How to Mix Soil for a Vegetable Container Garden

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Making a batch of homemade potting soil from scratch is easier than you think. And, because you know what's in it, there is no second-guessing on the quality or how long it's been sitting on a warehouse shelf.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Vermiculite
  • Tarp
  • Face mask
  • Gloves
Potting soil ingredients
Potting soil ingredients (Image: mavis butterfield)

Step 1: Homemade Vegetable Garden Soil Recipe

The recipe for homemade vegetable garden soil is pretty easy. Simply mix 1 part peat moss, 1 part vermiculite, and 1 part compost together on a large tarp. I like to use a 5 gallon bucket for this. The amount you'll need will depend entirely on how large your containers are. Use a soil calculator to determine how much finished product you'll need to fill your pots, and then simply divide by three.

Gloves needed
Gloves needed (Image: mavis butterfield)

Step 2: Mixing the Garden Soil

It's a good idea to wear a face mask while mixing your own potting soil, as the dust from the peat moss and vermiculite can be very fine. I find mixing the garden soil by hand helps to distribute the three ingredients evenly.

Fresh garden soil
Fresh garden soil (Image: mavis butterfield)

Good Soil = Good Gardens

This recipe is weed-free and much lighter than traditional garden soil. The peat moss helps to retain moisture, the vermiculite helps aerate and the compost give this soil combination the nutrients it needs to grow happy, healthy plants. Planting seeds in this homemade vegetable soil mix is a breeze, as they are not weighted down and have an easier time popping through the soil.

adding soil to container
adding soil to container (Image: mavis butterfield)

Step 1: Fill Your Vegetable Containers

When you are ready to plant your vegetables, simply moisten the soil, fill your pots and load them full of vegetable starts or seeds. Keep your containers well watered throughout the growing season for best results.

cabbage plant
cabbage plant (Image: mavis butterfield)

Step 2: Let it Grow

Keep your garden soil healthy in the following season by freshening up your containers with a little extra compost. Chances are after a long growing season your containers will lose some of their original soil through drainage holes and replanting vegetables.

Simply dump the old garden soil on a tarp, toss in some compost, mix thoroughly and you'll be back in business.

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