It’s great to see Eco-Life back on the shelves, can you tell me what the main difference is between this and the first version?
The main differences are how it is made and a few tweaks to the ingredients used. We first started by working with contract partners, but we soon realised we need to own the entire production process or it gets too complicated. We have changed the supercharged compost we used to use for a vermicompost – this is the microbial base for the soil that makes the whole system work. The benefit of worms working the material first is greater than using organic material and boosting it with nutritional inputs. We also now use Pumice for aeration instead of Perlite, as it is better for long term use, is nicer to work with and better for the planet. The Peat base blend has been tweaked and now includes some Coco Coir to achieve even better soil structure and water holding capacity. We have used the same blend of amendments as found in Life-Cycle to give a perfect balance of nutrition.
You said you need to own the entire production process. Does this mean that Eco-Life is made completely in house?
Eco-Life is now made indoors at Ecothrive HQ for full control and management of all inputs. We make it in small batches and monitor closely to ensure it goes through the correct ‘cooking’ process to develop the microbial populations and deliver the soil ‘live’ and ready to go. We have developed a proprietary process which allows us to make the highest quality soil with minimal handling but maximum attention to detail.
With the tweaks to the ingredients and changes to the production process, does this make Eco-Life soil any different to use than before?
Eco-Life is real soil, so all you need to do is plant something, water it and watch it grow. There is no need to add additional feeds or nutrients, it is all in the soil already. As long as you have enough soil volume for your desired crop canopy and maintain even constant moisture level, the plant will grow itself.
So what’s the best way to get the most out of Eco-Life and is there anything else you can add?
We recommend using a min of 180L soil per m2, which works out as 4 boxes, each box in a 15gal pot. You can rapidly improve the functions within the soil by add Live Worms, Hemp Shiv Mulch and Cover Crop Mix. We suggest watering in with Biosys and using Neutralise if unable to filter your water. We also like to use some Malted Barley Powder to top dress and water in, the enzymes help to enhance the processes within the soil. Otherwise we encourage growers to keep it simple, use all of their plant waste as ongoing mulch and keep it topped up to protect the soil.
You recommend using a minimum of 180l of soil per meter squared. What is that on a per plant basis?
We recommend one box of Eco-Life per 15gal pot, 4 pots per m2. You can grow one or multiple plants per pot but the soil volume is a key requirement and should not be ignored.
So can Eco-Life soil be reused? And if so, how would you recommend that it is kept healthy?
Eco-Life is an ‘organic living soil’ which means it is a living entity that if kept healthy will live forever. Many growers like to re-use living soil because with the correct care it will improve further every cycle. It is important to prepare properly if intending to go ‘notill’ by adding worms, mulch and cover crop. By using all waste plant material and applying a top dress of Life-Cycle twice per cycle (once at start of bloom and once at the start of each new cycle) growers can re-use the same body of soil over and over. This is where the yield potential goes up significantly and growers who want to maximise production should plan to develop their soil long term.
Thank you again to Gareth (Ecothrive) & Ben (Indoor Organics) for getting involved with our content, it’s a pleasure to have them!
If you’d like to get your hands on a bag, you can here.