Subcool super soil - smaller batches

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by booyaa, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. #1 booyaa, Oct 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2011
    Most of you know about Subcool's super soil mix. For those that do not I am attaching Subcool's recipe and article from High Times magazine.

    I was bored and decided to do the break down for the smaller batches of this mix (listed at the bottom of the post) I looked around and did not see this on the site nor did I see the break out and decided to post.. if this is found elsewhere feel free to move or remove.

    You know how we look for stuff when we are stoned. :smoke:

    Story by Subcool, photos by Subcool & MzJill


    There’s nothing that compares to the flavor of properly grown organic pot: The subtle tastes and aromas created by using only “Mother Earth” are overwhelming to the senses when it’s done properly. As with vegetables, a rich organic soil can bring out the best in cannabis.

    Over the past 20 years, I have tried almost every possible way to cultivate our favorite plant. And while hydro is certainly faster and the yields blow soil away, I’ve developed an organic-soil mix that consistently performs extremely well, with very little guesswork involved (i.e., I don’t have to worry about pH or ppms ever).

    I spent a few years developing the recipe for this Super Soil mix, and using it in 7-gallon nursery pots, I can run from start to finish adding only plain water. Other than a bit of sweat equity every 90 days or so, using this soil takes a huge amount of the science out of gardening and puts nature back in charge. Also, the recipe is always changing in slight ways as I continue to fine-tune it in my efforts to achieve perfection.

    The Base

    Start with at least six to eight large bags of high-quality organic soil. This is your base soil—i.e., your regular potting soil without the additives. The selection of your base soil is very important, so don’t cut corners here. I can’t begin to discuss all the different products out there, but I will mention a few in this article. A good organic soil should cost you from $8 to $10 per 30-pound bag. Since I want to give you a very specific idea of what I consider to be a balanced soil, take a look at the ingredients in a product called Roots Organic:
    Lignite, coco fiber, perlite, pumice, compost, peat moss, bone meal, bat guano, kelp meal, greensand, soybean meal, leonardite, k-mag, glacial rock dust, alfalfa meal, oyster shell flour, earthworm castings and mycorrhizae.

    Another local product we’re trying out now, Harvest Moon, has the following ingredients:
    Washed coco fibers, Alaskan peat moss, perlite, yucca, pumice, diatoms, worm castings, feather meal, fishmeal, kelp meal, limestone, gypsum, soybean meal, alfalfa meal, rock dust, yucca meal and mycorrhizae fungi.

    So far we’ve found that Roots Organic produces a more floral smell in the finished buds, while Harvest Moon generates larger yields.

    If you have access to a good local mix like these, then I highly recommend starting with a product of this type. We’ve also had decent results using commercial brands, but never “as is.” The best results we’ve had to date using a well-known commercial soil has been with Fox Farms’ Ocean Forest soil combined in a 2-to-1 ratio with Light Warrior. Used on its own, Ocean Forest is known for burning plants and having the wrong ratio of nutrients, but when cut with Light Warrior, it makes a pretty good base-soil mix.

    You can also just use two bales of Sunshine Mix #4, but this would be my last choice, since plants grown in this mix may not respond well to my “just add water” method of growing.

    After choosing your base soil, the Super Soil concentrate is placed in the bottom one-third to one-half of the container and blended with the base soil. (With strains that require high levels of nutrients, we’ll go so far as to fill ¾ of the container with Super Soil, but this is necessary only with a small percentage of strains.) This allows the plants to grow into the concentrated Super Soil layer, which means that in the right size container, they’ll need nothing but water throughout their full cycle. One of the things I like best about this soil mix is that I can drop off plants with patients, and all they have to do is water them when the soil dries out.

    Stir It Up

    There are several ways to mix these ingredients well. You can sweep up a patio or garage and work there on a tarp, or you can use a plastic wading pool for kids. (These cost about 10 bucks apiece and work really well for a few seasons.) Some growers have been known to rent a cement mixer to cut down on the physical labor. Whatever method you use, all that matters in the end is that you get the ingredients mixed properly.


    This can be a lot of work, so be careful not to pull a muscle if you’re not used to strenuous activity. On the other hand, the physical effort involved is good for mind and body, and working with soil has kept me in pretty good shape. But if you have physical limitations, you can simply have someone mix it up for you while you supervise. As far as the proper steps go: Pour a few bags of base soil into your mixing container first, making a mound. Then pour the powdered nutrients in a circle around the mound and cover everything with another bag of base soil. In goes the bat poop and then more base soil. I continue this process of layering soil and additives until everything has been added to the pile.

    Now I put on my muck boots, which help me kick the soil around and get it mixed up well using my larger and stronger leg muscles instead of my arms. The rest is simple; as my skipper used to say, “Put your back into it.” This is hard work that I obsess over, even breaking up all the soil clods by hand. I work on the pile for at least 15 minutes, turning the soil over and over until it’s thoroughly mixed.


    Then I store my Super Soil in large garbage cans. (And before using any of it, I pour the entire load out and mix it well once more.) Once it’s placed in the cans, I water it slightly—adding three gallons of water to each large garbage can’s worth. Though it makes stirring the soil harder, adding water will activate the mycorrhizae and help all the powders dissolve.

    Before Planting

    So we’ve added the water, and now we let it cook in the sunshine—30 days is best for this concentrate. Do not put seeds or clones directly into this Super Soil mix or they will burn. This is an advanced recipe to be used in conjunction with base soil. First you place a layer of Super Soil at the bottom of each finishing container; then you layer a bed of base soil on top of the Super Soil concentrate; and then you transplant your fully rooted, established clones into the bed of base soil. As the plants grow, they’ll slowly push their roots through the base soil and into the Super Soil, drawing up all the nutrients they need for a full life cycle. The Super Soil can be also be used to top-dress plants that take longer to mature. I’ll use this mix for a full year.

    Buds grown with this method finish with a fade and a smoother, fruitier flavor. The plants aren’t green at harvest time, but rather purple, red, orange, even black—plus the resin content is heavier, and the terpenes always seem more pungent. This method is now being used by medical growers all over the world, and with amazing results. The feedback I’ve received is really positive, including reports of hydro-like growth and novice growers producing buds of the same high quality as lifelong cultivators. So give it a try! You won’t be disappointed.

    The Mix

    Here are the amounts we’ve found will produce the best-tasting buds and strongest medicines:

    8 large bags of a high-quality organic potting soil with coco fiber and mycorrhizae (i.e., your base soil)
    25 to 50 lbs of organic worm castings
    5 lbs steamed bone meal
    5 lbs Bloom bat guano
    5 lbs blood meal
    3 lbs rock phosphate
    ¾ cup Epson salts
    ½ cup sweet lime (dolomite)
    ½ cup azomite (trace elements)
    2 tbsp powdered humic acid

    This is the same basic recipe I’ve been using for the past 15 years. The hardest ingredient to acquire are the worm castings (especially since many people don’t even know what they are. FYI: worm poop). But don’t decide to just skip them: Be resourceful. After all, worms comprise up to ¾ of the living organisms found underground, and they’re crucial to holding our planet together. Also, don’t waste money on a “soil conditioner” with worm castings; source out some local pure worm poop with no added mulch.

    Subcool is the author of Dank: The Quest for the Very Best Marijuana, available at


    Now for the break out of this recipe for those that do not need a mix on this massive scale.

    Subcool's soil recipe broken down for the lazy folks

    Full Recipe
    8 large bags of a high-quality organic potting soil with coco fiber and mycorrhizae (i.e., your base soil)
    25 to 50 lbs of organic worm castings
    5 lbs steamed bone meal
    5 lbs bloom bat guano
    5 lbs blood meal
    3 lbs rock phosphate
    ¾ cup Epson salts
    ½ cup sweet lime (dolomite)
    ½ cup azomite (trace elements)
    2 tablespoons powdered humic acid

    1/2 Recipe
    4 large bags of a high-quality organic potting soil with coco fiber and mycorrhizae (i.e., your base soil)
    12.5 to 25 lbs of organic worm castings
    2.5lbs steamed bone meal
    2.5lbs bloom bat guano
    2.5lbs blood meal
    1.5lbs rock phosphate
    3/8 cup or 6 tablespoons Epsom Salts
    1/4 cup or 4 tablespoon sweet lime (dolomite)
    1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons azomite (trace elements)
    1 tablespoon powdered humic acid

    1/4 Recipe
    2 large bags of a high-quality organic potting soil with coco fiber and mycorrhizae (i.e., your base soil)
    6.25 to 12.5 lbs of organic worm castings
    1.25lbs or 20 ounces steamed bone meal
    1.25lbs or 20 ounces bloom bat guano
    1.25lbs or 20 ounces blood meal
    3/4 lbs rock phosphate
    3/16 cup or 3 tablespoons Epsom Salts
    1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons sweet lime (dolomite)
    1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons azomite (trace elements)
    1.5 teaspoons powdered humic acid

    1/8 Recipe

    1 large bags of a high-quality organic potting soil with coco fiber and mycorrhizae (i.e., your base soil)
    3.125 to 6.25 lbs of organic worm castings
    .625 lbs or 5/8 lbs or 10 ounces steamed bone meal
    .625 lbs or 5/8 lbs or 10 ounces bloom bat guano
    .625 lbs or 5/8 lbs or 10 ounces blood meal
    3/8 lbs or 6 ounces rock phosphate
    3/32 cup or 1.5 tablespoons Epsom Salts
    1/16 cup or 1 tablespoon sweet lime (dolomite)
    1/16 cup or 1 tablespoon azomite (trace elements)
    3/4 teaspoon powdered humic acid

    I have found myself in the Organic section of GC a lot lately and have learned a lot from the great group hanging out here.

    Good luck and thanks to Subcool for the original recipe. Back to mah vaporizer I guess. :smoke:
    • Like Like x 1
  2. #2 WeeDroid, Oct 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2011
    It seems like a good recipe. I like to use a compost tumbler to mix and store (rather than mixing on a tarp with a shovel) and sift all of my ingredients through a bread basket as some of the powdered materials like to clump up otherwise in the tumbler. The tumbler makes the work easier and storage a breeze. You can also load compost in and out easily.

    Here is the link to my topic on how I do that and a list of my ingredients.

    Safety Note! Wear a dust mask (or wetted bandana) when mixing!!! Some of this powdered shit is nasty to breath.

    A key point, which will not be lost on some here, is that there are a number of soil recipes out there and all of them are pretty good. The trick is to understand why each ingredient is being utilized. That way you can source similar or different items, depending on availability in your area, to make your own mix. ;)
  3. So I'm going to mix my first batch of Super Soil! I had a few questions, the last ingredient that i need is the Cal-Mag supplement cause i am using RO water (20ppm, 7ph). Are there are powdered cal mag products that you would recommend or should i add oyster shell flour? If oyster flour will work how much should i add to the mix? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. 1love
  4. nice thread :smoke:
  5. This is really helpful thank you, I've been wanting to transition into organics for some time. It's nice not having to worry about nutes, just add water and that's it, keepin it simple and all organic :bongin:
  6. I have noticed that the organics section has the best, most cordial, and more knowledgable posters on this site. Thanks to everyone for being here. This is a great thread. Love the end disclaimer about knowing and understanding why each ingredient is being used.

    So the guano being used, is it high N or P?
  7. great post. exactly what i was looking for +rep :smoke:
  8. #8 poppybgood, Sep 7, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2012
    The oyster shell flour will cover your calcium needs, but you will still need a magnesium source.All dolomite has magnesium, but the %ages vary.

    If you notice in Sub's mix he uses epsom salts(magnesium sulfate). If you follow his recipe to the letter, the magnesium should be covered. Some organic gurus frown on epsom salt, but I've used it for years with no ill effects I've ever noticed.
  9. #9 420maus, Sep 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2012
    Hey guys, just trying to figure some things out here...

    1.) there are different levels of phosphorous in different brands of bat guano, so which do i use??? 0-5-0 ,0-8-1, and a 1-10-0.2 :confused:

    2.)do i get soft rock phosphate or regular rock phosphate or is there even a difference?

    3.)what kind of water do i use and at what ph? Tap, distilled, RO? Also, will this product Real Plant Water - Real Plant Maximizer - Boost plant growth and yield through better water absorption - be harmful or helpful to this mix.

    4.) is the Miracle Grow Organic Blood Meal ok? (its all i can find) I know MG sux for the base soil.

    5.)lastly, i can't seem to find any dolomite or powdered humic acid...

    can anyone help me?
  10. Although I have realized my "Partial" organic grows, are just that partial nad I don't know a damn thing when it comes to real organics, but I do know this....

    pH between 6.0 - 7.0 is recommended..... I'd say in between 6.3 and 6.8.
    In veg the plants will favor a lower pH and in flowering a higher....

    If you want to go all out use RO since the soil mix is carrying the weight... Tap water is alright to use I'd say.. the dirt gives a good buffer and the nutes inside should settle pH levels...

    I don't know about the specific contents and %'s of organic materials, but I wouldn't see why MG Blood Meal would be worse than someone else's...

    Hopefully others will chime in and help out some, let us know what the verdict is!
  11. thanx for the help r3bel :wave:

  12. just found this:

    Water quality

    Before you get too far in your project, it's probably a good time to discuss water quality.

    As we all know chlorine is added to most public water systems to kill bacteria and other bad things. And as we all know, aeration will remove almost all of the chlorine and with a pump the size you're talking about using that will happen in 20-30 minutes. No problem!

    Next up is chloramine which is used by many, but not all, water districts. You need to call your local water company and see if they use this in their system. The ammonia in chloramine is the real bad one here.

    Wine makers use a product known as 'Camden tablets' but the problem here is that this is an agent used to kill wild yeasts, fungai and bacteria - not exactly what you want if you're trying to make a brew to grow their cousins.

    An easy way is to take a couple of tablespoons of quality earthworm castings and put them into your mesh bag and bubble it out for about 1 hour. The organic material in the earthworm castings will activate the chloramine causing it to convert chlorine and the aeration process will remove both the chlorine and ammonia.

    That or go and buy distilled water, which if one lives in or near a major population center given the usual quality of water out of the tap, may be the best option.

    You only need to apply these teas once (maybe twice) in a 12-week veg/flower growing cycle.

    In the mid-90's Dr. Elaine Ingham began investigating the use of ACT (aerated compost teas) at Oregon State University in conjunction with a group of researchers at University of Washington - Pullman.

    Dr. Ingham later went on and founded the Soil Food Web which has branches in Europe, Asia, South America, et al. This group tests soils, processes, methods and assists farmers and governments in learning how to maximize crops around the world.

    Here's a very good article on the "ins and outs" of brewing these teas - link
  13. MG=Monsanto.

    Act information:

    If using rock dusts and quality composts pH becomes an after thought. My pen needs more storage solution.
  14. I am about to try and make my very first mix, for my very first plants. I was wondering, if I make a smaller batch, does that mean the cook time in the sun will be less? Or should I still wait 30 days before use?
    Thanks so much :)
  15. Wait 4 weeks.
  16. Thanks a bunch! :D
  17. Does the cook have to be done in the sun? It's the wet season where I live n 30 days of straight sun is impossible right now. Don't want the rain to remove all the nutes either. Is it possible to cook indoors?
  18. You don't need to nutrient cycle in the sun. Just keep it moist and turn it every so often.
  19. How often do you turn your soil? Mines been cooking since Sat. Turned it twice. Is there such a thing as turning it too much or too little?
  20. I turn mine once a week. Not sure if there is such a thing as too little or too much.

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