What's the best soil for my plants?

What's the best soil for my plants?

Dirt VS Soil, Soil ingredients and an actual ingredient breakdown of some popular soils.

What's the best soil for my plants?

Dirt VS Soil

What's the difference?

There was an old Simpsons gag, where Moe the Bartender says, "Well, I'm better than dirt! Well, most kinds of dirt. I mean, not that fancy store bought dirt, that stuff is loaded with nutrients, I can't compete with that."

But really, what is the difference between the two? Well basically, dirt is dead soil. Soil is made of decaying organic matter, insects, worms, microorganisms. It is a whole living world. When you take all that away, you're left with dirt. So how do we turn dirt back into soil? We put all that stuff back in!

Revitalizing Your Dirt

As we discussed, the first thing we're going to need is some organic matter that is decomposing. We can do this ourselves, by composting. I will go further into depth on that in a future article, but for now the basics are creating a pile outside where you're putting organic matter. Think egg shells, coffee grounds, yard trimmings (Disease free please). And then keeping it covered and moist. If you don't like the idea or don't have the room to set aside for a compost pile, another option is to buy out of the bag composts. I've listed one below.

Bu's Blend Biodynamic Compost

Bu's Blend Biodynamic Compost

Next we're going to want to get some more micro organisms into the mix. While compost surely helps, we can kick it up a notch with earthworm castings. Why? Well there are quite a few good reasons. The first, like I said, being the beneficial bacteria we will get out of them. But second, is all the goodies that come along for the ride. First, we get a ton of minerals. Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Plus micronutrients like Magnesium, Calcium, manganese, copper, zinc. The list goes on. On top of that, we get humus. And a lot of it. This will tend to balance out PH issues for uptake and overall just make it easier for the plants roots to take up their food. Here's a few examples or castings.

Wiggle Worm Earthworm Castings 30LB Wiggle Worm Castings 30lb
Wonder Worm castings Wonder Worm Castings 30lb
Buckaroo Earthworm Castings Buckaroo 30lb Worm Castings

With that, we're actually technically done. Now that we know the plant will survive however, we are in position to ask a more interesting question. How to we make plants thrive. For that, we're going to need to get a bit more nutritionally interesting.

Turning Soil Into Super Soil

To turn our soil into something next level, we're going to need to focus on a few areas. And we'll want to double down on a few we're already been to. There's likely an endless list of things that you could add, but to keep things from getting too out of control, I'll try to keep things relatively concise.

Aeration

Perlite

Vermiculite

 

Biology

Mykos

Great White

Compost Tea

 

Nutrition

Guano

Kelp

Blood meal

Bone meal

 

Misc

Yucca

 

Pre-Bagged Mixes

You may think to yourself, that you don't want to make your own super soil. You just want someone else to do it for you. And I would agree that this is much easier. But which mix to pick? That's going to come down to a few factors. Mostly being how fertilized do you want it to be? And how well aerated is it? Below i'll give a small rundown of some various soils so you can get a decent idea of the differences. 

Brand Product Fertilizer amount Ingredients
Foxfarm Lucky Dog None Peat moss, perlite, dolomite lime
Premier Horticulture Pro-Mix HP None Peat moss, perlite, dolomite lime
Sungro Sunshine #4 None Peat moss, perlite, dolomite lime
Sungro Black Gold Low Peat Moss, Compost, Pumice, Perlite, Worm Castings
Foxfarm Happy Frog Low aged forest products, sphagnum peat moss, perlite, earthworm castings, bat guano, humic acid, oyster shell, dolomite lime
Roots Organics Formula 707 Medium Peat Moss, Composted, Forest Material, Perlite, Coco Fiber, Pumice, Earthworm Castings, Feather Meal, Bat Guano,  Soybean Meal, Fish Bone Meal, Greensand, Volcanic Rock Dust, Kelp Meal
Royal Gold  Kings Mix Medium Coco fiber, Aged forest materials, sphagnum moss, perlite, coco chips, bat guano, feather meal, kelp meal, fish bone meal, gypsum, dolomite lime, basalt
Foxfarm Strawberry Fields Medium Earthworm Castings, Bat guano, Oyster shell, Dolomite Lime
Soil King Big Rootz High Peat moss, coco coir, compost, solomite lime, worm castings, shredded redwood, oyster shell, pumice, rock phosphate, fulfate of potash, ferrus sulfate, seabird guano, langbeinite, feather meal, kelp meal, bat guano, volcanic ash, fish bone meal, neem meal, glacial rock dust, blood meal
Royal Gold  Mendo Mix High Coco fiber, aged forest materials, compost, perlite, lava rock, alfalfa meal, feather meal, fishbone meal, crushed basalt, composted chicken manure, kelp meal, bat guano
Foxfarm Ocean Forest High aged forest products, sphagnum peat moss, earthworm castings, bat guano, fish emulsion, and crab meal, shrimp meal, sandy loam, perlite, granite dust, kelp meal, oyster shell
Roots Organics Original Potting Soil High Perlite, Coco Fiber, peat moss, composted forest material, pumice, worm castings, bat guano, soybean meal, alfalfa meal, fish bone meal, kelp meal, greensand
Sanctuary Soil Empire Builder Very High Coco coir, Peat moss, processed forest product, worm castings, coco chips, lava rock, pumice, perlite, gypsum, langbeinite, sea bird guano, bat guano, fish bonemeal, feather meal, bonemeal, limestone, greensand, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, glacial rock dust, azomite, soybean meal, rice bran

 

Can I Reuse My Soil?

Yes you can. But you'll likely have to re-amend your soil like we mentioned above. Additionally, you'll need to do something to get rid of all that old root mass. This can most easily be done through either compostings, or earth worms. 

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