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How to Mix Soil for a Vegetable Container Garden

By Mavis Butterfield
Potting soil ingredients

Making a batch of homemade potting soil from scratch is easier than you think. And, because you know what's in it, there is no second-guessing on the quality or how long it's been sitting on a warehouse shelf.

Homemade Vegetable Garden Soil Recipe

The recipe for homemade vegetable garden soil is pretty easy. Simply mix 1 part peat moss, 1 part vermiculite, and 1 part compost together on a large tarp. I like to use a 5 gallon bucket for this. The amount you'll need will depend entirely on how large your containers are. Use a soil calculator to determine how much finished product you'll need to fill your pots, and then simply divide by three.

Gloves needed

Mixing the Garden Soil

It's a good idea to wear a face mask while mixing your own potting soil, as the dust from the peat moss and vermiculite can be very fine. I find mixing the garden soil by hand helps to distribute the three ingredients evenly.

Fresh garden soil

Good Soil = Good Gardens

This recipe is weed-free and much lighter than traditional garden soil. The peat moss helps to retain moisture, the vermiculite helps aerate and the compost give this soil combination the nutrients it needs to grow happy, healthy plants. Planting seeds in this homemade vegetable soil mix is a breeze, as they are not weighted down and have an easier time popping through the soil.

adding soil to container

Fill Your Vegetable Containers

When you are ready to plant your vegetables, simply moisten the soil, fill your pots and load them full of vegetable starts or seeds. Keep your containers well watered throughout the growing season for best results.

cabbage plant

Let it Grow

Keep your garden soil healthy in the following season by freshening up your containers with a little extra compost. Chances are after a long growing season your containers will lose some of their original soil through drainage holes and replanting vegetables.

Simply dump the old garden soil on a tarp, toss in some compost, mix thoroughly and you'll be back in business.


Things You Will Need

  • Dirt, 6-6-6 fertilizer and some household products

About the Author


Mavis Butterfield is a Jill of All Trades, but her heart is in her garden. She’s mastered the art of digging in the dirt, earning a national following on her popular gardening blog OneHundredDollarsAMonth. She’s appeared on CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox and in the Seattle Times as a gardening expert.