Soilless potting mix, like the name suggests, does not contain actual garden soil! Rather, it is made up of a variety of organic and inorganic materials, which most gardeners prefer. This is because a lot of times soils can contain harmful fungi and bacteria which can spread into your garden and destroy your entire crops.
But instead of buying your soilless mix, why not make it? This guide on how to make soilless potting mix will show you exactly what you need and how to make it for a successful planting season and harvest! Using soilless mix instead of potting soil ensures a healthier and more successful growth!
Purchasing soilless potting mix can cost you a lot of money, but making your own is actually very cheap and easy! Even more so, soilless potting mix is actually superior to regular garden soil because it's not so heavy, and therefore will not prevent air from circulating around the roots.
It is because of poor quality garden soil that most plants actually develop root rot and stem rot. This type of soil also makes it exceptionally difficult for seed starts to grow, as the crust can be hard, and it can also contain weeds. For the best seed starting practice, use soilless potting mix.
How to Make Soilless Potting Mix at Home
Types of Soilless Potting Mixes:
The most common soilless potting mixes include peat moss, sand, perlite, and vermiculite, but you can go ahead and adjust the recipe to suit your needs. For example, you can also add organic matter, sphagnum peat, as well as a slow release fertilizer.
Usually, these are mixed together to form one “soil”, as each material has its own function. Keep in mind that if you are using soilless potting mix, you may also need to add a slow release fertilizer to supplement important nutrients.
Peat Moss is coarse, lightweight and sterile. It provides good aeration and holds water well. Peat moss is ideal for germinating seeds.
Perlite is a type of white volcanic rock that provides good drainage and holds air well. Perlite should be mixed with peat moss.
Vermiculite is usually used with or instead of perlite. Vermiculite is a form of mica and is more compact, unlike perlite. Does a very good job at retaining water, but does not provide aeration as well as perlite does.
Sand can help with improving drainage and aeration but does not retain water.
Soilless Potting Mix Recipe:
- To make your own soilless potting mix, you'll need to mix equal parts peat moss, perlite (and/or vermiculite), and sand.
- If you don't have sand, you can also substitute with bark, while coconut coir can replace peat moss.
- In addition, add small amounts of fertilizer and ground limestone since they contain nutrients the above do not.
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