Are you trying to lead a more sustainable lifestyle? Are you astounded by the amount of research you have to do to lead such a lifestyle?
One might think reading up about planning a garden layout or what to plant at what time of the year should be enough, but to be genuinely sustainable, you need to be able to create everything from scratch.
And that includes something as simple as potting soil, which we all take for granted. But even with potting soil, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to potting soil mixes.
Succulents require some different ingredients while vegetables require a few other components. However, I’m going to share with you a simple potting soil recipe you can tweak to make it work for whatever you’re growing.
If you need a simple DIY potting soil mix recipe which will function well in most gardening situations, it could become your new go-to.
Here’s how you can make your DIY potting soil mix:
- Coir peat brick
- A scoop
- Container to hold potting soil
Potting Mix Safety
Before we get started, it’s a good idea to go over a few safety guidelines. It’s important to make sure you don’t breathe in the contents of this potting soil. It could agitate your airways.
This is a common safety precaution even when utilizing store bought potting soil. Keep this in mind and wear a mask over your mouth when mixing or using this potting soil or any potting soil.
Also, it’s wise to wear gloves when handling potting soil. Gloves will help keep your hands clean and also lessen your chances of rubbing any of the ingredients in your eyes or nose.
We’re all known for getting an eye-itch or an itchy nose at the worst possible time. When wearing gloves, this will serve as a reminder not to use your hands to ease either of those unexpected irritants.
When you have your potting soil gear in place, you’re ready to get busy making your DIY potting soil mix.
How to Make Potting Soil Mix
1. Decide on a Container
What size or style container you use will depend upon how much potting soil you need and long-term storage options.
If you’re planning on filling up a large number of garden beds, you may want to use a wheel barrel as your mixing container.
However, if you only need to fill a few pots, you may want to use a large bowl. If you have a five-gallon bucket with a lid, you could potentially mix more potting soil because you’d have a way to store it for a longer period without the air drying it out.
Why does the container choice matter outside of how much you’d like to make? Well, as the recipe unfolds, you’ll see I use the terminology “part.”
It’ll usually tell you how many parts of something you need. It’s important to look at your container and know how much of something you need.
If you’re only using a bucket and a scoop, one part of the bucket may equate to only one scoop. Whereas, if you’re using a wheelbarrow, one part could equate to multiple scoops.
Be sure you choose your container wisely and take its size into consideration as you proceed through the recipe for DIY potting soil.
2. Let’s Talk Scoops
When I make my potting soil, I like to use either a mixing bowl with a handle on it as a scoop or a large ice machine scoop.
We have an industrial ice machine in our garage for when we process our own meat. I have multiple ice scoops for this machine. I have stolen one away and use it in my potting mix.
However, I also like to use the mixing bowl with the handle when I’m working with larger batches of the potting soil mix because it’ll hold more and save me from having to make more scooping motions.
Again, you can get creative but try to utilize a scoop which would be equivalent to the size container you’re using to mix and store your potting soil in.
It will significantly simplify the process for you.
3. Add Coir Peat
Since we’ve gone over the importance of our containers and scoops when making DIY potting soil, we’re finally ready to get to the ingredients.
The first ingredient to making potting soil is coir peat. Coir peat comes in a brick form and depending upon the amount of potting soil you’re making. It could require a few bricks.
The general guideline is to add one-part coir peat. It shouldn’t get confused with peat moss. Coir peat is a much more sustainable product, where peat moss is not.
Coir peat is a vital ingredient to potting soil mix because it is what helps to aerate the soil. Having fluffy potting soil is essential for healthy plants because it allows air to flow through and the soil to drain properly.
You’d ultimately like your potting soil to have the look of a moist brownie. Coir peat will give you the fluffy look you’re going for.
4. Add Vermiculite
When you purchase store-bought potting soil, you may have noticed grayish pebble shaped contents in the soil. This is vermiculite.
Vermiculite has an essential job in a potting soil which is why it’s recommended in your DIY potting soil mix and is a common component to the potting soil you purchase too.
Its job is to hold water. You should desire a potting soil which will retain enough moisture to where you can deeply water your plants every few days, and the potting soil will help keep the plants moist.
5. Add Compost
The final component of this simple DIY potting soil mix is compost. You can make your compost by composting basic items around your home and yard. It’s easy to make your own compost bin to get started.
You can also purchase compost from local farmers and local nurseries too. Most places will sell it to you by the scoop.
When you’ve gathered your compost, be sure to add two parts of it to your container. You need more compost than any other ingredient because it helps provide the food for your plants.
Compost is excellent for providing and holding minerals in your soil too. It also helps in adding and retaining moisture.
In my experience, the above ingredients are a great addition, but if you’re working on a tight-budget, planting in plain compost works wonderfully too.
The potting mix may not retain moisture for as long as it would if it had the added vermiculite nor will it be as aerated, but it still works quite well in a pinch.
Keep all of these tips in mind as you’re working through different options for making your potting soil mix.
6. Mix and Utilize
Once all of your ingredients have been added in proper proportions to your container, it’s time to mix the ingredients.
You can use items like a garden fork to mix smaller containers of potting mix. You can also use your garden hoe or hands to combine the ingredients too. What does makes things easier though, is working on your very own potting bench.
When the ingredients have been mixed thoroughly, you’re ready to use the mix for planting your vegetation.
Do keep in mind, certain varieties of plants will require more acid to their soil, added drainage elements, and more.
Be sure to do your research as to what your plant variety may or may not need to give them the best chance of survival.
You now have a simple DIY potting soil mix recipe. This recipe can help you be fully aware of what ingredients are in the soil where you grow your flowers and vegetables.
It should also help you save some money in the process, especially if you make your own compost. Whether you save money or not, you’ll definitely be gaining knowledge and leading a more sustainable lifestyle.