Your Container Soil

A light weight potting soil must be used for your container soil. Soil dug from your garden will not work as it is often too heavy and will compact in the container. A good growing soil needs to be porous so the vegetable roots will get air, water and nutrients. Light soil allows for circulation of the air and water.

Most nurseries and garden centers have container soil mixtures that will work well. These usually are a combination of peat moss, organic material, sand, and perlite or vermiculite. If you are needing large amounts of soil it can get expensive. You can save some money by mixing up your own mix.

Making your container soil mixture


The two main ingredients are peat moss and vermiculite. Both of these come in quantities of cubic yards. Here is the recipe for my potting mix:

  • 1 cubic foot peat moss
    This is partially decomposed plant life taken from bogs and used as rooting medium and soil conditioner.
  • 1 cubic foot vermiculite
    This is a mica product expanded by heat, forming a lightweight soil additive. Often used in synthetic soil mixes as a rooting medium.
  • 6 ounce lime
  • 6 ounce bone meal
  • 1 ounce blood meal
  • 1 ounce sulpomag
    This is a mixture of sulfur, potassium and magnesium.

A cubic foot is the volume of a cube one foot in length, width and breadth.

Planting your containers

Before you plant make sure the soil mixture is thoroughly watered. Warm water will absorb more easily into the soil if the mixture is really dry. Sow the vegetable seeds at the depth that is indicated on your seed package. If you are transplanting a vegetable like tomatoes, peppers or eggplants make sure the transplant is well watered before taking it out of the transplant tray.

Location of your containers

When first seeded place the containers in a warm place but not in direct sun. Most seeds will germinate in a moist soil. Once the seeds have germinated move the container to a sunny location.

Thinning your plants

Depending on what has been planted you may need to thin. Thinning is a must in container vegetable gardening. An overcrowded container will have plants that are spindly, small and they will not mature properly. Plants need room to grow.

Every year you will need to replace all the soil mixture in small containers and at least 1/3 of the soil in your large pots. That way your vegetables will get the nutrients needed to grow well. Now let's talk about container watering and fertilzing .

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