How To Make Your Own Potting Mix

If you have a large garden or different types of plants that require different kinds of soil, buying potting soil can quickly turn into an expensive endeavor.Many gardeners prefer to make their own potting mix because it is simple and can be a lot less expensive than buying it from a garden center.Good water retention and good air space are some of the things that the best general mix should have.

Step 1: Rake through the soil.

Pick the area of ground you want to cultivate and take soil from.Dead leaves, weeds, plant trimmings, and other debris can be removed.Rake through the soil to level it.Don’t use areas with pesticides, chemicals or pollutants.This can cause problems with your soil.

Step 2: The soil needs to be watered thoroughly.

The water should be 12 inches deep.It will improve how well heat will conduct through the soil, heating it up and solarizing it thoroughly.

Step 3: A clear plastic sheet is used to cover the soil.

You can use a painter’s tarp, which is available at home supply stores, to seal the soil under a plastic sheet.To hold them down, place rocks or soil along the edges of the sheet.

Step 4: Allow the area to sit for 3-6 weeks.

There will be a lot of heat generated and trapped under the plastic sheet, which will work to solarize the soil and kill unwanted pests, pathogens, and weeds.The best time to solarize soil is during the summer.A disintegrating tarp will result from leaving the tarp on longer than 3-6 weeks.A section of the garden that is being solarized can be used to grow plants in the other section.Warming the soil by covering the ground in the colder months will create better conditions for weeds.Only do this during the warm months.

Step 5: The soil should be sterized in your oven.

The baking pans should be filled with soil.For 30 minutes, cover tightly with tin foil and bake at 200 F.As it bakes, stir the soil every 5 minutes.Allow it to cool down completely.Some people don’t like the smell of your house when you use this method.

Step 6: Kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and other compostable material can be saved.

Grass, straw, leaves, kitchen scraps, coffee grounds and weeds are some of the plant-based materials that can be composted.Compost will make your homemade mix have beneficial microbes.

Step 7: You can mix 3 parts brown and 1 part green.

Brown materials include leaves, straw, and cornstalks.Kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, weeds, grass trimmings, and the like are called greens.Don’t put animal meats, dairy products, feces from dogs, cats or pigs in your compost.This can cause a health hazard.

Step 8: Compost in a container.

The container can be purchased at a home supply store.It should be at least 3 feet tall.The contents will be able to heat to 160 F for at least 2 weeks if the minimum size is used.This will result in compost.During these 2 weeks, be sure to turn over the composting material at least 5 times.Adding worms to your compost helps the composting process.

Step 9: The compost can be processed through a screen.

Once the material is fully composted, push it through a screen in order to get particles of compost that are a consistent size.The particles should be small so that you can mix them into your mix.Return the larger particles to the compost bin.

Step 10: Sand can be purchased or acquired.

Sand improves the drainage in the dirt.Choose sand that has a coarse texture.Fine sand and plaster sand are too fine to add a denser texture.It is a good substitute for sand.Perlite can improve the drainage of water from the soil.It isn’t as heavy as sand.

Step 11: Get some moss.

Peat moss improves water retention in your mix.This can help plants that need more water over time.Peat moss is inexpensive at garden centers.Peat moss has high acidity and may need to be counterbalanced to improve the pH balance in your soil.The ground-up newspaper will help retain water.Another option is coir fiber.The fiber from coconut husks is called coir.It is sold at garden centers as a compressed brick.Bark can be used as a partial substitute for moss.It doesn’t retain water like peat, but it creates a lot of air space in the soil.Nitrogen is a crucial component of good potting mix and some experts suggest avoiding bark.

Step 12: Get some vermiculite.

Vermiculite is gray in color.It is coarse and can improve water retention.Make sure that vermiculite doesn’t lose its air holding capacity by gently handling it.You can choose between a medium or coarse grade of vermiculite.

Step 13: There are two things you need to assemble:fertilizer and nutrients.

Your plants need good rich potting mix to grow strong, healthy and productive.Blood meal, bone meal and greensand are some of the materials that might be included.All of these are available at garden centers.Limestone is a typical nutrition ingredient.Limestone increases the levels of calcium and magnesium in the mix.You should get a mixture of calcium and magnesium in your soil.If you want to use your mix to start seeds, fertilization is not an exception.Fertiliser should not be used for sensitive seedlings.

Step 14: You should wear protective gear.

A face mask and gardening gloves will help protect your hands from dust and particles.

Step 15: You need to gather your supplies.

The process of making your own potting mix will be sped up if you have all your tools and supplies on hand.This can be a large bucket, garbage can, wheelbarrow or other container.Smaller amounts of materials will be added to the mix.It’s helpful to have a container that can measure accurately.A 5-gallon bucket and 1-cup measuring cups are useful.You should have a watering can and hose.A trowel is useful for mixing materials.You should have a shovel ready for shoveling larger amounts of soil, peat and compost.Hardware cloth is a wire mesh screen that will be used to push your materials through to sift out the large pieces and debris.It’s ideal to have one-quarter inch hardware cloth.

Step 16: Take care of your work space.

If you are making smaller batches in buckets, it is helpful to have a table for preparing the mix.You should have a level, open, work space outdoors.Extra dirt and other material can be caught underneath a tarp.If you want to mix your potting mix, use a mixing barrel or garbage can.

Step 17: Take out your ingredients.

There are a number of different recipes that are appropriate for different types of plants.The following recipe can be used for a general, all-purpose potting mix.Use a 5-gallon bucket for each part.

Step 18: All ingredients are put through a wire mesh hardware cloth.

To remove large chunks and debris, run your ingredients through a screen or 14 inch hardware cloth.Hardware cloth can be found in rolls from hardware and home supply stores.

Step 19: Put the moss into the bin.

Peat moss can be dumped into a bin.It is possible to start with a small amount of soil, instead of using all of the available materials.

Step 20: Add and mix thoroughly.

Adding these to your mixture will give you more nutrition.A good mixture is 5 gallons of other ingredients, including greensand, blood meal, bonemeal, lime, and rockphosphate.

Step 21: Compost, vermiculite, and perlite should be added.

If you want to mix thoroughly, add each of these ingredients one by one.To make sure you are mixing them all in, turn over the soil.

Step 22: You should store your mix.

The unused potting mix can be kept in an old garbage can.There is a sheltered spot for storage.You don’t want your potting mix to be exposed to rain before it’s in your garden, so choose a spot that is under cover.In hot weather, your potting mix should not be directly exposed to the sun.Storage can be found in a garden shed.

Step 23: You can test the soil with a pH meter.

The acidity and alkaline levels of the soil are measured.For $20 or more, you can purchase meters that measure the soil’s pH levels.To give all the ingredients a chance to blend together, mature the mixture for a week.You can test the soil’s pH by placing the pH meter in it.Nitrogen may not be absorbed into plants if the soil is high in either acid or alkaline.If you want to raise the pH levels or make it more alkaline, add some lime.If you want to make it more acidic, add more sulphur.To test different proportions, make small batches of soil.This will give you an idea of how different ingredients affect the pH levels.

Step 24: A bioassay can be used to test your soil.

The viability of a biological specimen can be checked with a bioassay.This means that you will use the soil to start seeds and monitor how they grow.You can grow oats, beans, or lettuce from seed.How quickly the seeds grow will be monitored.Your potting mix might be poor if the majority of seeds don’t grow.Try a different recipe.You can find another recipe if you search online.If you are going to be using the mix to start seeds, you should not use thefertilizer in it.