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how can I make good potting soil ?

I want to know how to make good potting soil out of the ground I can dig up and mabey some flower food or somthing but nothing really complicated like stuff that a I have to go make a speacial trip for. for one reason that is becuse I'm a kid and I cant drive and I need potting soil but I don't have any money but my grandma will let me use her plant food. and I have a compost heap and I can dig up a ton of dirt. any good potting soil I can make from that stuff like we have lots of spanish moss around here and I could use egg shells mabey or banana peals? just anything like that.
thanks for any help I can get =]


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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A


Hello and welcome to the forum. Actual soil is not a very good choice for container gardening. The texture and composition will lead it to become too compact pretty quickly. When dealing with containers you have to sure to provide texture and drainage, nothing will kill most plants quicker than being in wet or compacted soil.

If you really cannot purchase anything then your compost pile will probably be your best bet especially if it is well aged. If you sift the compost through say a 3/8 or 1/2 screen this will help to break up the clumps and provide a decent base for container gardening. Gather some of the moss and chop it up with scissors/shears into smaller pieces and include some of that in your mix.

I like to include Perlite in potting mixes but that would have to be purchased although it is not terribly expensive. Some grit would substitute, chicken grit (provided it is not oyster shell) or very coarse sand (not play sand) helps to keep the mix open.

Small pieces of bark are also a good component, I use pine bark like you might find in landscaping. Getting it to a proper size can be a problem though. Humus from the woods can be used, even a well rotted log can be utilized.

I find screens of various sizes useful in creating potting mixes but I am focused primarily on bonsai where any "fines" are generally removed.


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Senior Member
Posts: 220
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 12:55 am
Location: Three Rivers, TX

Hi Ann! [img][/img]

I'm so impressed that you're 'a kid' and are interested enough in gardening that you would join a group like this and ask questions!! [img][/img]

I like your idea of using egg shells, banana peels and Spanish moss. As Gnome/Norm said you need to have drainage and dug-up soil in a pot would need lots added to it to make it drain well. So why not experiment? [img][/img] Mix up soil, compost, Spanish moss, ground up egg shells, etc in different amounts and try them in different pots. You know, 1/3 soil, 1/3 compost, 1/3 Spanish moss in one pot, 1/2 compost, 1/2 soil in another pot and so on.

Who knows what you may discover! You don't have anything to lose and you may even discover something you could teach some of us!!

Best of luck in your gardening and I look forward to seeing more of your posts here in the group!

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Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 3:38 pm
Location: Toronto Ont

Good advice from both of you.

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