QUESTION: I want to use some potting soil for flowers that I have left over from a previous project in my vegetable garden. Will the potting soil for flowers work OK on veggies? — Rhonda S.
ANSWER: Your potting soil for flowers will work fine in the vegetable garden, especially if you’re growing your veggies in containers. Of course, using potting soil made specifically for vegetable gardens would be the best possible scenario. Other good choices include potting mixes made to be used in raised beds or containers, depending on whether your veggies are growing in raised beds or in pots. Let’s delve into what else you should consider when selecting potting soil for your vegetable garden.
Choose Potting Soil That Offers Plenty of Drainage
Your potting soil must be light and airy so your plants don’t get oversaturated. If the soil stays too moist, your plants can fall victim to damping off, mildews, and other plant diseases. You’ll know the potting soil provides enough drainage if its texture is fluffy. An airy potting soil will prevent the roots of your plants from compacting.
In a light potting soil, the root systems of your plants will have access to plenty of oxygen to keep them healthy and strong. At the same time, quality potting soil will hold plants up securely so they don’t get blown over in the wind. Look for perlite or vermiculite in potting soil ingredients, as both these substances help improve aeration.
Don’t Skimp on Soil for Container Gardens
Plants that are growing in containers or raised beds depend on the gardener to provide them nutrition through their potting soil. Container gardens don’t let plants stretch out their roots as they would if they were planted directly in the ground. That’s why, especially if your veggies are planted in containers, you’ll want to avoid using topsoil or garden soil.
Container gardens aren’t a good place to reuse potting soil from a previous season, either. You may need to invest a bit in potting soil for your vegetables. When potting soil is priced much lower than usual, it might contain insects like fungus gnats that you don’t want in your garden.
Check the package to determine whether you’ll need to add fertilizer. Some brands of potting soil already include fertilizer. In this case, the package will let you know how long the nutrition in the potting soil will last. The package is also where you’ll find information about whether the potting soil qualifies as organic.
Look for Quality Ingredients in Potting Soil
While the exact makeup of potting soil will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, the best potting soils for vegetables will contain the following ingredients.
- Organic material, such as bat guano, compost, manure, seaweed, or worm castings
- Ingredients that improve drainage, such as perlite or vermiculite
- Materials that absorb water, such as moisture retention granules, coconut coir, or peat moss
- Fertilizers, although these are easy to add on your own
It’s easy to use flower potting soil for vegetables, and in this article, you may have learned more about the types of potting soil than you expected. Whenever you purchase potting soil, you can call on the information presented here to determine whether it will work well in your garden. You can even make your own potting soil if you want to maintain complete control of the soil where your plants grow.