One of the biggest mistakes new gardeners make is choosing the wrong potting soil. Because soil is so crucial to a plant’s growth, it’s no surprise that making a mistake here can be devastating.
It doesn’t help that figuring out what type of potting soil is best can be a confusing process. With all of the commercial options available, it’s hard to know what ingredients are best or if they’re safe, or if making your own potting soil is a better option.
First, we’ll take a look at what a good potting soil should do, then we’ll dive into the different types on the market as well as how to make your own. By the end of this article, you’ll come out knowing exactly how to make your own soil.
Before getting into the specifics, let’s look at what functions potting soil serves.
The main goal of a quality potting soil is to get the right amount of nutrients and water to a plant. To do so, two conditions must be satisfied:
These conditions are fulfilled by adding compost to the mix and by making sure you have enough material in your mix that retains water (but not too much).
A good potting mix also ensures that there’s enough room in the mix for roots to breathe and grow. A plant’s roots desperately need oxygen in order to function properly, so potting mixes that retain too much water or are too compact can seriously affect the growth of a plant.
Finally, the best potting mixes have enough structure to be able to support a plant as it matures. This means it needs to be deep enough so roots can grow and provide the support structure that the plant needs. The soil also needs to be loose enough – but not too loose – to allow roots to penetrate new soil properly.
Now that we understand the goals of a good potting soil, let’s take a look at why you might want to make your own soil.
Continue reading DIY Potting Mixes: A Recipe for the Perfect Garden here.