So the more I read about container soils the less I know and the now I'm completely confused. It now amazes me how anything grew in my garden these last 4 years because I've been doing everything wrong.
I want to keep things simple so I found this one recipe that I might use this summer:
1 part top soil 1 part peat 1 part perlite
That seems like a lot of perlite but I suppose it helps in aeration. There's a nursery by me that sells perlite in 3 cu. ft. bags for not that much so that's not a big deal. But even the potting soils I see in the stores never have this much perlite. I'm also considering using pine bark but am a little concerned about having woody stuff in the soil. I thought wood leeches nitrogen. Last summer I used building sand in my soil mix and apparently that was a *big* mistake. Although I had a good pepper and cuke crop, my tomatoes didn't do so well even though I watered them every day.
Does anyone have good (hopefully simple) recipes using material that can be purchased at Home Depot or preferably Menards?
Is it bad to use compost in the soil for veggies? I read last year that growing tomatoes in a container requires about 1/3 compost and that's what I used last summer but now I'm reading that using compost is not good. Compost supposedly breaks down the soil, reduces aeration, and increases water retention leading to root rot. I suppose everything is a tradeoff but some of these sites use absolutes.
I'll be digging out all my containers and recycling the soil as the top soil component in any recipe. Some sites say not to use this recycled soil because its broken down and get fresh soil. But how can this soil, after I break it up in the soil mixing box, be any worse than those bags of dirt that you get from Menards? How do I know if the Menards soil isn't broken down either?
Also if anyone has good links to soil recipes that would be good too. Thanks for any help.