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What you need:
  • Large plastic garbage can with a lid
  • Plastic bucket for soaking the peat moss
  • 2 parts fine peat moss
  • 1 part good garden loam or compost
  • 1 part perlite
Choose and gather the various potting soil components. The materials you use will depend on what you will be planting. Some plants, like cacti and succulents, prefer soils that drain more rapidly. Others, like ferns, require a potting material that retains more moisture. This tutorial will show you how to make a general purpose potting formulation that will work for most plants. It consists of one part good garden loam, one part perlite and two parts sphagnum peat moss. The addition of soil into an otherwise soil-less mix is intended to provide some nutrient value for the plants.
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Any time you use garden soil, pasteurize it before adding it to your mix. Pasteurization is accomplished by baking the material in the oven in a coffee can or similar container at 180 degrees F. for 30 minutes. This kills most harmful bacteria and micro-organisms present in the soil.
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Pre-moisten the peat moss before mixing it with the other potting materials. Add water to the peat moss and mix thoroughly.
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After the garden soil has been pasteurized and peat moss has been pre-moistened, you're ready to begin the blending process. Measure out the correct ratios of the components by using a clean pot as your measuring device. Layer the components in a plastic garbage can. Add one pot of sphagnum moss, then one pot of perlite, then one pot of soil and repeat until all of the material has been added. Adding the soil components in layers makes it much easier to mix them together.
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Use a long wooden stake to mix the materials together. Alternately, tape the lid on the garbage can and roll it around on the floor. Leave the lid on the garbage can until you are ready to use the soil.