I've been growing in soil for the majority of my journey. Did a little DWC with another fella till we converted to soil.
I use recycled soil (when cared for properly soil gets better with age) and run no-till containers when applicable. I'm in 5 gallon bags atm because they are easier for seed sifts...imo. The no-till containers are on the porch growing clover. They raised some sugar snap peas earlier this season.
suggested some IPM applications above. There are infinite ways to manage pests. Thank you for sharing Jewels!
If you're not planning to use pre chelated nutrients or harsh chemicals in your soil or in your plants I would suggest investing in some rove beetles. They are carnivores arthropods that will help control pests and procreate in healthy soil conditions. They eat soft bodied insects. The plant drives the soil food web through chemical exudates and will influence the population.
There is a bit of a debate whether Spinosad is should be considered oganic...it's an enzyme produced by GMO bacteria. I mean no disrespect to either side of the debate.
Sulfur works but it will kill worms and other beneficial organisms as well as unwanted ones.
I'm not an advocate for coco in soil because its inert and doesn't hold any life.
I used to use peatmoss. Now my mixed are made up of leaf mold/compost/casting and an aeration amendment. Rice hulls, pumice and scoria...and not in any particular order. Perlite will work too.
I've been using insect frass to dust the plants with up till the fowers set. Usually week 2. It works great in veg too.
As far as making teas, trying to grow organisms in aerated water. Unless you have and are proficient with a microscope I suggest compost extracts. You dont really know who your raising or what the ratios are. I use 4-6 cups of quality castings, compost and or leaf mold in 5 gallons of chlorine free water, aerated for no more then 8 hours. With very little sugars/or molasses. Less than 1/2 teaspoon.
I like to try to stimulate the immune response system/SAR (systemic acquired resistance) of plants s much as possible so they are stoked up to defend from pathogenic infections.
Aloe is also a great foliar. In veg and early bloom. Aloe contains a growth hormone regulator that may prolong flowering. Aloe also contain salicylic acid. Which also helps stimulate SAR. I think it's more synergistic but that's my opinion.
Aloe vera is a natural product that is now a day frequently used in the field of cosmetology. Though there are various indications for its use, controlled trials are needed to determine its real efficacy. The aloe vera plant, its properties, mechanism ...
Jasmonic acid (found in Jasmine and some other plants) also helps stimulate the immune response of the plant
I wrote this earlier and copied it here...
"I keep my soil in 55 gallon barrels in between grow cycles. I do notice an outbreak of fungus gnats when the soil first comes back in. That's only for 10 to 14 days or till the predators get organized. Sticky traps are used during that time. They are removed when the predators start getting stuck to them. There are always a couple gnats here and there but the predators keep them in check. Right now I'm in 5 gallon bags. They work well for sifting. The no-till containers are on the porch growing clover at the moment.
I've always focused on diversity. Introducing microorganisms from all over is a good thing. As long as they are collected from a healthy, living aerobic system...forests, castings, compost, etc. Forest floor humus is great source of materiel.
I used to collect the whole top layer from the hardwood forest floor. From the fallen leaves to past the humus layer and everything in between. Trying to keep it intact was a challenge. It worked great. There were some tree frogs that came in with it and they stayed in the tentsfor their lives. They always looked healthy and content.
I like the idea of making compost/castings at home. You're collecting the indigenous microbes that interface in the same environment as your plants. You can also cater the inputs of the compost and worm feed for your plants. Diversity is still a focus so outsourcing different humus material is always a good idea...to me anyway. To each their own. There are infinite ways to get there brother.
It sounds like your well versed in these areas. I apologize for any redundancy below.
Frass does help stimulate the systemic acquired resistance (SAR) in plants and trees. Some of the elicitors come from some of the organisms and the chitin in the exoskeleton fragments in the frass. At least that's what all the tests say. It does increase the production of the secondary metabolites...cannabinoids, terpenoids, sterols and flavonoids...and maybe some I missed. These secondary metabolites are produced as a defensive response mechanism in plants and trees. The cells walls of plants and trees have sensors for chitin and flagellin that trigger the SAR. Chitin is found in the cell walls of fungi and the exoskeletons of arthropods. Flagellin is found in archaea, bacteria and protists. Flagellin is a protein that makes up flagellum (singular) and flagella (plural). Flagella are the whip like appendages that help propel these organisms through media.
So basically insect frass helps stimulate the systemic acquired resistance in the plants without the actual pathogen being present.
There are many benefits of insect frass... and reasons to use it imho. I dont know all the benefits frass brings. It's loaded with beneficial microbes. Here is a little info off the cuff. There is a lot more I haven't memorized yet. The scientists are still learning about some of these organisms and they're potential role in the soil food web.
Trichoderma fungi - these fungi like to colonize on the surface of the roots. They help promote growth and help protect the roots against certain types of rot...Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Fusarium. They claim there are trillions of these fungal spores in a gram of frass.
Protozoa - these little creatures like to eat the single celled organisms in the soil and around the rhizosphere. This makes the nutrients that the single celled organisms contain available to the plant...in chelated form.
Pseudomonas - a bacteria that also helps stimulate the plants immune response system. Stimulates plant grown and suppress soil born pathogens.
Those are just a few of many.
I use about 1/4 - 1/2 cup per cubic foot of soil mix. Less for seedlings. I haven't had the greatest results using much insect frass around the roots of cuttings and seedlings. Frass is still an indication to the plant of insect pressure. Too much insect frass placed directly around the roots may deter their growth. That's just an observation. I haven't found any articles suggesing that yet. However a light top dressing after the plants are established gives very positive results. From my experience."
These are just a few of my suggestions. To each their own. There are infinite way to get there brother.
I need to eat soon and rest a bit before the lights come on. I really enjoy these talks and would love to discuss this more.
I wish you the best of fortune for your journey into the world of organics and soil.