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Tips and Tricks to Making Your Very Own Potting Soil

Did you know that it’s actually much cheaper to make your own potting soil? A light, fluffy soil mix provides the space needed for air circulation, good drainage, and healthy root growth. Better yet, you can customize the mix for a variety of different plants and the size pot needed.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before creating your own mix:

• When it comes to any potting mix, the lighter it is, the better. Loose and porous mixtures not only make a container lighter to move, but they transport water, fertilizer, and air to plant roots more quickly and allow for good drainage, which is important for container gardening.
• Start with the basic recipe below and then add soil sulfur to lower the pH or lime to raise the pH, according to the needs of your plants. Plants such as lettuce, Russian sage, and marigolds prefer sweet soil with a pH of 7.5, while others are acid lovers, like ferns, asters, and strawberries.
• If rapid drainage is needed, as is the case for cacti, succulents, and lavender, add extra sand and perlite. When greater moisture retention is needed, as is the case for ferns and woodland flowers, like primrose, add extra vermiculite or peat.

Ingredients:

• 1 bucket (10 quarts) peat moss
• ½ bucket (5 quarts) perlite
• ½ bucket (5 quarts) vermiculite
• ½ bucket (5 quarts) screened compost
• 2 cups fine sand
• 2 cups pelleted time-release fertilizer
• ½ cup lime

Instructions:

1. Mix thoroughly. Makes enough to fill two 14-inch tubs or five 12-inch hanging baskets. Double or triple recipe for bigger containers.

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