As someone who is into gardening as a hobby, how can I get my precious edible plants to grow and flourish? The answer to this question lies at the very root of it all, the composition of your soil or potting mix. By giving your edible plants the right planting soil mix, you are essentially giving them a good start. After all, as mentioned in our previous blog post, soil is key to supplying essential nutrients, water, oxygen, and root support for all plants, edible or not.
In addition, edible plants require soil that is chockful of nutrients, as they have shallower root systems and fast growth. In fact, edible plants tend to drain nutrients faster than most ornamental ones. You’ll also need to ensure that your edible plants are growing in soil that’s free of potentially harmful contaminants, you wouldn’t want to be eating herbs or vegetables that could potentially harm your health would you?
Potting Mix vs Potting Soil
First and foremost, before we begin, we’ll like to share this important piece of knowledge. Soil is not a pile of dead dirt, it is an ecosystem housing bacteria, fungi, earthworms, and a variety of other living organisms. This ecosystem helps break down nutrients from organic matter and, this in turn is consumed by your edible plants, which you then harvest to eat. In gardening, there exists two types of soil for use, potting mix, and potting soil. Though often used interchangeably, these two are different, and depending on your requirements, you’ll need to make sure you are getting the right product for your edible plants. Here are the differences between potting soil and potting mix.
Potting mix is a soil-less growing medium that consists of the right materials to maximise the growth of your plants. Good potting mix such as our Veggies Mix includes compostable organic matter, peat moss for water retention, as well as other minerals and materials for nutrient, moisture, and drainage management. The particle size of potting mix is usually larger than potting soil, and this gives better aeration to the roots to ensure optimum growth. These particles are also lighter in weight, making it easier for the plant’s roots to find their way. Potting mix is excellent for edible plants, as its qualities provide better germination and root development. Additionally, potting mix does not compact over time, unlike soil.
To put it simply, potting soil is essentially a gardening medium with dirt in it. This dirt could be mixed in with other materials such as top soil, compost, and other organic materials specially mixed together. Potting soil for plants is nutrient rich due to decaying organic matter and minerals being part of its composition; this offers consistent nutrition to your plants. One issue with potting soil however is that it compacts easily, and this blocks off aeration as well as causes water retention, which is bad for root growth. However, in terms of cost, potting soil is more affordable than potting mixes. Though it may be nutrient rich, potting soil’s density puts it at a disadvantage as it is less ideal than potting mixes when it comes to growing edible plants.
Choosing the Right Soil
Choosing the right soil for your gardening needs is important as it can mean the difference between a plant that is thriving or one that is struggling to stay alive. In summary, potting mix and potting soil are two different types of growing media, each with its own advantages as well as disadvantages. Always make it a habit to read the label of the growing media packaging to see what’s in the potting mix or potting soil to know what it’s created for. Should the product offer no list of contents, then it will be prudent to not buy it, after all, as a consumer, you deserve to know what you are buying. For a small-scale setup such as an indoor garden using containers, a potting mix is definitely the best, but if you have a relatively large garden bed in your backyard, potting soil will make more sense financially.
Now that you understand what soil truly is, and the difference between potting soil and potting mix, you’re now in a much better position to know when to use each of them. And with this knowledge, we are sure you’ll enjoy gardening as a hobby even more! Check out our extensive list of gardening essentials today to further enhance your gardening.