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Potting Soil – Choosing the Right Soil for your Plants

Container gardening can be advantageous to gardeners because it has so many benefits. With container gardening you don’t need a lot of land, you can even grow a spectacular garden if you live in an apartment. In a greenhouse, container gardening can make more space for your garden. The demand is less than a traditional garden because excessive weeding and composting isn’t required. If you have problem soil, it isn’t a dilemma anymore. To raise a garden in containers, the main ingredient for success is your potting soil.

Why potting soil matters…

Just like in any garden, your soil used in containers is of utmost importance. The quality of the soil is usually determined by its texture and fertility. The texture is related to soil particles and the size of them. For instance, sandy soil has a texture that allows for aeration with free movement of air and water, while clay particles leave little room because they tend to pack. Good soil texture is usually a combination of these, made up of sandy loam with plenty of organic matter.

Nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and trace elements like calcium, zinc and magnesium make up the fertility of the soil. In order for plants to absorb the nutrients, a good balance of the acidity and alkalinity (pH) is necessary. If your potting soil provides both good texture and fertility, it will make a difference in the health and prosperity of your garden.

If the texture of your soil is too sandy, your plants will have problems taking root. If it is packed to hard without enough sand, the plants will be subjects of root rot. If the soil isn’t fertile or doesn’t have a good pH balance, the plants will literally starve to death. Using good potting soil can alleviate all of this and make your container garden thrive.

Choosing the right potting soil…

There is no perfect mix when it comes to potting soil because the requirement of the plants matter. There are tons of pre-packaged potting soil mixtures that are sufficient for many plants and then there are specialized soils for particular plants that are sensitive and require a certain texture and mix of nutrients. Making your own potting soil, instead of choosing a commercial mix, is always an option.

The best way to select the proper soil for a container garden is to research the plants that you intend to grow and get familiar with their requirements in regard to soil. Imitating the natural growing environment is always best; however, it may be more practical to just concentrate on the texture and fertility of the soil. If the soil is right, all that is left is feeding the plant, making sure that it gets enough sunlight, and watering ( Gilmour garden hoses are a good choice for this job.)

Making your own potting soil…

Making a potting soil that is ideal for your plants doesn’t have to include custom mixing your soil for each plant. That can be time consuming, as well as expensive. You can usually just start with a commercial potting soil that is nutritious and adequate for most plants and add to it. This may include adding sand, humus or peat moss. Adding lime may be necessary if the potting soil is too acidic. You can, and should, add fertilizer to your containers periodically. This is important because the nutrients that are in the soil can be depleted as the plants grow.

If you have the time and the money, making custom soil for potting certain plants can be beneficial. In researching the best growing requirements for individual plants, you are sure to find recipes for potting soil that will ensure optimal growth of the plant. There are hundreds of recipes that were formulated by gardeners who claim that the recipes are tried and true, so you don’t have to do all the research and experimentation to come up with the perfect mix.

If you find that the mix is less than perfect, you can rely on your own experience and knowledge to adapt the recipes a bit. Before long, you will be an expert at creating potting soil and other gardeners will rely on your abundance of experience and your formulation of recipes for excellent potting soil.

To be a successful container gardener, it is vital to select proper potting soil. The soil for container gardening is lighter than the soil in a traditional garden. It requires the texture and fertility that will allow for proper drainage while ensuring that your plants get enough nutrients, air and water.

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