[nafex] Potting Mix Recipes

Suzi Teghtmeyer srt175f at smsu.edu
Wed Mar 27 16:00:55 EST 2002

Here's what a couple of my books say -
The 'Brooklyn Botanic Garden Gardener's Desk Reference' says (p.431), The 
components of an ideal soil are: 45% mineral, 5% organic matter, 20-30% 
air, and 20-30% water.

The 10,000 Garden Questions Answered by 15 Experts by F. F. Rockwell 
(c1946, p.875-876) states,
'A generally good formula consists of 2 parts loam from vegetable or flower 
garden and 1 part well-rotted cow manure, leafmold, commercial humus, or 
peatmoss, with enough sand to make the mixture porous.  Unless cow manure 
is used, add 2 quarts commercial cow manure to each bushel.  For further 
enrichment, a 4-in. pot of complete fertilizer or bone meal to a 
wheelbarrowload of soil, or 1 teaspoonful to an 8-in. pot of soil.
The loam contains nutrients, sand facilitates drainage and aeration of 
roots, while the other elements increase the water-holding capacity and 
thus prevent too-rapid evaporation of moisture and caking of soil. Humus 
also helps to produce a light, mellow mixture which roots can easily 
penetrate. To these essentials may be added, when convenient, a little 
charcoal to sweeten the soil (especially in pots lacking a drainage hole), 
and tobacco dust to discourage root aphis. Apartment gardeners can procure 
ready-made soil-mixtures from florists and 10-cent stores. [!]
If the plants have heavy roots - such as those of pandanus, sanseveria, or 
palm, also the geranium - less sand and more loam is used, because such 
roots have force enough to penetrate a firm mixture, and the plants prefer 
it. The fiberous-rooted ferns, begonias, and fuschsias thrive in a lighter 
medium - about half leafmold or peatmoss, half loam, and plenty of sand.
Acid-loving plants - the blue hydrangia, camellias, heaths, and azaleas - 
require equal parts of soil and acid peat or hardwood leafmold, while bone 
meal is omitted.' [end of section]

Happy potting!
--------Suzi T.
Librarian, Paul Evans Library of Fruit Science
Southwest Missouri State University Mtn. Grove Campus and Missouri Fruit 
Experiment Station
9740 Red Spring Rd, Mountain Grove, MO 65711
Phone: 417-926-4105, Fax: 417-926-6646,  email: srt175f at smsu.edu
URL: http://library.smsu.edu/paulevans/pelIndex.htm

At 01:47 PM 03/27/2002 -0600, Doreen Howard wrote:
>Thanks to all who suggested local nurseries and garden centers as a source
>for 5 and 10 gallon cans.  I found five of each today at a local garden
>center and paid 75 cent for each.  They look to be in pristine condition.
>Now that I have the cans, I am faced with creating potting mix.  At $6 for
>24 qts. of the premium potting mix, I'd be spending about $150 for enough
>mix to fill my 10 cans.  So....I am making my own.  I figure it can't be too
>difficult.  I already purchased 3 cubic feet bag of vermiculite.  I figure
>that peat should be the base of the mix, along with the vermiculite.  Other
>additives I'm considering are shredded bark, composted manure and lime to
>counter the peat.  Does anyone have experience making their own mix?  If so,
>what proportions and additives do you use?  I will be putting bareroot roses
>and two miniature pear trees in these cans.
>Doreen Howard
>Wisconsin zone 4b, where it is spring-like today---hooray!!

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