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On this page: {Intro} (so, what IS soil anyway?) {Potting Soil} (as opposed to "regular")


(so, what IS soil anyway?) Mainly dirt (organic phosphorous, lots of celuose from decayed wood, and of course bacteria). And something mysteriously called "humus".

Potting Soil

(as opposed to "regular") Mainly "regular soil" has lots of insects in it (our dear and importantest ones being the earth worms - which technically are not insects, natch) So, they re-work the soil and such. So, potting soil has to have stuff in it so that the soil doesn't literally *choke* the roots of the plant. Mixing (creating) potting soil is one of the most rewarding of activities. Also note that in extremely "clay-y" soils which are hard to "get started", it's helpful to make your own potting soil in the ground. One of the most useful things for "breaking down" clay soil (actually just turning it into more air-rated soil - after all pure clay would be (er, ahm) well CLAY (just like potters use) and while they don't want air entrained, plants DO need air. So: Use gypsum (calcium sulfate) - just like in sheet rock (not sure if sheet rock would work or not)... Sand, peat moss and then mix with the soil. QUAD (Quick and Dirty) 1) Buy bag of soil (or use any soil at hand) -- not garden/lawn soil almost always contains WEED seeds - not that all of those words "weedless soil" on the bag are any guarantee. 2) Buy a bag of virmiculite - aeration stuff. 3) mix about 5:1 or 8:1 soil: vermiculite. 4) You can also add a tad of organic peat moss as well (about equal to the vermiculite). 5) put small pebbles in the bottom (or much higher vermiculite mix) for drainage. 6) layer in soil - about the bottom third of the pot. Most plants "want" as large a pot as you can get and remember transplanting later to a larger pot should ALWAYS include all of the original potted soil if at all possible; just like a person moving, they always get upset if they find that they left something behind in the move. Place plant in the centre (or where-ever if more than one plant is to be in the same pot - avoid put-ing them right next to the side of the container and carefully surround it with soil. Be carefull not to hurt the roots - esp its "root-hairs". 7) pack some-what firmly. Water so that about 1/2 cm (1/4") of water is standing on the surface in the pot and then leave it alone. 8) Check on drainage rate - should be wetted on the surface, but there should be NO water standing (say after 5 to 10 solid minutes). If there is, you should have used more vermiculite, but don't worry - just don't water as often. Since the roots need oxygen, you an actually drown the plant - most people water indoor plants way too much. Practice makes perfect; natch. 9) Check on your plant's needs: light, water, etc. Gardening books are often (almost as much as cook books) avail at thrift and used book stores. 10) Push one of those "Job's" (jobe's) sticks in per 1/2 cm thickness of the stem. (1/4") not too close to the plant. Follow directions on package. 11) Talk to plant, listen to what it says (plants tend to be on a MUCH slower time scale than (eg) humans). Or simply let it listen to your music. If it's gently raining, you might want to sit out in the rain with it - esp in the evening. Otherwise,..... google: "potting soil" many good things here: and the winner is: -[
www:]- (really great sense of humor!) but, see the block quote after this one... BEGIN BLOCK QUOTE ==================================== There are only three things that you need to know about potting soil. It should be light and fluffy, it should drain well, and it should be very much organic. Keep that in mind as you gather your ingredients for potting soil. Decomposed shredded hardwood bark mulch. Small silica stones. Left over silica sand from my propagation beds. Whatever comes out of my compost bin. (humus?) [and much more great info on that site] END BLOCK QUOTE ====================================== -[www:]- BEGIN BLOCK QUOTE ====================================== Step 1: Buy horticultural vermiculite at a garden or home improvement store. Vermiculite is a common ingredient in potting soil because it significantly improves aeration. The mineral also promotes moisture retention which results in better absorption of nutrients and healthier plant growth. Horticultural vermiculite is non-toxic, sterile and odorless. Step 2: Purchase shredded peat moss. Peat moss is harvested from bogs full of decomposed sphagnum moss. Adding shredded peat to all-purpose potting soil promotes a healthy combination of water and air in soil and softens soil texture, encouraging root growth. Peat moss lacks nutrients and dries out over time, so it's not ideal for planting unless mixed with other ingredients. Step 3: Get superphosphate. This synthetic fertilizer contains phosphate, the form of phosphorous beneficial to plants. Superphosphate gradually decomposes in soil, providing plants with essential nutrients. Flowering plants respond especially well to superphosphate additives. Step 4: Find limestone dust. If you live in area rich with limestone, you may be able to get the dust from local quarries. You also can find it at large garden centers. The calcium carbonate in limestone has acidic properties that complement alkaline soil ingredients, resulting in pH balance. Step 5: Look for 5-10-15 soluble fertilizer. This water-soluble fertilizer is 5 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorous and 15 percent potassium. Plants cannot thrive in soil that lacks the proper balance of these three essential nutrients. Step 6: Measure ingredients before mixing in a large plastic container suitable for soil storage. To ensure safety, wear gloves and protective eyewear when making potting soil. END BLOCK QUOTE ======================================== And the ULTIMATE potting soil mix (via: -[www: wikihow]- (sort of the ultimate *patience* version).... Burn any wood and keep the ashes. Collect rough bark (rotting is best), say a 5-gallon bucket full. Pound bark as much as possible. Collect two five gallon buckets of any flowers. No stems, leaves, just flowers. Slow boil flowers and 2 to 5 pounds sugar for 15 minutes. Let stand overnight. Add ash, slow boil for 15 minutes. Use any glass jar, fill with bark, top off with mixture. Add as needed for 3 to 4 days. Seal for three or more MONTHS. ie: start a compost heap!! (see the foxfire books, etc)...

The Usual Suspects


a REF good site -[www: BackYardGardner]- (but not much on "in the container)