Redman67
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How to convert purchased Garden Soil to Potting soil

Hi everybody.. New to gardening and really want to get started.
But, i made a big mistake. I purchased huge bags of Garden soil thinking thats what i need to plant with. I planted a few things and they did average but after doing some research i realized my mistake. Now i realize i need a premium potting
soil not garden soil. Is there a way to fix my garden soil that i purchased (kelloggs) ... maybe i can add something to
convert it into potting soil or whatever soil i need to grow stuff in. Thanks in advance. Also any ratios would be great
also.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How to convert purchased Garden Soil to Potting soil

I assume since you were purchasing bags of soil, you are not planting in the ground. What are you planting in - small containers, large containers, raised beds? If raised beds, do they have a bottom or are they connected to the native soil?

All that makes a difference to what kind of soil/ soil mix you need. Also what are you wanting to grow? Also makes a difference, different plants need different kinds of soil.

Just to get started, I will assume you are growing pretty average flowers/ veggies in small to medium containers, say no more than a couple gallon size. In that case you do want potting soil. You can take what you have and mix it with peat moss or coconut coir, perlite, compost or aged composted manure. Basically 1:1:1:1, so your garden soil is no more than 1/4 of the finished mixed. You should be able to buy all those ingredients in separate bags at the local big box.
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Redman67
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Re: How to convert purchased Garden Soil to Potting soil

You are super awesome. Thanks so much for the response. Planting in small closed bottom containers. I will head to
the hardware store and pick up the extra goodies. Planting herbs and tomatoes mostly.. Thanks again.

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GardeningCook
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Re: How to convert purchased Garden Soil to Potting soil

Make sure those "small closed bottomed containers" have drainage holes! :wink:
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rainbowgardener
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Re: How to convert purchased Garden Soil to Potting soil

It's why I asked. Most herbs like a different mix from other plants. Especially if you are talking oregano, sage, rosemary, lavender, thyme, tarragon, marjoram , they like a drier, leaner mix. For these herbs, I would leave the compost/ composted manure out of the mix and increase the amount of perlite, or use coarse sand or small gravel instead of perlite. The mediterranean herbs listed above like a very sandy, fast draining mix, with less fertility.
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digitS'
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Re: How to convert purchased Garden Soil to Potting soil

I use bags of "top soil" in a potting mix for larger containers and older plants. The product is so variable that I won't buy it without seeing it first.

There must be no standards. I'm just looking for good quality "dirt." The organic matter, I'd like to add that myself so that I know what it is.

It goes through a 1/4" screen and I can use the wood chunks, if they are in there, as mulch in the yard. I add peat moss, compost and perlite. An organic fertilizer can go into the mix either then or later if the plants look deficient.

I have to say that it's only been the last few years that I've grown tomatoes in this mix. This year I've added peppers and eggplants. They all look good so far. Beginning about 7 or 8 years ago, I began with perennials like rosemary and others. They did good so I was willing to try it with other things.

I let the information from The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) be my guide. Their lists of recipes are provided from diverse sources and you see a great variety of ideas. Probably not all of them are suitable for local, available materials or every plant but they can give you an idea that it may be okay to experiment a little.

Steve
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CharlieBear
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Re: How to convert purchased Garden Soil to Potting soil

you are correct there is no standard for top soil. It can be anything if you get lucky you get real top soil and it is sandy loam, but not likely. It might be all clay, it might be rocky and it might even be sub soil. So, you are right, without seeing it don't buy it. Amazingly, in containers even good grade compost will work as will something called Nursery mix. I know Lowe's carries it. It doesn't contain any fertilizers so you will have to add compost or something. More for heavy feeders and very little for light feeders like lettuce. If you have top soil out of a bag the important thing is to add something for drainage like perlite, vermiculite or core and something for the plants to feed on like compost, but stay away from bagged composted steer manure. It will give you more weeds than you even knew could grow in such a small space. Just be careful down the line not to reuse the same soil for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes for at least 3-4 years. Rotation is key in containers that are not holding perennial plants

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