Make Your Own Potting Soil: Peat-free From Only 3 Ingredients

Make Your Own Potting Soil: Peat-free From Only 3 Ingredients

Making your own growing soil is not difficult. With just three ingredients, you can make an airy and loose substrate that is perfectly adapted to the needs of your seedlings and does not require peat.

To make your own growing medium, all you need are three ingredients: sand, garden soil and compost. The sand provides a sufficiently airy soil, and the compost adds some nutrients. However, with growing soil, it is important that the overall nutrient content is not too high. In soil that is lower in nutrients, the roots grow stronger to better reach the few nutrients. This creates a widely branched, strong root system and the seedlings grow into large and robust plants.

The homemade potting soil can also store a lot of water and, above all, should be germ-free. To ensure the latter, the recipe includes a step where you sterilize the soil in the oven. Germs would not yet withstand the young plantlets. In addition, weed seeds may also be present in the soil, and these would eventually interfere with the growth of the planted seedlings or displace them. Such seeds are also killed when heated in the oven.

Make your own potting soil: This is how it works

If you want to make your own potting soil, you can follow these instructions:

  1. The finished potting soil should consist of one-third sand, one-third soil and one-third compost. Make sure that the ingredients are available in equal parts and measure out the appropriate amount.
  2. Then sift the ingredients well.
  3. Mix the sand, soil and compost together in a roasting pan or large baking dish.
  4. To sterilize the mixture, bake it in the oven at 120 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes.
  5. Ventilate well during this time. Since various microorganisms are present in compost and soil, it can start to smell a bit unpleasant.
  6. Take the sterilized potting soil out of the oven and let it cool down.
  7. You should clean the oven well afterwards. Baking soda and baking powder will help. Lemon juice can neutralize the unpleasant smell. You can read more about this here: Cleaning the oven: These home remedies work better than chemicals.
  8. Let the finished potting soil rest for one or two days. Then you can use it for your seedlings.

Making your own potting soil: How to make it peat-free

To ensure that your potting soil is actually peat-free, you should use organic garden soil in its production. You can simply use soil from your own garden or from your compost. Purchased soil usually contains peat, which is supposed to promote plant growth. However, peatlands are destroyed for the extraction of the additive. This results, among other things, in large amounts of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. You can read more about this here: Why you should buy peat-free soil – and where to find it.

If you don’t have a garden or compost, you can buy peat-free soil instead. BUND has published a shopping guide for this purpose. It tells you which companies offer peat-free soil.

In addition to the three basic ingredients, you can also add some lava substrate to your homemade growing soil. This loosens the soil even more. This allows excess water to drain off better. Lava substrate can also be bought regionally, for example from the Eifel.