If you love to grow vegetables by container gardening you may want to make your own potting soil instead of the store bought brands. Making your own potting soil might seem like much more work than just tearing open a bag, but there are a few advantages of making it yourself.

You can control what is (or is not) going into your potting soil.

You will save money by making your own potting soil over the course of a growing season, and you can have a steady supply of potting soil when you need it, eliminating time-wasting trips to the garden center.

Mixing It Up

To begin making your potting soil, you will need a 5-gallon bucket. Place equal parts of top soil, peat moss, perlite, and compost in the bucket.

Add in a half a cup of garden lime, and a good handful of bone meal. Use a hand shovel to thoroughly mix all the ingredients until they are incorporated.

Sift the mixture in a sieve with a 1/2-inch mesh to remove any large pieces of debris.

The next step has been highly debated by some gardeners.

To sterilize the mixture, place it in an old baking pan and stick in the oven for 30 minutes at 350°F, or in the microwave for 5 to 6 minutes on the highest cooking setting.

Some gardeners believe it is best not to sterilize the mixture because this may kill some beneficial organisms in the soil. I have made the potting soil with baking it and with no sterilization. Both methods seemed to produce the same results, so you can sterilize it, or not - it is up to you. Plus, sticking some dirt in the oven seems a little weird, doesn't it?

Once the potting soil mixture has cooled, it is ready for use. You now have your own homemade potting soil that is just as good - if not better - than the store bought stuff.

Get Your Seeds Started Right