The Best Soil For A Home Garden

May 1, 2014, by Ken Jorgustin

best-garden-soil
image credit: Mel Bartholomew

The most important thing for a successful home garden is it’s soil. You need the best soil possible. If you are working on garden beds, container gardens, or other small efficient home garden spaces where a very large quantity of soil may not be required, consider the following.

Instead of trying to improve your existing soil with special ingredients to offset or compliment your soil issues (sandy, clay, ph, drainage, nutrients, etc.,) avoid the hard work and start with a perfect soil mix.

Here’s how:


 
I have learned a-lot about efficient home gardening from Mel Bartholomew’s book,
All New Square Foot Gardening, and this technique is credited to him.

 

3 CHARACTERISTICS For The Best Garden Soil Mix

 

Lightweight

Easy to work with and easy for plants to grow in.

Nutrient-rich

All the minerals and trace elements that plants need without adding fertilizers.

Holds moisture

Drains well.

 

3 INGREDIENTS For The Best Garden Soil Mix

All of these ingredients are natural and not manufactured. When combined, they will drain well, but they will also hold a large amount of moisture for the plants roots. It will be light and fluffy.

1/3 Peat Moss

Available at any garden center and other markets

1/3 Vermiculite

Get the course grade at garden centers or home improvement stores.

1/3 BLENDED Compost

If you don’t have your own compost operation, then simply buy your own compost. The very important thing here is to NOT buy all the same kind of compost — pick out one bag of this and one bad of that so that you can blend them together.

 
The peat moss and vermiculite contain no nutrients but contribute to water retention and fluffy soil, making it easier for roots to grow around the soil while also holding water.

The nutrients come from a blend of good compost. The best compost is homemade. The worst kind is the single ingredient byproduct some company has produced and bagged.

Having said that, if you buy your own compost, the [important] secret is not to buy all of one kind. All commercial compost is a byproduct from one industry. For a successful compost of nutrient-rich ingredients, you will need to buy a variety and blend them together. You need compost made from at least five different ingredients to make a well-rounded blend.

Mix one-third of each ingredient by ‘volume’, not weight. Bags of peat moss, vermiculite, and various compost comes in different size bags and volumes (cubic feet, etc.,) — but not to worry. After you have initially mixed and blended your compost, simply shovel in equal amounts of peat moss, vermiculite, and compost into a wheel barrow or directly into a garden bed, etc., and mix it together with a hoe or shovel, etc.

Now you’re ready to grow a vibrant vegetable garden!