Soil mixtures


Joined
Nov 17, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Country
United States
Hello everyone, I’m starting to look into doing a raised bed vegetable garden and have a question on the mixtures to use. I’ve found lots of info on using the different percentages of top soil/compost/etc, but my question is, does all of this get mixed together, or am I doing layers of all of them? That’s one thing everything seems to skip over. Am I doing say 60% topsoil on top of 30% compost and 10% potting soil? Or do all of those just get mixed evenly?

lastly, any specific brands that make a good topsoil/potting soil? And same for compost I suppose.

thanks in advance!
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
8,833
Reaction score
4,089
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
In the beds you mix everything together. For seeds to use in transplants use either potting soil or compost
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
149
Reaction score
88
Location
The Plains
Hardiness Zone
6/7
Country
United States
QUOTE: "lastly, any specific brands that make a good topsoil/potting soil? And same for compost I suppose".
*****************************************************************************
In my opinion, those brands that will guarantee their mixes do not contain Nematodes would be consideed best. It's rather disappointing to work diligently through the growing season attempting to make a few fresh vegetables and fruits only to discover in the fall when the plants are pulled the under developed root systems appear to have Nematodes in an area never before, which points to the purchased soil of a well known supplier.
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Country
United States
Thanks for the info. Are there any that are premixed? If so, any specific ones to avoid other than the ones that don’t guarantee they don’t contain nematodes?
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
149
Reaction score
88
Location
The Plains
Hardiness Zone
6/7
Country
United States
In my opinion it's a crapshoot with the odds being worse with those that don't bother testing for nematoads, and i suspect most suppliers don't. Miracle Grow was the one I used and was suspect.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
57
Reaction score
1
Country
United States
I only grow in pots, so I have a potting mix question. I live in Florida where pots are known to dry out very quickly due to hot weather. For my potting mix, I am considering to use plain soil (no nutrients) as well as compost. I am now wondering if I should add anything else. I researched perlite vs. vermiculite and learned that perlite helps drain soil quickly, which is something I don't want since pots in Florida dry out relatively quickly. But I was wondering if peat moss would be needed. Don't vermiculite and peat moss serve the same function? I would like light airy soil, that is able to retain water. What proportion should I use of plain soil, compost, peat moss, and vermiculite(if I need all of these)? Would different proportions be used for growing herbs, greens, and vegetables. Thank you so much.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
149
Reaction score
88
Location
The Plains
Hardiness Zone
6/7
Country
United States
I would do a simple inexpensive soil test to determine what you are dealing with from the get go, then adjust with other
soil test 4-17-09.jpg
amenities if you like or that are recommended in your research.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
8,833
Reaction score
4,089
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
It all depends on what your compost is made out of as to the amount to add to soil. Compost ties up nitrogen so 30% compost is about the max to use. Peat moss has zero nutritional value. It helps retain water and keeps the soil aerated. It also is acidic so be careful as to the amount added to soil if your soil is also acidic. Vermiculite also retains moisture and aerates the soil. When growing in containers the type of container is important. Clay pots need quite a bit more water than plastic or ceramic. As long as your containers have plenty of drainage holes, temperatures are the next most important factor in container gardening. Clay stays cooler as water evaporates through the sides of the container while in plastic and ceramics it does not,k but plastic and ceramics are much hotter, with plastic being the hottest. Colors are also important with black being the hottest. You stated that you wanted to use soil with no nutrition. Plants must have nutrition and plants will not do well growing in conditions where the only means of nutrition is just compost. Even when growing in manure based composts they still need other nutrients that the compost does not provide. If you provide a fertile growing medium, all of your plants will do fine with the same medium.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
57
Reaction score
1
Country
United States
It all depends on what your compost is made out of as to the amount to add to soil. Compost ties up nitrogen so 30% compost is about the max to use. Peat moss has zero nutritional value. It helps retain water and keeps the soil aerated. It also is acidic so be careful as to the amount added to soil if your soil is also acidic. Vermiculite also retains moisture and aerates the soil. When growing in containers the type of container is important. Clay pots need quite a bit more water than plastic or ceramic. As long as your containers have plenty of drainage holes, temperatures are the next most important factor in container gardening. Clay stays cooler as water evaporates through the sides of the container while in plastic and ceramics it does not,k but plastic and ceramics are much hotter, with plastic being the hottest. Colors are also important with black being the hottest. You stated that you wanted to use soil with no nutrition. Plants must have nutrition and plants will not do well growing in conditions where the only means of nutrition is just compost. Even when growing in manure based composts they still need other nutrients that the compost does not provide. If you provide a fertile growing medium, all of your plants will do fine with the same medium.
Okay, I guess I wasn't the most specific in my explanation. My bad. My compost will be "Black Kow", which has an NPK of .5-.5-.5. I use 5-gallon black fabric pots, as well as smaller terra cotta pots. Also, you mentioned that peat moss and vermiculite both aerate as well as retain moisture in the soil, so will I need both? If not, which one? What nutrition is needed other than compost? What proportions of each of the five materials (if I use all) peat moss, vermiculite, compost, plain soil, and other "nutrition" should I use. Will the mixture be different for herbs/vegetables/greens and black fabric pots/terra cotta pots? I really appreciate all your help! Thanks.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
8,833
Reaction score
4,089
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Black Kow is normally a very good compost although I have heard of a bad batch or two. I would not hesitate to use it. .5 is very low in nutrients. A good all around NPK number is about 4.0. As for the use of peat moss you must know the Ph of your soil and compost. Composts are usually more acidic. Black Kow is usually fairly acidic, depending on which manure was used. If your soil is acidic don't use peat moss as it will only add to the acidity. There is no set ratio of soil mixtures as each soil is different. You must know what you have before you can fix it. As for "other nutrients" , any OMRI approved fertilizer will work fine. As a starting point I would use 20% Black Kow, 10% vermiculite and zero peat moss. Instead of peat why not use coconut coir. It does the same thing but is neutral. But you probably won't need it.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
57
Reaction score
1
Country
United States
Black Kow is normally a very good compost although I have heard of a bad batch or two. I would not hesitate to use it. .5 is very low in nutrients. A good all around NPK number is about 4.0. As for the use of peat moss you must know the Ph of your soil and compost. Composts are usually more acidic. Black Kow is usually fairly acidic, depending on which manure was used. If your soil is acidic don't use peat moss as it will only add to the acidity. There is no set ratio of soil mixtures as each soil is different. You must know what you have before you can fix it. As for "other nutrients" , any OMRI approved fertilizer will work fine. As a starting point I would use 20% Black Kow, 10% vermiculite and zero peat moss. Instead of peat why not use coconut coir. It does the same thing but is neutral. But you probably won't need it.
You mentioned that a good NPK is 4. Does that mean a 4-4-4? Also, how do I make my 0.5-0.5-0.5 black kow and my soil with an unknown NPK into a NPK of 4? I guess I wouldn't need to find the pH if I don't use peat moss. If I use 20% Black know and 10% vermiculite, would the rest just be my normal soil (no nutrients)? Thanks.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
8,833
Reaction score
4,089
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
You mentioned that a good NPK is 4. Does that mean a 4-4-4? Also, how do I make my 0.5-0.5-0.5 black kow and my soil with an unknown NPK into a NPK of 4? I guess I wouldn't need to find the pH if I don't use peat moss. If I use 20% Black know and 10% vermiculite, would the rest just be my normal soil (no nutrients)? Thanks.
You still need to know the Ph of your soil, no matter what. Some plants like it more acidic, others like it more alkaline. There are ways of changing both to suit a plants needs, especially in containers. Organic fertilizers come in all sorts of NPK ratios. I personally use 3-2-3 but there are many other formulations. NPK numbers are determined by the amount of Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potash in the fertilizer you will add to your soil. You don't make your Black Kow into anything, it is what it is, basically organic matter that slowly breaks down into macro and micro-nutrients. How many nutrients and what kind are determined by the compost that you use. Of NPK the first number is for nitrogen and is mainly used by the plant to grow foliage. The second number phosphorus is mainly used for blooming and fruiting. The third number is potash (potassium) and it takes care of everything else a plant needs. Compost also has micro-nutrients such as Iron, Zinc, Manganese plus other trace minerals, but, it lacks in NPK, thus the need for fertilizer and its higher numbers.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
57
Reaction score
1
Country
United States
You still need to know the Ph of your soil, no matter what. Some plants like it more acidic, others like it more alkaline. There are ways of changing both to suit a plants needs, especially in containers. Organic fertilizers come in all sorts of NPK ratios. I personally use 3-2-3 but there are many other formulations. NPK numbers are determined by the amount of Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potash in the fertilizer you will add to your soil. You don't make your Black Kow into anything, it is what it is, basically organic matter that slowly breaks down into macro and micro-nutrients. How many nutrients and what kind are determined by the compost that you use. Of NPK the first number is for nitrogen and is mainly used by the plant to grow foliage. The second number phosphorus is mainly used for blooming and fruiting. The third number is potash (potassium) and it takes care of everything else a plant needs. Compost also has micro-nutrients such as Iron, Zinc, Manganese plus other trace minerals, but, it lacks in NPK, thus the need for fertilizer and its higher numbers.
I guess for each plant I can look up what pH is ideal. What do I find the pH of(my plain soil and my black kow separately or combined), and how in a quick and inexpensive manner.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
8,833
Reaction score
4,089
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
I guess for each plant I can look up what pH is ideal. What do I find the pH of(my plain soil and my black kow separately or combined), and how in a quick and inexpensive manner.
There are numerous inexpensive soil Ph test kits you can buy online. All you need is a simple Ph test kit, one that shows with a fair degree of accuracy how acidic or alkaline your soil is.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
8,833
Reaction score
4,089
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Which one of the black cow or just my plain normal soil
You would have a much more comprehensive answer if you did both separately and again after they are all mixed together.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
57
Reaction score
1
Country
United States
Ok I'll try and buy a kit, do a test, and get the results. Will you be able to help me from there please?
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
57
Reaction score
1
Country
United States
Any kits you recommend? It should test pH and nutrients right. As well as be able to do tes many times?
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
8,833
Reaction score
4,089
Location
Tarpley Tx
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Any kits you recommend? It should test pH and nutrients right. As well as be able to do tes many times?
A soil test and a Ph test are two different things. You have to send off soil samples to a soil testing business to get available nutrient data. The Ph test is sort of like a litmus test. You can do it many times. I will try to help you all I can.
 
Ad

Advertisements


Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top