Friday, August 28, 2009

Making My Own Potting Soil

When we started designing our new backyard, I became hooked on the idea of having a lot of lovely containers scattered through out our yard.

The now obvious problems with having a lot of containers:

1)pots are expensive
2)potting soil is expensive
3)plants in containers must be watered more frequently than the rest of the garden

We bit the proverbial bullet and spent about $800 on a large variety of containers. I really love the black one with the green stripe.

A few of these containers are really, really large and I didn't want to go spend more bucketfuls of money on potting soil, so I got creative.

Tagro is a variety of soils and soil amendments made by the city of Tacoma. We had 10 yards delivered for our backyard for landscaping, but we used it all up and had none left over. By itself, Tagro is pretty strong and dense and not really meant for container planting.

Tagro is free if you pick it up yourself. So I loaded the car with all the empty cat litter buckets and other misc. buckets I could find and headed down to the Tagro facility. They even provide shovels for you to use! The smell of Tagro is pretty strong, so I had to drive on the freeway with all of the windows rolled down.

Since Tagro by itself is too dense for potting soil, I decided to mix peat moss and perlite with it. I already owned a giant bag of each since I tried making concrete with them for a hypertufa planter. I didn't like the look of the planter and abandoned the project and had a lot of the stuff left over. I bought them at Home Depot and the bags are huge and I don't remember them costing that much at all.

I laid out a tarp and mixed about 3 parts Tagro with 1 part perlite and 1 part peat moss.

And then I mixed and mixed and mixed. I had to do it in two batches. The amount below was just enough to fill that large container in the background. It takes a lot of soil to fill these babies. I plan on putting a topiary tree in that pot. It is the first thing you will see when you walk in the gate. We are using all black containers except this one I already had, so I wanted it as a focal point.
Now the fun part comes of picking out the plants to put in the containers. I am trying to hold out until the plant sales in mid-September. I might have to buy a couple this weekend.

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