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Easy DIY Potting Soil Recipe for Starting Seeds at Home

So, you’re looking for a good DIY potting soil recipe? You’re in luck!

But how do you make Homemade DIY Potting Soil? That’s why you’re here. You’ve come to the right place. 

In this post, I will: 

  • Share the ins and outs of making your own DIY Potting Soil
  • Give you a couple of recipes for you to try making potting soil from scratch
  • Tell you about customizing your homemade potting soil for containers to make it your own. 

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Why Bother Making Your Own Potting Soil

I mean, wouldn’t it be easier to just go to the Garden Center and pick up a bag of seed starting mix? Which if you’re out of mix and pressed for time, here is one I really like.

Yes, but making your own potting soil offers several benefits.

Benefits of Making Your Own Potting Soil

  1. You Make It Your Own: By making your own potting soil, you have complete control over the ingredients, allowing you to tailor the mix to the specific needs of the plants you are growing. Different plants may require different soil compositions but in the end, you’ll have a better product that works for you.
  2. Cost-Effective: Buying individual components and mixing them yourself can be more cost-effective than purchasing pre-made potting mixes. This is especially true if you have a large garden or container gardening setup.
  3. Quality Control: You can ensure the quality of the ingredients and avoid potential issues like soil contamination or the presence of pests. This is particularly important for organic gardening.
  4. Environmental Impact: Making your own potting soil allows you to choose sustainable and eco-friendly components, reducing your environmental impact compared to some commercial mixes that may contain non-renewable resources.
  5. Avoiding Additives: Some commercial potting soils may contain additives like chemical fertilizers, wetting agents, or pesticides. By making your own mix, you can avoid these additives if you prefer a more natural or organic approach.
  6. Learning Experience: Making your own potting soil can be a learning experience, helping you understand the role of different components and how they affect plant growth. It’s a hands-on way to deepen your knowledge of gardening.

Something to Keep In Mind

Keep in mind that making your own potting soil requires a good understanding of the needs of the plants you’re growing and the properties of different soil components. It’s essential to balance factors like drainage, aeration, and nutrient content to create a mix that supports healthy plant growth.

Now, I’m going to share with you a couple of mix recipes and instructions for how to make good potting mix. Buckle up because this is going to change the way you plant your seeds for this growing season. 

​DIY Potting Soil Recipe #1

Creating your own homemade potting soil allows you to tailor the mix to the specific needs of your plants. Here’s a basic potting mix recipe for a versatile homemade potting soil:

Ingredients for Making DIY Potting Soil Recipe #1:

  1. Coconut Coir (3 parts): Provides moisture retention and aeration. Coco coir is a more sustainable alternative.
  2. Perlite (1 part): Improves water-holding capacity and aeration.
  3. Vermiculite (1 part): Enhances water retention and provides additional aeration.
  4. Compost (1 part): Adds nutrients and beneficial microorganisms. Use Your Own or grab this one.
  5. Worm Castings (1/2 part): Adds valuable nutrients and improves soil structure.
  6. Fine Sand or Grit (1/2 part): Enhances drainage and prevents compaction.

Optional Additions:

  1. LimeAdjusts pH if needed. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH.
  2. Bone Meal or Rock PhosphateAdds phosphorus for root development.
  3. Green Sand or Kelp MealProvides additional trace minerals.
  4. Organic Fertilizer (if not using compost): Supplies nutrients for plants.

Instructions for Making Your Own Potting Soil:

  1. Measure Ingredients: Use the specified parts for each ingredient based on the size of the batch you need. Adjust quantities as needed.
  2. Combine Ingredients: Mix the coconut coir, perlite, vermiculite, compost, worm castings, and sand or grit in a large container or wheelbarrow.
  3. Optional Additions: If your mix needs a pH adjustment, incorporate lime. Add bone meal or rock phosphate for phosphorus, and green sand or kelp meal for trace minerals. If your compost doesn’t provide enough nutrients, consider adding an organic fertilizer.
  4. Mix Thoroughly: Blend all the ingredients thoroughly to ensure an even distribution of components. Get your hands dirty. In my opinion, this is one of the things I love most about mixing Your Own Potting Soil. I just LOVE getting my hands dirty.
  5. Moisten the Mix: Gradually add water and mix until the mixture is evenly moistened. Aim for a well-moistened but not soggy texture.
  6. Allow Settling: Allow the potting mix to settle for a day or two before using. This allows the components to integrate and ensures a consistent texture.
  7. Fill Plant Containers: Use the homemade potting soil to fill seed plug trays or seed starting pots for your plants.

This homemade potting soil is a versatile mix suitable for a wide range of plants, including container gardens, potted houseplants, and raised beds. Adjust the recipe based on the specific needs of your plants and the growing conditions in your region.

DIY Potting Soil Recipe #2

The best DIY potting soil mix depends on the specific needs of the plants you are growing. However, here is a general recipe for a versatile and well-balanced potting soil mix that works well for a variety of plants:

Ingredients for Recipe #2:

  1. Coconut Coir: Provides moisture retention and aeration.
  2. Perlite or Vermiculite: Improves drainage and aeration.
  3. Compost: Adds organic matter and nutrients.
  4. Garden Soil: Adds bulk and provides some nutrients.
  5. Sand (optional): Improves drainage in heavier soils.
  6. Lime (optional): Adjusts pH, especially if using peat moss.

Basic Recipe in Equal Parts:

  • 1 part Coconut Coir
  • 1 part Perlite or Vermiculite
  • 1 part Your Own Compost
  • 1 part Garden Soil

Optional Additions:

  • 1/2 part Sand (for improved drainage)
  • Lime to adjust pH if needed

Instructions for Recipe #2:

  1. Mix the components thoroughly in a large container or wheelbarrow.
  2. Ensure the mix is well-blended, and there are no large clumps of any single ingredient.
  3. Adjust the mix based on the specific needs of your plants. For example, cacti and succulents may benefit from more perlite for better drainage.

Notes:

  • You can experiment with different ratios based on the water retention and drainage requirements of your plants.
  • If you’re aiming for an organic mix, ensure that the compost and other components are organic.
  • Sterilize the mix by baking it in the oven or moistening and microwaving it to kill any potential pathogens.

Something to Consider

Remember to consider the specific needs of your plants, as some may prefer a lighter mix for better drainage, while others may benefit from a more moisture-retentive mix. Always monitor your plants and adjust the mix as needed.

Recipe #2 DIY potting soil mix provides a balanced combination of key components that cater to the general needs of various plants. Here’s why this mix is considered a good starting point.

Why This DIY Potting Mix is Great

  1. Coconut Coir: Coco Coir provides excellent moisture retention while also contributing to aeration. This is crucial for maintaining a balance between water retention and drainage.
  2. Perlite or Vermiculite: These components enhance the mix’s drainage and aeration properties. They prevent the soil from becoming too compact, allowing the roots to access oxygen and preventing waterlogging.
  3. Compost: Adding compost enriches the soil with organic matter and nutrients, promoting healthy plant growth. It also supports beneficial microbial activity in the soil.
  4. Garden Soil: Including garden soil provides bulk to the mix and introduces some native soil characteristics. However, it’s important to use good-quality, well-draining garden soil to avoid compaction.
  5. Optional Sand: If your plants require enhanced drainage, especially in container gardening, adding sand can further improve soil structure.
  6. Optional Lime: Lime is included to adjust the pH of the mix. Some plants prefer slightly acidic or alkaline conditions, and lime helps maintain an optimal pH level.
  7. Customization: The mix is adaptable and allows for adjustments based on specific plant requirements. You can experiment with ratios and make modifications to suit the needs of different plants.
  8. Versatility: This mix is versatile enough to support a wide range of plants, making it suitable for various gardening applications.

It’s important to note that the “best” potting soil mix can vary depending on the specific needs of the plants you are growing. Some plants may require modifications to the basic mix, such as increased drainage for succulents or specific nutrient requirements for certain vegetables. Always monitor your plants and be willing to adjust the mix based on their performance and needs.

Is Homemade Potting Soil Mixes Good For Plants?

Homemade potting soil can be beneficial for plants for several reasons:

  1. Customization: When you make your own potting soil, you have the flexibility to customize the mix based on the specific needs of your plants. Different plants may have varying requirements for water retention, drainage, and nutrient levels, and a homemade mix allows you to tailor the soil to those needs. This is important because giving too much water is a common problem with container garden beds. 
  2. Nutrient-Rich: Adding compost to homemade potting soil provides a rich source of organic matter and nutrients. This organic material supports beneficial microbial activity in the soil, promoting a healthy soil ecosystem that benefits plant growth.
  3. Better Drainage: The inclusion of components like perlite or vermiculite in homemade mixes improves drainage, preventing waterlogged conditions that can lead to root rot. Good drainage is crucial for many plants, especially those that are sensitive to overwatering.
  4. Aeration: Homemade potting soil often includes ingredients like peat moss or coconut coir, which contribute to the aeration of the soil. Adequate aeration allows plant roots to access oxygen, promoting healthy root development.
  5. Cost-Effectiveness: Making your own potting soil can be more cost-effective than purchasing pre-made mixes, especially if you have a large garden or many containers. Buying bulk ingredients allows you to control costs and use high-quality components.
  6. Avoiding Contaminants: Homemade potting soil allows you to choose quality ingredients and avoid potential contaminants that may be present in some commercial mixes. This is particularly important for organic gardening practices.
  7. Reduced Environmental Impact: You can choose sustainable and eco-friendly components for your homemade mix, reducing the environmental impact associated with the extraction and processing of certain materials found in commercial potting soils.
  8. Learning Experience: Making your own potting soil can be a valuable learning experience. It deepens your understanding of soil composition, the role of different components, and how they impact plant growth.

While homemade potting soil has its advantages, it’s crucial to understand the specific needs of the plants you are growing and adjust the mix accordingly. Regular monitoring of plant health and growth will help you make any necessary adjustments to ensure optimal conditions for your plants.

​Properly Storing DIY Potting Soil

Storing DIY potting soil properly helps maintain its quality and prevent the growth of unwanted microorganisms.

Here are steps to store your homemade potting soil:

  1. Dry Storage Location: Store the potting soil in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight and moisture can promote the growth of mold and bacteria.
  2. Air-Tight Containers: Use air-tight containers or resealable bags to store your good soil. This helps prevent moisture from entering and keeps the mix dry.
  3. Labeling: Label the storage containers with the date of preparation and the ingredients used. This information helps you keep track of the potting soil’s age and composition.
  4. Stacking Bags or Containers: If using bags, stack them neatly to save space and minimize the chance of damage. Avoid storing heavy items on top of the bags to prevent compression.
  5. Protection from Pests: Ensure that the storage area is protected from pests like rodents and insects. Sealing the bags or containers well can help deter pests.
  6. Avoiding Contamination: Store the potting soil away from chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides. Contamination from these substances can affect the quality of the potting mix.
  7. Regular Inspection: This is the most important thing to keep your homemade potting soil fresh. Periodically inspect the stored potting soil for any signs of mold, pests, or unusual odors. If you notice any issues, discard the affected portion.
  8. Use within a Reasonable Timeframe: While homemade potting soil can last for an extended period, it’s generally a good practice to use it within a year or two. Fresh potting mix tends to provide better results.
  9. Rehydration if Needed: If the potting soil becomes overly dry, you can rehydrate it by adding water gradually. Mix thoroughly to ensure even moisture distribution.
  10. Protect from Freezing: If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, protect the potting soil from freezing. Moisture in the mix can expand when frozen, affecting its structure.
  11. Stored in Bins or Tubs: If storing larger quantities, consider using plastic bins or tubs with tight-fitting lids. These containers provide an additional layer of protection against moisture and pests for a long time.

Something to Remember

Remember that the quality of potting soil can degrade over time, so it’s a good idea to refresh your supply periodically, especially if you’ve stored it for an extended period. Proper storage practices ensure that your DIY potting soil remains a high-quality medium for starting seeds and growing healthy plants.

Have Fun with this DIY Potting Soil

Now you have a couple recipes and instructions for making the best homemade potting soil for vegetables and herbs. Enjoy trying out these DIY potting soil recipes and customizing them to make them your own to meet your needs. 

As you start your seeds for this year, have the best results while using the best homemade potting soil mix that you can. And make extra because this garden hobby is going to be so much fun for you that you’re going to need lots more DIY potting soil. 

Happy Gardening!

~ Much Love ~

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