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Make potting soil yourself: that's how it works

Many gardeners swear by homemade potting soil. Not only is it cheaper than store-bought compost, almost every gardener also has most of the ingredients in the garden: loose garden soil, sand and well-matured compost.

How do you make potting soil yourself?

To make your own potting soil, you need a third of loose garden soil, a third of well-matured compost and a third of medium-sized sand. The individual components are first sieved and then mixed. To sterilize, the mixture is steamed in the oven at 120 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes.

Why is special potting soil used?

There are several reasons why special soil is used for growing plants. First of all, conventional garden soil usually does not contain enough humus and is also often loamy - an unfavorable combination for root formation. Cultivation soil, on the other hand, consists largely of humus and sand. It is airier and looser, but at the same time can store a lot of water. In this way, the offspring are optimally supplied with moisture and oxygen.

Much more important, however, is that the sowing soil is largely germ-free - i.e. free from pests and fungal spores. This is important because the sensitive seedlings and cuttings do not yet have good defenses and are easily attacked by mold and other typical fungal diseases. In addition, potting soil is much lower in nutrients than normal garden or potting soil. This has the advantage that the plant has to actively search for the few nutrients and thereby develop more roots. If you plant it later in a more nutrient-rich soil, it can absorb nutrients better and grows faster.

How to make your own potting soil

To make a typical potting soil yourself, you only need a few ingredients: one third garden soil, one third medium-sized sand and one third well-matured compost. The garden soil should be loose and contain as few weed seeds as possible. It is therefore best not to use the upper soil layer, but first dig up five to ten centimeters of soil. Alternatively, the soil of the molehills is also very suitable as a basis for a self-made sowing soil.

The individual components are sieved and then mixed well. In order to kill rot, mold and weed seeds, but also sciarid fly larvae and other animal pathogens, the mixture must be sterilized before use. It's easy to do at home in the oven. Put the mixture in a disused roaster or on an old baking sheet and steam it in the oven for about 45 minutes at 120 degrees Celsius. The potting soil then only needs to cool down and can then be used immediately for sowing or growing cuttings. As a matter of principle, sowing soil is not fertilized, as the nutrient salts damage the roots of the seedlings and the tender plants can then turn yellow or worry.

Tip: In addition, mix a few handfuls of perlite granules into the potting soil. This ensures better ventilation and increases the germination rate. It also makes sense to add algae lime or stone meal as a basic supply of trace elements.

Become a sowing professional with our podcast!

You now know how to mix your own seed compost. You can hear even more practical tips about sowing in this episode of our "Gr├╝nstadtmenschen" podcast.

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Credit: MSG / Alexandra Tistounet / Alexander Buggisch