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  • Soil Charge Packs

Common Questions & Answers

Updated: May 3

Question:

When doing the Living Soil Method (aka No-Till), the instructions suggest topdressing the Soil Charge Packs every 21-30 days. My question is; when I go from vegetative growth and flip into the flowering growth phase can I top-dress just once but with more of the product, and still just add water to harvest? Instead of topdressing smaller amounts every 21-30 days?

Answer:

The short answer is yes, you absolutely can. You can add a larger amount just once; at say the beginning of flowering, instead of smaller amounts every 21-30 days and still only add water to your organic harvest.


Now for the long answer.

Our reason for top dressing every 21-30 days; instead of a larger amount just once at the onset of the flower cycle, is that when you top dress it is for future days/weeks and months with very little being instantly available to the plant to use right away as most of the ingredients need to be broken down by soil microbiology that are in communication with the plant roots. For some of the ingredients such as Basalt, Azomite, Greensand etc., it can be years until it breaks down. When using Soil Charge Packs to reuse your soil you are in it for the long-term health of your soil and focused on building up your soil harvest after harvest instead of filling it with bottled liquid synthetics full of salts and resulting in discarding your growing medium each harvest. Since topdressing is mostly for the future days/weeks and months and not the very present moment we like to add smaller amounts every 21-30 days instead of a larger amount at the beginning of flowering. This is simply in an effort to evenly and consistently spread out the breakdown of certain ingredients. To have certain nutrients and minerals always in various and constant break down stages. This is to maximize the effort that the living soil microbes are put under when they are being asked to provide a certain nutrients or minerals to the plant at any point in that plant’s life as it requests it from the soil. In plain terms, basically we spread out the topdressing to spread out the breakdown of ingredients – but again this is a preference as you can certainly just top dress a larger amount of the Soil Charge Packs at the beginning of the flowering phase and still only add water to harvest. Please feel free to experiment and mess around with topdressing different amounts, and at different times and compare results.


Another reason for topdressing every 21-30 days compared to only once at the beginning, is that the Soil Charge Packs contain many various sources of Calcium and Magnesium. These include Calcium mainly from ingredients such as Fish Bone Meal, Crab Meal, Oyster Shell Flour, Gypsum, Dolomite Lime, Etc. Magnesium mainly from ingredients such as Magnesium Sulfate, Sulfate of Potash-Magnesia, Dolomite Lime, Etc. As we mentioned above, most of your topdressing is for future weeks and months BUT Soil Charge Packs do contain some very water-soluble sources of Calcium and Magnesium that are quickly available to the plants. Meaning that every time you top dress with Soil Charge Packs you are basically giving the plants a nice shot of instant Cal/mag. Along with slower release calcium and magnesium, and all the other nutrients and minerals in the Soil Charge Packs that all come together to make the ultimate nutrient/mineral blend for growing plants in soil. So, forget about all the Cal/mag supplements and such products; all you need is one product and we are very happy to be here helping you and your gardens all across America. Thank you.

Question:

I mixed the Soil Charge Packs into my base soil and then had a delay on the grow. Is there a time limit for the packs in the soil? It was mixed about 3 months ago, and I still won’t be using it for about another month.

Answer:

You are good, no problem at all doing that. In fact, letting the soil mature for months before use is in fact a benefit! It lets the soil microbiology get a head start on nutrient cycling. If the soil dries out at all then add a compost tea to get life back into the soil before planting into it.

Question:

I am going to be using Fox Farm Ocean Forest as my base soil. I see you recommend in the instructions to add 1 ¼-gallons of worm castings per every 6 ¼-gallons of Fox Farm Ocean Forest. Well, I noticed on the bag of Fox Farm it says it already has worm castings in the ingredient list. Is it enough, or do I need to add the worm castings like the instructions say?

Answer:

Add the worm castings. One reason for this is that the worm castings will bring the majority of the life to your living soil. This soil life in your living soil is responsible for breaking down the Soil Charge Pack ingredients. They are important for growing success as these microbes are in charge of natural cycles and interactions that happen in a living soil on a microscopic level. Another thing to consider is that some of these bags of commercial soil mixes can sit on store shelfs for quite some time. We can’t expect these bagged soils to be high in active, and healthy thriving microbiology. If you can not get high quality worm castings, or you are not sure of the quality then simply apply a compost tea every 2-4 weeks throughout your growing season.

Question:

What are worm castings, and where do I get them?

Answer:

Worm castings are simply worm poop. They are covered in beneficial bacteria and brings along a host of benefits to your soil - which in turn benefits your plants!

Organic gardeners will find that having a worm composting bin/compost pile to supply the worm castings/vermi-compost to be very beneficial. Worm bins indoors do not smell and are a great way to compost items or to use scrap food or items from the garden that can’t be eaten. Worm bins take a small amount of money and space to setup and will continuously reward you and your efforts with the black gold (worm poop), that is created by the worms.

The compost created from the worm bin is called vermi-compost and is great to use as-is, but can be fine screened with ¼” hardware cloth to only the worm castings. Making your own base soil using the Vermi-compost directly from your own thriving worm composting bin is going to be very high in quality/life and will even contain worm eggs (cocoon’s) that will go into your soil and hatch more worms, continuing to leave a trail of worm castings as they move around in the root zone of your plants. The worms will aerate the soil and “till” the soil for you to use over and over again. They do not harm roots or living plant material and will only benefit your soil and garden.

Now, not everyone can have a worm bin where they live, and some simply don’t want a worm bin period. Some people can’t because of space, time, where they live, or many other various reasons and we understand that. If you are going to buy worm castings then look around locally at garden centers and ask around, even Craigslist and such outlets can provide you with excellent resources. Most of the times a good worm casting source is going to be local to you, compared to worm castings that have been shipped, or have been on a truck for a while. Never use the $2 bag of cheap municipal compost and expect it to be a substitute for quality worm castings or compost.

If you can’t get high quality worm castings or you are not sure or the quality then apply a aerated compost tea every 2-4 weeks throughout your growing season. Click here for compost tea recipe

Tip - When the Soil Charge Pack bag is empty simply rip it up and add it to your compost or worm bin!

Question:

Will I still need Cal/ Mag with the Soil Charge Packs?

Answer:

No. You will no longer need Cal/Mag, or anything that comes in a bottle from hydro store shelves. All you need for a successful organic harvest is simply a base soil, a Soil Charge Pack, and plain water all the way to harvest. We have designed the recipe so your only input during the grow is water - saving you time, money and headaches.

Question:

How much water do I add, and how often?

Answer:

When using Soil Charge Packs, you have created a living soil. The soil is full of life. With that in mind if you were a microbe in the soil, think about the kind of environment you yourself would want to live in. When we think like this; we quickly can see that you wouldn’t want to live in a swamp full of water/drowning, but you also wouldn’t want to live in a desert without water and expect to survive for long. The same idea goes for the life in the living soil. The idea is to keep the soil moist all the time, not wet, not dry, but moist. Never let your living soil dry out. Dry out is a common practice when using bottled nutrients - but not here. If we let our living soil dry out then a lot of the soil life will either go dormant or even die off completely. If this happens add a compost tea asap – click here for compost tea recipe recipe.

Question:

I'm setting up an indoor grow consisting of 2X 20-gallon pots of living soil. I'm using a base soil mix of compost, worm castings, and Pro mix hp that I used once before. What size of Soil Charge Pack do you recommend for this? And how much do I add? Will I need to add anything else besides the Soil Charge Pack and water?

Answer:

We would recommend a Large Soil Charge Pack. You have a great base soil going already. We would simply plant right into your base soil mix and then top-dress the Soil Charge Pack ingredients. Top-dress ¼ cup of Soil Charge Pack ingredients per every 10-gallons of soil, every 10-14 days. Sprinkle evenly around the base of the plant. Stop topdressing around 30-40 days into the flowering cycle and continue on with water to your organic harvest. If you remove any leaves or stems then toss them right on top of the soil surface as mulch during the grow.

Question:

Is this product like Recharge?

Answer:

No, Soil Charge Packs are a premium living soil amendment blend of the highest quality ingredients to create and maintain living soil. Recharge is simply a microbe product. (replacement for compost tea).


Recharge Ingredients: Mycorrhizae,trichoderma, and beneficial bacteria with Kelp, Humic, Fulvic & Molasses. (replacement for compost tea)


Soil Charge Pack Ingredients: Kelp Meal, Fish Bone Meal, Crab Meal, Alfalfa Meal, Neem Seed Meal, Oyster Shell Flour, Gypsum, Basalt, Silicon Dioxide (silica), Azomite, Greensand, Magnesium Sulfate, Sulfate of Potash-Magnesia, Dolomite Lime, Humic Acid, 11 species of Mycorrhizal Fungi, 2 species Trichoderma, and 18 species beneficial bacteria.

(Complete Living Soil Amendment Blend)


Soil Charge Packs are a balanced and complete one stop shop living soil amendment.

Question:

Can I use molasses when watering?

Answer:

Yes, you can add molasses to your watering. If you choose to add this then look for Organic Unsulfured Black Strap Molasses. Molasses is one of the best sources of instant carbohydrates to boost the growth of beneficial microorganisms. As well as add potassium, Iron, and Magnesium along with a variety of micro-nutrients. In containers or closed bottom raised beds use 1 teaspoon (5ml) molasses per gallon of water. When growing directly in the earth use ½ Tbls to 1 Tbls (7.5 - 15ml) molasses per gallon of water.

Question:

Can Coco Coir be used instead of Sphagnum Peat Moss in my base soil mix?

Answer:

Yes. We recommend using a peat base soil for the much higher CEC rating. If you prefer coco coir, or it is all you can get locally then you can use it with no issues, but if planning to reuse the same soil over and over for years make a good effort to get peat. Some of the coco coir based commercial mixes we recommend are Fox Farm Ocean Forest, Roots Organics, and Nectar for the Gods #4 soil. You can use coco coir mixed with perlite/pumice in place of a commercial bagged soil when following the Soil Charge Pack instructions – In the instructions every time you read Sphagnum Peat Moss simply substitute it for coco. The base soil recipe that you add the Soil Charge Pack to can be tailored and adapted to local inputs that are available to you and your growing style.

Question:

I am interested in ordering a large soil charge pack. Once I open the bag, how long are contents good for?

Answer:

In our testing they were still good after 2 years. We haven’t tested them out further than that but really, we see no issues as long as kept in a cool and dry area. Now with that said, the microbes that we add to the Soil Charge Packs (11 species of mycorrhizal fungi, 2 species Trichoderma, and 18 species beneficial bacteria) have a 2-year shelf life. These microbes are great to add to your living soil, but really when it comes down to it those are just an extra bonus because of the heavy amounts of microbes that will come from the worm castings or high-quality compost used to make your base soil.

We have also taken steps to achieve the longest shelf life possible by using 3-layer bags that are made of paper! They are breathable unlike the very common ziploc kraft pouches that most all other companies use for their products. We figure why sell a premium organic product in a plastic lined bag? As a company that sells a premium organic product, we decided against putting our premium organic product into a plastic lined kraft ziploc bag that will end up in a trash can, instead of a recycle bin or compost bin. Yes, this is more work for us during production, but this means that when stored in a normal house setting or pantry, they will not go bad, and also have the great benefit of less trash in the land fill! Letting a product like this breath is very important for shelf life and stability over years, so we have taken the extra step to ensure the best outcome for our customers.

Question:

I was reading through the instructions and was wondering if I use the Water Only Method, do I absolutely need to wait 3 weeks to use the soil?

Answer:

For the Water Only Method – yes. For the Living Soil Method – No. With the water only method the soil needs to compost down some. This waiting time will let the soil microbes from the compost start to break down the Soil Charge Pack ingredients and start to manage the soil Ph. Now with that said, you CAN get away with using your soil right away, but may notice Ph issues with small plants. It won't kill the plants but they won't be as healthy at first as they could be. This may be an issue when growing autos that will need time to adjust to the nutrient dense soil. After 3-4 weeks the plant will return to normal growth. So if you don’t have the time or space to let the soil rest for 3-weeks after making it then we suggest looking at doing the Living Soil Method where you can plant into the soil the same day you mix it.

Question:

Is this product homogeneous? I am going to purchase a large Soil Charge Pack and want to make 4 separate batches of soil each being around 7.5-gallons. Can I weigh out an amount besides the whole pack to add to a smaller batch of base soil?

Answer:

Yes, our Soil Charge Packs ingredients are blended together and so larger packs can be weighed out to make smaller batches.

Question:

Do you ship outside of the USA?

Answer:

Yes, we ship almost anywhere in the world. If you would like a shipping quote please go to the “contact us” page and send us a message saying what size Soil Charge Pack you would like, and the shipping address. Then the shipping department will get back to you with an exact shipping quote and the total price for your order.

Question: I’m about to mix up some soil following the Water Only Method instructions. Is there a preferred temperature to keep the soil, or a temperature it shouldn’t get below at least?

Answer:

With your living soil the best temperature to keep it would be around the same temperature that you yourself would feel comfortable living in. 60°f - 80°f would be best. Store indoors or outdoors, wrapped in a tarp or stored in drums/totes with the lids cracked open for air exchange. If it gets to cold and the soil freezes then so will the living microbes in the soil and all processes in the soil stop. The colder it is (40-55°f) the less work the microbes will do in turn taking longer than the normal 3-weeks resting period before use. So, if your soil is stored colder than 60°f and you have the extra time then letting the soil rest for an extra week or extra weeks is a great thing to do. If you need to use the soil right away then take a look at the Topdressing/No-Till Method of application instead of the Water Only Method.

Question:

Is it safe to use distilled water for the water only method?

Answer:

You can get away with using it in most cases; along with RO water, but the best would be normal tap water (if your water is semi decent), or else carbon filtered tap water. The distilled water can bind up the nutrients and minerals to make your plant look like it is deficient in nutrients.


About your water source:

We recommend using chlorine/chloramine free water as to not hurt the living soil microbes. Contact your water company for a water quality report (some are online). If your water has chlorine simply let your water sit out for 24 hours before use so the chlorine can evaporate, it’s nice to add a small fish tank air bubbler to the water while it’s sitting for 24hrs. If your water has chloramine instead of chlorine then we suggest using an R/O filter system to reduce it. If the Ph of your water source is somewhere between 5.9-7.5 (most of America) you won’t need to adjust it or even check it again! The Ph up, and Ph down bottled products kill the soil life. IF you need to lower the Ph of your water use Citric Acid powder from the health food store. IF you need to raise the Ph of your water use Baking Soda. We do suggest to check the Ph of your water at first as there are many different water sources in the world, but the real fact here is that most people will never need to adjust, or even test the Ph of their water again. When we let the plant communicate with a living soil the microbes in the living soil take care of the Ph for us! This simply comes down to the quality of the earth worm castings or compost used when first mixing the soil. Finally, you can get rid of that finicky Ph pen!

Question:

With my water source is ph the main concern or should I be worried about ppm/ec as well? The online report for my water company says my tap water has a ph of 8 and is very hard water, full of calcium deposits.

Answer:

You would be mostly concerned about the ppm/ec. The ph can range quite a bit. For example the ph of the tap water at our testing area is 7.9-8.1, and we have never had an issue with that. As long as the compost/worm castings are quality then the ph (to a limit of course) won't really matter. Simply keep the soil moist (not wet), and never let it dry out and the living soil will flourish and provide the plant with anything it needs all the way to harvest. If you run into ph issues then you can always add a compost tea to super charge the life in the soil, as they will help control the ph and keep it right where the plant requests it to be.

Question:

What is the limit for how high water ec levels can be?

Answer:

If the ec level of the water is above 0.3 then we would suggest looking into some kind of carbon filter. Another option that may work well in this case; since the tap water maybe high ec, is to mix it half and half with the distilled water.