How to Create the Soil for Container Gardening


Most garden soils will not work well for growing plants in containers. Garden soil is usually too heavy for container growing because there is too much clay to allow for good drainage and air circulation. If your garden soil is perfectly light and loamy, you can use it for potted plants instead of buying bags of potting soil, but you should still plan to mix it with other material to make it lighter and more nutritious.

Step 1

Pour equal parts garden or packaged soil, sand, and peat moss onto the tarp or newspaper. Leaf mulch may be used in place of peat moss, if desired, because it holds water almost as well as peat and it's much cheaper. (Use garden soil if it is very loamy. If not, use packaged potting soil.)

Step 2

Sprinkle bone meal evenly over the top of the pile. Use 1 teaspoon of bone meal per 1 gallon of soil.

Step 3

Stir the soil so that it's evenly mixed. The best way to do this is similar to folding cake batter. Scoop soil from the bottom and pour it onto the top of the pile. Make another scoop next to the first and pour it onto the top. Go around the pile in this way at least 10 times. If you're mixing a large amount of soil, reverse your direction and go around the other way another 10 times.

Step 4

Fill your containers with the soil almost to the top. Add a layer of compost to the top of each container to make a natural, slow-release fertilizer. Most container plants need to be fertilized every two weeks during their growth and blooming periods.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Hand trowel
  • Tarp
  • Shovel
  • Packaged potting soil
  • Garden soil
  • Sand
  • Peat moss
  • Leaf mulch
  • Bone meal
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer


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Who Can Help

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Keywords: container growing, potting soil, mix soil