The Dirt On Dirt: 3 Ways To Improve The Quality Of Your Potting Soil

To the untrained eye, gardening and landscaping seem quite simple. You just pick some plants, stick them in the ground, and surround them with bagged mulch, right? Wrong! The nuances of caring for your yard and the plants growing in it are extremely important; from using the right types of soil to ensuring your landscape looks as healthy as it actually is, there are a lot of things to pay attention to during the process. Potting soil can be particularly finicky, so here are a few tips to guarantee the health and growth of your potted plants.

  • Go organic: Knowing when to use potting soil is important, but not as important as what its comprised of. Healthy soil contains 45% minerals, 25% water, 25% air, and 5% organic matter. By starting your own compost pile, you can ensure that your potting soil is enriched with nutrients that your plants crave; add fallen leaves, garden debris, and kitchen scraps to your compost pile early in the season. This will give them enough time to break down.
  • Add nitrogen: Nitrogen is the most important of all the essential plant nutrients. Not only does it feel the plants growing in the soil, but it feeds the organisms present as well; this means that overall garden health and growth is very dependent on nitrogen. Organic fertilizers (such as seed, feather meal, manures, and grass clippings) are sources of concentrated nitrogen. Compost is great for improving soil health, but it won’t increase its nitrogen levels.
  • Recycle perennials: Prunings can do wonders to enrich your potting soil. Early spring prunings, hedge clippings, and perennial cuttings can feed the soil when they’re recycled back into the soil; when used in a sheet mulch layer, they also serve as a valuable nitrogen source.

If you already know when to use potting soil and when to opt for topsoil or mulch, the battle is halfway over. The above tips can ensure that what you are using is as healthy and nutritious as possible for the plants who are going to make it their new home.