There is nothing more important to the health of your plants than the soil in which they grow. There are an infinite number of soils of every possible make-up and consistency. Some are sandy, others heavy with clayâ€”some are rich and others barren. They range from desert sands in which only certain forms of cactus and sage will grow, to the deep loamy soil of the Midwestern plains which will grow any plant that will live in the climate. Even the variations to be found in the make-up of potting soils are tremendous. If you look in ten different gardening books, the chances are you’ll find ten different recipes for the best all-around potting soil, and the strange thing about it is that they would all be equally good. In theory, almost every plant grows best in a specific soil made up of an exact proportion of several different constituents. In practice, luckily for us, almost all plants adjust to a good basic soil combination of loam, sand, humus and fertilizer, plus small amounts of bone meal and sometimes peat moss.
If you plan to mix your own potting soil, the best way to go about it is to choose one of the basic mixtures, collect your materials and start to work. A good general mixture is made up of 2 parts loam to one part sand and one part humus. Into this should be mixed one-half part cow manure and a sprinkling of bone meal. You will need a pretty spacious place to work, probably in the cellar or the back porch, because it’s difficult to handle buckets of dirt and sand, bags of manure, etc. without spilling some here and there. We’re not making this job sound appetizing, frankly, because it isn’t. It’s messy, wasteful and smelly and not particularly efficient. But there’s a solution. . . .