add fertilizer?

Nope! The Fextern Super Soil is rich enough that you can get a great harvest using nothing but plain water, no PH’ing or nutrient mixing required.

What is living soil?

Soil is a combination of minerals, organic matter, air, water and living organisms. None can be taken in isolation, it is their balance that is important. One simple example; worms eat the old roots from dead plants, digest them, and poop out plant available nitrogen in the form of worm castings. It is the combination of organisms working together that makes soil alive.

Is organic soil the same as living soil?

Not necessarily. “organic” simply means without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Potting mix can be organic, but its not alive. Living soil means that the soil itself is a living ecosystem, with Living organisms present in soil include archaea, bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, algae, protozoa, and a wide variety of larger soil fauna, including springtails, mites, nematodes, and earthworms.

What is the difference between potting mix and living soil?

Life! Potting mix is inert and lifeless, generally a mix of sterilized peat and perlite. In potting soil, the microbial life mentioned above is totally absent.

Do I need to buy new soil each grow?

Nope! Since the Fextern Super Soil is a no-till system, you can get multiple harvests out of one pot with just water, or you can use it indefinitely if you decide to add top dressings and foliar feeding. The throwing out used potting soil is one of the cannabis industry’s “dirty secrets” and is massively wasteful.

What does no-till mean, and why is it good?

No tilling! For a gardener growing in containers, this means that you re-use your soil without re-mixing or re-amending it. Tilling disrupts the soil food web, decimates worms, and in conventional farming is responsible for soil erosion and loss. For container gardeners using no-till each harvest gets better and better, as “everyone gets to know each other in the pot” and the soil gets richer. Roots penetrate the soil, then decompose and become worm food, worms till and move things around and provide fertilizer, and the soil improves each round. Growers are encouraged to let their dead/pruned leaves on the surface of their pot to decompose and feed the soil, just like leaves from a tree. Nobody fertilizers the redwood, right?

Can I make my own living soil?

Yes! Check out our recipe and home mixing guide here (hyperlink) We believe that everyone should learn the skill of soil building, because to build soil is to rebuild our planet. We want to empower our growers with a set of skills that is transferable to their backyard food garden.

What’s with the fabric pot?

Fabric pots allow for constant, 360-degree aeration to the soil. Roots get light pruned so that the plant will never get root bound, and the fabric allows enough drainage so that it’s almost impossible to overwater your plant.

Why 15 gallons?

Though organic potting soil can be done in small containers, true LIVING soil requires much more root space for a decent crop. 15 gallons is also the minimum pot size that can retain enough moisture to support worm and microbial life. Potting soil can dry out, living soil cannot, so a smaller pot would stunt root growth and potentially need to be watered multiple times per day. If it dries out, it’s not living!


Filling FAQ

Why 15 gallons minimum?

When growing with living soil, plants need more root space than with hydroponics/ soilless mediums. 30+ is optimal. Also, 15 gallons is about the minimum pot size to support worm life. With living soil, we do not let the soil dry out completely. Since it is a living ecosystem, there is a minimum amount of moisture that needs to be maintained. A 15 gallon pot allows you to water only every 3 days, without having the pot dry out and have the worms run away or die.

Why a Sprayer?

Using a sprayer allows you to slowly and fully saturate the new soil mix without wasting water and having it run off. You should absolutely be purchasing a sprayer for pest management anyways. The Chapin 1949 is recommended, but a cheap sprayer is better than nothing. Watering through straw mulch using a sprayer also allows for a very gentle, gradual watering.

Why do I need worms?

The worms are the tillers! Worms tunnel and create aeration for roots to penetrate, and they also create more fertilizer for the plant. Worms eat dead roots from cover crops and previous plants, and then process them into a bioavailable source of food for the plants. A lot of ingredients in living soil aren’t actually available to the plant until they are processed by worms, or bacteria.

Where do I get them?

Like most things, the best thing to do is grow your own! A simple worm bin is easy to make and will help you make use of your food scraps at home. In the meantime, check kijiji for local worm farmers. Some websites sell them online and ship them as well. In ideal conditions, worms multiply quickly whether it’s in your worm bin or your pot, so just having a few to start off with is the main thing.

Why do I need a cover crop?

This is another key element of a no-til system. We plant nitrogen-fixing plants, such as clover that take nitrogen from the air and fix it into the soil. This is one of the ways we can get multiple harvests out of one batch of soil without re-amending it. As the main crop takes nitrogen out, the cover crops put it back in. Roots of harvested cover crops are eaten by worms as described above. Recommended cover crop blend: -70% nitrogen fixers (clover, alfalfa, peas) -30% pest repelling herbs or flowers such as chives, dill, chrysanthemum, basil, fennel