People ask me all the time what makes the KIS Organics Soil Mix and KIS Organics Nutrient Pack so unique. It's hard to explain in a quick sentence all the time, research, and lab testing that went into perfecting the mix or the high ratios of ingredients we use compared to all the other soils on the market. I wanted to create an article though that explained in more detail the importance of all the soil amendments and minerals and why we put them in our mix.
Biochar - Raises carbon levels and CEC (ability of the soil to retain nutrients), provides habitat for beneficial microorganisms, increases water hold capacity, and much more.
Sphagnum Peat Moss - See article here. Peat has good biological activity, it's acidity is a nice balance to the alkalinity of the biochar and calcium amendments, and has a good CEC (cation exchange capacity).
Pumice - Pumice adds aeration to the soil. It is full of micropores that allow for space for aerobic microorganisms. It is heavier than perlite, which means it is less likely to float to the surface over time.
Oly Mountain Fish Compost - This is a 2-3 year aged fish based compost that is high in microbial activity and has good nutrient content. Recent lab testing has also shown no detectable levels of pesticides or herbicides. Compost adds organic matter, raises the CEC, increases microbial activity and diversity, and adds nutrients to the mix.
Worm Castings - Worm castings are one of my favorite amendments. Worm castings and vermicompost provide a lot of good nutrients as well as beneficial microorganisms, humic and fulvic acids. In addition, there are studies showing beneficial effects on plant growth, yield, and disease suppression.
Organic Alfalfa Meal - Fast release nitrogen and contains high levels of triacontanol, a beneficial growth hormone.
Organic Fish Bone Meal - High phosphorus source.
Organic Crustacean Meal - Excellent source of slow release nitrogen and chitin.
Organic Kelp Meal - Trace mineral source and contains plant growth hormones and regulators as well as over 70 different elements.
Organic Fish Meal - A fast release nitrogen source.
Glacial Rock Dust - Trace mineral source.
Calphos Soft Rock Phosphate - Calcium and phosphorus source.
Oyster Shell Flour - Calcium source.
Karanja Cake - 4% nitrogen plus a small amount of phosphorus and potash. One study showed the synergistic effects of neem and karanja used together in controlling aphids and mites.
KIS Organics Microbe Catalyst - This is the same ingredient we have been using in our compost teas for over a decade. It's a wonderful mixture of organic amendments and helps to increase microbial activity while also adding good nutrients to the mix.
Ag Lime - Also known as agricultural lime, it is an excellent calcium source and helps raise pH in acidic soils. Calcium is typically under-applied and utilized in container soils.
Dolomite Lime - This is a source of both calcium and magnesium. It provides approximately 23% calcium and 12% magnesium.
Cascade Minerals Basalt - Trace mineral source, this locally derived product has been tested to have low heavy metal content and high levels of plant-utilized elements.
Organic Feather Meal - Excellent slow release high nitrogen source. This prevents the plant from running out of nitrogen too early in the cycle.
Potassium Sulfate - OMRI certified. Also known as 0-0-50 or sulfate of potash (SOP), is a dual-nutrient fertilizer containing 50 percent potash and 18 percent sulfate. Potassium (potash) is a macro nutrient that plays a role in the activation of many growth related enzymes in the plant. Sulfur is important in chlorophyll formation and helps increase terpene production (plant protection as well as increased odors and flavors).
Gypsum - Also known as calcium sulfate, gypsum provides both calcium and sulfur while not dramatically effecting the pH. Calcium is an essential plant nutrient and helps in protecting the plant from heat stress and diseases, as well as promoting plant growth.
Keep in mind that there are many ways to make soil and none of these soil amendments are good or bad, but rather work together to create a balance, nutrient dense, biologically active and diverse soil mix.
Feel free to comment below with your favorite soil amendments and why.