Gardening | 30 July 2015How to Make Your Own Potting Soil Share article facebook twitter google pinterest We’re in the height of summer gardening now, so it may feel a bit early to be thinking about cold-weather plans, but if you live in Florida and other fellow southern states, you know that July and August are the time to begin planting for the fall growing season, including the transplant of container-grown flora into outdoor gardens. Whether you have a sprawling yard or a petite collection of hanging plants, potting soil is a gardening staple, and it’s easy to make your own for container plants and garden beds alike. Here, Tom MacCubbin, the author of Florida Month-by-Month Gardening, shares two easy recipes for mixing your own potting soil. Photo credit: Florida Month-by-Month Gardening Potting soil is needed to fill hanging baskets, planters, and window boxes. But what do you use? In Florida, do not use the backyard soil unless you are willing to take a gamble. It might contain weeds, insects, diseases, or nematodes. If that is not enough to scare you, it may not have the good drainage needed for container plantings. Here are two formulas you can use to make your own pest-free, well-drained soil at home: Potting Soil 1 1 gallon peat moss 1 gallon perlite 1 tablespoon dolomitic lime Potting Soil 2 1 gallon peat moss 1 gallon perlite 1 gallon compost Mix all ingredients together in a clean container. Use immediately, or store in a plastic trash can or plastic bag. Notice that the second mixture contains no lime: Florida compost is often alkaline, and the absence of lime will help adjust the soil acidity. If in doubt, have the pH of your compost tested. Potting soils can also be used to improve sandy soils and to replace soils in nematode-infested beds. ————————————————- Florida Month-by-Month Gardening Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: About Florida Month-by-Month Gardening: Your guide to all types of gardening in the Sunshine State. Written by beloved Florida gardening expert Tom MacCubbin, Florida Month-by-Month Gardening is the perfect companion book to our Florida Getting Started Garden Guide. Inside, MacCubbin presents a foolproof monthly breakdown of exactly what you should plant in Florida’s peninsular climate, exactly when you should plant it for the best seasonal success, and exactly how to take care of it. From annuals to vegetables, lawns, trees, and perennials, this book is as straightforward as it gets: simply look up any given month and you’ll find a complete gardening guide for every plant category, with advice for planning, planting, care, watering, fertilizing, and overcoming problems typically encountered by Florida gardeners during that time of year. Of course, like our other gardening guides, Florida Month-by-Month Gardening is fully illustrated with gorgeously colored “here’s how” step-by-step and plant photography. So whether you’re hoping for violets in Tallahassee, planting a Simpson’s stopper in Orlando, or simply wondering where (or when) to start, Florida Month-by-Month Gardening helps you take your first steps toward mastering the Florida gardening landscape. For our full introduction to gardening in Florida, we also recommend companion books Florida Getting Started Garden Guide and Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening. About the Author: Tom MacCubbin (Apopka, FL), writer of the Plant Doctor column for the Orlando Sentinel, has been helping gardeners throughout Florida for over 40 years. He is the television co-host of Central Florida Gardening, gardening consultant for Central Florida News 13, and 25-year co-host of the Better Lawns and Gardens radio broadcast across 24 Florida stations with his wife, Joani. With Cool Springs Press, MacCubbin is the author of Month-by-Month Gardening in Florida (2006), Florida Month-by-Month Gardening (2014), and is co-author of Florida Gardener’s Handbook (2012) and Florida Getting Started Garden Guide (2013). He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in horticulture and is currently an extension agent emeritus with a full professor equivalent at the University of Florida. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.