What kind of potting soil to use?

Discussion in 'Basic Growing' started by mahatma, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. mahatma

    mahatma Registered

    I'm sure this question gets asked a lot, but I couldn't find it posted anywhere. What kind of potting soil of mix works best? I am growing plants in 5 gallon buckets. The owner of a reputable nursey recommended to simply use the commerically available Miracal Grow Potting Soil. He said it works well for growing "tomatoes" to their full size. But I have heard that because potting soil is made for indoor plants, which grow slowly and stay in their pots for a long time, it doesn't work for herb or veggies. I've heard that since potting soil is mostly peat it needs to be lightened with perlite, sand, or vermitclite to provide better drainage and air for the roots. I really don't want to deal with the trouble of mixing my own potting soil, so I am hoping he is right- that pure potting soil will work.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2004
  2. bonbon

    bonbon Registered+

  3. jarheadmj12

    jarheadmj12 Registered


    You cant go wrong with Sunshine mix.Ive used a lot of soils but have always gotten the best results from SS mix.Plus I always add a small amount of worm castings and perlite.
  4. dylan

    dylan Registered+

    sunshine is great, but you can also use miracal grow. just be careful because MG soil has ferts. in it, so it is very easy to overfertalize. whatever soil you buy though, make shure it has vermiculite or perlite. sand, peat moss, and coco fiber are also good. worm castings go into the ferts. catagory, but have great results for the organic grower.
  5. del...

    del... Registered+

    miracle grow is not good for starting seeds...too strong. just go to your nearest nursery and ask them for the best quality then read the ingrediants. it should also state the ph level, if it is top quality there'll be a full listing. i use whitney farms with much success and it seems to be available everywhere. add some cactus potting soil at 2:1 (2 parts potting to 1 part cactus mix) for an easy blend with good drainage...plus the cactus mix will tone down the acidity spagnum moss (a main ingrediant of most soil mixes) adds to the soil. i have yet to hear of decent results using miracle grow potting soil although their tomatoe ferts work well enough if directions are diluted by half and used no more than once every couple of weeks...

    a good idea when 1st using a new soil is doing a ph test beforehand. they sell them at nurseries and are fairly cheap and easy to use and worth it as it'll give you a good idea of what ya have and what ya need to do (if anything) for best results.

    good luck
  6. mahatma

    mahatma Registered

    Many thanks for your help.

    Hi Buds,
    Thanks for your help. It seems that a lightening agent (i.g. perlite) is a must ingredient with any potting soil. I have not seen the brand "Sunshine" in the Chicago area, but I will ask around for it. Miracle Grow, on the other hand, can be found almost anywhere. I used it -the kind with ferts- to start tomatoes and had great results so I don't think it is too strong. It is mostly peat and contains some perlite too. My concern with MG et. al. is using them for mature plants in large contains where compacting may be a problem. I wonder if it contains enough perlite or should I add more. One thing I've learn is that you have to be careful not to compact potting soil. Many "experts" recommend that you press the soil down in the pot a little but I would emphasize as little as possible. Just make sure there are no large air pockets and the ball barely holds together when transplanted. Sometimes just tapping the pot is all it takes get the compression the soil just right.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2004
  7. dylan

    dylan Registered+

    i've started seeds in MG potting soil with no problems. be careful though.
  8. bonbon

    bonbon Registered+

    Brew&Grow in Chicago

    I'm pretty sure that Brew&Grow carrys that brand or something similar,They usually carry those hard to find brands,I get most of my stuff from there as well....bonbon http://aolsvc.yp.aol.com/main.adp?_...&hydroponics&_diraddress=&_dirdma=11&_dirpid=
  9. llamaman666

    llamaman666 Registered+

    Just dont use fert in mg for 2 or 3 weeks so the plants can soak up most of the fert thats put in, or else theyll get sick.
  10. mahatma

    mahatma Registered

    I don't use ferts in MG. I assume MG blends their potting soil mix, including the ferts, just right to make it almost fool proof. I too bought a lot of stuff from Brew and Grow, so i know where there are. Thanks Chi-Town Budding.
  11. mahatma

    mahatma Registered

    Started 35 seeds in MG with ferts a week ago. So far over 90% germination and they look great. I intended to use the highly recommeded Sunshine Mix, but it cost twice as much as MG. Wal-Mart had a clearance on MG that I could not pass up. I recommed MG, but try to stay away from Wal-Mart until those basterds start paying their employees a living wage.
  12. smokejaguar

    smokejaguar Registered+

    Buy the cheapest bulk "potting soil" you can find w/o ferts.Why complicate things by adding another variable.Perlite is very important but very expensive.Try a little less perlite and add some kitty litter.It does the same thing.Just be use you get the kind made of fired clay(grog).Keep it simple, keep it cheap.-usdi Agaluga

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