Subcool's Super Soil in Winter

Discussion in 'Organics' started by Majikoopa, Dec 6, 2017.


    Majikoopa Well-Known Member

    Howdy neighborinos.

    I am just getting into making super soil but, ironically old man winter decided to come to dump on my plans... it is freezing here!!!

    So, I have a little work around planned. Im going to do the subcool planting mix from scratch following his recipe, but will do it in the garage. Im thinking a 1/4 batch of composted soil in a large Rubbermaid container.

    It still gets chilly in there though, so I'll plan on putting a heating pad underneath it (the kind meant for your back) set on a very low setting. It will set on a pretty cold concrete surface, but my hope is the pad will do just enough to kick start things until the composting gets serious.

    What do we think, ok move or recipe for disaster?

    evergreengardener Well-Known Member

    maybe dont put it on the floor maybe pallets? soil can compost in cold as long as its still above freezing in the garage

    Majikoopa Well-Known Member

    That's a smart idea. I will elevate it, the concrete is a real heat sink in winter. It should be just above freezing. Do you think the heating pad is a bad idea? My plan was to have it on the lowest setting to simulate summer.
    Tyleb173rd likes this.

    Wetdog Well-Known Member

    The heating pad is a recipe for disaster...period!

    Warming the soil is a good idea, but use something that's designed to do just that, like seed starting mats or soil heating cables that actually go in the soil. Both are waterproof and much stronger construction. A heating pad isn't, or much less so anyway. I use both and in fact just ordered another seed mat, $13 shipped, so they are cheap enough.

    The best thing I've found for cold concrete is the pink sheets of insulation at HD or Lowes. They range in thickness from 1/2" to 1" and the large sheets are easy to cut to size. The local HD has them in 2'x2'x1" which work well under my 4' cloning light, or the 2' T5's. Pallets still allow cold air underneith and don't work nearly as well, but still better than sitting directly on the floor.

    Majikoopa Well-Known Member

    You have been a wealth of knowledge to me lately man. Thanks!

    Majikoopa Well-Known Member

    Ok man I went ahead and got what I think is the exact seed mat you described. Where would you recommend putting it? In the soil mix itself, below, above, inside or outside the container?

    I have a bunch of old cardboard boxes Im thinking of just breaking down to make a thick mat to put the Rubbermaid on, but will get actual insulation next time I make a run to the home despot.

    I appreciate your advice, oh organic guru.

    Wetdog Well-Known Member

    The heating mats are designed for the container to sit on top of it. Would go, floor -> insulation -> heating mat -> container of mix. They should never go IN the mix, they aren't that waterproof.

    Soil heating cables are designed to be buried in the mix and work great for larger amounts of soil. The only drawback is, pretty much any size bigger than the smallest (~12' IIRC), requires a thermostat control and those suckers cost at least as much as the actual cables, sometimes more. This would need some research if you go that route.

    NewGrower2011 Well-Known Member

    Jumping on the bandwagon here, I've got some rubbermate brute cans myself going and luckily mine started their process during early fall lying on a tarp then got canned after having sat for several weeks.

    I too was wondering about being in the cold garage. It's not freezing by any means, but very cool. I've been preparing activated EM for a couple weeks and was contemplating whether to use it on the soil in the cans and let sit another week or two versus getting my smart pots setup, warming in their room at ambient temps and apply the EM there. Leftovers would end up in the remaining soil in the cans. I made more than I can use but wouldn't mind it composting as best it can until its needed several months from now.

    So how does the soil preparation/composting work out in these cool temps when trying to also apply teas/em's, etc?
    papa canna

    papa canna Well-Known Member

    I'm sure this isn't an option for some, but if you can find the right container, I would put it in a grow space. Perfect conditions. Temp controlled, light source, etc. Working well for me currently. I mixed up a batch on Saturday, didn't water it yet, checked just now and the container is sweating like crazy and there's already white fungus growing on the top :)

    NewGrower2011 Well-Known Member

    Yeah I contemplated dragging my containers indoors... but ugh. Why would the light source be of note or are you just saying you'd have light to work by?

    I need to apply the EM I've gotten prepared so I think I'll just get the pots ready, apply the EM within the pots and any leftover EM can get thrown in with the leftover soil in the containers - I can always make a batch for the sitting/aging soil in the spring as it warms up.

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