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Making Potting Soil

 
Mateo Chester
Posts: 148
Location: Zone 4b
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Just as it says, I wanted to create a list of home-did potting soil mixes that people are using. Not to get too off the permie beat, but if potting soil is the only way to go (urban dwellings, garden beds, potted house plants, etc. ) then we might as well be making it from scratch and not paying some corporate entity for bagged nonsense... Any thoughts?
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I find this a bit of an ethical struggle, as potting mixes made with purely organic matter (organic as opposed to mineral, that is) tend to become quite compacted and my plants have struggled.
I generally make a mix of perlite, sieved compost and aged bark 'fines'.
I use coconut coir in my seed-raising mix, and sometimes a bit of that goes in too.
If I raised worms, I'd definitely be using vermicast in there!
 
Mateo Chester
Posts: 148
Location: Zone 4b
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Gotta love the "similar threads" section... what a score!

http://www.permies.com/t/18837/hugelkultur/hugelkultur-Pots-boxes
 
David Livingston
master steward
Posts: 2991
Location: Anjou ,France
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Two ideas
Moles are a good source of light soil for seed trays . Dig a fresh mole hill.
Composting -make your own soil put something back . Even if its the only thing you do for the enviorment its a great step forward

David
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5613
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
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I use a combination of sifted compost, sifted leaf mold from under our leaf pile and sharp sand from the local builder's supply (they let me have a bucket at a time for free). This year I had good results with just the leaf mold and sand. As Leila says, it is dense, but seems to work fine in my wooden flats for seed starting and for pots. I've started adding bits of wood to my larger pots to lighten it up...if they will be potted awhile. I added green sand the year that I had some and didn't notice a difference. My mix varies every year...I don't measure, just scoup it in and mix with my hands until it 'seems right'. I don't 'feed' the potted plants anything...I just try to get them out in the sun and rain as soon as possible. And I see the results in my gardens right now...good healthy plants.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1341
Location: northern California
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The best potting mix I ever made was some long-composted wood chips inoculated with urine!
 
Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
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We are none too formal around here. You gotta have a "feel" for what is right. Some mix of plain soil, compost, mebbe a little sand.

Be warned, if you are doing natives, many don't enjoy the nutrition of compost. They do better in a poorer soil mix.....
 
Ivan Weiss
Posts: 176
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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I have started incorporating biochar into mine. Looks promising, too soon to tell if it will make a significant difference. I use some coffee grounds also. The coffee and the char certainly *appear* to help the water holding capacity.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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