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Thread: Anyone make up their own potting soil?

  1. #1

    Default Anyone make up their own potting soil?

    With the cost of flying stuff out here I'm going to do some experimenting with my own mix, just plain dirt is worthless. I'm thinking about sterilizing some dirt and working in some compost then doing some test starts this summer with some different mixes.
    Chuck

  2. #2
    Member MidnightSunRebel's Avatar
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    Default i do.

    I screen out twigs and rocks then add worm castings and perilite. I add some compost, blood, and bone meal if the plants need alot to eat.

  3. #3

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    Do you cook your dirt or use it like it is?
    Chuck

  4. #4
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    Talking Dirt..

    I wouldn't cook it.There are actually good bugs in the soil you wouldn't want to kill.I am in the middle of a pine-fir forest.Trees are well over 100-200 years old...yet, after 19 years of building the soil,it beats all.I'm sure you have birch trees,vine maple,or alders and some many years old.I would scratch around the bottoms of the trees and get that rich compost-humus and start working it in.Then, all those trophy fish you catch, put the waste in the compost pile.Before you know it...good soil.Don't cook the soil.I even mix composted pine needles, and some would say I'm adding acid to the soil.My plants need some acid...onions,garlic,tomatoes...Give it heck Chuck.GR

  5. #5

    Default

    Never thought about hitting the alder patches. Their a legume so the dirt should have good nitrogen content.
    Chuck

  6. #6

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    There should be some peat in the swamp. I would mix it with the topsoil and bake it to kill the seeds not sure how hot 140 comes to mind. I use black plastic with soaker hose under it with a inline soluble fertilizer. The plastic keeps the weeds down and holds the water in.

  7. #7
    Member garnede's Avatar
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    Default

    Another Idea might be to take a sample of your soil and send it to UAF and have it tested. Then you will know what it is lacking. Then you can taylor what you add, soil around alders, spruce needles, peat, lots of compose, ect.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

    http://wouldieatitagainfoodblog.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
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    Talking Soil...

    I second testing your soil, but every vegetable out there does best in it's own ph.Some 5....some 7.5, so you can't have several soil conditions in your garden.Take a happy medium and go for it.I can't tell you what mine is, but I do know I'm ok by looking at the plants I produce.GR

  9. #9
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    Default

    LaMotte's makes a nice tray-type, easy-to-use, PH test kit. You'll want to special order the larger refill jug of testing solution though, as $9.99 for the little refill/squeeze bottle is too much, especially if you're doing any serious amount of gardening.

    Composting birch leaves, added to top soil (often largely consisting of peat moss) can provide a nice base soil, which you can amend with with 15-30% sand (not silt!!) which might be found near a lake or creek bed, and which will help greatly for drainage. Add to this the composts, manures, etc.

    For stabilizing the PH, as well as a source of slow-release magnesium and calcium, dolomite lime is great stuff. Heavy as all-get-out, but less harsh than the other gardening limes, such as 'Super Sweet,' etc.

    I custom tune each bed according to the veggies involved. Carrots like a relatively acidic soil, but still do well near to neutral (or a ph of 7). Same for spuds. Broccoli has a relatively broad range of acceptable ph (roughly 6 to 8). Many/most veggies will do fine between 6.5 and 7.3.

    PH will influence the nutrient up-take for your plants, and thus different ph levels can change the flavor and over-all health of your veggies, etc.

    My tomatoes typically like a ph of 6.3 to 6.5, and during years that I have loits of time and energy (less and less any more..) I try to take the time to give each veggie the ph and nutrient levels that they 'prefer' or thrive in.

    Some plants like lots of fertilizer, and others are easily 'killed with kindness' all too quickly.

    If needing to acidify your soil, there are numerous organic or natural methods to achieve this. If needing to raise or stabilize the ph, the previously-mentioned dolomite lime is the ticket.

    Adding amounts of wood ash (depending on the sourcce of the ash) is also a great method for raising soil ph, though more temporary in nature due to being water soluble, and it also can provide a serious dose of potassium or 'K.' It adds other valuable micro-nutrients, too. But be cautious with amounts and sources of ash, as it's easy to over-do.

    Happy tilling and cultivating!

    ruffle

  10. #10
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    Default mix

    I mix mine all the time. I buy peat moss, perlite, Vermiculite, compost, humus, sand, You can mix in dehydrated manures and all kinds of stuff.

    The mix is based on what you are growing.

    Pine fines work well also. You can start on a future soil mix be getting a compost rocking and gathering up leaves and plant debris into a pile. Nothing grows like good compost.

  11. #11
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    Default

    I test mine yearly with one of those handheld tests. I add compost, blood meal and bone meal. I will even add in some greensand from time to time. The soil that we have here is crap, its a real heavy clay that doesnt grow anything but tomatoes and corn. I built a bunch of raised beds and mixed all of the soil myself, I usually end up with a pretty killer crop.

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