How to Make Organic Potting Soil


Many gardeners choose to raise their potted plants in organic potting soil in an effort to reduce their dependence on various chemicals. While you can purchase organic potting soil in many garden stores, save money by making your own organic mix at home. Combine various gardening elements to create a rich, well-draining medium that can keep your container garden growing lush and green.

Step 1

Measure out equal parts of garden topsoil, compost and sand, vermiculite or perlite.

Step 2

Sterilize the garden topsoil to avoid introducing insect pests or plant diseases into your homemade potting mix. Preheat an oven to 180 degrees F. Pour the soil into a baking pan and cover it with foil. Bake the soil for 30 minutes.

Step 3

Combine the sterilized soil with the compost.

Step 4

Add the perlite, sand or vermiculite to improve the potting mix's drainage. Mix it thoroughly into the compost-and-soil combination.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden soil
  • Compost
  • Sand, vermiculite or perlite
  • Oven
  • Baking pan
  • Tinfoil


  • "Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening"; Fern Bradley, et al.; 2009
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: Potting Mixes for Certified Organic Production
  • Colorado State University: Sterilized Soil

Who Can Help

  • Organic Gardening Magazine
  • Organic Trade Association: Organic Standards
Keywords: organic potting soil, homemade potting soil, organic soil recipe

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.