I see all the talk about Pro Mix but it's not available locally here in Georgia? What are other good options?
ProMix is great but you certainly can mix your own with a bag of peat and vermiculite. (I'm talking about the seed starter)
For potting soil you would want to add compost.
I don't have it available to me either so I've never had the opportunity to use ProMix. But, those that I can get here still aren't in your area....have you seen Fafards anywhere, it's good.
I think the consensus is any good quality (possibly meaning not the very cheapest on the shelf) brand. In my area, that could be Black Gold, Gardener&Bloome, Whitney's Farms....but most of the time what I have is a Cornell recipe that I don't mix myself, one of our family owned garden centers locally mixes it and bags it for us, tweaks the contents slightly for our wet mild climate is what they tell me. As far as I know, the only one people really hate is Hyponex ;)
When I was looking for a large amount for a BIG container for a mature shrub one day when I didn't have a lot of time, I went to Home Depot, looked for a broken bag and examined some of the contents...sniffed, squeezed in my hand, tried to get feel for the quality since the sack read 'bark based'. It was great, worked fine, but my luck was in the broken bag. I didn't have to drag one home to find I didn't like the product.
Here is a link that might be useful: One of lots of threads about container mediums
I must be the odd one, because I actually liked Hyponex. But this year I had to go with the locally made kind from the garden center as I no longer have access to big bags of Hyponex. Most of the stuff around me has fertilizer in it which I don't like. Promix is hard but not impossible to find but expensive and I don't have that kind of money.
A large compressed bale of ProMix is less expensive than any bagged soil I have found. A compressed bale of peat costs even less. The vermiculite is more expensive but still is much more economical to mix your own than to buy.
At the end of the season, I got two bales of ProMix for $11.00 each because they had tears in them. I ended up with two 55 gallon containers of soiless mix which is plenty for me since when it is moistened it doubles in size. I'm good until next fall.
Around here our only options are what is available at Lowe's and Home Depot which is Miracle Grow and Jungle Growth, no Pro Mix. I've been using the Jungle Growth the past 2 wintersowing seasons and it was horrible last year, granted we had a wetter than normal year.
Is there a good basic recipe? I wouldn't mind mixing up my own.
Get a compressed bale of peat and mix with a bag or two of vermiculite or perlite. This is a great seed starter. For potting soil you will have to add compost.