It's not yogurt that your plants need. . .
By now, we’ve all heard how probiotics are essential and beneficial to our digestive health. Probiotics are the fuel that makes our bodies run smoothly and more efficiently. And while humans need probiotics, gardens can greatly benefit from them, too!
Normally, we get probiotics into our bodies by eating foods like yogurt or by taking supplements, but plants need different types of probiotics, so don’t go outside sprinkling your probiotic pills by your tomatoes!
Here, we have compiled all you need to know about applying probiotic gardening methods to the EarthBox® gardening system.
How to Make Your EarthBox® Garden Healthy
Why Grow With Probiotics?
In the age of technology, many companies that have large-scale farms utilize chemicals, pesticides, and other man-made compounds to rid the plants of pests and other ailments. While these methods do work, they can be extremely detrimental to the health of the soil, the plants, and even our own bodies if we ingest the produce. Because of these concerns, we are introducing a healthier, more natural method of gardening.
What Is Probiotic Gardening?
Probiotic gardening focuses on strengthening soil with the finest minerals, vitamins, prebiotics and nutrients to create an environment for plants to grow faster and help naturally deter pests. Just like you strengthen your digestive system with probiotics found in yogurt—soil, the “stomach” of the Earth, also needs probiotics for plants to thrive. The Soil Food Web below shows several levels of the natural gardening chain and how they operate together:
Probiotic gardening uses a variety of techniques including the use of natural effective microorganisms, fermentation, and composting to create healthier crop yields without disrupting the natural cycle around the plants.
“Veganic" gardening is another term gaining popularity. It operates on the same principles of probiotic gardening, but solely relies on non-animal by-products to grow abundant crops—which means the compost does not contain any animal manure.
Probiotic Gardening Can Work For You
Probiotic gardening isn’t only good for you and your plants, it is safer for the environment. With probiotic gardens, water runoff is not toxic, pests are kept at bay naturally, and your plants are less susceptible to disease.
Probiotic gardening is a helpful technique that any gardener can use. The soil in which your plants grow is the only nutrient-providing material your plant will receive, so ensuring the growing media is packed full of minerals, vitamins, probiotics, and other nutrients is an invaluable way to grow thriving plants.
It all starts with the growing media. We recommend using a peat-based, soil-less growing media that contains perlite in the EarthBox® gardening system. The peat provides proper wicking and the perlite allows for aeration and drainage. But because traditional sterilized potting mix typically does not contain all of the essential nutrients plants need, the EarthBox® Probiotic Wellness Garden (PWG) provides everything your plants need to grow utilizing the probiotic gardening technique:
- 12 qts. Malibu Compost Biodynamic® Bu's Blend™ Compost*
- 2 cu. ft. EarthBox® Potting Mix
- 2 lbs. EarthBox® Dolomite
- 2 lbs. Gro-Kashi Garden Dregs Fertilizer
- 1 qt. TeraGanix EM1®
Detailed instructions and planting guide on caring for the EarthBox® PWG are available online. Unlike the original EarthBox® gardening method of the “set it and forget it” way, probiotic gardening is more involved and requires a more hands-on approach.
*Not suitable for veganic gardening (contains cow manure)
Types and Methods of Probiotic Gardening
You may already be using some probiotic gardening practices in other parts of your yard and not even realize it! Each of the components here make up the EarthBox® Probiotic Wellness Garden (PWG), and when used together, create an ideal growing environment for any crop.Compost
Composting is a simple concept that many gardeners use and can be considered a probiotic gardening technique. While composting is rather simple, it can be slightly more involved than anticipated—you can’t just compost anything!
For composting, try the following tips:
- To add nitrogen to the soil; try composting materials like grass clippings, coffee grounds, or even human hair (weird, but it works!)
- To add carbon to the soil; try composting dry leaves, easily biodegradable paper products (such as newspaper), saw dust, or pine needles
- Vegetable and fruit scraps, eggshells, and nut/legume shells are good additions to your compost
- Never compost meat or bones, human waste, pet waste from cats or dogs, oils, or dairy products
- Turn compost regularly to help break down the components and prevent heat from building internally
When you compost, the goal is to add nutrients to the soil that may become depleted after too much use or water runoff. If you’ve ever composted, you may be worried about the smell, but there is a way to keep the odors at bay!
Compost in the EarthBox® gardening system should not be used as a replacement for peat-based growing media; but rather a way to add essential nutrients for plant health within the growing media. If you choose to use your own compost, rather than a commercial brand, be careful—using compost that is not fully broken down can do more harm than good to your crops.
Not all composts are created equal, and that’s why we chose one of the best to offer as part of the EarthBox® Probiotic Wellness Garden. Malibu Compost Biodynamic® Bu’s Blend Compost will work to energize your garden, all while only feeding your plants organic materials. Cow manure, oak bark, dandelion, and straw make up this high-quality compost creation.
Microbes and Microorganisms
Bacteria come in all shapes and sizes, some good and some bad—but we’ve harnessed the good bacteria and included two valuable blends in our EarthBox® PWG.
The Gro-Kashi Garden Dregs Fertilizer relies heavily on ancient fermentation practices. Many gardeners mistake microbial growth as a nuisance or think it will be harmful to their garden, but the goal of Gro-Kashi is to actually infuse your soil with the necessary microbes to build your plant’s immunity and increase yield.
The other type of blend we include with our PWG is TeraGanix EM•1®. EM® is an acronym for Effective Microorganisms® and was developed by Japanese scientist Dr. Teruo Higa in the 1980s. TeraGanix EM•1® is a soil conditioner that essentially acts as an inoculant for your EarthBox® garden, keeping your plants healthy!
With the combination of organic matter from the compost and the beneficial bacteria and microorganisms, plants thrive in the EarthBox® PWG. You’ll be able to see the difference in the health of your plants in a short time!
Start Your Own Probiotic Garden
Regardless of whether you’re a first time gardener or a gardening expert, probiotic gardening is easy with EarthBox®.
For those interested in probiotic gardening, we offer a Probiotic Wellness Garden on EarthBox.com! You’ll receive the original EarthBox® gardening system and casters, plus all of the probiotic components to ensure your plants grow strong and healthy.
For those who already own an EarthBox® gardening system and want to try probiotic gardening, we do offer an EarthBox® Probiotic Planting Kit.