Living Soil: Is it Just an Organic Potting Mix Product or is it a Process?

Living Soil: Is it Just an Organic Potting Mix Product or is it a Process?

Let’s dive deep into the fascinating world of organic living soil! This beginners’ guide will help you to realise the full potential of an indoor living soil ecosystem, even if you’ve never grown with living soils before. After all, “living soil” is often a new and unfamiliar term for many growers and, as such, there are still lots of misconceptions circulating regarding what living soil actually is and how to get the best out of it.

What is Living Soil?

The key concept to get your head around when it comes to understanding organic living soil is that you are feeding the soil rather than directly feeding the plant. Here at Ecothrive, our aim when creating a living soil potting mix, and cultivating in living soil, is to create an active nutrient cycling system where the microbial life in the soil effectively breaks down the raw organic inputs in order to create plant-available nutrition. 

We don’t believe there is any benefit in constantly adding sugary molasses-based bottled liquid feeds to the soil as this often causes ‘boom-bust’ cycles of microbial activity; instead, we are allowing the plant and the soil to work together naturally and mutualistically. The plant pushes out its own sugary exudates via its root system. These exudates are the natural food that soil microbes need in order to thrive. The roots produce these exudates at a natural and steady rate, just like they have done for millions of years.

Active Nutrient Cycling System

So, What Makes Living Soil “Alive”?

“Is the bag full of worms? No—but it has all the microbial foundations covered! These beneficial microbes, as their name suggests, are too small to see with the naked eye, but they are a crucial part of any living soil.

As soon as you start to use our living soil, microbial processes begin to occur. The interaction of the plants’ roots in the soil initiates a symphony of microbiological activity. It’s up to you, as the conductor of this orchestra, to build up this living soil ecosystem. Keeping the soil moist, using a mulch layer, being mindful about your water quality, using microbe-friendly products and applying compost extracts like Bio-Blend will all help to turn your living soil foundation into a truly living habitat.    

Living soil is more than just a substrate—it’s a dynamic, living ecosystem filled with microbial life. This bustling community of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes and more drives nutrient cycling through the continuous breakdown of organic matter and the release of plant-available nutrients. It’s nature’s own built-in underground fertilisation system!

Conventional potting soils often lack this vibrant ecology, whereas Eco-Life Soil is designed from the ground up to nurture a thriving soil food web. This is achieved through a balanced blend of worm castings, organic rock minerals and organic dry amendments. Each ingredient plays a key role in feeding different soil organisms and encouraging biodiversity.

Why Ecothrive’s Living Soil is Superior

Surprise, surprise—we believe that our living soil mix is the best a grower can get. But hear us out! Eco-Life Living Soil is truly a stand-out choice because of the premium quality of its sustainably-sourced components. We didn’t set out to create a “product” that sits in a certain “price point”—we just went all out to create the best living soil potting mix possible.

This no-compromise approach was never going to result in the most inexpensive organic potting mix, but if you’re genuinely looking for the best living soil mix available, then we’d like to think you were in the right place!

Ecothrive & Indoor Organics Eco-Life Organic Potting Soil

Our living soil’s ideal moisture content and nutrient balance mimics a rich natural soil environment. Most potting soils are prone to becoming overly-dry and quickly become depleted of nutrition. Our balanced blend of amendments provides an all-you-can-eat buffet of nutrients to feed microbes and fuel their activity.

We also include prebiotic substances and bio-stimulants like insect frass and seaweed meal that selectively nourish beneficial soil organisms like mycorrhizal fungi. And our mix uses high quality worm castings to introduce biological diversity into your living soil from day one.

The result is an ideally moist, nutrient-rich and microbially-charged living soil that establishes quickly and provides superior, long-term support for your plants.

How Living Soil Promotes Plant Growth

In living soil, microorganisms like bacteria and fungi break down organic materials to release available nutrients in the right ratios at the right time for plant uptake. This includes slowly released macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as micronutrients.

Beneficial fungi like mycorrhizae also expand the soil-root interface, allowing plants to access more water and nutrients. Soil microbes also release growth-promoting hormones and vitamins that stimulate plant development. This natural biological fertilisation creates resilient, robust plants.

Out of the Bag: Your First Steps with Eco-Life Soil

Our Living Soil comes to you ready to use. We’ve taken care of the composting process so you don’t have to waste any time before starting your grow. If you’re using our living soil to propagate seedlings or cuttings, we highly recommend using our Biosys microbial inoculant to really help get the soil party started. Biosys introduces a diverse array of beneficial bacteria and fungi, selected for their robustness when growing in containers. Thriving microbial biodiversity is key for sustaining soil health.

Best Practices for Cultivating with Living Soil

Ideal Moisture Levels

Maintaining even moisture is crucial for living soil biology. Avoid excessive drying or over-watering, which disrupts the ecosystem.

The Blumat Digital is an accurate soil-moisture sensor, providing valuable information to help you dial in your watering practices.
View in store.

Reusing and Re-amending Living Soil

Imagine never having to dump growing media again? Surely—one of living soil’s biggest benefits is its reusability! After harvesting, it takes just a few moments to refresh and rejuvenate your living soil so you’re ready for another crop cycle. No need to get rid of bag after bag of spent growing media! With Life-Cycle, you can restore nutrition and biology again and again. There’s no limit to how many times you can re-use our living soil, further reducing our waste stream and reducing our impact on the environment. Over multiple cycles to really dial in your living soil garden you should get a soil test and use the results to fine tune the nutrition your plants have access to.  

Choosing the Right Container Size

For indoor growing, use at least 45 – 60L of living soil per 60 x 60cm space for biological stability. Smaller containers dry out too quickly. Bigger is better for robust living soil! Check out our range of pots and beds—perfect for use with living soil.

Bio-Blend is our bio-complete compost that is the ideal companion for living soils. It contains a rich blend of aged composted organic matter and the compete suite of soil food web organisms, which create, support and sustain microbial life. The addition of Bio-Blend to living soils can also improve soil texture, water retention and nutrient availability, leading to healthier plant growth. Bio-Blend helps to enrich and diversify the beneficial microbes in the living soil, further enhancing its fertility and the health of the plants growing in it. View in store.

Flourish – Seaweed Extract
Our Flourish seaweed extract provides bioactive compounds and hormones that reduce stress, improve plant vigour and strengthen defences. We recommend trying it as a foliar spray to help your plants thrive, even in the most demanding indoor growing environments. View in store

So, is Living Soil a Product or a Process?

Living soil is more than just a purchased product; it’s a foundation for a natural and organic growing system. Choosing to cultivate plants in living soil is a journey, a process, a commitment to the ways and rhythms of nature. 

Ecothrive’s Living Soil is designed to work harmoniously with a wide range of organic inputs. It’s about moving away from more artificial growing methods towards a more sustainable and genuine approach to cultivation.

Our living soil mixes are now available for purchase directly on our online store.

Or visit one of our many retail distributors around the UK.

We can deliver everything you need quickly and discreetly to your door in just a few working days. If you have any questions, don’t worry: we’re here to help!

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