looking for soil recipe

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by Unregistered, Apr 24, 2004.

  1. hello all
    i live in the suburbs for now, and im looking to make a rich organic soil that will not require extra fertilization (if this is possible) for a bunch of container plants indoors.
    these are the ingredients i have available in my house to compost with. food wastes, grass clippings, dog poop, coffee grounds, newspapers, ash, ....
    and im sorry this probably shows how much of a newbie i am to all this, but should i just plant in straight compost...or a mix of potting soil and compost, ..what about perlite and vermiculite and sand and stuff?
    all help much appreciated.
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hello,

    I don't have any expertise with making soil mixes for indoor plants, but I do know that you want to avoid using any animal waste.

    Pet Waste Composting from the excellent City Farmer site

    I'll have to leave the creation of the soil mix to more capable hands.
     
  3. douglas

    douglas Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi What type of container plants are you using and when are you going to plant them?
    Good finished compost generally takes (depending on mix)
    from 4 to 8 weeks.
     
  4. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    First off I would suggest that you do not use waste from animals that eat meat or meat products as the bacteria can be harmful. As for soil mixes for tropical plants it depends on the type of plants and their needs but for a general mix here is a recipe;

    15 % compost, 15% perlite, 5% vermiculite, 5% pumice, 50% peat, 10% sand
    this will give you a rich, moisture retaining, WELL drained mixture. Its easy to add water to a plant if the soil is a bit dry, its really hard to wring it out if its too wet. I have helped formulate soils for garden center chains and some brands of soil sold locally in the garden center and hydroponic market so I have some experience with this type of question.
     
  5. ok...now..is the compost there to act as fertilizer? or will i need to feed them something (btw...sunflowers, assorted herbs, golden pothos, tropical plants, ...and whatever sort of seeds i can find that interest me)
    IF i have to feed them something, i'd like to avoid chemical fertilizers. i suppose thats a different part of the forum though...organic fertilizers?

    OH...and another question on compost....the town i live in sells compost that has ...i guess human waste in it. and they recommend not growing vegetables in there.....is it ok to use in indoor plants that wont be eaten?
     
  6. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Generally human waste (sewage sludge) is not a good idea for veggies because of the likelihood of heavy metals present. Compost is not a replacement for fertilizer (in my humble opinion) but it is a good basis for healthy and hearty soil. Organic fertilizers are a good thing in general and I would suggest the Welcome harvest farms or gaia green brands as excellent bc produced sources of organic fertilizers. I love alfalfa meal (tricantanol is a great hgrowth promoter) and blood and bone meal mixes. Kelp is the best hands down nutrient there is, cold processed liquid is better than dehydrated but use anything you can get your hands on, so many macro and micro nutrients hidden in there your plants will love.
     
  7. barbgup

    barbgup Member

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    Potting medium

    I make my potting medium using a shredder and put in kitchen waste, garden clippings: branches, leaves (dry or wet), wood chips and any bio-degradable material. After shredding them to 0.5 - 0.25 sq.in. It will be ready to be used immediately. I have great success transferring recently rooted cutting to this medium or re-potting.

    It should work for indoor plants too!!!
     
  8. akwx

    akwx Member

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    From the perspective of soil mixture, I'm wondering if the use of (packaging) STYROFOAM qualifies for perlite, or vermiculite? If so, what is the proper size? And, if so, would this type of mixture be good for the outdoors, or is it only good for potted plants (indoor/outdoor?) ?
     
  9. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    Wow, did you ever bite an old thread! No I don't think that styrofoam would be a good substitution for either perlite or vermiculite. People stuff the bottoms of pots with styrofoam to reduce the weight and take up space.

    Another major problem with using the styrofoam particles is: then what do you plan to do with them? They will never compost. If you put it in your garden you will have it there until the end of time.
     
  10. akwx

    akwx Member

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    The only reason for my posting originated from the definition of the words:

    (a) "vermiculite", as written in the American Heritage Dictionary: "Any of a group of micaceous hydrated silicate minerals related to the chlorites and used in heat-expanded form as insulation and as a planting medium."

    (b) As well, the definition of "perlite": "A natural volcanic glass similar to obsidian but having distinctive concentric cracks and a relatively high water content. In a fluffy heat-expanded form perlite is used as a lightweight aggregate, in fire-resistant insulation, and in soil for potted plants."

    I thank you, sir, for the enlightenment.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2006
  11. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Vermiculite has asbestos fibers present. The industry tries to play this fact down and Canada is in the lead with this propaganda due to being or was one lof the leading suppliers of this asbestos health hazard. Vermiculite is not mined in Canada, but where it is mined asbestos is present in most depsoits. (USA, Brazil, SA)
    Perlite does not have asbestos fibers.

    Some greenhouse suppliers refuse to handle vermiculite. The dust can be a real health hazard, which only manifests the true adverse health effects after many years. I suggest it should be avoided in the home garden.

    Durgan.
     
  12. johno

    johno Member

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    Adding vermicompost to a mix like the one mentioned above will improve the general health of any plant. It should make up about 1/4 of the mix.
     
  13. PPennypacker

    PPennypacker Member Maple Society

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    Hello,
    If you are still with us in your Posting re: interior home composting, I would say you are a prime candidate for Vermiculture. There are wonderfully simple and safe designs for the home and small apt, that would provide you with a wonderful composted material to then use.
    Do a search at your library and online, and you'll find lots of info.
    We can also continue to help you with this should you decide to go this route.
    best,
    PP
     
  14. bioramani

    bioramani Member

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    Expanded Perlite alone, exfoliated vermiculite alone, or a mix of Irish peat moss and the other two in equal ratio is successfully used in large nurseries in Bangalore for orchid culture and plant propagation. Does not degrade much.

    bioramani
     
  15. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Wonder what expanded perlite is...

    I've seen some soil recipes include "greensand" and "sharp sand", with no explanation what they--or their differences--are. Apart from the millimetre size of a sand particle, isn't sand just sand?
     
  16. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Sharp sand is rough and has sharp grains of varying sizes, as opposed to soft sand or beach sand, which has small smooth grains of similar size. The coarse grains of varying sizes gives the soil structure that holds more air than smooth sand. Sharp sand is the type used for construction. Smooth sand is beach sand or play sand.

    Greensand is particular type of sand from sandstone deposits that is particularly suited for horticultural use. See link.
     
  17. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    That greensand link was very informative. I think I had been reading about a European potting mix and, from the link, greensand is quite common in UK and N Europe. It's probably widely used because it's cheap and contains trace minerals.
     

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