The BuildASoil Living Organic Soil – Vegan Mix contains a blend of ingredients that are geared toward providing an optimal growing environment for plants.
As the name suggests, these ingredients are all vegan, so it lacks some of the animal-derived additions that are fairly common in some competitors’ products, such as worm castings and bat guano. It is also much more basic than some of BuildASoil’s alternative products, which contain a much wider, more thought-out range of ingredients for only a little more money.
However, priced at $20 for a bag of soil that’s one cubic foot in size, the Living Organic Soil – Vegan Mix is reasonably priced for a good-quality product that contains multiple organic vegan ingredients that help with fertilization and plant nourishment.
It should be noted that the quantities of these additional ingredients are fairly small, at either half a cup per cubic foot (Acadian kelp meal and alfalfa meal), one cup per cubic foot (agricultural limestone and gypsum dust), or two cups per cubic foot (basalt), according to the company website—and it’s unclear exactly how big these “cups” are. However, the BuildASoil Living Organic Soil – Vegan Mix comes pre-mixed and ready to use straight out of the bag, which minimizes wastage and preparation time.
Base and Composts
Half of the base of this soil is made up of sphagnum peat moss. This helps improve water retention, as it is able to retain up to 20 times its weight and hydrate plants as necessary over time—almost like a kind of drip-feed. Not only is this beneficial for the plant, but it also cuts down on maintenance time for the grower, which is an added bonus.
In addition to this, sphagnum peat moss contains micronutrients that get passed to the plant, as well as elements such as sulfur that encourage the plant to produce and express its natural terpenes. These terpenes are responsible for the taste, smell, and color of a plant, meaning that the peat moss will contribute to the overall flavor of the flower.
BuildASoil also uses one of its own composts in this soil to provide the optimum base for growing strong, healthy plants. The Colorado Pinto Bean Compost contains an excellent blend of minerals and has an ideal pH, which helps with acid regulation in the soil. The combination of this and sphagnum peat moss is extremely effective.
An additional ingredient that makes up the base of this product is biochar, which causes the soil to hold onto water and nutrients more efficiently and for longer than it would otherwise. They can then be absorbed and utilized by the roots of the plant as necessary—again, in a drip feed-like manner. This contributes dramatically to the overall yield. It also eliminates the need to use synthetic fertilizers on the plant, which can be damaging in general and affect the overall yield negatively.
Additionally, the biochar used in this product is charged—meaning it has been mixed with compost (and, therefore, beneficial organisms) and left for a period (usually around 10 days). This is known to enhance the biochar’s effects and benefits. A total of 5% of the entire soil mix is made up of charged biochar—not as much as some other soils on the market, but enough to be effective.
Aeration and Drainage
This soil mix contains a number of ingredients that improve the aeration and drainage. The first example of this is pumice—a coarse material that has been ground and mixed with the soil in the Living Organic Soil – Vegan Mix. It is a welcome addition as it helps to provide spacing between soil particles, thereby contributing to drainage and aiding aeration and consequently helping to avoid rot in both the roots of the plant and the soil—a common cause of plant death.
Many marijuana soils also contain perlite, which is similar to pumice. However, BuildASoil uses parboiled rice hulls instead, which is considered by most growers to be superior. Not only do they provide a natural, sustainable alternative to perlite, but they also work just as well to provide aeration and drainage, with some people claiming that they even work better. It’s important to note that they’re parboiled, as this process kills all weed seeds and rice seeds—both of which are unwanted additions to any marijuana plant pot.
On top of the minerals and nutrients contained in the sphagnum peat moss and the Colorado Pinto Bean Compost, the Living Organic Soil – Vegan Mix formula also includes mineral additions.
Gypsum dust provides vital nutrients in addition to improving water penetration, while agricultural limestone is an excellent source of calcium carbonate. Basalt provides micronutrients such as iron and calcium. Lastly, soluble silicon improves resistance to pests and disease and helps strengthen plant cell walls.
As well as mineral additions, there are soil amendments contained in the Living Organic Soil – Vegan Mix that help to create the optimum growing environment for plants. Again, all of these are organic and vegan, as the name suggests.
First is organic kelp meal, which is an excellent fertilizer and source of nutrients to promote quick and successful plant growth and yield. Next is organic alfalfa meal—an all-natural fertilizer that helps to enrich, replenish, and rebuild worn-out soil. It also works with the organic kelp meal to accelerate plant growth. This is a great mix of additional soil amendments to promote the optimal soil environment for a marijuana plant.
Quick Summary – Pros and Cons
- Good mixture of high-quality ingredients to promote growth.
- Good mixture of high-quality ingredients to help water retention, drainage, and aeration.
- Comes in a heavy-duty bag and is ready to use straight away.
- All ingredients are vegan and organic.
- Doesn’t contain some of the ingredients that have proven to be effective in potting soils.
- Measurements are unclear (“cup”).
- For only a little more money, you can purchase a similar BuildASoil product that contains a wider range of ingredients.
- The formula is vegan, so lacks some ingredients included in similar products on the market.