While you may be tempted to use plain old garden soil for filling your containers, garden soil is actually not ideal (on its own) for container gardening. It’s not ideal because having proper drainage for your container vegetables is necessary to the success of your plants. See, garden soil is much more dense than soil made specifically for containers. so, if you use only garden soil, water can pool around the roots of your plants, which causes them to drown because they’re lacking oxygen. So having a lighter mix of peat moss, compost and vermiculite will allow water to drain properly, giving the roots proper oxygen.
Along with proper drainage, the main functions of a potting mix are:
- To hold moisture and nutrients around your plant roots.
- To allow enough oxygen for roots to be able to breath and not rot.
- To provide proper support for your plants, protecting them from the elements. You don’t want them to blow over from the wind!
If you want an easy way to give your plants the highest chance at success, you can simply head to your local garden shop and buy a bag or two of potting soil. But if you’re looking for something that you can customize yourself, here’s a basic potting soil recipe:
Basic Potting Soil
1 part peat moss
1 part compost
1 part vermiculite
Simply mix all the ingredients together in a large bucket, wheelbarrow or tarp. Just so you don’t inhale too much dirt and dust, you should wear a mask during the mixing process.
You also might want to add some fertilizer based on the type of plants you want to grow in the pots, which is available at your local garden store. Speak to one of the helpful employees and they’ll be sure to recommend something that will suit your needs.
Note: if you’re growing potatoes in a container, regular garden soil should do the trick!