Choosing Your Soil Mix
Potting soil may not appear to be a particularly thrilling topic, yet it is critical to the health of your plants. Plants cultivated in containers have different demands than those grown in the ground, so potting soils were created for them. A good potting soil can provide plants a helping hand, both when it comes to drainage and drainage improvement.
You have many options when it comes to selecting a potting soil. Clay soils in containers, soil blends containing peat, sand, or vermiculite, and perlite are also possibilities. Many potting soils are created from recycled coconut husks, which give plants the benefits of sand and grit without the disadvantages of organic material. While they may be somewhat more expensive than many potting soils, you get what you pay for, with high grade potting soils. You can select these from a mix of recycled plastic, recycled plastic & bark, and recycled bark. While you may feel that the bark soils are a bit more expensive than the others, you get what you pay for.
You may have high hopes for your soil mix, only to find that when you finally try it, it just doesn’t work as well as you hoped. The root systems for plants are different from those of humans, so you have to adjust your growing methods accordingly. In the case of the clay soils, you need to remove any debris or clods from the mix, and then adjust the mix accordingly. Don’t forget, too, that unlike most soils, clay soils are not great for drainage, so make sure you have plenty of peat or vermiculite in your soil mix.
When it comes to soil blends, your choices are endless. You can combine soils from different manufacturers, such as organic, commercial or even gravel soils. You can also mix soils from different suppliers, like buying a soil blend from a soil supplier, or you can buy soil from a nursery and mix it yourself. Some gardeners prefer to buy a soil from a store, such as The Home Depot, so they can mix it themselves to order. No matter what mix you choose, though, make sure you have plenty of peat or vermiculite in your soil mix. This will provide the organic component needed in order for your soil to break down and do its job.
As for gravel, you can use gravel if you want, but do not use too much. There are some commercial bags that are pre-mined, which is great if you want to use gravel. This means you don’t have to worry about breaking down, or losing the nutrients in your gravel. This is a great way to use as gravel in your garden and lawn. The downside to pre-mined bags is you will probably have to purchase more bags, and then mix your own. And, like I said before, you will need to purchase all the peat needed for the soil mix.
Mixing Your Soil Mix
So, now that you have the soil, all you need to do is mix it up. A good mixing fork is helpful, so you can easily mix the soils. If you are doing it yourself, you can then simply go to the store and buy the appropriate number of bags for your soil mix. Once you have everything, you can then mix the bag in your garden or lawn. If you’re doing it yourself or need a quick third bag mix, this is a good option to use.
Do you have a garden or lawn outside? If so, mixing your soil will be much easier. I know, I know, this seems like the obvious thing to do. It is not, though, if you are mixing your soil for pot planting. The process is still not that simple, but it gets easier. One thing I want you to do, is to mix the potting soil with the bag outside soil mix, BEFORE you add any fertilizer. Then, in the next step, you can add the fertilizer, and your mix will be ready. It is that simple.
Do you have to worry about compaction?
There is no need to worry about compaction. It will be a good soil mix if you do not add any compaction. I recently did a mix that included nitrogen, potassium and magnesium, in a pre-mined bag. I had to pound the bag and mix it twice to get it crushed in this mix. So, it was more work for me. I then had to add the fertilizer, and the soil was ready for planting. I didn’t have to do the compaction because it was already done. So, if you want a compaction free mix, then add that to your potting soil as you make it.
I hope this helps you realize that compaction is not a factor when you are mixing soil. Let me know if I can do anything to make the mix easier. Again, I am simply sharing my experience, and doing it for your peace of mind.