Grow a better (and cheaper) container garden by making your own potting soil mix! Here’s how to do it…
If you grow plants – either flowers or veggies – in containers, you may have had a poor experience before from using the wrong potting soil. Soil (along with light and water) is one of the most important aspects of any garden, and growing in containers makes it even more important to have good soil. Drainage issues, temperature fluctuations, and the fact that your pot is a self-contained system can all cause problems that you would not experience when gardening in the ground.
Good potting soil should do three important things for your plants:
- Deliver water and nutrients to the roots
- Allow space for the roots to grow
- Provide good support to the plant as it grows larger
By making your own potting soil, you can experiment with the ratio of different ingredients to find what works best for your particular container plants.
Here are a few common ingredients that you may want to include in your potting soil mix:
Coir is becoming more popular as a more sustainable alternative to peat moss. It typically comes in brick form. When ready to use, just soak a brick in water to rehydrate it, and then you will be able to fluff up the material and add it to your mixture.
This material is used not to add nutrients, but to help aerate your soil and allow roots, water, and nutrients to penetrate. You can also substitute sharp sand (builder’s sand) if you find vermiculite too expensive.
Compost is essential for a good potting soil mix! This is where much of the nutrients that your plants need will come from. You can buy compost, but you will save a lot of money by making your own.
If you have access to worm castings, these are a wonderful addition to your soil mixture as they provide a rich source of organic matter.
This helpful infographic provides more information on mixing up your own potting soil mix for a healthy container garden.