How to re-amend your soil

Reamending your soil for the next cycle or even mid-cycle is how we basically put nutrients (organic matter – high in carbon) into the soil, feeding the soil as some say. So let’s start with the basics, by using a dry amendment mix your giving the microbes in the soil a source of food/energy that gets turned into plant-available nutrients! 

Advantages: Re-using and re-amending your soil means the cost of production is heavily reduced compared to the cost of new soil for every cycle. Along with the environmental benefits of reusing, you are also creating less work (moving the soil in and out of your facility every harvest!) and better soil biology as time goes on meaning healthier plants.

Disadvantages: The main reason a lot of commercial growers don’t re-use their media is the risk of pathogens or disease. This is mostly risk reduction because these facilities have to justify what it would cost them to lose part of their harvest. Many are not willing to risk it. Although we personally think the risks are extremely low and probably can be avoided with good practices, that is the truth. 

Pro Tips

Applying more does not mean bigger fruits – This could actually be harmful to the soil causing unbalanced mineral levels. 

Soil testing – We do this to eliminate the risk of deficiencies or excesses in macronutrients and micronutrients. Which can easily happen if you are blindly amending for many cycles without testing.  

Sub-dressing your amendments – This is a technique of working the amendment into your soil rather than leaving it on top, when it comes to organic amendments they take a little bit of encouragement to get to work, sub-dressing more soil/coco coir/worm hummus on top of your amendment it breaks down faster, with little to no risk to the microbiology of the soil. We recommend mixing/massaging in your dry amendments into the top 8-4’’ on your soil if you do not grow with a cover crop, mainly at the end of your harvest.  

Move your mulch to the side – If you are subscribed to the No-Till way of growing then try this. Instead of tilling in your amendments, move your cover crop over to the side, spread your mix across the bare soil and cover it back up with your mulch. Doing one side at a time is easiest when you have a thick mulch layer. 

We hope you have learned a bit more about amending your living soil and you are armed with all the knowledge you need to grow the best plants you can! When it comes to growing a lot of it is personal preference, whether you grow with a cover crop or without, there’s no right or wrong.  Happy growing!

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