What is Living Soil?
Meet Comanche Compost Co.
by Sage Howell
Hello, I am Sage Howell, a Technical Director with Comanche Compost Co. I come from generational farming dating back to the dust bowl. I have been a commercial hydroponic operations specialist for vertical food farms, an organic certified agronomist, and cannabis cultivation consultant for almost a decade, and I am honored to bring you more information about cultivation and what we specialize in at Comanche Compost Co. In the next couple of columns exclusively here at Herbage, I am honored to bring you information pertaining to some pressing topics in cannabis, and I hope to shed some light on not only what we do at Comanche Compost but also share some of the information I have gathered over the years.
Why does the forest never need fertilizer, yet huge trees emerge from it? After thousands of years and cycles not a single “forest farmer” has gone in and added nutrients to the natural cycle that occurs in the woods. Why is that? Because Mother Nature has developed a symbiotic relationship between the plants and the microbial life in the soil. The fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and many other types of microbes for a complex soil food web that helps feed the plants utilizing the natural exchange from carbons and sugars that the plant releases (extruded exudates) through the roots into the soil. With this style of organic growing at the focal point of expert cannabis cultivators we wanted to walk through what a Living Soil is and what makes Comanche Compost Co a new leader in cannabis soil production.
Living Soil is different than the traditional salt-based solid or liquid nutrient feeding that has maintained popularity throughout illegal and legal cannabis cultivation since the 1970’s.  Not everyone grows in soil anymore, but most experienced cannabis connoisseurs prefer organically minded growers and consumers prefer naturally grown, terpene rich cannabis found from organically grown cannabis.
The non-organic nutrients that are commonly used in grows are chelated minerals traditionally, chelated refers to the binding of a mineral to an organic amino acid, allow for all of the micro and macronutrients to be readily available to the plant and having the plant uptake it immediately.
What happens with a Living Soil is instead of having those chelated nutrients scattered readily available throughout the soil for immediate uptake, you center the growing method about building your microbial life throughout the soil horizon. This gives power back to the cannabis plant. Cannabis has historical roots that date back to 8000 BC and have evolved over time to feed their own needs through the soil in which they live. Comanche Compost Co builds the soil, cultivators build the ecosystem, and the plant develops the relationship with both creating Living Soil.
How Is Living Soil Different from Other Cultivation Methods?
Living Soil differs vastly from the chelated, synthetic nutrient solutions and chemical additives found in grows today. Comanche Compost Co. harnesses the power of the microbes, mycorrhizae (fungi), and bacteria in the soil and allow the plant to feed itself what and when it needs it. We are cultivators that want to supply the optimal ecosystem to help the plant and soil-food web do their work. When conditions are correct this results in promising yields, outstanding terpene production, and healthy plants.
Is It Really Alive?
Of course, it is! A true living soil system incorporates biological active soil that eats and feeds off of what is in the material. According to Jeff Lownfels, author of Teaming with Microbes, “Plants gets energy from the sun and uses it to produce extrudates (sweat) and drip them through the roots, they attract bacteria and fungi, eat the carbon in the extrudates. Bacteria and Fungi in turn attract Nematodes and Protozoa who eat them (for their carbon) and poop out the excess nutrients (diverse and abundant) in a plant usable form. The extrudate mix from the plant attracts more of what it needs to grow. The plant is in control.”
A true Living Soil has compost that has beneficial bacteria, fungus, and nutrients that are being cycled by the organisms teaming throughout the mixture.
How Does Comanche Compost Co make Living Soil?
First off, Comanche Compost sources and blends their own materials, nutrients, and organic matter at our own facilities utilizing state of the art material mixing systems, clean water, and with a master composter overseeing every step of the cycle. We build our soils with care in each batch, mixing old craft growing methods with science-based measurements to create our premier line of soil and soil products.
From composted industrial cold brew coffee, spent mushroom grains, yogurt from your favorite on the go provider, to worm castings, everything put into our compost is meant to feed the microbes and in turn feed your plants!
In this spirit, Comanche Compost Co. was founded to offer growing solutions that combine the generational knowledge of outdoor growers from the Pacific Northwest with the latest emerging techniques and methodologies arising from the indoor growing culture of the Southwest to produce undeniable results. In a nutshell, we incorporate new science-based cultivation methods with old craft growing techniques to create proven products that produce results.
Our products are living soil blends, composts, organic dry fertilizers & plant stimulants which are all naturally rich in organic nutrients, acids & enzymes, and teaming with specific microbes. Our unique recipes are proven to support consistent growth from seed germination, all the way through to harvest, with a hyper-focus on the development of potency, flavors, and aromas of the end product. We combine the spiritual with the scientific to produce an undeniable difference in every product.
We are not only good stewards for the good grow but also of the earth. Our products are designed to leave the earth better then we found it. We are always pushing the limits on what we can do to limit our dependence on peat moss and other unsustainable growing products to leave the industry in a better place than when we found it.
Why Choose a Living Soil System?
With a living soil system, the main is to take good care of the soil life so the soil life will take very good care of your plants. To feed the soil, not just the plants. This means more nutrients available to the plant over time and not leached out of your system.
All the most impressive genetic qualities of each different unique cannabis strains are expressed to the fullest in living soil, the flavors, aromas, colors, terpenes, and psychoactive effects that the enjoy medicinally or recreationally. And that is why most connoisseur communities prefer living soil cannabis.
Learning how to cultivate cannabis in living soil will allow you to make the most natural and finest, top-shelf flower on the market. Most people don’t do it because, much like in the restaurant business, it is easier to prepare mass-market “fast food” with less nutrients. But, if you can master the living soil method, your product will always be superior.
You will have to explore genetics that respond best to living soils but the quality commands a much higher price that compensates for total revenue and margins. Better yields in many cases have to do with genetics, pruning and having the right environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, and airflow).
Inhaling organic, living soil cannabis is smooth and tasty, the type of high is cleaner and you need less of it to achieve incredible healing and recreational experiences. This is why we say we make “Good Medicine for The Good Grow.” Because the difference is undeniable!
 What is Living Soil? An Introduction for Curious Cannabis Cultivators | Whole Grow – “But over the past 50 years, and specially over the last 10 years, indoor cannabis cultivation has grown to a commercial level and more industrial growing methods like hydroponics, aeroponics and synthetic mediums have become more popular.”
 An archeological site in the Oki Islands near Japan contained cannabis achenes from about 8000 BC, probably signifying use of the plant. Cannabis in Eurasia: origin of human use and Bronze Age trans-continental connections