This post gives you recipes for DIY potting mix, an easy recipe for many uses.
Use these easy recipes to grow the best seedlings, succulents and for general purpose needs.
These are my secret mixes developed over the past ten years on my homestead and in my market garden business. Get ready to rock your plant world!
This post contains affiliate links based on my personal experience with products that support a seasonal lifestyle. As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I hope you find them useful.
What is potting soil mix, anyway?
Glad you asked!
Potting soil mix is actually a soilless growth media used to start seeds, care for seedlings, and nourish houseplants. If it were actually ‘soil’ it would be contaminated with weed seed and other materials not useful to seedlings. I also use this mix to amend my raised garden beds. Potting mix is a combination of compost, coconut coir, perlite or vermiculite, and nutrient fertilizers.
Let me explain how to make potting soil and the function of each ingredient in the recipe.
Compost is rich in organic matter and micronutrients derived from degraded organic material like kitchen and garden waste. It feeds your plants and seedlings essential nutrients. It is very important to purchase certified organic compost. Otherwise, you will not know what is in your compost, including herbicide residues that can kill off your plants.
Coconut Coir is a natural fiber extracted from the husk of coconuts. It is added to potting mixes because it holds moisture while allowing for easy drainage. In the past, people used peat moss in their soil mixes, but it is not a renewable resource and much harm has come to peat bogs from over-harvesting. Coconut coir is easily renewable and functions well for its purpose.
Perlite and Vermiculite
Perlite and Vermiculite are interchangeable ingredients in my potting mix recipe. They help with moisture retention and drainage. These potting mix ingredients help with aeration to keep the mix from compacting in containers.
Organic Fertilizers are used in measured amounts to provide the perfect nutrition to your plants. In this recipe, I will give you measures for each separate fertilizer and an alternative measure for organic fertilizer mixes.
DIY Potting Soil Mix Easy Recipe
First, get your workspace together by gathering up the tools and equipment you will need to make potting soil as your spring garden task. If its a nice day, work outside. If it’s not welcoming outdoors, you can easily do the DIY in your basement or garage. Pull together these items:
- A small tarp
- A 5-gallon work bucket
- Measuring cups marked ‘not for kitchen use’
- A garden sieve
- Garden gloves
- A hand trowel
DIY Potting Soil Mix Ingredients and Process | Easy Recipe
First, you will need to soak the coconut coir in your 5-gallon work bucket. It won’t take long. Simply follow the directions on the packet. Do this before setting up your workstation. Then, when you are all set it will be hydrated and ready to mix.
Open the tarp on the floor/ground and pour into the center your compost, coir, vermiculite/perlite, and fertilizer in the following measure:
- 5 gallons compost
- 5 gallons coconut coir
- 2 gallons vermiculite/perlite (it is ok to estimate in the bucket)
- 2 cups of your fertilizer mix
Grabbing the corners of the tarp slowly pull up the sides to move the ingredients around until well mixed. Add a gallon of water slowly over the ingredients as you are mixing to hydrate your potting mix. Place your garden sieve over a large box or galvanized wash tub (old trash can, anything really) and work your mixture through to eliminate clumping. This is important because your seedlings won’t do well next to a big old clump of compost or coconut coir blocking its access to water.
The mix is now ready to use. You can store it by folding it into the tarp and using it as needed or shoveling into a large plastic container. If you are starting a lot of seed, go for the former option.
DIY Potting Soil Mix | Recipe for Large Batches
When we are growing for our farm share program, we go through LOTS of potting soil. And, as mentioned earlier, I actually amend my raised beds with this mix. Here is my large batch recipe that calls for measuring out specific fertilizers. It’s followed by recommendations for those fertilizer sources.
I recommend going to your local landscape company and getting a scoop of organic compost, like LeafGro, to save yourself time and money with batches this size.
Ingredients for Large Batch DIY Potting Soil Mix
- 12 gallons coconut coir
- 12 gallons compost
- 5 gallons perlite/vermiculite
- 1.5 cups phosphorous
- 1 cup greensand
- 1.5 cups lime
- 2 cups nitrogen (blood meal)
Monthly Garden Tips
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Growing Greens Indoors
This soil mix is perfect for growing indoor lettuces and microgreens!
No time for growing a fall garden? No problems!
Click here to learn how to grow your salad greens indoors. I go over sprouts, microgreens, shoots, and we even touch on outdoor spinach.
The Seasonal Living Framework
Seasonal wellness asks that we learn to trust nature and our bodies to guide our self-care practices. Whether learning the skill of handcrafting herbal teas or taking up a meditation practice, seasonal wellness is about the slow approach to making our wellbeing a priority.
Basically, nature-based wellness practices are contemplative. They need time set aside to experience moments in nature, and in our interior landscape. These practices can be solitary or in community, solemn or festive. They always bring us into direct contact with the present moment. They inspire an internal sense of purpose and peace.
If this resonates with you, I invite you to explore the Seasonal Living Framework with this post and the downloadable workbook.
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