Get Growing With Native Soil
Living soil feeds your plants, aids in water retention, and is an important part of pest management. Start with a cover crop, then watch your plants grow. Feed your soil with a top dressing and add LABS to keep the soil alive. Healthy life below the surface means healthy plants above and below the soil.
The Cover Crop
The cover crop adds nitrogen to the soil as it is trimmed. It also helps your soil to retain moisture while keeping out unwanted plant growth. Some plants will even aid in pest prevention.
Planting and maintaining a cover crop
Top dressing your soil with amendments at the beginning and at the end of your plant’s growth cycle will prepare the soil and assist your plants during every part of their life cycle.
How to Top Dress
- Start by scratching the top layer of the soil in your container.
- Spread the amendments evenly as you gently work them into the top layer of the soil.
You have healthy bacteria in your body as a part of your body’s probiotic balance. Lactobacillus acts as the soil’s probiotic makeup. It populates in the soil and staves out pathogens. LABS cost pennies and are fun and easy to make.
How to Make LABS
- Fill half of a jar with rice then fill the rest of the way with water.
- Let this soak for about 20 minutes and shake a few times. The water should become cloudy.
- Strain the water into another jar, cover with cheesecloth and a rubber band and let sit 4-7 days. You should see three separate layers and smell a little sour. The top layer is mostly mold, the middle layer is lactobacillus and other bacteria (what we want), and the bottom layer is starches and other byproducts.
- Siphon off the middle layer into a new jar or container that is much larger than the original. Mix the middle layer with 10 parts of milk. Using milk ensures the lacto is the dominating bacteria. For example, 1 cup of rice serum needs 10 cups of milk.
- Let this mixture will sit for about a week depending on the temperature. Cover the jar lid but do not seal it. There can be some bubbling during this process and overflow might occur. After about a week you’ll notice it has separated into 2 layers. The top will be a large curd consisting of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. The bottom layer will be a yellowish color and this is what we want.
- Siphon the bottom layer out or scoop out the curds and strain the remaining serum using a fine mesh strainer.
- You can use right away or refrigerate the serum in a sealed jar and activate it using a 1:1 ratio of molasses when needed.