Soil – the foundation for crop growth. Did you know that the reason for bad growth could be the wrong soil? Garden centers offer many different types of soil. But many people do not know which soil suits their plants and what they should keep in mind when buying soil.
Ingredients of potting soil
Soil is a mixture of different materials which have different functionalities.
• Turf is responsible for the water storage, for a better structure and for the ground ventilation. Because turf is a limited resource, it needs to be replaced by substitute goods like humus, wood fiber or coconut fiber.
• Compost has a high content of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphate, magnesium, and sulfur or potassium oxide.
• Volcanic rock, sand, fictile or perlite helps to loosen the soil. Also the water retention capacity of soil is important.
• Expanded clay is a substrate from fictile. It retains water and nutrients really well.
A high quality soil has to smell like forest. The soil falls fluffy into pieces after pressing it by hand and feels cold and damp. Big fibers or pieces of branches should not be contained. Also have a look at the quality of the packaging. It should not be bleached out. If so, in most cases the soil is old and important nutrients are expended.
Types of soil
Crop soils are aligned on the special needs of the plants. It mainly reflects in the contained nutrients. This should guarantee a healthy growth. But it is not necessary to buy a specific soil for each plant.
All-purpose potting soil:
It is suitable for nearly all areas in the garden, for example in plant buckets or plant pots. You see, special soil is not always necessary! Nitrogen and phosphor must be a component of the soil. Both are important for plant growth.
Potting compost, also known as potting soil or potting mix, is suitable for the propagation of cuttings/ young plants or for sowing. It contains less fertilizing salts and nitrogen. Propagation soil is low-nutrient, sterile and water-permeable. Phosphor and potassium are included.
There are plants which do not flourish with ordinary soil. Here, it is really important to use that special soil. These plants are for example orchids, cactus, bog plants, rhododendron and succulents (granulate). If you are not sure, please ask an expert.
Soil for balcony boxes or tub plants:
This soil is really loose, because of the expanded clay, pumice or perlite. Thereby it is lighter, easier to handle, and agglutination will be avoided.
You should always use high quality soil. This soil includes all needed materials and nutrients. Cheap soil often includes no material for the water storage (turf, humus or coconut fiber) and this could mean the death of the plant. Partially they are interspersed with seeds, so that you can’t save yourself from weeds.
If you have your own garden, you can set a composter and produce your own soil. Suitable are leaves, shrub residues, fruit and vegetable waste, grass cuttings teabags or eggs. After about half a year up to one year nearly everything will be rotten and turned into soil. Mix compost soil (1/3) and all-purpose soil with fertilizer and use it as you are used to. The compost soil is rich in nutrients because of the included minerals of the rotten plants in the compost. The main nutrients are exhausted after about 4 weeks. Therefore, only good soil is not enough. You should regularly fertilize your plants.