When it comes to the soil for your garden, not all soils are created equal. The soil you choose for your plants will have a significant effect on their health and growth rate. So, when should you use potting soil or gardening soil? Can you mix potting soil with garden soil and use that combination as a blanket soil for all your plants?
This article is going to help you choose the right type of soil for your garden, particularly for the plants that you plan to use.
The Breakdown on Garden Soil
Before I head to answering the question, “Can you mix potting soil with garden soil?” I’m going to share a few important details. Garden soil refers to the typical soil that you would find in any regular garden or yard. If you find a product labeled as “garden soil” in a store, it is typically composed of a blend of topsoil and other biodegradable components such as bark, peat, or shredded leaves. Some blends can also include components such as compost (for increased moisture retention) and perlite or vermiculite (for increased aeration). If you find modifiers on the label such as “for vegetable gardens” or “for fruit orchards,” this means that the garden soil is specifically formulated for growing those specific plants.
Garden soil is best used for in-ground gardens because this type of soil is heavy and dense.
When is Garden Soil Best for My Plants?
If you are going to place your plants directly into the ground, garden soil will work best. Plants that need to be placed outdoors, such as root crops, vegetables, and fruits are needed garden soil to thrive. Additionally, plants that have deep root systems or need a lot of water should also be placed in garden soil.
What are the Benefits of Garden Soil?
Here are some of the benefits of using garden soil:
- Easily renewable by adding compost
- Packs well and supports roots firmly
- pH can easily be adjusted
Potting Soil: Do You Know What It Is?
If you find a product labeled “potting soil” in stores, the first thing that you should know is that it’s technically not soil at all! In nature, soil is made from a natural mixture of organic materials (decomposed animals and plants) and inorganic materials (minerals). Potting soil, however, is a man-made mixture that can contain natural components such as compost, coco coir, peat moss, and bark. It can also contain minerals such as ground-up rocks, clay, and perlite.
Potting soil is best used for container gardening. You can use potting soil with planters or pots because the soil is lightweight and loose. Compared to garden soil, potting soil has better aeration and does not retain as much water.
When is Potting Soil best for My Plants?
Potting soil is best for plants that you can grow in containers or planters or plants that you want to bring inside your home. You can use potting soil for most herbs as well as for flowers, cacti, and succulents. Due to the loose nature of potting soil, it is recommended for plants that need a lot of aeration and drainage to survive.
What are the Benefits of Potting Soil?
Here are some of the benefits of potting soil:
- Easy to maintain
- Texture and density can be adjusted by adding cheap components such as vermiculite, peat, or compost
- Lessens the chance of disease and pests
Topsoil: The Main Difference Between Garden Soil And Potting Soil
Aside from the weight and texture of the soil, another difference between garden soil and potting soil is the presence of topsoil. Generally, garden soil has a layer of topsoil while potting soil does not. Topsoil refers to the first 5 inches of soil in your garden. This layer generally contains a lot of nutrients and minerals, especially if you add fertilizer or compost to your garden.
Can You Mix Potting Soil with Garden Soil? — Raised Garden Bed
Now that you know the difference between garden soil and potting soil, let’s go back to the original question: can you mix potting soil with garden soil?
Yes, you can mix these two different soils if you want to make a raised garden bed. A raised garden bed is a method of gardening where you place a container (usually made from wood, rock, or concrete) on top of your garden surface and fill the container with a mixture of garden soil and potting soil.
The two soils are mixed to produce a soil that’s midweight, has average aeration and water retention, and has the increased nutrient content of topsoil. In some stores, you can find products that already have these two soils pre-mixed. These are usually labeled as “for raised beds.” However, if you have garden soil and potting soil at home, you can make your own raised bed mix by putting together five parts, regular garden soil with 1 part potting soil.
Raised garden beds are ideal places to grow root vegetables, leafy greens, and onions. You will have complete control of the soil since you can remove rocks or any debris that can interfere with the root system.
Can I Make My Potting Soil at Home?
Yes, you can make your potting soil at home! Here is a simple potting mix recipe:
- 10 quarts peat moss
- 5 quarts perlite
- 5 quarts vermiculite
- 5 quarts compost
- 2 cups fine sand
- ½ cup lime
- 2 cups slow-release fertilizer pellets
- Mix all ingredients thoroughly until well-blended
- Sterilize your potting mix by placing the mix into a baking pan and place in the 350⁰F oven for 45 minutes. This will kill all bacteria, pests, and other unwanted microorganisms in the potting soil.
In conclusion, you now know that the answer to the question, “can you mix potting soil with garden soil” is a yes IF you want to plant in a raised garden bed. The raised garden bed is perfect for those who want to try planting their root crops or leafy greens. If the soil is mixed correctly, you will have plants that will thrive in your raised garden bed! Find out more about soils.