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Potting Soil Recipes for Container Gardening

Make quality potting soil and soil-less mixes at home.

Seedling mix for seedlings in styrofoam flats :

  • 2 parts compost
  • 2 part peat moss or coir
  • 1 part perlite

The second recipe is a soilless recipe based on the Cornell Mix concept; the third is a classic soil-based formula.

Organic substitute for Cornell Mix (large quantity):

  • 1/2 cu. yd. Sphagnum peat or coir
  • 1/2 cu. yd perlite
  • 10 lbs. bonemeal
  • 5 lbs. ground limestone
  • 5 lbs. bloodmeal

Classic soil-based mix:

  • 1/3 mature compost or leaf mold, screened
  • 1/3 garden topsoil
  • 1/3 sharp sand

Note: This mix results in a potting soil that is heavier than modern peat mixes, but still has good drainage. Compost has been shown to promote a healthy soil mix that can reduce root diseases. Perlite can be used instead of sand. Organic fertilizer can be added to this base.

Prick-out mix for growing seedlings to transplant size:

  • 6 parts compost
  • 3 parts soil
  • 1-2 parts sand
  • 1-2 parts aged manure
  • 1 part peat moss, pre-wet and sifted
  • 1-2 parts leaf mold, if available
  • 1 6″ pot bone meal

Organic potting mix:

  • 1 part sphagnum peat or coir
  • 1 part peat humus (short fiber)
  • 1 part compost
  • 1 part sharp sand (builder’s)

to every 80 qts. of this add:

  • 1 cup greensand
  • 1 cup colloidal phosphate
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups crabmeal, or bloodmeal
  • 1/2 cup lime

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