Soilless potting soil : a mix of ingredients, primarily sphagnum peat, compost, perlite and vermiculite (Gardening Tips ‘n Ideas)

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What Is a Soilless Potting Soil?

Posted in Gardening Tips  by Stuart

In a general sense, soilless potting soil is any type of planting medium product that does not contain the type of dirt you normally find in your garden. Most gardening experts, however, define soilless potting soil as planting mediums that do not contain conventional soil at all, but rather consist of a mix of ingredients, primarily sphagnum peat, compost, perlite and vermiculite.

Soilless mixtures tend to be looser than regular potting soils, making them a good choice for planting situations that require good drainage, such as container gardening. Also known as sterile mixes, soilless potting soil is ideal for starting seedlings, as it eliminates the risk of diseases that prey on young plants, as well as the risk of an imbalanced soil that may adversely affect a young plant’s growth.

A Careful Mix of Ingredients

Each ingredient in soilless potting soil serves a specific purpose. The ratio of each ingredient can be adjusted to meet specific gardening needs. While the ingredients of soilless potting mixes can vary, and can include fertilizers, as well as materials like bark or the coconut by-product, coir, four substances are typically included in soilless potting soil.



Improve Soil Drainage Using A Common Sponge (Agriculture-Guide)

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How To Improve The Drainage Of Plants and Trees In A Surprisingly Cheap and Easy Way

Actually there are many ways to improve drainage using several soils that are readily available for purchase, but if you want to improve drainage in a cheaper and easier way (at least I think so), use a sponge . Yes… you read right — a sponge!

The Agriculture Guide’s Foolproof Way To Improve Soil Drainage Using A Common Sponge:

Buy several sponges or collect them throughout your home.
Locate a pair of scissors.
Begin cutting your sponges into pieces that are the size of a walnut or hazelnut.
Mix these small sponge pieces into the soil around trees or plants that need better drainage.




MY COMMENT (Willem Van Cotthem)

Very useful idea, indeed. Instead of using the rather expensive expanded, baked clay pellets (Hydroton, hydrokorrels) as a reusable growing medium, pieces of sponge can play a similar role in the soil (water retention, aeration, …).

I use a rather considerable layer of sponge pieces in the bottom of containers (pots, bottles, trays, …) to create this double function of water stockage and aeration.

When positioning a vertical cilinder of sponge pieces along one or two sides of the container wall, one can also enhance the water retention capacity in containers, thus avoiding irrigation water standing too long at the bottom of a container.

TERRACOTTEM soil conditioner : an experiment in Togo (Vicoire de Jésus Olympio / Willem Van Cotthem)




Sister Victoire de Jésus Olympio


L’expérience du TerraCottem a duré un mois. Nous avons utilisé un légume africain (adémè), dont je ne connais pas son nom en Français (WVC: pourpier, Portulaca oleracea). Ce légume sert à préparer la sauce.

L’expérience a été réalisée dans le quartier de Hédzranawoé à Lomé (TOGO). Nous sommes dans un quartier où l’eau est très profond dans le sol. Dans notre centre nous avons un forage, mais l’eau est salée et notre terre est très pauvre selon le résultat d’analyses qui ont été effectué en Italie. Or, nous avons constaté que le TerraCottem peut valablement remédier à notre problème en améliorant notre culture.

La graine semée avec TerraCottem mesure 77 cm dans l’espace d’un mois et celle semée sans TerraCottem (témoin) mesure 15 cm, soit 62 cm de différence. C’est un résultat excellent.

Malheureusement, nous n’avons pas les moyens pour acheter ce produit un peu trop cher pour notre bourse.

Merci à monsieur Willem Van Cotthem pour ce don.


2001-04 : Purslane treated with soil conditioner TerraCottem (Photo Victoire de Jésus Olympio)

The experiment with TerraCottem took one month.  We used an african vegetable (adémè), of which I don’t know the French name (WVC : pourpier, Portulaca oleracea , purslane).  This vegetable is used to prepare the sauce.

2001-04 : Purslane treated with soil conditioner TerraCottem (Photo Victoire de Jésus Olympio)

The experiment is carried out in the district of Hédezranawoé in Lomé (TOGO).  We are in a district where the water table in the soil is very deep.  In our center, we have a well, but the water is saline and the soil is very poor, according to the analyses done in Italy.  Well, we have observed that the soil conditioner TerraCottem can significantly solve our problem, improving our production.

2001-04 : Purslane not treated with soil conditioner TerraCottem = control plants (Photo Victoire de Jésus Olympio)

Seeds treated with TerraCottem grew up to 7 cm within a month and seeds growing in a soil without TerraCottem (control plants) grew up to 15 cm only, on average a difference of 62 cm.

2001-04 : Purslane not treated with soil conditioner TerraCottem = control plants (Photo Victoire de Jésus Olympio)

This is an excellent result.

2001-04 : Difference in purslane production with and without soil conditioner TerraCottem (Photo Victoire de Jésus Olympio)

Unfortunately, we do not have the financial resources to buy this soil conditioner, too expensive for our purse.

Thanks to Mr. Willem van Cotthem for this donation.

How to condition your soil ? (Google / The Southland Times)

Read at : Google Alert – soil conditioning

Conditioning your soil


If gardening throughout winter doesn’t appeal, preparing the ground for a flurry of spring action might be a better option.

Adding a layer of organic mulch to your garden is the easiest solution – it will break down on its own accord and boost soil health and improve structure.

Or you can plant a green manure crop. Green manure is a cover crop that is grown primarily to add nutrients and organic matter to your soil. The crops are typically grown over winter as beds become available (once you’ve dug up your summer/autumn veges, for example) and then dug into the soil at the end of winter in time for the new growing season.

Leguminous crops, like alfalfa, clover and lupins, are ideal because they add large quantities of nitrogen to the soil along with organic matter. Compare a planting of legumes to a layer of compost: compost returns to your soil around 98 per cent of the nitrogen you originally started with (remember that continuous cultivation depletes your soil of nutrients), whereas a green manure crop replenishes what’s been lost plus adds considerably more nitrogen. Continue reading How to condition your soil ? (Google / The Southland Times)

The Best Garden Container and Soil (Food Freedom)

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Select the Best Garden Container and Soil for Your Herbs

By Kris Wetherbee
The Herb Companion

(EXTRACTS) All types of pots have good and bad points. Plastic pots are inexpensive and lightweight, but they deteriorate in outdoor conditions after several seasons of use. Wood containers can be relatively lightweight and portable (depending on their size). Just be sure to steer clear of wood treated with creosote, penta or other phenolic compounds. Redwood or cedar, which are naturally rot-resistant, are good choices for containers.

Clay pots are porous and therefore dry out quickly, making them well-suited for rosemary, oregano and other drought-tolerant herbs. They do break easily, so take care when moving them indoors for the winter. Natural materials like stone or cement containers last a lifetime but are more difficult to maneuver.


Magnesite as soil conditioner (Google / ABC News)

Read at : Google Alert – soil conditioning

Tarkine mine test drilling begins

A Melbourne-based resources company is testing the viability of mining for magnesite in north-west Tasmania.


The company’s General Manager, Allan Daley, says there is considerable demand globally for magnesite which has many uses.

Right from being a water purifier, conditioning soil, as a kid you might have taken it as milk of magnesia but its bulk use is as a refractory material in the steel making process,” he said.


Soil conditioning (Google / No Pickles)

Read at : Google Alert – soil conditioning

Soil Conditioning and Feeding

When mulch is added to a soil bed, the quality of the soil and the health of the plants is almost instantly improved. Organic Mulch helps to provide added nutrients as well as protection to the important soil bed which helps the roots receive the nutrients they need to stay healthy.


Indoor Plant Soil (The Gardener’s Rake)

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How to Make Indoor Plant Soil

Posted by Denise


Garden soil is for sale most months of the year, even in my cold area, but I tend to repot a lot of plants and start cuttings or seeds so I make my own soil. You do need a certain mix for your indoor plants and indoor gardens. When you use garden soil indoors it tends to turn hard.
Houseplants can’t thrive in cement-like soil. They need sufficient drainage and aeration. Tough soil will also tends to stunt the plants roots. Houseplants also need nutrients to grow healthy and strong.

With a few materials, you can easily make your own indoor plant soil.


Belgian scientist uses hydrogels to turn dirt into gardens (Google / Ecofriend / Popular Science)

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Belgian scientist uses hydrogels to turn dirt into gardens

Anupam | Jul 10 2010

willem van cotthems hydrogel planting technique_1

Eco Factor: Water saving technique allows plants to grow everywhere.

Belgian scientist Willem van Cotthem is aiming to grow tropical crops anywhere in the world where it’s warm. The technique is based on the use of hydrogels, powerful absorbent polymers that can suck up hundreds of times their weight in water. Hydrogels are commonly used in disposable diapers, but this new technology uses them to grow plants using less water.

The difference with agricultural hydrogels is that after trapping water, they slowly release it again into the roots of plants. Since water alone won’t make plant flourish in sand, the scientist has created a “soil conditioner” called Terracottem. Terracottem is an 8-to-12-inch layer of dirt impregnated with agricultural hydrogels, along with organic agents that nourish the natural bacteria in soil.

The tests have been fruitful and have helped in converting barren plots of land to food growing heavens. To make sure that farmers over the world get enough seeds to maximize the use of technology, the scientist has also launched a non-profit organization called Seeds for Food that ask people to mail in unwanted seeds that can be planted elsewhere.

Via: Popsci

Keeping Plants Healthy with Proper Gardening Soil (DIY Tips)

Read at : GoogleAlert – gardening

Keeping Plants Healthy with Proper Gardening Soil

Published by admin

Gardening soil is the foundation on which the garden is built, so building nutritious soil is the first thing that a gardener should focus on when implementing a new garden, or improving on a garden that is already in the works.There are many people, due to recent problems with fertilizers carrying dangerous viruses, who are moving toward organic gardening so that those issues are not a problem anymore in their food supply.

Gardening soil can be improved through the use of compost, where grass clippings and kitchen remains are piled together and allowed to decompose for a few weeks, all the while adding more clippings, leaves and other organic material to the pile.  After that time, there is a warm, rich soil that is made of the decaying matter, which is nutritious for all plants in the garden.

Signs of Malnutrition
Continue reading Keeping Plants Healthy with Proper Gardening Soil (DIY Tips)