When it comes to finding the best potting soil for growing gorgeous, healthy container plants and hanging baskets – the best way to success is to make your own!
Making your own homemade potting soil is the perfect way to ensure your soil mix will be healthy, loose and full of the nutrients your plants need most. Even better, it can also save big on your gardening budget too!
Although there are hundreds of commercial mixes available, you can’t always be sure of what is inside the package. Or for that matter, just exactly where the ingredients came from.
Many commercial potting soil bags contains inert fillers that serve no benefit to plants at all. Others, meanwhile, can include a whole list of fertilizers and additives that you might not want in your mix. Especially if you happen to be growing vegetables in any of your containers.
That is not to say that there are not some incredible potting mixes on the market. But not only can finding them be difficult, paying for them can be quite painful too.
In fact, some of the top-of-the-line mixes can be upwards of $30+ a bag. And that is exactly where and why creating your own incredible mix can save the day!
The Benefits Of Making Homemade Potting Soil
You actually might be surprised at just how easy it is to make incredible homemade potting soil.
Using the most basic of organic ingredients, you can create a powerful and nutrient-filled soil mix. One that because it is entirely organic, can give you total peace of mind – no matter what you grow within the walls of your containers, potted plants or hanging baskets.
When it comes right down to it, great potting soil requires 3 basic elements to be successful.
- The soil needs to be lightweight.
- It needs to have plenty of nutrients.
- The soil has to be able to retain moisture for the plant’s roots, but without becoming waterlogged.
The 3 Basic Elements Of Great Potting Soil
If the soil in your pots or hanging baskets is too heavy, it can cause all kinds of issues. Not only do heavy soils make it hard for roots to expand, they also create containers that are extremely hard to move or hang.
As for the nutrient levels of the soil, unlike annuals and perennials planted in the ground, potted plants are stuck with the soil in their container all season long. In the ground, a plant’s roots can expand and search for more nutrients. That, unfortunately, just isn’t the case in a container.
Because of that, it’s important for the soil to contain high levels of nutrients. And enough of them to keep plants healthy and thriving for an entire growing season.
Finally, a great potting soil needs to be able to soak in moisture to feed the roots. A dry or thin soil mix will allow water to run right through. But if the soil is too thick and heavy, water will sit on top and never filter down to the roots.
To be ideal, potting soil needs to have just enough structure to trap the water it needs, and enough filtering qualities to shed any excess moisture. Luckily, the soil recipe below is absolutely perfect for creating soil with all three of the positive qualities above, and then some!
The Perfect Recipe – How To Create The Best Potting Soil For Plants
Using the simple recipe below, you can create 100% organic homemade potting soil that will power your plants beautifully all summer long.
As listed, it will make enough to fill a single large container pot, or a few hanging baskets. To make more, simply adjust the ingredients in equal ratios to create the amount of potting soil you need. You can find in-depth details on what each ingredient brings to the mix below as well.
- 6 cups of pulverized topsoil
- 6 cups of compost
- 2 cups of perlite
- 2 cups of worm castings
- 1 cup of coffee grounds
Pulverized Soil – 6 cups
Pulverized top soil is basic, finely ground top soil. It can usually be found in bulk or in bags at most home and garden stores. Best of all, it is usually quite inexpensive to purchase.
Pulverized top soil should crumble easily when squeezed in your hand. Avoid any top soil that uses fillers such as saw dust or ground mulch as additives. You are simply looking for good ol’ ground up dirt!
Compost – 6 cups
Compost truly is the perfect ingredient to help power and energize potting soil. For starters, it is full of the nutrients and microorganisms that plants love most. And even better, in a form that is easy for them to absorb into their roots.
Compost is extremely lightweight. And its ability to absorb and hold water is simply amazing. In fact, it can hold as much as 10 times its own weight in water. Best of all, this ingredient is free if you make your own compost!
When mixed in with pulverized top soil in equal amounts, it creates an incredible source of soil and humus that is the perfect base for an outstanding potting soil. If you are using your own compost, use a screen to remove large pieces for a super fine mix. If purchasing compost in bags, look for a finely shredded mix.
Perlite – 2 cups
Perlite is the ultimate “lightener” of heavy soil. It is a 100% organic substance that is nothing more than volcanic glass that is heated until it pops.
When perlite is heated, it pops and puffs out to create a super lightweight material with open pores. And those pores hold and retain water at a stunningly high rate.
Perlite aids greatly in keeping a potting mix lightweight. All while providing for excellent drainage and better water retention. Even better, it has a perfectly neutral PH of 7, so it won’t affect soil balance in the least. See: How To Use Perlite To Create Better Soil & Grow Healthier Plants
Worm Castings – 2 cups
Worm castings are one of the most incredible, all-natural slow release fertilizers around. In recent years, they have become one of the most popular all-natural ways to power plants – and of course, potting soils!
Just like perlite and compost, they are lightweight and absorb water. They also help give excellent structure to the soil as well. But even more, they contain an incredible balance of nutrients that are readily available to power plants.
In addition to using them in your potting soil, they can be used throughout the season. Simply sprinkle a few tablespoons on top of your hanging baskets and containers as a fertilizer. They slowly release their nutrients to plants every time the plants are watered and produce amazing results. Product Link : Worm Castings
Spent Coffee Grounds – 1 cup
This coffee by-product is absolutely wonderful for potted planting soil. Coffee grounds are actually an excellent slow-release source of nitrogen for plants. And their rich mineral make-up adds even more long-lasting nutrients to potting soil as well.
Just to be sure, we are talking about spent coffee grounds and not fresh grounds. Fresh grounds can be acidic and change the soil PH. Spent coffee grounds lose nearly all of their acidity in the brewing process. Because of this, they are perfect for adding to the potting soil mix.
Who knew the remnants of a morning wake-up beverage could help plants wake-up too? So make your own potting soil this year and save big while growing big. Here is to creating your very own potting soil this year!
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