Thornedvine
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SOIL for container garden

Hey everyone! I have a question about the type of soil to use for my container garden. There aren't any stores around where I live that sell ready potting mixes, so I was wondering what should I mix and how many parts of each ingredient? I have only found compost, peatmoss, and clay soil( extremely clay soil) Should I just mix those three together, if so how many parts of each? I was also planning on adding rocks/gravel at the bottom of my containers to help with drainage. Thank you!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: SOIL for container garden

To start with , it always helps to tell us where you are located . There are hardly any garden questions that can be discussed without reference to location / climate etc. Also it would help to know what you want to grow in those containers . Different plants benefit from different types of soil .

But in a general way, I would say don't put any of your clay soil in it. Way too heavy, compacts down and turns into a brick in a container and hard to get it to mix well with the other ingredients.

And don't put rocks or anything at the bottom "for drainage . " People did that for years , but it always was a myth . Having distinct layers of soil then gravel creates a barrier that the water won't cross until the soil is completely saturated . Just fill your container with good potting mix .

Good potting mix would be the compost, the peat moss (or coconut coir ) and some mineral ingredient to help keep it loose, light , fluffy, and well draining (all qualities you need for potting mix , which otherwise tends to compact ). This could be perlite , decomposed granite , crushed lava rock , coarse sand , etc.

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Thornedvine
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Re: SOIL for container garden

Thank you for your reply. My location is Cairo, Egypt. Hence why I couldn't find any good gardening stores.

CharlieBear
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Re: SOIL for container garden

You can't get any native soil to start with, I would think soil in Egypt would be something other than clay. Compost what kind? If it is composted yard litter, mushroom compost etc then you can fill the planters with 3/4 of that mixed with the peat moss. I have done it as a trial and it worked fine even when I used all compost. If you are talking composted animal manure that is a different story. Note, the more nutrient demanding plants you want, like tomatoes, eggplant then more compost. If you are talking things like lettuce then far less compost and more peat moss. If the compost is clumpy out of the bag, then you would need perlite or the equivalent for sure. If it is loose then not so much. That is what make is so hard to mix your own for most people. Leave the clay out period of a planter rather use only compost no matter what you are growing than to add that clay.

Thornedvine
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Re: SOIL for container garden

@CharlieBear It's animal compost I believe, It's got chickens and cows on it so I guess so. Is anything wrong with it? Thanks!

imafan26
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Re: SOIL for container garden

I think you use the term compost differently from what we would be used to. Animal wastes are manures and they need to be 'aged' or added to compost and composted (decomposed) before use. Fresh manures may carry disease pathogens so nothing should be planted in them that will be harvested in less than 120 days. If you can find coarse sand, the kind that contractors use to make cement, that will work.

One part sand, one part peat moss, one part compost (decomposed leaves, stems). I do not put manure in pots it has always caused problems for me. I use a slow release fertiizer instead.
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Thornedvine
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Re: SOIL for container garden

I forgot to mention i've also found ACTUAL compost, which is food wastes and what not, the traditional compost. Do I just mix it with peatmoss and some coarse sand?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: SOIL for container garden

That would work. 1:1:1 or anything up to 2 compost : 1 peat : 1 sand ....
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rainbowgardener
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Re: SOIL for container garden

You never did tell us what you plan to grow with your mix. Cacti, succulents, Mediterranean herbs (sage, oregano, thyme, rosemary) and some other dry climate plants do better with more sand in the mix. Plants that grow with lots of moisture do better with more compost/ peat in the mix. Peat is acidifying, so plants that like acid soils do better with more peat in the mix.
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Thornedvine
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Re: SOIL for container garden

well @rainbowgardener i wanted to grow a mix of flowers, morning glories, hollyhocks, you name it. Same thing with vegetables. I'm trying to grow cukes, tomatoes, carrots. A lot really. I cannot really find any potting soils here, so im really just thinking of mixing the compost with peat moss and see what happens. I once grew all of my plants in PURE peat moss but they all died because of extreme winds. Also root rot because i forgot to drill holes at the bottom of the containers. But then again im just a teenager trying to grow stuff so im learning. :D

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jal_ut
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Re: SOIL for container garden

Clay gets a bad rap, but know what? Many of the worlds crops are grown on clay based soils. Add some sand and compost and never work it when too wet, and you will get along fine.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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Re: SOIL for container garden

This software driving me crazy again............................
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Thornedvine
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Re: SOIL for container garden

Yeah, i have some flowers growing in a pot of pure clay soil. They seem to do fine, I hope they stay that way.

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