can I make potting soil using backyard dirt?

| November 13, 2012 | 2 Comments

Question by Michele: can I make potting soil using backyard dirt?
I have lots of dirt from digging a hole for a garden pond and not enough potting soil for my urns and pots.

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Answer by Babs
If you do a soil analysis first to see that it’s free of fungus and correct any Ph imbalances, adding peat moss and vermiculite, you should have better potting soil than anything you can buy already mixed. Miracle Gro has so much fly larvae and the others are so expensive, I think it’s a great idea.

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  1. petals says:

    I would say, only if you are using the pots outside, and even then, you may have to amend a bit. Dirt from the ground can be pretty heavy when put into pots. I do it all of the time, but i generally add some peat moss and vermiculite to lighten it up a bit. Even sand will do the trick.

    Try putting some in a little planter container, or a pot will do. Leave about an inch or two of free space on the top. Now water it. Fill it to the top. Is the water running through at all? Or does it just kind of sit there. If it isn’t running freely, the dirt is too heavy and will choke the plants.

    I personally would not use dirt from the ground inside the house, for houseplants.

    But you can sterilize the dirt. You seal it with plastic overlay and let it cook in the sun for about a month. You can sterilize your ground like that too — it will kill hard to kill weeds. The dirt must be moist though before you cover it with the plastic. I have also seen on TV once where they put dirt on a cooking pan and stuck it in the oven in order to sterilize it. Can’t remember why there was a need for that though.

  2. pondlady says:

    You can and should use the soil to finish the pond. See directions and photos here:

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