Square foot garden soil mix….

There are some questions as to what the square foot gardener needs for success by way of soil.  As the book says, you’re not going to need or worry about your existing soil because you’re going to make your own.  By the time you’re done mixing it all in, you will have a perfect soil to plant just about anything you want.  No more worry about pH, soil structure, clay soil, loam soil, fertilizer, etc.  This picture shows what you’ll need to effectively grow your first SFG immediately.  First-peat moss.  This helps with keeping a nice, loose, and friable mix.  It also has some water retention properties.  Cost-about $7.  Second, coarse vermiculite.  This is mica rock that has been heated to a certain temperature until it explodes.  This is what helps hold water more than any other ingredient in your SFG.  You should always try to get the “course” variety instead of medium or fine vermiculite.  The finer you end up buying, the less effective it will be at holding water.  This is the most expensive component-about $25.  Third-a blended compost.  If you visit my gallery you will see the individual items that make up this great compost.  I think it’s the best commercially available compost available.  So, if you can’t find Garden and Bloome soil building compost, try to get something that approximates this.  Cost-$8.  This will be all you will need to fill one 4X4′ SFG at a depth of 6 inches.  If you want to go a foot deep then you will have to double this amount.  For the most part though, 6 inches will be all you’ll need for most things.  Do not cheat on making the soil.  This is a one time expense and you’ll end up regretting it later on if you’re getting the growing medium from the landfill or just buying horse/cow/chicken manure, etc.  It is not worth the few dollars you think you will be saving.  If you cheat on the soil and when you have limited success you can’t come back and tell all your friends “that square foot garden stuff doesn’t work.”  One of the worst things you can do is to fill your boxes with potting soil.  Why?  Potting soil is specially made to get new starts off quickly with a very small amount of fertilizer, peat moss, and some perlite.  It’s only made to be short term.  If you were to fill your beds with this your garden would be out of the necessary fertilizer for what you want to grow in about 4 weeks.  Be smart.  Stick with this triple combination and you can’t go wrong…

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2 thoughts on “Square foot garden soil mix….

  • by Debra

    I am on a limited budget, and have the 12″ deep boxes. Is it ok to fill them half way with my unsterilized top soil, then the top 6′ with this combo that you suggest? I’m trying to be cheap, but like you said, I don’t want to ruin it either…Thanks.

    • by Jim This is post author

      Im not sure what you mean by unsterilized soil. You will be fine adding the 3 components on top of your existing soil. Just make sure you’ve got all the right stuff. See a post on my website I did about 2 weeks ago. It shows you a picture of what all the components look like…

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