I had a productive day in the garden yesterday. I moved one of my compost bin and harvested and sifted a bunch of compost to use in my homemade potting mix. I have so many potted plants that I would spend a fortune if I bought potting mix for all of my pots. I also like that I can mix up my own organic mix with no chemicals, unlike much of what you buy.
mixing-up-potting-soil

So what recipe do I use for my own homemade potting mix?
1 part peat moss (or coconut coir if you don’t like using peat)
1 part compost
1 part soil
1 part vermiculite or perlite (I prefer vermiculite)
I’m usually making a big batch so I measure with wheelbarrow loads, but you may find it easier to measure in 2 gallons because you can mix a batch in the wheel barrow.

blood-meal
I usually add some of my homemade rock/mineral fertilizer to give it some goodness for the plants. If you don’t have your own mixed up you can use an organic fertilizer in each pot depending on what you’re planting in each pot and the size of the pot (I like Dr Earth Fertilizers). If you use the 2 gallon method for measuring to each batch you can add: 1/2 cup of each: lime, greensand, rock phosphate, kelp meal, soybean meal (I usually use blood meal & bone meal in place of soybean & kelp meal).

What kind of potting soil do you use? store bought or do you mix your own?

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13 Responses to Homemade Potting Soil

  1. I admire your dedication — sifting the compost alone is a job and a half. I purchased a compost sifter many years ago and think I used it once. Instead, any uncomposted material that’s small enough to fall between the tines of a garden fork goes right onto the garden. Anything larger goes back into the compost for next time.

    Potting soil might need to be finer for cosmetic reasons, but I’m afraid I cheat for my few pots and purchase commercial soil mix (ProMix if I can get it). However, I do tend to reuse the soil in my pots from year to year, and top it up with compost. See above.

  2. Chicago Mike says:

    I am not sure what I am using. This coming weekend I have to fill the pots and get my herbs in. I don’t have that many pots though. I am tempted to use bagged potting soil (organic) but I do seem to always run short and scam some from the garden for the easier to grow stuff.

  3. This post makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    Up to this season, I have bought all of my garden soil and you are right, it has cost me a small fortune. I began making compost (or is it I am allowing compost to happen?)

    I have promised myself that next year I am not buying any garden soil and instead I am making my own. I made the soil for the square-foot-gardening beds according to Mel’s formula and that’s what I will again –minus the peat (will use coir instead)

    • Susy says:

      You’ll be impressed with how great it is! My homemade potting mix is much better than the store bought kind. I have to say, I save a bundle making my own. And I love knowing exactly what’s in it!

  4. warren says:

    We have always bought it but we started a compost pile last year and may try to use it some in combination with other stuff that we buy…I don’t know for sure…

  5. Dan says:

    I regrettably buy potting soil all the time. I really do plan on mixing my own but it never seems to happen. I always buy 4 cubic feet at a time though so it doesn’t cost a ransom. One of these days I’d like to find a large storage container so I can start mixing my own.

    Dan’s last blog post.. Solanum Post

  6. Mangochild says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I used regular potting soil this year, but I want to try mixing my own combo for the fall plantings. Like Dan though, storage space is a bit of an issue, so I’d have to figure out a way around that. Ideas? But the cost of the potting soil, yipes. Its enough to make me ready to *find* a way.

    Mangochild’s last blog post.. Tuesdays Independence Days – starting anew

    • Susy says:

      You can mix in small batches and store in a large rubbermaid containers. You can use 2 gallons of each (I use a gallon vinegar jug that I cut the bottom off) and then mix in the ammendments. It’s easy to mix in a wheel barrow or on a piece of cement with a shovel, although I’m sure mixing it in a big plastic container wouldn’t be difficult.

      You can store it outside in containers, along with everything else. The vermiculite you’ll need to store in a plastic container if you store it outside.

      I would suggest finding a local farm supply store and calling them about vermiculite. I get a great deal on mine from my local store, I pay $11 for 4 cu. ft.

  7. Wanda says:

    I just found your site after looking at Renee’sgardenseeds. It looks so interesting and helpful. I have neglected gardening and am planning to get back to it this spring after a couple really busy years. I’ll look forward to following your blog.
    .-= Wanda´s last blog ..Snow, Snow: Creamy Rice Pudding =-.

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