Living soil versus hot / kind soil

What is the difference between no til living soil such as so hum and hot or kind soil such as California hot soil or kind soil?
Any suggestions on hot or kind soil to purchase?
Any suggestions on living soil to purchase?

Would it be more cost-efficient if I created my own hot or kind soil? If so how would i make it?

Doesn’t really answer tour question but I have 4 going with kind soil on bottom and coco loco right now and they look great. I’m about 4 weeks into flower and they couldn’t be healthier.

I also have 3 in a veg then in all so hum soil so I’m going to test which ones turn out better

I have used Kind soil to success
I also had coco loco on top and Kind at the bottom
Their web site states find a good water source within their required PH range or use natural PH movement products

There’s not much difference at first. Living soil requires worms, fungi, bacteria. Top with straw to help keep the soil moist and add a cover crop. I use clover, hairy vetch and buckwheat. As the plants grow I cut back the cover crop to decompose in the pot and to feed the worms. I top dress nutrients, which the worms help bring into the soil when coming to the surface and going back down. You should have a mini ecosystem in your pot.

Here’s one of my living soil pots. Second grow using the same pot.

I’ll use the same pots over and over again for about a year. I could go longer but add all the old soil to my chicken manure/compost pile to reuse in future grows. Saves me money not having to buy soil every grow.


Do you have to use nutes at all? Or is that whole point? To not use them.

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yes to nutes. I top dress with dry ammendments and compost. First to recharge the pot I use compost and a light top dress. About a week before flipping to flower I top dress using fish meal, fish bone meal, kelp meal, alfalfa meal, gypsum, langbeinite, sea bird guano and lime. The compost is from my pile which includes chicken manure.

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hmm, so whats the benefit of the super soil? I’m genuinely asking.

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Super soil grows incredible bud! It feeds the roots from the bottom. Living soil feeds from the top in a more natural way.
Normally the super soil needs to be rebuilt every time. Living soil, because you’re feeding from the top, there is no need to rebuild the pot after each grow. Replenish and continue on. I usually start off with a super soil style soil to begin my living environment. It’s really important to have a rich soil to start with.

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@shindig153 Hello, wouldn’t you want to keep the soil in the pots perpetually? I’m starting my living soil journey and digging deep. I actually logged back in here, first time in a while, to see if i can find some answers here to my questions.

What i’m finding for living soil is that its going to improve year after year, especially after the first few years when theres basically little organic material in the soil and its had a few years worth of various mulches broken down into organic material sinking down.

Also i’m reading that some serious living soil growers put their soil pots under shade or in a shed in the off season and grow cover crops, especially legumes like peas or beans, because legumes can actually pull nitrogen out of the air, pumping it into the soil. It appears to actually leave the soil richer with nitrogen after you chop and drop (cut down and drop in place) than it was before you planted it.

During this off season time when the cover crops grow (assuming you’re in a warm environment like mine) the stem and roots from the cannabis plant is decomposing in place, the mushroom mycelium still intact because of no till, hopefully worms, definitely microbes and bacteria all break it down enriching the soil and then you transplant your cannabis plant into this pot, pulling it back into full sun, using the freshly cut green cover crop as a green mulch, add some fresh organic material as more mulch and start feeding with the ingredients you mention, maybe neem seed oil as well or some humic acids to help nutrient uptake.

I typed it out longwind to benefit the thread and also open myself up to corrections and improvements because i have this big question - can i gently transplant the root ball mass into a giant tub or something along with ten other root balls and gently smoosh them together? So i can free up my containers and also not be locked into certain sizes and however many of that size? I wonder if i can make a “living soil mass” that i can pull from and add to?

I considered breaking it up and stirring it all up but that will at least destroy all the mycelial connections (mycorhizzae or however you spell it). Maybe it would largely leave the bacterias / worms alone?

I also wonder about tossing it in the compost pile, i thought it was best to go the other way around - add compost as top dressing here and there to the living soil.

Its basically a living ecosystem we are trying so hard to create and nourish, i would assume throwing it into a compost heap destroys so many of those symbiotic relationships, plus the soil is supposed to be composting within the containers i thought.


There is a lot that goes into a living soil. I try to reuse the same pots as long as the plants growing in them remain healthy. I grow year round. Mostly indoor. I started two living pots over the winter and just harvested for the second time this past weekend with outdoor plants. I top dressed with my compost along with fish bone meal, kelp meal, langbeinite, gypsum and lime to recharge the pot and then again a week before I flip adding seabird guano to the mix. One pot is doing great and I’ll continue to use it. The second pot the plant didn’t seem as happy so that one will end up in my finished compost pile.

I’ve been adding old soil to the compost for a couple years now along with chicken manure. It’s pretty hot and full of beneficial critters. I have a fresh compost pile as well. I’ll be adding some turkey manure and feathers to the fresh pile and let it break down over the winter into the next summer. I add a couple of handfuls of bukashi for the good critters and to help break down the compost at a faster rate. I believe compost has a good amount of healthy bacteria and other goodies already in it. Adding old pot to the pile will help everything break down quicker. I’m hoping to have a really nice healthy soil I can pull from as needed. I don’t think I’ll have to buy much more soil.
I hoping to use the old compost/soil mix.

I plant my seedling directly into the old pot and then add compost and top dress. Seems to work great.

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@shindig153 Thanks for the reply. Yeah that’s more or less what i aim to do.

I’d been thinking about all of this pretty heavy since i posted and i think we are both describing the same thing more or less. I am saving compostable food scraps and have been looking into vermicomposting vs composting in general, i’m a small household of one and don’t always eat whole foods due to time or whatever so i’m not sure how much i can contribute - but i’m about to find out by trying.

Since i’ve been thinkng about all of this i realize a lot of my potted plants’ “soils” are very much dead - very inert and nothing more than recently added “organic garden soil” which is mostly twigs and pre-composted browns, mulch, whatever you want to call it, and remnants of chemical salt grows and what not. So i would probably benefit greatly by emptying a lot of my pots into a compost pile - the more i learn the more i realize just how empty and dead my beginning media is.

A major reason i want to do this is for soil retention. Its expensive buying quality soil. And takes time to build it. So dumping some of my old soil into a compost pile over time sounds like a good idea. But what then? It will get concentrated down to less volume, but richer with organic material, and i top dress my pots that stay living soil pots with this, but theres a lot of loss there it seems. I don’t want to buy any more soil -Will i just need to keep up with a compost pile? Or periodically buy more organic soil (read twiggy mulch) to add?

Another thought is what if i had a “living soil tub” instead of a compost pile. I very much agree compost is rich in good microbes and all that and i’m not very familiar with them but they get very hot right? If i had a tub i dump my living soils into and lightly fluff them together but i don’t any browns or greens or anything, would that be any different?

@SillyHippy not to turn the thread into a living soil only discussion, no intent to highjack a thread so now that i have time to type let me share what i can.

TL;DR - if cost efficient is your means i would personally buy Fox Farms Ocean Forest (FFOF) and small amount of supplemetal nutrition, or cheap organic garden soil and a higher amount of supplements. Meaning I have seen FFOF give very similar results to plants as KIND soil, though you may have to feed once a week supplement the last 3-4 weeks of flower. For more details, read on.

In response to your original question, i haven’t heard of a lot of those specific names, but i did read one or two threads on someone growing with Kind soil, not sure if California Kind, but it advertises its all you need, just water, and it’ll take you all the way to flower. It worked well for them and it did seem to provide enough nutrition for the whole grow. They seemed to indicate that Kind recommends a certain maximum veg time which makes perfect sense. I recall looking up the price and if memory serves it was roughly double what Fox Farms Ocean Forest is at my local garden supply.

To put that price tag into an actual value, ive used Fox Farms ocean forest quite a bit. I love the stuff. I would consider it a high end soil, and price reflects it. What sets it apart from the others i’ve tried even to this day, is its out of the bag amazing drainage and aeration ability due to its physical makeup. Also its built in nutrition, and this is a two fold answer for me. One, FFOF (what you’ll see it called in shorthand) has enough nutrition to make it well into flower on a same sized container and veg time as the kind soil. I may have had to feed after week 5 or 6 of flower but that was after a 2-3 month veg. Thats not nothing.

And secondly the nutrition comes from good sources, oyster shell, bat guano, earthworm castings. Its easy for a soil to have long lasting nutrition when it comes from chemical salts or synthetic means. Much harder for it to have long lasting quality organic nutrition. The organic concept become more important to me as time goes on, even on my first grow when i was struggling with pH meters and liquid nute feedings charts i raised an eyebrow when the charts all recommend to flush the soil 5 times before i harvest. Why? What’s in it that needs to be so aggressively flushed out? And why would i want it anywhere in my garden? Remember flushing a container is to flow 3 times its capacity through it i think it is, so 15 gallons through a 5 gallon pot.

So i say that to present this - How does Kind soil create this nutrition? This i do not know. If it is chemically based i would immediately rule it out.
If it is safer and more sustainable, i would compare it to Fox Farms where FF is roughly half the cost though you may have to add a supplement the last four weeks of flower or so, depending on plant size.

I just learned they sell living soil and i’m skeptical. But i’m skeptical of everything at first. I just read last night that its important to plant cover crops like legumes or clover in your living soil as soon as you chop your cannabis harvest because the mycorrizae in the soil need a living root in the ground to attach to and keep the network alive - so shipping living soil would lose that bc theres no root, and so then whats the difference between their living soil and high quality organic soil except the price tag? With how marketing is these days its a solid question in my mind. I just don’t know until i look into it, but for me, true living soil is like the forest floor, undisturbed and constantly littered with rich decomposing greens and browns, and i hope to be able to keep a few containers of each size going, year round, with cover crops in the offseason to make some. For me, no till living soil is the aim for probably half my garden, for the other half i’m learning its probably unrealistic and i’ll just have very healthy high grade organic soil that i basically make myself through composting and adding organic feeds to what i have now - which is largely used FFOF and home depot organic garden soil bags. Both deprived of their nutritional content, but the FFOF is a great soil as far as physical makeup, perlite content, etc and the organic mulchy soil is the beginnings of the breakdown process and dense organic matter i hope to have in the future.

thanks for enduring the sativa ramble

Good morning.

I started to use organics to step away from the flush. I find that to be a waste of resources. Plus what ever you flush out makes into ways into our environment.
In response I started making super soil. Similar to kind soil I suppose. A good organic soil to start is a must. Espoma makes a great base soil. This time around I’m trying out the coast of maine Stonington blend. I’m happy with the results so far. I’m still in veg. I plan on using these same pots as long as I can. Maybe a year or more. Top dress with dry ammendments and move forward. Throughout the grow every couple of weeks I add bacteria , fungi, fulvic, humic and amino acids. Comes in a powered form called root magic rhizo mix. It makes a big difference in plant health. Also helps keep the soil full of good critters.

A living soil is ever evolving. That was the hardest part to figure out. You always have to be thinking ahead. Get caught behind and it’s really hard to catch back up. Most of the stuff I use I try to find for free. Sea shells for calcium, I make my own bio char as a byproduct of burning wood in the winter. I’ll be harvesting stinging nettle soon and adding it to the compost pile and to my pots after it’s dried. It adds silica and nutrients. Silica adds strength to the plant.

In the end the health of the soil directly impact the final product. If done right you get some nice stinky bud that tastes awesome and is very potent.

So you do not need to add nutes or no?? With this so hum living soil???

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Here’s what I use.

Sounds like you watch the NPK University you tube videos too! Great information

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Nope, but I will now. Redbudsoilcompany is where I started my research

Let me know what you think. I’ll check out what you referenced. Thanks

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@shindig153 I’m using a super soil. I’m looking to use a compost tea during veg and then flower. the soil has been in use for about six weeks. A compost tea won’t burn the plants will it? It’s basically feeding the soil and not the plants. The compost tea is made with Malibu compost.

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