Homemade Organic Potting Soil

This post was originally posted in June 2013: Mixed up some potting soil this weekend. It was very easy to make, the texture is great, and it’s organic. I had always thought it was curious that most gardening sites recommend a sterile soil for seed starting and for propogating plants. I just loved this quote I found on the seedsavers.org forum:

I’d no sooner raise seedlings in sterile potting mix than raise kids in an apartment without a yard; some things that are done are just not natural.

So I started looking for information to backup this opinion and found this article online: http://naturalfamilytoday.com/lifestyle/a-dirty-little-secret-about-sterile-potting-mixes/ that made really good point.

The ultimate mixture for a potting mix should be teaming with life. Compost is the key in suppressing soil born disease. It is an amazing thing that the living organisms within the soil will eat each other. Your seedlings and young plants will have all the perfect nutrients in which to grow strong and healthy.

Their recipe for potting soil is 4 parts screened compost, 2 parts organic sphagnum peat moss, 1 part perlite and 1 part vermiculite (make sure they’re organic and not chemically treated).

Easy Homemade Potting Soil

We have a backyard composter where garden waste and kitchen scraps are composted. I don’t yet have a nice framed screen to screen the compost, but a bit of screening put over your mixing bucket will work just fine in a pinch.

I didn’t measure very carefully (lazy gardener!) but I did base my “parts” on the number of shovelfuls of material I used.

My plan for my lovely trug full of organic potting soil? I’ve started some cuttings of rosemary, thyme, sage and lavender. I will write more about that project and process next time.

Do you have a favorite recipe for potting soil? Please share.