The Perfect Potting Mix Recipe
Perfect potting mix well-prepared garden soil is great for growing things in the ground but when it comes to growing things in containers, soil, as you know it needs to be changed. Soils for containers need to be well aerated and well drained while still being able to retain enough moisture for plant growth.
Selecting a Container
As a general rule, select as large a container as possible. Small containers dry out more quickly and need daily watering. You’ll want to think about weight (once the pot is filled with wet soil and plant material it’s going to be very heavy). Soils for containers are always modified in some way to ensure proper drainage and aeration because they contain no soil at all. They are often composed of various things such as peat, vermiculite, bark, coir fiber (ground coconut hulls) in a variety of recipes depending on the manufacture and the type of plant material being grown. And you may want to think about appearance. Even fabric pots are good for growing vegetables.
Tip: Store leftover potting soil in a tightly sealed bag to keep out soil-dwelling pests, like fungus gnats.
Make Your Own
Coir fiber can be found under a variety of trade names and in sizes ranging from a few quarts to bales that are many cubic feet in size. Sometimes the choice of media will be directed by what type of plants you are growing. Of course, you don’t have to purchase potting soil. You can make your own. Sure, it’s more work, but it can be more gratifying, plus you’ll know the exact contents of the soil since you’re the one who has mixed it up. A good potting mix recipe contains sterile garden loam, sand, peat moss or coconut coir and other additives as needed.
Classic Soil-Based Mix:
- Peat moss (1 part) or mature compost
- 1 part garden loam or topsoil
- Clean builder’s sand (1 part )or perlite
The organic material in the above mix provides structure and the sand will improve drainage. A balanced, slow-release organic fertilizer may also be added to the recipe mix.