difference between garden soil and potting soil..

roorezzi(Poconos)May 7, 2006

Planning on doing some containers and DH got back from the store and he bought he a big bag of MG garden soil..

Can I use garden soil in containers...??

WHat is the difference??



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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I wouldn't. Even heavily amending it would leave you with a soil that will make your growing efforts much more likely to be frustrating. Garden soil compacts and holds much too little air to be a good choice in containers.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 1:58PM
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THanks Al.. It won't go to use I can use that in the Garden I will have to head back out to the store tomorrow to get the right stuff.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 2:57PM
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aktnyc(z7a NYC)

DON'T use garden soil! It won't drain properly, and unless the plant is a tough old weed, the roots won't pentrate properly. That said, I do have a tough old ivy cutting growing quite successfully in a crummy black pot of garden soil. It was a sort of experiment, but I don't recommend it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 2:47PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

I wouldn't recommend it either preferring a "potting mix". However ironically my Mother demands it each year and she gets some amazing container tomatoes and bell peppers using it (she's used MG's). I expect the amount of sun that hits the area where she sits the pots and her fertilizing and watering practices might be helping... From what I've observed from the stuff in her containers is that it isn't peaty and stays moist longer (although I expect if allowed to dry, it would be crackly clay dry). And since these plants are grown as annuals, it doesn't really matter what happens to them at the end of the season since she gets decent harvests for herself from them.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 11:23AM
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mea2214(z5 Chicago)

I've used a garden soil/potting mix combo for the last 4 years of my rooftop container garden without knowing what I was doing. For the first three years I had lots of good growth with herbs and peppers and flowers. Certain things, like rose bushes and tomatoes, I had problems growing. Last year we had an extremely bad drought here in Chicago and I had lots of problems with some of my hardy plants like morning glories which can even grow well in cracks in the sidewalk. The lack of rain really displayed a big problem I had with my soil.

This year I'm doing a modified Al's mix using lots of pine bark (knock on wood). Due to logistics and the massive amount of soil I already have I'm recycling it into the new mixture with about 40% of the mix the old "bad" soil I had been using. So far I have noticed a difference with my finger test. When I stick my finger into the soil it slides in easily and I can almost feel the air pockets in the soil. When installed in the container it kind of sits in there like a sponge. I can't report success (or hopefully not failure :-) until the end of summer but just by how this soil feels to the touch I'm converting my entire garden to this pine bark mixture.

So the bottom line, you might be able to get by with a little garden soil in a mixture. I'm not sure what I'd do if I were starting from scratch since I don't necessarily want my containers to drain out quickly each and every day. There are too many to water every day and some of the hardier plants, like hot peppers and morning glory and other vines, simply don't need the greatest and most sophisticated soil mixture to survive and thrive.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 12:25PM
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i agree with that info

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 7:37PM
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I started some tomatoes, bell peppers, japs and some cumcumbers in containers last week for the first time. After I was done I realized I used garden soil for all of them! So what should I do? I don't want to replant all of them, so should i just water them more? Or do I have to replant them? I am in Texas and it will be getting pretty hot soon

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 5:14PM
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