Colin Austin © 5th July 2024 This document is published under the Creative Commons system which means that it can be copied and republished without further permissions but the author Colin Austin @ must be recognised.  

Gbiota overview

Food not pills

Pick and eat plants grown in living soil – that is the way to feed your gut-brain which controls your appetite and how much fat your body stores.

The wrong fat in the wrong place is the underlying cause of the modern epidemic of chronic diseases, obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and dementia.

This article is an overview of how the Gbiota system works. This is not an instruction manual, just to give you a general overview.

Gbiota is a community benefit organisation, (not some mega-corporation). It is run by activists who want to see future generations have access to healthy food. This does require active participation from members either in producing Gbiota boxes or being a customer and buying Gbiota boxes – the power of your wallet is supporting the movement.


The underlying principle of the Gbiota system is to create an Eco-balance by breeding beneficial microbes in the soil and creating the conditions where the beneficial microbes out-breed and out-compete potential harmful microbes.

Beneficial microbes need a combination of nutrients, water and air.

In the Gbiota system, this is achieved by a combination of flood and drain and recycling.

The base of the bed is flooded which expels all the stale air, the bed is then allowed to drain and as the water drains it sucks in fresh air so the soil is breathing.

The fluid that is drained is full of nutrients and living creatures so this is recycled back into the bed – we call this fluid soil blood as it does the same job as our blood.

Wickimix and Gbiota beds.

The first step is to produce Wickimix, a growing media (or soil) full of beneficial microbes, living creatures and nutrients.

This is done in a Gbiota bed.

If you don’t have a garden or want to mess about producing your own Wickimix then find a local grower who can supply you with either Wickimix or Gbiota boxes.

These are raised beds about 300mm high and are free-standing eg with no side wall.

ag pipeStart by laying ag pipes, these must be level so either the bed must be flat or the pipe(s) laid along a contour line.

The bed is then covered to a depth of 100mm with organic waste. Grass cuttings make a good base, then covered with food or other organic waste.

This is then covered with a nutrient layer, typically a mix of manure, volcanic rock dust, dolomite (to balance pH) and trace minerals (found in blood and bone).

If just starting this is then covered with a third layer of soil plus inoculants (microbes and soil creatures) but one started this layer will be old Wickimix from boxes that are being regenerated.

The inlet to the ag pipe is raised for filling.

The exit is raised, sitting on a leaky dam. When the pipe is filled the incoming flow is much higher than the outlet flow from the leaky dam so the base is flooded, but when the inlet flow is stopped the base of the dam drains.

The drainage from the leaky dam is normally caught in a sump, with a pump, so the soil blood is automatically recirculated but a simple alternative is to replace the sump with a lower bed which catches the soil blood and is used to grow water-loving plants. Not ideal but practical.

Feeding the life stock

Gbiota beds are full of living creatures from the larger creatures like the worms right to the microscopic bacteria, fungi and viruses.

These feed on the organic waste and nutrients in the bed, but also plants which are growing in the soil exude nutrients from the roots.

Each species of plant exudes different nutrients to attract different species so a broad spectrum of plants are grown.

These can simply be used as green manure or consumed or sold.

Experienced home gardeners can quite happily make their own Gbiota beds but commercial growers can run a viable business selling Gbiota boxes to customers with no growing experience and who live in apartments.

Gbiota Boxes

Growers are most likely to sell Gbiota boxes with plants ready to start harvesting, but they may also supply clean skins, boxes ready to plant or even just supply the Wickimix which is a vital part of the Gbiota process.

These boxes work on the same principle as Gbiota beds using the flood and drain and recycling system but in a different way.

The box is fitted with a swivel tube which allows the bed to be flooded and drained and the soil blood to be circulated.

As with a bed, there is a length of ag pipe running along the base, and the box is initially loaded with three layers, grass clippings and organic waste, a nutrient layer and the top layer of mature Wickimix.

A compost tube is also used for customers who want to recycle their organic waste.

Seeding and germination

Seeds are sprinkled on the surface and covered with either Vermiculite (which is very light and holds water) or another layer of Wickimix.

Some seed varieties germinate best if they are totally flooded while others germinate best with light watering.

The compost tube goes down to the base of the box and is used to water the plants from underneath with the water wicking up to the root zone.

Regular watering

The compost tube can be filled with household waste so when water is poured into the tube the compost leachate is flushed into the base of the box.

The swivel tube is put into the up position and water (or the soil blood) is simply poured into the compost tube until the soil blood reaches the top of the swivel tube.

A container will be placed under the swivel tube to catch an overflow. The swivel tube will be turned to the down position to drain the box and the soil blood captured for the next irrigation.


Plants are often grown on the cut-and-come-again principle in which just the tips of the leaves are harvested and the plant regrows. This gives a much longer harvesting period but at some point, the box will need reseeding.

Some customers may like to reseed themselves while others will just order a replacement box with plants ready to harvest.