Soils - Knowledgebase Question

Allen, Te
Question by soltr
July 5, 2010
What's the difference between potting soil and potting mix? What's best to use in the Dallas, Texas area in pots?


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Answer from NGA
July 5, 2010

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Potting mix is basically the same, regardless of brand. You'll find composted organic matter, sand and peat moss. In some of the less expensive brands, there will be bark chips, as well, which adds bulk. Miracle Gro Potting Soil and other high quality brands have some garden soil (loam) and some fertilizer mixed in with the organic matter. Either type of product will help enhance your garden soil. Since they are basically organic matter which will decompose over time, you may want to add more to your soil each year (but it isn't required). If your soil is hard and compacted you can add potting soil or potting mix and dig it in well, then lay a 3-4" layer of the same product over the top of the soil after planting. This layer of mulch will help suppress weeds, moderate soil temperature and help slow evaporation. At the end of the gardening season you can dig this mulch into your soil. After a few years of adding mulch and digging it into the soil you'll improve your soil and have loam - something your plant roots will love! Since you're gardening in containers, you can use either.

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