GREETINGS TO ALL THOSE ALONG THE HIGHWAY. I’m The Rev and I have been doing this stuff for a long time, almost half a century, yikes! Today I want to show you a simple trick, if you are a soil (organic) gardener in containers, this one will really kick your yields up a big notch, even if you just use regular bagged soil. Check it out…

This trick works best in the self-watering style of containers as seen in the photo. You can use regular pots, but standing water for longer than 30 minutes is a big no-no in catch trays that are not Self-Watering container style. I get these pots at Walmart and they are easy to find online as well. You can see in the photo, the lower part of the inside of the container that sits below the water level, if the lower catch-tray is full of runoff water. This is our target zone, to fill this up first, just the deeper part, with the following mixture



  • One-part Perlite or Pumice or Vermiculite; small nugget size.
  • Two-parts steer manure.

This is how I prepare all my flowering containers for transplanting. Once you have filled the bottom with the manure blend, simply top it off with regular soil making sure there is at least 1 inch of soil on top of the steer manure blend—NEVER place root-balls directly on to steer manure layer.

Not only is this an uber rich nutrient source for your plants, swarming with good microlife, but when you water your plants, the water that collects in the lower tray of the self-watering containers will continue to become mellow steer-manure-tea (so to speak) for weeks; superfood for flowering plants in my experience, as they drink the water back up. Sometimes plants will react at first with a warping or twisting of leaves and/or blades. Don’t worry, this is fine and she will get right through that and launch into super healthy growth. When they do this, it always reminds me of myself getting into a hot jacuzzi, gotta get used to it, then bliss.

  • Make sure you are not using chlorinated water when using soil with organic style growing, the newest chlorine in most tap water these days is chloramine, and unlike straight chlorine cannot be just bubbled out of the water.
  • I would recommend backing off on any teas or liquid nutrient additions you normally use for at least a couple weeks allowing the manure layer to do that voodoo it does so well.
  • For an extra great kicker to the manure recipe, try adding about 2 teaspoons of greensand on top of the manure layer.

Okay my fellow greenies, stay tuned for more stuff, and whatever you do, don’t underestimate the power of this little trick. When done correctly it won’t make a little difference, it will make a huge difference. Just keep in mind NOT to overfeed, keep in mind you have that manure layer working for you powerfully for at least 30 days, and to a lesser degree for another 30 days.