Homemade Potting soil and potting bench

Update: 20120426: I came across this link on making  your own seed compost today and thought is was a nice complement to this post. Enjoy! – DW

How to Make Your Own Seed Compost from My Tiny Plot

Another project we accomplished the other day, using our own homemade compost, was some homemade, peat-free, potting soil. I am getting a bit of a “bug-in-my-ear” about creating my own versions of some of the things we use in the garden everyday. I knew that I had compost, but while my compost is very rich and fine, it is also quite hydrophobic (water fearing). It isn’t quite dense enough to retain water and also support new root structures for starting seeds. My experiments with this were quite disappointing.

After a bit of research on the Internet, which has a plethora of possible potting soil recipes, I settled on my own combo to try. It uses my compost, coconut husk coir and a little perlite. I was unsure on what proportions to use, so I started with mainly compost and then added the coconut coir in batches.

Pots with new homemade potting soil

In this first batch I ended up with an equal mixture of compost, coconut coir and 1 part perlite. I did this by eye, so I won’t really know how well it works until the seeds we planted today, but from the look and feel of the potting soil, I think I am on the right track.

Recipe: (if you can call it that) (LAUGH)

  • 8 parts homemade, sifted compost
  • 8 parts coconut coir
  • 1 part perlite

I had thought about adding some sand to the mix and I might add some to a small batch this mix to specifically use for seedlings and for some cuttings that I am planning on trying.

Potting Soil Ingredients Coconut coir rehydrating

Sifted Compost

(L-R (clockwise) – Coconut coir and perlite as purchased, coconut coir rehydrating, homemade, sifted compost)

You can also see here my new, ad hoc, potting bench. I have never really had a decent bench, so for this project I decided to thrown one together. This is just a recycled closet door over some sawhorses that weren’t seeing much other use. This should serve me our needs for the next few months. We start doing more potting, we might eventually build or buy something more permanent.

New ad hoc potting bench

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