Instructables

Make Garden Soil from ALMOST any Dirt

Picture of Make Garden Soil from ALMOST any Dirt
     This is a general guide to preparing dirt for gardening.  All the instruction you need for a given type of dirt is put into one "step" of this instructable. So identify what type of dirt you have then open that "step" for further instruction.

Materials:
-Your existing Dirt
-Compost
-Sand, Peralite
-10-10-10 Fertilizer

Tools:
-5 gallon bucket
-Shovel
-Dirt rake
-Wheelbarrow if available

Total Cost:
-Completely variable, but the whole point is to keep it as cheap as possible.

 
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Step 1: General Principles/ Understanding the Guide

Picture of General Principles/ Understanding the Guide
     This guide is will help you design you own soil to grow the most broad spectrum of plants possible. This means it won't work for everything, but if you want to grow a vegetable garden, plant a tree, or plant flowers this dirt will probably be excellent for you.  At some point I'll probably make an Instructable that goes into much higher detail helping troubleshoot soil problems and make optimum soil for specific plants.  Check my other instructables.

     Generally garden soil should be well draining and nutrient rich.  The goal of this project is turn whatever you do have into that, as economically as possible, or you would have just bought miracle grow at hardware store.

     To mix your soil any flat surface and a dirt rake is suitable, but concrete is ideal.

     I use 5 gallon buckets as a common measurement tool since everyone has those available, and wheelbarrows come in many sizes, but if you are doing it on a larger scale like I do, just use a 5 gallon bucket to measure or think of them as 1 part this, 2 parts that, and just guesstimate on the fertilizer proportions.

    Coarse sand is used to help your soil drain better, but Peralite is ideal. Its that light weight white stuff, but its expensive.  Use either one or a combination of both.

    Use compost or manure, for organic material.  Most manure is not actually straight manure anyway, like if you get the $2 bags at Home Depot, it is pre-composted so it doesn't smell.

    I give 2 recipes for each type of dirt available so you can mix it appropriately for planting in ground, pots, or in a TeraHydro Box, which personally I would recommend.

    Mix your soil well, use for your garden, and treat like Miracle Grow which doesn't need fertilizer for a few months.

Heh heh yaaayyy!!! I have the worst soil imaginable!! =D Well nothing a shovel and ur advice cant fix. Thanx for the ible.
Ehhhhh, Step 1 should be to test your soil for nutrients and sand/clay/silt/organic matter content.  Step 2 should be to amend appropriately for the plants you want to grow.  Don't forget that there are over 30,000 identified soil types, and for every soil type, there are native plants living in it.
 
don't forget PH
lemonie4 years ago
Are any of these photos of your soils (which ones)?

L
brian3140 (author)  lemonie4 years ago
No sorry. Not sure if it really matters whose soil the pics are of lol, but I don't have all of these types available to me this year, so I used generic images.  I have worked with virtually all soil and dirt types though, so I can clarify on anything else if you didn't understand something.
Can we see your stuff, or is that not possible?

L
 Great post! Thanks for adding.
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