Soilless Mix - Knowledgebase Question

San Diego, CA
Avatar for lmittanck
Question by lmittanck
February 2, 2000
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 from NGA
February 2, 2000
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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