Friday, October 10, 2008

My Soil Mix Recipe

I also wanted to place my soil recipe on the blog today. It is the result of several years of experimenting with different mixes. No doubt, it will change again! I make changes to my recipe for many reason: 1) I read a good article on soil mix, 2) the needs of the plants that I intend to grow, 3) weather conditions in the Ozarks year to year. These are just a few. Making soil, then, is a bit of an art form. Don't get too hung up in the technical components of exact duplication of soil (unless you are going commercial!) Gardening is a hobby, and a source of stress relief; so I try to have fun with my experimentation. All of this information not withstanding, I can tell you that I am able to grow a great deal of the vegetables my family needs each year in 120 sq. ft of garden, using this basic soil mix.


6 cu ft of Canadian peat moss (don't buy the cheap stuff!)
2 cu ft of a good garden mixture soil
1 large bag of vermiculite
2 cu ft. of compost (I use real horse poop, at least 1 year old)
2 cu ft of sand
1 quart of my fertilizer recipe (read the blog on this)
3 large bags of rice hulls (around 4 lb bag/5 gallon bag)

I have had some gardening friends argue with me about the compost. Horses or cows eat seeds, which can then take root in your garden, leaving you with more work to do! Personally, though, I like how it helps plants grow, so I am willing to pick a couple of weeds. For the most, this soil mix will stay weedless. In an earlier blog article, I discussed my garden design. I use two layers of plastic under my raised beds, to help keep weeds out of the garden, and minimize the amount of time I need to pull weeds. Even with the compost, I may spend 30 minutes in a whole growing season pulling unwanted plants. You can buy sterilized compost. I don't, because I get the horse poop for free from the folks that board our horses!

I also make my own compost to add to already existing gardens. In my bin, I throw in all my grass clippings, old garden matter, sub-standard apples from my fruit trees, horse poop, leaves from my trees. I try to stay away from putting in any weeds! Be picky with the clippings. Leftover scraps from vegetables we eat can also be added (no meat, milk, etc.).

Hope this helps. Let me know what your mix looks like!


The Celtic Ozark Garden


Our Glorious Days said...
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Our Glorious Days said...

Here's a question. Do you start your seeds indoors and then transplant? We are in the Ozarks also.