making your own potting soil : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi Everyone,

As my windows are full of my seedlings and since I am getting ready to transplant them into larger containers, I have a question.

I make my own seed starter with equal parts peat moss, vermiculite and perlite. Does anyone have a recipe for potting soil. To buy it in the stores is always so expensive, and since we are all frugal minded I fiqure someone out there has the recipe.

Could I use just garden soil and add my seed starter mix to that? If so, does the soil have to be sterilized?

Thank you to all in advance.

-- Cordy (, April 05, 2002


Hi Cordy,

I have had good luck using garden soil, just add some extra perlite to lighten it up quite a bit. Some will worry about disease, I've never had a problem with that, but I always put a 1/2 to 1" layer of the seed starting mix on TOP of the soil. I think that the sensitive part is where the air, stem and soil meet. I've been doing this for years. I also fertilize with fish emulsion (p-u!) I wouldn't use this as a long term situation, mine are in for 4-6 weeks, then go in the ground. If I was going to keep them in the pots all summer, I would use commercial potting soil because I have a lot of clay here. Aren't seedlings just too cool! Good Luck! Amy

-- Amy (, April 05, 2002.

Thank you Amy, that is what I thought.

I use fish emulsion too. Works great, but does perfume the air a bit.

Happy gardening!

-- Cordy (, April 05, 2002.

Cordy, I buy garden soil in bulk(by the trailor load, 2-4 yards)and when potting up plants I just mix in more vermiculite. We too have heavy clay soil here. It's nice for a pond but not so good for planting! I grow cuttings from old plants found at abandoned homesteads around here in it and they do fine. Have fun! LQ

-- Little Quacker (, April 05, 2002.

If you're worried about disease and weeds in your garden soil, it can always be sterilized. Moist soil, foil-covered pan in a 300 oven for an hour or so. But be warned: it really stinks!! You can do this on the barbecue outside, instead. Or fill black pots or black plastic bags with soil, seal, and let sit in the sun for a couple of weeks.

-- Marcia in MT (, April 05, 2002.

1/3 peatmoss, 1/3 unscented clay kitty litter, 1/3 worm castings from my vermicompost bin. I use "Kitty Dri" litter at $1.25 for 20 lb bag. Clay kitty litter is the same as zoelite.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, April 05, 2002.

It can be done. The trouble is that your home is not an eco system. So if you bring some bad bugs or fungi into the house, the stuff that controls it might not also be in your house.

I've seen lots of folks do it without a problem.

And the only problems I have seen have involved store bought potting soil.

-- Paul Wheaton (, April 06, 2002.

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