How to make Organic Potting Mixture.
When you see a successfully grown vegetable garden, the first question you ask the owner is “What is your potting mix?” And some people share and some don’t. If you always wanted to make a best organic potting mix, look no further, this post is for you.
A good potting mix has the following characteristics.
- Air porosity
- Water/moisture retention.
- Fluffy and light weight.
- Well draining.
- Infection/pest free
- Free from weed seeds
Common Ingredients in a good potting mix
Paying attention to the quality of the soil used for potting mixes will pay you in the long run. A good quality soil should be free from stones, lumps and should be rich in nutrients. Don’t take soil from construction sites.They will contain lots of rubbles and is never good for growing plants. For Indian context, nurseries will sell red soil/ good quality top soil. A good quality soil from your nearest garden centre should do.
Peat moss is the most common ingredient for soilless mixes because of its wide availability.However, In india the situation is quite opposite. It is not easily available and very expensive. Peat moss decomposes very slowly and holds large amounts of water; however, it has a high acidity. Lime is usually added to mixes to balance the pH.
Coco coir peat:
Coir, a by-product of the coconut fiber industry, looks like peat moss, but is granular and also has an optimum pH for growing plants. Coir typically is packaged as a compressed brick that will expand when mixed with water. It is important to note that coir may require less potassium and increased nitrogen supplementation. It retains the right amount of retention and air poro
Vermicompost is the result of composting vegetable waste/food waste using earth worms, usually red wigglers, to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and worm cast. Vermicompost is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. This process of producing vermicompost is called vermicomposting.
Bone meal is a slaughter house waste. Bones are steamed pulverised and used as fertilizers for plants.They are rich in Calcium, phosphorus and trace elements. Some people are not comfortable using it because of the odour. In some places, blood, hoof and horn meal are also available. Each of them have a different nutrient profile.
Oil cakes are the remains when the oil seeds are crushed/pressed to extract the oil from them. Because of the nutrient content they act as a good fertilizer.
Potting Mix Recipe
- 1 part of good quality red soil/top soil
- 1 part of cocopeat/peat moss
- 1 part of compost (Vermicompost/manure)
For every 15 litres of the above mix, add 200 grams of bone meal, and 200 grams of oil cake and 200 grams of wood ash. Thoroughly mix them. Once the mixture is uniformly mixed, put it in a sack or a big container , cover it and leave it for a good 3 weeks time. Ensure that the mix is little moist. It should not drip when you squeeze it in your palm. After 2-3 weeks, the potting mix is ready for use.
- For some plants, you might want a mix that is more draining.Add 1 part of perlite to it to increase the drainage.
- You can also add coco husk chips to increase the air porosity in the mix. This is required for crops such as orchids, gerbera etc.
- You may add additives like seaweed, humic acid and aminoacids, beneficial microbes, pressed mud etc to enrich the soil.
Another wonderful way of adding organic fertilizer to a plant is by watering them with compost tea. You might be wondering what is compost tea and how to make it. That’s for another post!