Organic Soil Recipes

In organic gardening, the soil is the most important aspect of the garden, according to Colin Shaw in "Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening." You can make your own organic soil from readily available ingredients. This allows garden materials and wastes to be reused and recycled. It also gives you a more intimate understanding of your soil and what your plants need. With practice you will find the right balance of bulk material, nutrients, aeration and drainage that suites your specific plants.

Seed-Sowing Mixtures

Organic seed-sowing mixtures can include leaf mold alone, which should be 2 years old. Leaf mold is a low-nutrient bulking agent that has good moisture retention, contains disease-combating microorganisms and helps to maintain an open structure. It can often be sufficient on its own if sieved, but may possibly grow weed seedlings. Mixing leaf mold and loam at a ratio of 1:1 gives good results with most seeds, but may be too coarse for tiny seeds and needs careful watering. Comfrey leaf mold, which is high in potassium, and sand at a ratio of 4:1 will provide sufficient nutrients until the transplanting stage.

Potting Mixtures

There are many combinations of ingredients that can be used for potting mixtures, and you may have to experiment to see which ones you prefer for the types of plants you wish to grow. Loam, leaf mold and garden compost at a ratio of 1:1:1 is a simple mix that is well-drained and fertile. If growing plants such as pot-grown tomatoes or peppers, which are heavy feeders, then a mix of loam, aged manure and leaf mold at a ratio of 3:1:1 is recommended by "Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening." Leaf mold and worm compost at a ratio of 3:1 is a nutrient-rich mix, as is peat, sand, loam and garden compost at 2:1:3:0.5. Comfrey leaf mold on its own can be good for flowering and fruiting container-grown plants.

Rooting Mixtures

Rooting media is often used to open up a mix, reducing the risk of cuttings rotting off instead of rooting. Peat and sand or perlite (a lightweight material to improve drainage) at a ratio of 1:1, or sieved leaf mold and coarse sand at a ratio of 1:1 are both good mixes. For the second one, well-rotted leaf mold is best.

Keywords: organic soil recipes, organic potting soil, soil mixtures

About this Author

Naomi Judd, CIG, has been a writer for six years and been published in Tidal Echoes, Centripetal, The Capital City Weekly and She has a self-designed Bachelor of Arts degree in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is currently earning an Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from University of Southern Maine.