Make Your Own Potting Soil: Make Your Own Potting Soil

Views: 793, Replies: 11 » Jump to the end
Make Your Own Potting Soil

By patrob
April 30, 2013

Mix your own potting soil. Most garden centers sell peat moss in large bags or bales, perlite, and bags of topsoil and compost if you need them too. Adjust the proportions to suit the needs of the plants you are potting.

[View the item] Give a thumbs up

Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Apr 30, 2013 5:34 AM CST
Great tip, Patricia! Thumbs up

So many potted plants have different needs from one gardening area to the next, that it's difficult to choose a one-for-all pre-made mix.
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: LariAnn Garner
south Florida, USA
When in doubt, do the cross!
Forum moderator Pollen collector Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Aroids Seed Starter
Foliage Fan Region: Florida Tropicals Container Gardener
Image
LariAnn
Apr 30, 2013 8:07 AM CST
I've mixed my own media for years as the commercial mixes are not right for the plants I grow. I like being able to tailor my mix to the plants I'm going to pot up. Years ago I purchased a small cement mixer (plastic drum, not metal) and that mixer has never seen a bag of concrete, ever. It has been used only for mixing my soil media.

LariAnn
Be the Captain of What's Gonna Happen!
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
Image
AnnaZ
Apr 30, 2013 9:14 AM CST
I make my own too. I usually can smile sweetly at the nice man at the local ready-mix concrete place when I ask him "how much" for some sand. He asks "how much do you want?" I say 4-5 gallon pails. He waves his hand at me and says "take it". :>)

My mix is 2 parts peat moss and 1 part each of sand and compost.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Apr 30, 2013 11:51 AM CST
I like conifer bark to improve drainage and reduce cost (around $2 per cubic foot for clean dry bark mulch). Then I screen it myself.

If it is held back even briefly by 1/2" mesh, I use it as top-dressing mulch outdoors (but I could grind it up if I wanted to).

Then from the rest, I remove dust and powder. If it passes too easily through 1/8" hardware cloth, it's too much like peat moss and kills the aeration & drainage. I use bark powder and fine fibers to lighten clay soil for filling raised beds (I mix it in well).

If it won't pass pretty easily through 1/4" mesh, it might be too coarse for seedlings or small pots, but be good as the coarse component for 5-gallon buckets.

In-between .1" and .2" seems right to me as the coarse component in potting soil, depending on pot size.
Name: Anna
North Texas (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Clematis Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
canadanna
Apr 30, 2013 7:09 PM CST
Does anyone like to add vermiculite or lava sand? I think it adds drainage and moisture control...but maybe wrong
Name: Patricia
Goldthwaite, TX (Zone 8a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Tip Photographer Region: Texas Cat Lover
Irises Daylilies Lilies Hummingbirder Birds Raises cows
Image
patrob
May 1, 2013 7:00 AM CST
I started using a lot of vermiculite after I submitted this tip, and it really helps with moisture retention. Seeds sprout well in vermiculite or a mixture of half peat and half vermiculite. I actually put vermiculite in all my soil mixtures now!
Name: Marilyn
Northern KY (Zone 6a)
Laughter is the best medicine!
Rabbit Keeper Birds Hummingbirder Salvias Xeriscape Organic Gardener
Container Gardener Cottage Gardener Bee Lover Forum moderator Butterflies Apples
Image
Marilyn
May 2, 2013 12:26 AM CST
Do you use perlite also?
Welcome to the Agastache and Salvias Forum!

Hummingbirds are beautiful flying jewels in the garden!


Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
Image
tarev
May 2, 2013 1:57 PM CST
This is a nice tip indeed Smiling So as you make your own potting soil, do you mix in the old soil with the new one right away or bake the old soil before mixing in with the new potting soil?
Name: Patricia
Goldthwaite, TX (Zone 8a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Tip Photographer Region: Texas Cat Lover
Irises Daylilies Lilies Hummingbirder Birds Raises cows
Image
patrob
May 3, 2013 7:19 AM CST
Old mix that I am reuse may have some perlite in it, but I have not been adding it to new mix since I discovered vermiculite.
I don't sterilize peat and vermiculite mixtures, but if I add top soil to a mix for seed starting, I sterilize the top soil in an old microwave prior to mixing. Mostly, however, I am using peat and vermiculite mixtures for seed starting, and the plants seem to approve.

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
May 3, 2013 12:45 PM CST
>> Mostly, however, I am using peat and vermiculite mixtures for seed starting

Can you teach me your magic touch for avoiding overwatering?

I've been making my mixture so open I can top-water my mix until it comes out the bottom, and still have an aerated medium.

But that does not Not NOT work with peaty commercial mixtures. They just get saturated and hold far too much water until the seeds or roots rot.

How large are your vermiculite grains?
Name: Patricia
Goldthwaite, TX (Zone 8a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Tip Photographer Region: Texas Cat Lover
Irises Daylilies Lilies Hummingbirder Birds Raises cows
Image
patrob
May 3, 2013 3:10 PM CST
I use coarse vermiculite. I live in the middle of nowhere, so I ordered vermiculite from Greenhouse Megastore, and coarse is what they had in the big bag. I soak the vermiculite or vermiculite/peat mix and then pour off all the water I can, pressing the mix down with a coffee filter to drain as much excess water as possible. I just mist the surface daily until seeds sprout. I use about half vermiculite and half finely sifted peat for most seeds and dust over the seeds that want to be covered with very finely sifted peat.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
May 3, 2013 4:35 PM CST
>> pressing the mix down with a coffee filter to drain as much excess water as possible.

Wow, squeezing it like a sponge?!?

>> just mist the surface

Me, too.

I've started putting a "capillary pad" under my seedling pots and trays. It touches the soilless mix through the holes and wicks away some of the excess water. It also makes it easy to bottom-water uniformly without pouring an inch of water in to the trays. If I get the cotton flannel good and wet, there is a little excess down in the grooves of the tray, and every cell can wick up as much water as it wants without drowning.

I killed whole trays full of seeds my first two years, and now I have a fast6 drainage/aeration fetish.

PTSD: Post Tray-Saturation Disorder.

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Make Your Own Potting Soil
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by Paul2032 and is called "Chrysanthemum"