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Many gardeners swear by homemade potting soil. Not only is it cheaper than bought, most gardeners in the garden also have the most ingredients: loose garden soil, sand and well-matured compost.
Why do you use special cultivation soil?
There are several reasons why you use special soil for growing plants. First of all, conventional garden soil usually does not contain enough humus and is also often loamy - an unfavorable combination for rooting. Growing soil, on the other hand, consists to a large extent of humus and sand. It is more airy and looser, but at the same time it can store a lot of water. Thus, the young plant is optimally supplied with moisture and oxygen. But much more important is that sowing soil is largely germ-free - so free of pests and fungal spores. This is important because the sensitive seedlings and cuttings do not have good defenses and are easily attacked by mold and other typical fungal diseases. In addition, cultivation soil is much nutrient-poorer than normal garden or potting soil. This has the advantage that the plant has to actively search for the few nutrients and thereby forms more roots. If you later transplant them into a nutrient-rich soil, they can absorb nutrients better and grow faster.
How to create your own cultivation soil
You need only a few ingredients to make a typical potting soil yourself: one-third garden soil, one-third sand of medium grain size and one-third well-matured compost. The garden soil should be loose and contain as few weed seeds as possible. It is best not to use the top layer of soil, but first dig five to ten centimeters of soil. As an alternative, the soil of the molehills is also very well suited as a basis for a self-made sowing soil.
The individual components are sieved and then mixed well. In order to kill decay and mold as well as weed seeds, but also sciarid fly larvae and other animal pathogens, the mixture must be sterilized before use. This can easily be done in the oven at home. Add the mixture to a disused roasting pan or to an old baking tray and steam in the oven for about 45 minutes at 120 degrees. Afterwards, the seedling soil only has to cool down and can then be used immediately for sowing or cutting cuttings. Sowing soil is generally not fertilized, as the nutrient salts can damage the roots of the seedlings and then yellow or care for the delicate plantlets.
Tip: In addition, add a few handfuls of Perlite granules to the soil. This ensures better aeration and increases the germination rate. Also useful is the addition of algal lime or stone meal as a basic supply of trace elements.