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.
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 Castings 30lb|
|Wonder Worm Castings 30lb|
|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.
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.
|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.