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Down and Dirty with Potting Soil Recipes


What is Potting Soil and How is it Different Than Garden Soil?
Whether you use it with houseplants indoors, or for window boxes outside, potting soil is an essential element in any garden container. That's because potting soil is different than gardening soil: It is lighter and airier, so helps to keep water moving from top to bottom and keep plant roots as healthy as possible. Garden soil, on the other hand, runs water to the base and holds it there.
But pre-packaged potting soil can be expensive, mainly if you have lots of containers and flower boxes. Fortunately, you can make homemade potting soil quickly and easily with readily available ingredients.
   Tailor your potting-soil mixture to the types of plants you want to grow to give them maximum nutrition. You can ensure healthy plants by taking control of the soil used to grow them. To make your potting soil, tailor the ingredients you use in your mix to how you will be using it. Below are some sample recipes that can guide your venture, but feel free to experiment with ingredients to suit the nutritional needs of your container garden. Pick up these must-have soil-mixing ingredients before getting started. A slick way to mix soil is in a Compost Tumbler, wheelbarrow, steel tub, I have even used a turkey basting pan, anything with sideboards, not to lose to much soil as you are mixing. For large batches mix in a wheelbarrow and use my mantis tiller to do all the mixing. The mantis tiller also does a good job of mixing compost, it will get clogged a bit.

1. General Potting Soil Mix
6 gallons sphagnum peat moss
1/4 cup limestone
4¼ gallons vermiculite or perlite
4¼ gallons compost
Mix 2 cups rock phosphate, 2 cups greensand, 1/2 cup bone meal and 1/4 cup kelp meal, and add 1½ cups of this fertilizer blend to the finished mix.

2. Potted Perennial and Shrub Mix
1 part compost
1 part coarse sand
1 part sphagnum peat moss
1 part composted pine bark
2 T. lime for each shovel of peat moss
6. General Potting Soil Mix

3. Peat-Soil Combination Mix
2 parts vermiculite
3 parts sphagnum peat moss
2 parts perlite
2 parts dehydrated manure
3 parts garden soil
1/2 part bone meal

4. Soil-based Container Mix
1 part screened compost
1 part garden soil
1 part coarse sand or a mix of vermiculite and perlite
4. Peat-Soil Combination Mix

5. Seedling Soil Mix
Five parts finely screened compost
Four parts garden soil
1-2 parts coarse sand
1-2 parts sphagnum peat moss
2 T. lime for each shovel of peat moss

6. Succulent soil mix
1 part Use all-purpose potting soil as the base ingredient
1 part Perlite and pumice
1 part Coarse Sand
Perlite or Pumice

   Whether you use it with houseplants indoors, or for window boxes outside, potting soil is an essential element in any garden container. That's because potting soil is different than gardening soil: It is lighter and airier, so helps to keep water moving from top to bottom and keep plant roots as healthy as possible. Garden soil, on the other hand, runs water to the base and holds it there.
   But pre-packaged potting soil can be expensive, mainly if you have lots of containers and flower boxes. Fortunately, you can make homemade potting soil quickly and easily with readily available ingredients. I have had my share of recipes over the years mainly for cooking; now we have an arsenal of dirt recipes to play with feel free to modify at your convenience. Spring is still a long ways off for us in Northern Wisconsin. I will be starting some seeds, within the next ten days. Our last freeze is usually in the first week of June. Lots of work to do before then. Happy Gardening to all! 3/22/2018

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