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How To Prepare Soil Mix For Pots And Garden

How To Prepare Soil Mix For Pots And Garden

Meta Description: Your spring garden should start with the best soil! Read this post to learn how to prepare your soil with organic fertilizer before planting seeds or transplants.

Spring is here! Spring is a busy time for gardeners since this is the perfect time of the year for planting so many different kinds of flowers and vegetables. Make sure you give them a great start with the right soil so you can have a successful growing season ahead.

Soil is where plants get all their nutrients from. The roots also absorb air and water from the soil. For this reason, healthy soil is the key to achieving healthy, productive plants. Continue reading, and you'll learn how to prepare a great mix where you can plant seeds and seedlings, knowing that it will start a beautiful garden.

Potting Soil Or Garden Soil?

Most gardeners recommend using packaged potting soil in containers and raised beds. Your garden soil is too dense for container-grown plants, and it can introduce weeds and diseases into your crops. If you want to keep your garden weed-free and eliminate the chances of diseases, grab a bag or two of potting soil from a garden center.

However, using potting soil isn't practical if you have several large containers to fill or a small- to medium-sized garden to prepare. A cheaper alternative will be to screen your garden's topsoil or purchase a truckload of screened topsoil. The price of screened topsoil ranges between $2 to $5 per 40-pound bag.

You can save some money by using your own garden soil. Screening the topsoil simply means subjecting it through a screening mesh to remove stones and debris. If a mesh isn't available, you can prepare the soil by digging up the earth and loosening the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. Break the soil with your spade and remove any stones, sticks, clumps, or other large material that you find in the process. Now, this soil that you just prepared is ready for amendments.  

The Need For Amendments

Whether it's potting soil, screened topsoil, or your own tilled garden soil, it's not ready just yet without some organic amendments. The right amendments will not only nourish the soil with the required nutrients to boost the health of your plants, but they will also improve the structure of the soil. Soil can be sandy, clayey, or loamy. What we are aiming for with the addition of amendments is a healthy loam.

Loamy soil is a good balance of sand, silt, and clay that can hold nutrients for plants, retain enough water for root development and is light and friable to prevent any hindrance to the growth of roots. At the same time, it is well-draining, which means it allows water to gradually flow away from the root, preventing them from sitting in water and rotting.

How Much Soil Do I Need?

Before adding in amendments, it's important to figure out exactly how much soil you need to make to fill into the pots or garden bed. After all, each of the ingredients has its own price, and you wouldn't want to end up wasting it or running short of soil when you still have some empty pots to fill.

Here are some standard sizes of pots or beds along with the amount of soil required to fill them:

  • 4-inch pot = 1 pint (0.5 L) soil
  • 8-inch pot = 1 gallon = 0.15 cubic ft. soil
  • 12-inch pot = 5 gallons = 0.77 cubic ft. soil
  • 16-inch pot = 10 gallon = 1.5 cubic ft. soil
  • 30-inch pot = 30 gallon = 4.6 cubic ft. soil
  • 4ft x 8 ft x 10” bed = 1 cubic yard soil
  • 4ft x 8ft x 6” bed = 0.5 cubic yard soil
  • 3ft x 6ft x 10” bed = 0.5 cubic yard soil

Using the recipe you’ll learn next, you can prepare the right amount of soil that you’ll need to fill your planting spot.

The Ultimate Soil Recipe

To the garden soil you just prepared, it's time to add amendments. Here's the ultimate soil recipe you can prepare and fill in containers, garden beds, or raised beds:

  • 1 part (33.33%) peat moss or mature compost
  • 1 part (33.33%) screened or tilled topsoil
  • 1 part (33.33%) builder’s sand or perlite
  • 1 to 3 tbsp all-in-one fertilizer 5-4-5 for every 3 gallons of soil mix

Compost and BushBoy’s organic fertilizer improve the structure of the soil and enrich it with nutrients, while sand or perlite improve its drainage.

Soilless Mix

Many gardeners choose to skip soil altogether when growing a container garden. Instead, they grow their plants entirely in a mix of organic materials for healthy growth. The absence of soil reduces the threat of pests and eliminates the possibility of many soil-borne diseases.

Here’s a standard soilless mix for filling containers:

  • 40% peat moss
  • 20% pine bark
  • 20% vermiculite
  • 20% perlite or sand
  • 3 tbsp all-in-one fertilizer 5-4-5 for every 3 gallons of soilless mix

Fertilization is even more important for soilless mixes since they have very little natural fertility. Besides the starter fertilizer you include in the mix, regular additions of liquid fertilizers will be required throughout the growing season. A convenient and cost-effective option is to get a complete package, like BushBoy’s Bloom & Flower. This fertilizer package includes all-in-one fertilizer for mixing into the soil, fish fertilizer for regular applications during the season, together with kelp and Bat Guano to favor flower and fruit development.


Now that you know how to create the perfect blend for planting seeds or seedlings for your favorite plants for the season, it's time to get to work. Order all the material in time to get the soil ready and plant your crops for a flourishing spring garden! Soon, all the hard work you put in will pay off with a burst of beautiful blooms and fruits in your yard.

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