Container vegetable DIY potting mix

ylww0914May 8, 2012


Forgive me if I'm posting a question that's been answered already, but my search results didn't offer up any answers that were in plain enough layman's terms for me to understand. So here I am. A newbie. This is my third summer container gardening and this year I wanted to try and make my own potting mix instead of dropping a ton of cash on the Miracle Gro mix I've been buying. I have 16 seedlings, so that adds up. The goal here was to save money without compromising my yield.

Here's what I bought at Home Depot over the weekend. I have not mixed anything yet, but this is what I thought I needed until I got home and did more reading.

Potting soil (not mix)


mushroom compost (I read this is not good to use for container veggies - is this true and if so, what do I replace it with? Manure or Nature's Helper maybe? Nature's helper is 1/2 pine and 1/2 manure)

sphagnum moss

I'm planting veggies and herbs only. What proportions should I use? Did I buy the correct ingredients? I'm so confused. . .

Any help you can give me would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I am sorry to tell you this, but I think most of the things you bought are going to cause problems, especially the potting soil. Have you read the most popular thread on this forum, Container Soils -- Water Movement and Retention? It may seem too technical at first, but take your time and read the 94 questions and answers from people just like you. Most of us who follow Al's advice are very happy with the results.

Here is a link that might be useful: Follow this link to read about container mixes that work

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 8:38PM
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Thanks, Ohio. I have read it, but it's a little much for a beginner who has only previously used bagged mixes. I'm a pretty decent DIYer with all kinds of projects (I even make my own laundry detergent). I was hoping someone could give me a straightforward recipe to start out with, or help me figure out which components need to be swapped without a huge technical explanation. I have read the 5:1:1 but I don't know what some of the items in it are or how to find them at a store. Then there's fertilizers, compost, etc. - so many to choose from and not 100% with my techniques to apply it (mix in vs. "top dressing") in the proper amounts or intervals.

I did get a couple of things right with the moss and the perlite.

Anyone else want to chime in with some easy advice for a beginner?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 2:50AM
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