Welcome back to another article for the discernible home gardener and in this write-up, I will be discussing the best potting soil for vegetables! I will also break down the importance of potting soils, how it differs from gardening soils, and the elements and ingredients within the potting mix that make it an ideal soil for plants to thrive in. All so that you can make an educated choice, catering to your gardening needs.
When gardening, the base of our garden starts with the potting soil that we are using to grow our plants from. An experienced gardener knows that the quality of the potting soil used to grow your crops translates to a tremendous difference in the quantity and quality of your yield.
A high-quality potting soil would usually contain a proper, well-balanced concoction of nutrients. This will be ideal in creating a healthy environment where healthier fruits and vegetables are harvested. On the contrary, soil that is toxic or untreated could pose potential risks for your plants. In severe cases, it could kill your crops. Worst still, growing vegetables in soil that has high levels of toxicity will leave you with a harvest that may cause more harm than good when consumed.
Therefore, prior to beginning to grow any vegetables or plants in your garden, one should remember to decide where to place your vegetable bed as it is an important first step. The next step is to then decide what soil to use for it.
Taking the time to choose the best potting soil for vegetables will pay off in greater rewards when the time comes to harvest your fresh vegetables. This means that if the soil in your garden is unhealthy or untested it is important to take the time to get the soil checked before planting and growing the vegetables that you intend to consume or sell for consumption.
Oftentimes, gardeners will create a vegetable bed above the ground so that the soil which is being used is controlled. This is also done to ensure that there is no chance of letting plants grow in low-quality soil.
What is Potting Soil?
Potting soil is sometimes referred to as potting mix, although some home gardeners debate that those two are entirely different. Potting soil is made up of multiple components collectively working together to provide a habitat for plants to thrive in. Normal soil can get too compact leading to the suffocation of roots and other issues.
A potting soil of high standards will resolve these issues and allow better development for your plants. These soils would usually appear more consistent and fluffy. Apart from just looking at the part, potting soil usually comes with a stronger ability to contain moisture. Keep reading to find out some of the best potting soil for vegetables available right now.
Types of Potting Soil
All-purpose Potting Soil
Firstly, there’s the all-purpose potting soil. These are usually designed for general use. Usually the best soil for indoor plants and outdoor plants.. Houseplants to herbs and even edibles, all-purpose potting soil does the job.
Organic Potting Soil
Much like the name, organic potting soil is made up with natural elements such as plants, worm castings, food compost, manure and the remains of decayed organisms which collectively contribute to the fertility of the soil.
Seed Starting Mix
A form of potting soil with smooth and fine consistency, thus providing the optimum conditions necessary for seeds to grow. It contains little to no nutrients. Hence it motivates the roots of the plant to branch out in search of them. This promotes better growth and development.
Orchid Potting Soil
Some plants thrive best on potting soil formulated to their species. For example, the orchid potting soil provides the orchids with great air circulation and drainage systems. This not only then prevents the roots from retaining excess moisture, it also helps the orchids grow.
Cacti and Citrus Potting Soil
The cactus plant and citrus plants are sensitive plants. They thrive best in potting soils that have good drainage.
Moisture Control Potting Soil
This potting soil consists of moisture-controlling pellets, which help in regulating the moisture in the soil, preventing it from drying out completely.
Benefits of Using Potting Soil for Vegetables
Potting soil is typically made up of components that help in providing the plant with the proper structure to hold and retain water, nutrients, while also having proper drainage and air circulation. There are many benefits of using potting soil for vegetables. First off, there are plant-specific potting soils available that allow for better growth and development.
As opposed to this, if one chooses the average gardening soil for a specific plant, he would have to manually alter the percentage of organic matter in the soil, improve the drainage, add fertilizers and change the pH of the soil. Another benefit is that potting soil poses a lower risk of infections and diseases.
For the one who is worried about infections and the spread of diseases, you may opt to get a sterile potting mix as it is great for germinating, the period when seedlings are most vulnerable to infections. And because potting soil goes through the process of heating, they are free from pests and diseases.
For vegetables, one should remember to have a well-drained system with proper air circulation and a soil pH value close to neutral (when limestone is added). And potting soil offers all of these features. For larger pots of vegetables, opt for a soil-free potting mix as it has a lighter texture. In situations where using less soil is a priority, potting soil is usually the go-to product as only a small quantity is needed.
Ingredients of Potting Soil Peat Moss
Perhaps the most used element of potting soils, the Peat Moss is basically the remains of decayed sphagnum moss for over an extensive period of thousands of years. The moss is harvested from the peatlands. This is both ideals for retaining moisture for plants and also to provide a better drainage system.
Ever seen those tiny white pearly particles in potting soil? Well, that’s Perlite, and believe it or not those are literally heated volcanic glass. Perlite is incorporated into potting soils as it also promotes better water drainage and makes sure that the soil does not get too compact.
Much to how it sounds like Perlite, the Vermiculite is also a product of volcanic material. It is used in potting soil as it also helps in retaining moisture by creating more air pockets in the soil. This in turn improves aeration within the soil. One of the things that set Vermiculite apart from Perlite is that it not only retains water but helps in retaining fertilizers to stick around and not just easily washed away during watering.
By itself, the Pine Bark does not have much to offer. However, when paired together with Peat Moss, it created more air spaces and hence promotes better water and fertilizer retention.
Potting soil can sometimes be too acidic for plants to thrive in. For these purposes, limestones are added into the mix to neutralise the acidity and bring about closer to neutral pH value of the soil.
The remains and by-products of the coconut fruit and the coconut industry itself,, the Coir Fiber also plays a similar role to the Peat Moss. One downside to Coir Fibers is that it is relatively more expensive. However, a plus point would be that it is more environmentally friendly.
8 Best Potting Soil for Vegetables
Miracle gro potting soil is able to feed your plant for up to 6 months. For the indoor plants, it is recommended to have those plants repotted annually with fresh Miracle-Gro Potting Mix.
Commonly advertised with a convincing tagline that it could grow your plant up to twice its original size, the Miracle-Gro Potting Mix stresses that the secret to a lush container of flowers or vegetables lies within the quality of your potting mix.
This potting soil is able to provide a strong foundation for your plants as well as supply it with adequate key nutrients.
Together, this forms an ideal environment for plants to thrive in and it sure makes a comparable difference to plants that do not use this potting mix. Miracle-Gro Potting Mix is sold as a single pack or a 2-pack and comes in 4 different sizes (1 cu. ft./2 cu. ft./8 qt/16 qt.)
The FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix is currently sold in a single pack and a 4-pack. It is advertised as the ultimate potting soil that has everything your plants need.
The pH value of the soil is adjusted to specific values ranging from 6.3 to 6.8 for optimum fertilizer reabsorption.
Thanks to its lighter consistency, the potting soil boasts a mix with proper aeration making it perfect for plants to live indoors or outdoors.
The contents of this potting soil feature the best of both worlds, earth and sea! The main ingredients of this potting soil include a blend of earthworm castings, bat guano, crab meal, seagoing fish, composted forest humus, sandy loam, and sphagnum peat moss. It is ready to use right out of the bag and is recommended for container plants.
It is recommended for both indoor and outdoor use. The potting soil’s new and improved formula helps with better water retention capabilities. This is because the mix is enhanced with myco-tone water saving formula. This allows the plant to survive better during drought seasons.
Going organic? The Burpee Premium Organic Potting Mix is definitely one to go for. OMRI authenticates its organic tag and this potting soil equips your plant with the necessary nutrients and keeps the plant fed for up to 3 months.
The potting soil is formulated to have better retention of moisture between watering schedules.
It is advertised to be the recommended potting soil for container plants and raised bed gardening. One of the main ingredients used in this mix is the coconut coir, which is an organic and sustainable resource that helps in water retention. The product boasts end results of your plants having more delicious yield and vibrant flowers.
Burpee Premium Organic Potting Mix is currently sold in a few sizes (3 lbs/8 qt/9 qt/16 qt ) catering to a variety of specific needs which include the standard potting mix, blood meal, bone meal, seed starting mix, garden coir and vermiculite.
The Black Gold All Purpose Potting Soil With Control is currently sold in 1 size (8 qt) but in both dual packs, quad packs, and 8-packs. This potting soil is made up of many crucial ingredients.
One of the ingredients that stand out in this product is the slow-release complete fertilizer, MultiCote, added to give plants a strong start.
It consists of Canadian sphagnum peat moss with worm castings, forest humus and pumice. This multi-purpose product is made in the United States and is ideal for all plants as it is nutrient-abundant. It can be used for both your indoor house plants and the ones in your hanging baskets.
The Mother Earth Terracraft Potting Soil is commonly sold in 2 Cu. Ft pack. It is a recommended potting soil for all good plants including tomatoes and vegetables.
The formula provides moderate aeration which in turn helps in promoting better moisture retention. This also created a desirable environment for all types of plants, for both indoors and outdoor use.
This potting soil consists of ingredients such as the Sphagnum peat moss, processed forest products, Perlite and fertilizer. The Mother Earth Terracraft Potting Soil helps to bring the nutrients to the root of the plants to give the foundation they need to flourish. Thanks to its nutrient charge, this performance soil lets you wait longer before applying fertilizer, giving you a garden with low maintenance and high rewards.
Since this potting soil has higher moisture retention, watering should be less frequent. This potting soil is ready to use right out the bag and it works great when paired with Mother Earth fertilizers.
The Sphagnum Peat Moss Potting Soil is a nutrient-enriched potting soil sold in 1 qt resealable bags. This potting soil is great to be used in new setups and gardens or even during repotting as it helps with optimum water absorption.
You can use the Sphagnum Peat Moss Mix for plants, flowers and vegetables.
The peat moss works well as a soil amendment to add fluffiness to the soil or even as a soil conditioner which helps to enrich the nutrients in your soil and keep it from pathogens, bacteria, bugs, and weed seeds. It is great for indoor or outdoor use and can be used with many different types of plants. Apart from that, peat moss also contributes to better soil consistency and texture with its ability to hold nutrients and keep them from leaking out away from the plant.
The Hoffman 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix are sold in a 4 qt single pack. It is a go-to and trusted choice for organic cacti and succulents.
The ingredients are professionally formulated to use for both jungle breeds and desert breeds of cacti. Cacti requires a specific drainage system and the Hoffman 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix meets those requirements.
It provides the drainage a cactus plant requires to flourish and is ready to use right out the bag as it is already pH balanced. On the side note, the package comes with a complete guide on how to use the potting soil with additional helpful tips.
Potting Soil Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between potting soil and potting mix?
The main difference between potting soil and potting mix is that potting mix is a soilless medium whereas potting soil may or may not have soil. This is because when there is no soil in the mixture it will not harbour fungus or other diseases. Because of this, potting mix is safer for plants and even safer for seedlings as it is during that period of time where they are most vulnerable to infections and diseases.
What is the best soil for potted plants?
There are a variety of really great soils for potted plants however the Miracle-Gro Potting Soil is one of our favourites as it is lightweight and it is packaged really well. Moreover, Miracle-Gro is also one of the most popular brands for potting soil. Miracle-gro potting soil is able to feed your plant for up to 6 months. For indoor plants, it is only recommended to repot them annually with a fresh batch of Miracle-Gro Potting Soil.
What kind of soil is potting soil?
Potting soil is technically not soil. It is actually a mix or blends of a variety of materials such as sphagnum moss, perlite, bark, compost, vermiculite, or coir fibres. These elements are able to feed nutrients to the plant. Potting soil is often a soilless mixture because soil attracts many types of fungus, pathogens, bacteria and infections that could be fatal for younger seedlings and even mature plants.
Can I use potting mix instead of soil?
It is important to ensure that you are using more garden soil than potting mix. Roughly a 5:1 ratio. Mix both the gardening soil and potting soil together and this will ensure your plant is getting the best type of soil it needs while reaping the benefits of both gardening soil and potting mix.
How do you rejuvenate potting mix?
One way to rejuvenate your potting soil is by using worm castings. Use a 40:60 ratio of castings to the soil and blend it together well. Mix in a blend of slow-release fertilizer, some fish meal and crushed eggshells into an old potting mix to boost the soil’s nutrients.
What is the 4 types of soil?
OSHA classifies soils into four categories. Solid Rock, Type A, Type B and Type C.
Solid Rock is the most stable, and Type C soil is the least stable. Soils are typed not only by how cohesive they are but also by the conditions in which they are found. Stable rock is practically unachievable in the excavation of a trench.
Hopefully, by now, you would be better equipped with all that you need to know about potting soils and how it may benefit you in your very own garden. Be mindful to check for the ingredients of the potting soil that you are about to purchase to know what would suit your plants or vegetables. Keep this article close when you’re looking for the best potting soil for vegetables!
In short, potting soil should be lighter than gardening soil, to promote better air circulation within the soil, and should consist of the necessary ingredients for optimum nutrients and better water drainage. Ingredients to look out for when making your purchase are: Peat moss, Perlite, Vermiculite, Pine Bark, Coir Fiber and Limestones.
If you had a good read on this article about the best potting soil for vegetables and how they compare to gardening soils, you should definitely take a look at these related articles as well: