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How to Make Potting Soil Mix

Making potting soil is a simple process. Using your own mixture of potting soil is beneficial because you know exactly what is in the soil, you can adjust it manually for specific nutrient content, and you can make larger quantities inexpensively. Potting soil mix is more granulated than standard garden soil. This makes it ideal for starting plants from seed and use in container gardens that require more aeration and drainage. Standard potting soil mixes are soil based.

Add 1 gallon of sterilized loam soil to the bushel basket. Do not use garden soil from your own garden; it may contain pests, disease and weed seeds.

Add 1 gallon of moistened sphagnum peat moss, 1 gallon of coarse sand and 1 gallon of vermiculite. Mix thoroughly using a small hand trowel.

Test soil for proper texture. Potting soil mix should be loose and drain well. Potting soil mix that feels gritty is too sandy, and you should add small amounts of sphagnum peat moss. Potting soil mix that feels sticky too closely resembles clay soil and will not drain well; if this is the case, add small amounts of sand. Continue adjusting your potting soil mix until it feels light and airy.

Make Potting Soil

When it comes to container gardening, not all potting mediums are created equally. But instead of digging soil out of your own garden or out of containers previously used for plants, start with a bag of soil clearly marked as sterile garden soil purchased from a garden center. This particular potting blend uses equal portions of all ingredients, so it's easy to mix as much as you need for a few potted plants or for a large container garden for a patio. All of these materials are available at big-box home-improvement stores and large garden centers. 3. Add an equal amount of all-purpose coarse sand. If it feels too gritty, add more peat moss. Set a mixing container in the work area. Pour the peat moss into the container. Perlite, those small white balls often seen in pots containing flowers, does not retain water, so it's great for plants that require well-drained soil, such as cacti. Too much rain or overwatering could harm the plant or cause root rot if the water has no means of escaping the container. Place a tray beneath the containers to catch excess water if setting the containers on wood surfaces or if the containers are used indoors. If buying it in bulk bags, for example, you can mix composted cow manure, composted sheep manure, and leaf compost together. Break up any large clumps with a shovel or pitchfork. Pour in an equal amount of a medium or coarse vermiculite.  5. Blend the ingredients together thoroughly using a shovel or pitchfork.


Add worm casings to increase the nitrogen content for plants that require heavy feedings: 1 pound of worm casings for every 2 pounds of potting soil mix. You may need to add more sand as well because worm casings may make the potting soil mix sticky.

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