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How do you keep your soil loose?

I'm new to container gardening, I've just bought 2 big bags of Miracle Grow Potting soil.

How do you keep your soil loose when putting it in containers?

Does this mean just not packing it down too tightly?

As you can probably see, I'm a real new to all this.

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I've read a lot of negative comments about Miracle Gro potting mix, but I can't say how true they might be. I've never used it myself. I prefer the Sun products. The Sun mix that's easily available in stores where I live ... even grocery stores like Albertson's ... is called Nature's. It has always worked very well for me. I buy it in the large bags for use in my outdoor containers, and small bags for my indoor plants. I buy their specialty mixes, as well ... African violet mix and Cactus/Succulent mix when I need them.

Sometimes I'll toss in some perlite into the mix ... I prefer it over vermiculite ... to loosen the soil a bit, but as a rule, I don't have a problem with the Nature's brand.

I don't actually tamp the soil down much in containers. I fill the container, tap it on the ground or countertop to settle the soil, plant my plant, then water thoroughly until water runs freely out the bottom. I might even water the plant two or three times in succession right after I've planted it. The purpose is to move the soil around and get rid of any little air pockets.

Whatever soil you use, make sure it's labeled specifically for use in containers. It should say "Potting soil", "Potting mix", or "Container soil" or "Container mix". Sometimes the "mixes" are soilless, but with the Nature's brand, I've found that true of only the African violet mix.
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Miracle grow is a no for me also, you can taste it in whatever you might be growing, Fox farms soil is one of the best in my opinion! If you want to just use potting soil adding perlite to the soil "about 20%" will keep your soil "loose" giving the soil proper drainage..

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I start all my seedling in MG potting soil. I just kind of shovel it in to the pots then add water. Stir it around a bit, which settles it some, then add more potting mix. Then it's ready to plant into. Never plant into potting mix which hasn't been well moistened first. The dry peat will suck all the juices out of your pot and it can be hard to get the peat moistened then.

So as Kisal said you want it to settle a bit, but not be packed down.

I don't grow veggies in it, just start seedlings, so I can't speak to the issue of being able to "taste" it, but it sounds a bit odd...
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Thank-you for your replies

I've already bought 2 bags of Miracle Grow potting soil, but I'll look for another brand next time.

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