The Perfect Garden Soil
My wife and I (mostly my wife) are continually researching online the best and cheapest way to do things. With gardening, we’re firm believers in Square Foot Gardening. We’re new to it, but our first crops are doing well, as you can see in the picture of our greenhouse below.
The soil is an extremely important part of the gardening. The better the soil, the better your results will be. I am one of the most frugal people, but I recommend that you fork out the extra money to do it right. It will pay off in your harvesting many times over.
I use three components to make up my soil – peat moss, vermiculite, and compost. I purchase mine from Lowe’s. With them, I can put all of my items in the online shopping cart before I drive there to ensure they are in stock. When you choose your compost, be sure to get at least two different kinds of compost. I vary the type I use, based on availability. Mushroom, peat (not peat moss), and manure are generally available in my area.
To mix the soil, you can use a large wheelbarrow or a tarp. I recommend the tarp, especially for larger jobs. Mix one part peat moss, one part vermiculite, and one part compost (remember to use more than one kind of compost). When I do a “batch”, I take three cubic feet of peat moss and three cubic feet of vermiculite and mix them well with a shovel. Then I add five bags of compost, stirring the mixture up after adding each bag of compost.
In the end, you have the perfect garden soil mix. With this mixture, you can NEVER overwater, assuming you have proper drainage. This mix will retain adequate moisture for your plants and allow them to use it as they need it, but will never pool.
Depending on the amount of soil you need, this can be a substantial investment. A “batch” will cost approximately $40 (peat moss = $10, vermiculite = 2 x $12, compost = 5 x $2) and make about 9 cubic feet. But it is an investment. The soil mixture can be reused year after year by simply adding your kitchen compost.
The creator of Square Foot Gardening and this mix of soil is Mel Bartholemew. You can visit his web site here or purchase his book here. I highly recommend his book for learning to garden the easy way, even if you are a diehard traditional row gardener.
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- Tagged: compost, conservation, container, container gardening, cow manure, crops, dirt, drainage, economic, economic necessity, family gardening, free, frugal, gardening, green, greenhouse, growing medium, harvest, little space, mel bartholemew, mel's mix, mushroom compost, peat moss, perfect, perfect soil, square foot, square foot gardening, sustainable, vegetables, vermiculte