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Converting from hydro to living soil: who’s done it, who’s looking to do it?

We know that living soil is the future of growing cannabis. Smart Pots is looking to push that even harder through an initiative. We are looking for growers/ companies who have converted and looking for growers who are looking to convert to work with on many levels. We are also open to ideas on how to make this a hit. Who’s down to lower your costs but increasing quality and yield???


This “technology” is already well advanced, far beyond the now-obsolete hydro approach. And the transition is largely a matter of belief, since most of the hydro beliefs are simply flat wrong (or irrelevancies that just get in the way). The principal impediment is the completely different skill-set required for using living soil (or whatever we call it) instead of a sterile (or sterilized) medium. Here is a link to the methodology that we here in Sonoma County, California have developed:

And, interestingly enough, you will find that the best “smart pots” to use are those with a white reflective and non-wicking coating, but those are perfect, especially in the larger sizes. This approach has been proven effective and superior indoors, as well.

An optimized bio-dynamic ecosystem using a vitalizing soil will deliver a grower a cheaper, easier, faster, and better crop. But then there are all those established beliefs and practices to get in the way…

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Coco is the close to hydro. All you do is manage the sodium in coco . Light clean air space . Super soils are nice but the digestion and c:n ratio dictates everything.


I personally love FoxFarm for having the right amounts of proper nutrients thru all of the veg phase and with a little budswel at the bloom phase CocoLoco is my new addition for the way that it evenly distributes the water using coconut coir. Cleanroom soil grows are the best in my opinion for the flavoring of the strains. Variety is Key.


Thanks for sharing that document @alexander.carpenter. Lots of great information in there!

3 Likes All Living soil using fabric ppts


Were you guys ever doing hydro, and if so, how was the conversion?


I started in soil, moved to hydro for awhile, then moved back to coco. I play around with a lot of media in a lot of applications but with my cannabis crops it’s always a living coco blend that works best for me…but everyone has their own way of growing.

Have other @mastergrowers, @GrowOpEmployees, @growopowners made a switch from hydro to soil? If so, why? How was the conversion? What made you a believer?


We did a soil-less mix - Fox Farm and Sunshine.

We had growing pains the first 6 months going to Living Soil as it is significantly different and requires being really in tune with plant needs. However we have doubled our yields and our plant health is astoundingly better.


I tried using a current culture DWC system and even after three grows it was a pain and the support was horrible. I moved back to soil and looking to try coco next.


What made it especially painful for you? What were the most challenging parts of the DWC system? The customer support issues would have definitely gotten under my skin!

Coco is awesome! I would have a hard time going back to DWC or ebb/flow now! Let me know when you get jamming and I’d be happy to give you some pointers based on my experience. Maybe I can help save you some heartache. There are some really great hydro and soil folks here in the community who can help out too :+1:

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seems like living soil is the way to go, if you aren’t doing hydro. Check out this link that was shared earlier in the thread.
Smart Pots are the best container option for living soil. First, anything plastic, wood, etc, with a rigid surface, will not have the oxygen interaction with the roots and microbes, vs the MASSIVE AMMOUNTS of oxygen that pass through a Smart Pot. There are other fabric knockoffs out there, but the goal of living soil is to have a soil that gets better with age. Knockoff pots are notorious for the lack of longevity. You’ll be lucky to get more than a year before you see tears with the knockoffs.

“I’m not so rich, that I can afford to buy cheap products”

Get at me if you have any questions :slight_smile:

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It is so complicated and if you don’t have a lot of automation and meters (PH, EC) it will make it even harder. I think their nutrient calculator was way to strong and once I cut them in half the plants would survive the cycle. I just think that way is outdated already, too expensive, and my soil plants which were a lot easier to tend to yielded just as much albeit maybe a little slower initially.


absorbent fabric pots not good.
Wet soggy bottom when it cools off to 68F at night =60-63F wet soil.
Many reason actually.

Fabric will be host for build up and anaerobics.

Look for non absorbent root bags.

If you want live soil, Add microbes and endomycorrhizae.
Don’t get caught up in this “live soil” or super soil b.s.
Like you gotta be some type of genius to make it.
LOL use peat, peat , peat, peat, peat, peat. Message me I will point you in the right direction.
COCO is DEAD!!! It cannot support Mycorrhizae or allow the eggs to attach and hatch.

If you grow hydro, ok then 100% coco and biochar.

I hate coco fiber or coco\peat and Peat Moss makes for really good live soil.
You are in control of your live soil. It don’t happen in 1 day.
If it’s not live, liven it up!!! with lab made Inoculants.
Kyle M


Coco ez to manage . Only sodium . I have plenty of beneficial results with microbes and coco . @FarmerK what makes you say that? Your sayin beneficial microbes can’t live in coco? Or endo myco? How bout ecto? Do you have research behind your statements? Really first I heard. I would never just combine a Random super soil with unreleased nutrient? Idk but many ways to skin a cat


This thread was for input on living soil growers: Who’s done it, who’s looking to do it, etc. You’re basically saying that this is all BS.

Also, the soil temperature in a Smart Pot will be the same as a plastic pot at night time…

Every winner of the Yield, and most of the winners in Terpene and THC levels, of The Grow Off competition, has been using Smart Pots. What are they doing differently?

The concept of Living Soil is more than just the bacteria and fungi. Also, coco works perfectly well with mycorrhizae. Seen it in dozens of grows.

Check out Harley Smith on YouTube. He gives a really solid breakdown on plant science and nutrients. Every grower should give it a look.



Coco coir , smart pots and microbes . Looks like it worked too me . Cost effective . Strong elaborate roots


Gaps Omri coco coir. Smart pots and RKAG microbial magic idk @FarmerK seems to do a decent job . Cost effective


Those are nice looking flowers. I like Smartpots and air pruning but this is 2019 and we can do better by not using absorbant nutrient fabrics that turn slimey and toss out. I started with fabric and moved on.
Love root bags just not fabric anymore.
Especially not black.
Oh they work but got something better now.
Plus I recycle. 3 and 4th grow coming on these suoer clean root bags from 2016.


I agree always strive to do better more effective efficient. I’m open . I’ll try @FarmerK