The Q&A Archives: Soilless Mix

Question: I do container gardening only -- tropicals, flowers (lantana, dipladenia), and green stuff (ivy, etc.).

Is it true that a combination of peat moss, organic compost (purchased at nursery) and gypsum/perlite/sand IS soil? In other words, would a mixture of those ingredients, varied for the needs of the plant, constitute soil? And is that mix good for container gardening or should I buy potting soil at the nursery?

Answer: It is true that you can make your own growing medium for container gardening that will serve as an excellent substitute for garden soil.

Here are two recipes:

Basic Peat Mix (makes one cubic yard)
1/2 cubic yard of sphagnum peat moss
1/2 cubic yard of vermiculite
Mix together well; then add:
5 pounds dolomitic limestone
1 pound superphosphate
2 pounds 5-10-5 fertilizer
After mixing thoroughly, store in plastic bags. Moisten mix prior to use.

Here's an organic version of soilless mix:
16 quarts of sphagnum peat moss
16 quarts vermiculite
7 ounces bone meal
3 1/2 ounces dried blood meal
3 1/2 ounces ground limestone
Mix thoroughly and store in plastic bags. Moisten mix prior to use.

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