Vegetable Garden Soil Guide

Vegetable Garden Soil – The Best Ultimate Guide for Beginners (New in 2022)

Are you going to prepare your vegetable garden soil, or are you looking for a complete soil mix recipe?

This ultimate guide is the answer to what you need.

These are all the steps I took to have my wonderful vegetable garden.

If you want to eat your clean vegetables and fruits in around 30 days.

Let’s explore this tutorial right now!

Table of Contents

I/ Determine Types of Soil Texture

Determine Types of Soil - Lifeee Blog
soil texture

Improving the soil requires you to have foundation knowledge of soil texture.

But it is not as difficult as you think.

The information below will solve the soil problems you are getting stuck in.

The first question you might wonder is: What is soil texture?

The texture of the soil is the ratio of sand, silt, and clay particles in it.

This ratio determines the water retention, drainage, aeration, ability to hold nutrients in the soil, and resistance to erosion.

With that…

1. Three Basic Particles That Make Up Your Vegetable Garden Soil

Sand, silt, and clay particles - Lifeee Blog
sand, silt, and clay particles

Soil usually consists of 3 basic types: sand, silt, and clay particles.


Diameter from 2 to 0.05 mm, is the largest of the 3 types of seeds.

Very coarse sand2 – 0.05 mm
Coarse sand1 – 0.5 mm
Medium sand0.5 – 0.25 mm
Fine sand0.25 – 0.1 mm
Very smooth sand0.1 – 0.05 mm
sand particle sizes

The sand particles do not hold water.

There are gaps between them to allow air to circulate and carry oxygen to the roots.


The diameter ranges from 0.05 to 0.002 mm, a medium-sized particle.

It holds water better than sand and is also the most fertile of all three.

Silt helps the sand and clay mix effectively.


Diameter less than 0.002 mm, very fine and smallest particle size.

Clay particles are rich in nutrients and extremely well hydrated.

However, not many plants can grow in wet clay.

topsoil - Lifeee Blog

Did You Know?

The topsoil usually has more sand, silt, organic matter, and microorganisms. The subsoil layer usually has a higher clay and mineral salt ratio.

2. Classify Your Soil Based on The Ratio of Basic Particles

ratio of basic particles - Lifeee Blog
ratio of basic particles

Types of soil are classified by the amount of sand, clay, and silt they contain.

Each geographic area will have different textures and soil types.

In general, we will have the following three main soil types:

Sandy soil

sandy soil - Lifeee Blog
sandy soil

Sandy soils are common in arid areas, but many wet areas also have a lot of sand.

It is light, warm, dry, and tends to be acidic.

Sandy soils provide great space to allow oxygen to reach the roots.


Offering great aeration for roots growing.

Maintaining soil texture to avoid subsidence.


Draining too quickly.

Low nutrients.

Silty soil

silty soil - Lifeee Blog
silty soil

You can find them along rivers or lakes.

Silty soils are light and moist and do not include clay minerals.


Silt soils drain better than clay and retain moisture better than sandy soils.

Contains many nutrients.


Easily compacted.

Too much silt can upset some ecosystems.

the Nile Delta - Lifeee Blog

Did You Know?

Agriculture has existed and developed in almost every country of the world, especially near deltas with large rivers. The Nile Delta in Egypt is a prime example of a highly fertile region. The abundance of silt, accreted every year through floods, has fed farmers there for thousands of years.

Clay soil

clay soil - Lifeee Blog
clay soil

Usually accumulates in the subsoil layer.

Clay is a heavy soil that contains very fine clay mineral particles, which are flexible when wet and hard when dry.

They tend to be alkaline and lack organic matter.


The ability to hold water better than sandy soil and silt soil.

More nutritious than other soils.


Drainage is prolonged.

Most annuals, perennials, and vegetables do not have strong roots to force their way through dense clay.

pure clay mineral - Lifeee Blog

Did You Know?

Most pure clay minerals are white or light in color, but natural clay comes in a variety of colors, such as reddish or brownish caused by some iron oxide.

Some other soil types:

peat soils - Lifeee Blog
peat soils

Peat soils are rich in organic matter and retain a large amount of moisture, often imported into the garden to create the optimal soil for growing plants.

chalky soils - Lifeee Blog
chalky soils

Chalky soils can be light or heavy but are always highly alkaline due to calcium carbonate or lime in its structure.

What is the bottom line?

Bottom Line:

Determination of soil type is based on the relative compositions of sand, silt, and clay particles. The most dominant part of the particle determines its kind of soil.


Clay (usually more than 40% clay) is often poorly drained.

On the other hand, well-drained loam soil is a mixture of sand, silt, and clay in roughly equal proportions.

However, sandy silt soils have much more sand and much less clay than clay loam.

Want more information?

Please refer to the image below.

3. What Is the Best Type of Soil for A Vegetable Garden?

In my opinion,

Loam soil is the ideal soil for vegetable gardens.

This soil is fertile, easy to handle, drains well, and is perfect for microbial growth and plants.

They are also formed with the balance of three main soil types to reduce the negative effects of each type.

In fact, the best soils used to grow hemp produces the best CBD gummies.

Using it, you will get…

Benefits of using loam soil for vegetable gardens:

  • Ideal habitat for beneficial microorganisms.
  • Creating a loose soil layer to help plants thrive.
  • Allowing oxygen to move freely to the roots (aeration).
  • Retains essential nutrients for the plant to grow.
  • Retaining essential nutrients for the plant to grow.
  • Maintaining soil moisture to maximize crop productivity.

You have now completed chapter 1 of the vegetable garden soil tutorial. In this section, you have learned about 3 basic soil types and particles: sand, silt, and clay.

Also, you know that loam soil is the ideal type for your vegetable garden.


Before you start preparing the soil for growing vegetables, you need to know a few important things.

These are common mistakes that beginners should avoid saving effort, time, and money.

Let’s check it out!

II/ Most gardening common mistakes that beginners usually make

most gardening common mistakes - Lifeee Blog
most gardening common mistakes

1. Neglecting testing before preparing garden soil

Soil testing is the best way to know your vegetable garden soil needs.

Thanks to the soil testing techniques, my soil was improved more efficiently.

Don’t worry.

You will learn how to test soil below.

2. Forgetting to add organic matters into the soil

Over a while, plants need more nutrients from the soil to grow healthily.

Therefore, we need to provide the necessary nutrients for plants to grow.

In this guide, I will show you how to add organic nutrients into the soil step by step.

3. Using inappropriate soil mix recipes

Mixing soil the wrong ways can lead to pH imbalance, harmful to plant growth.

Seeds and roots will not grow in the soil that is too acidic.

Making an appropriate soil mix is not as difficult as you think.

Scroll down further for more soil mix recipe details.

4. Impatient

Impatience in sowing seeds but lack of preparation causes poor plant growth.

Skipping basic steps can cause uncontrollable problems.

All that activity like that comes from your passion for gardening.

That’s the good point.

Just relax and follow this ultimate guide to have your dream garden.

That is all.

This chapter is about four common mistakes that beginners should avoid.

It would help if you took all these notes in mind.

Without further ado,

Let’s move into the next chapter – soil testing.

III/ Vegetable Garden Soil Testing

soil testing - Lifeee Blog
soil testing

It’s no secret that the soil is the most important part of the garden.

It not only produces healthy plants but also contains information for us to grow a better garden.

So, checking the soil is a necessity before you want to plant vegetables in it.

1. Test Your Garden Soil pH

test soil pH - Lifeee Blog
test soil pH

Knowing the pH of your soil will help your plants grow by absorbing nutrients better from the soil.

Most plants thrive in soils with a pH between 5.5 and 7 (Apple tree: 5 – 6.5; Potatoes: 4.5 – 6; Orchids: 4.5 – 5.5; Vegetable: 6 – 7).

Reaching a balance is of the essence in gardening matters.

There are different ways you can test your soil pH.

A – Simple pH test

simple pH test - Lifeee Blog

A quick way to find out the pH of your soil is to check it with a kitchen supply.

+Step #1: Use a hand shovel to dig about 4 to 6 inches deep and take soil samples.

+Step #2: Make sure to remove the rocks, sticks, and other debris from the soil.

+Step #3: Put about 1 cup of soil in a clean glass container and add enough water to turn the soil into mud.

+Step #4: Check for acidic or alkaline.


Add 1/2 cup of vinegar and stir slightly.

If the soil fizzes, foams, or bubbles, your soil is alkaline.


Add 1/2 cup of baking soda, and stir slightly

If the soil fizzes, foams, or bubbles, your soil is acidic.


If you test your soil using vinegar and baking soda and neither test produces many effects, your soil is probably in the neutral range. No further testing is needed.

B – Precise pH measurement

Precise pH measurement - Lifeee Blog

If you want a precise pH measurement, head to the nearest home center or nursery and pick up a testing kit.

There are many tools to choose from, such as pH Test Strips, Soil pH Chemical Test Kits, Digital Soil pH, Pocket Testers, and Portable Soil pH Meters.

When used correctly, such kits are reliable.

Best pH Soil Test


SONKIR Soil pH Meter

Top 1 Best pH Soil Test
SONKIR Soil pH Meter


Atree Soil pH Meter

Top 2 Best pH Soil Test
Atree Soil pH Meter


VIVOSUN Soil Tester

Top 3 Best pH Soil Test
VIVOSUN Soil Tester


Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit

Top 4 Best pH Soil Test
Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit


Kensizer Soil Tester

Top 5 Best pH Soil Test
Kensizer Soil Tester


iPower Soil pH Meter

Top 6 Best pH Soil Test
iPower Soil pH Meter


MySoil – Soil Test Kit

Top 7 Best pH Soil Test
MySoil – Soil Test Kit

2. Determining Soil Drainage Characteristics

Determining Soil Drainage Characteristics  - Lifeee Blog
soil drainage

If the water drains out of the roots too quickly, your vegetables will wither even if they are watered regularly.

And if the water doesn’t drain, many plants will drown and rot from the roots upwards.

To test your soil’s drainage:

+Step #1: Dig a Hole

Dig a hole about 4 inches – 12 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep.

The the hole diameter should be uniform from top to bottom, with the base being flat.

+Step #2: Fill Hole with Water

First, fill the hole with water to the top and stand for at least an hour to pre-wet the soil.

Then, refill the hole to within a couple of inches of the top. Do not allow water to overflow the hole.

+Step #3: Measure average drainage rates

Place a stick across the top of the hole and use your ruler or measuring tape to mark periodic drops in water level.

You should leave the hole to drain for at least 1 hour.

A more extended period (2 to 3 hours) will give more accurate results on average drainage rates.

+Step #4: Refer to the results

Determine the average drop in water level per hour and refer to the table below to interpret the results.

If the water level in the hole drops…Your soil is …
Less than one-half inch per hourPoorly drained and suited to wet species
One-half inch to one inch per hourCModerately drained
Acceptable for many species including wet species
More than one inch per hourWell drained and suitable for all species including sensitive species.
soil drainage

3. Check your garden soil structure

Check your garden soil structure - Lifeee Blog

You should know and direct your efforts toward improving soil texture.

Because soil texture profoundly affects soil drainage, water holding capacity, soil temperature, and soil erosion.

Good soil texture also helps to increase fertility and improve crop yields significantly.

There are many ways to test soil texture, but we will come to:

A – Simple Soil Texture Test

a. Observe

Observe - Lifeee Blog

If, after a rain, you have puddles of water in certain spots in your yard that last longer than in other sections of the yard, the soil in those spots is likely to be mostly clay.

If your soil sticks to shoes and garden tools like glue, form big clods that are not easy to separate, and crusts over and cracks in dry weather, you have clay.

Brown patches on your lawn in midsummer while the rest of the lawn is green may be a sign that the soil under the grass is predominantly sand.

b. The dry crushing test

The dry crushing test - Lifeee Blog

First, take a small sample of dry soil in your hand.

Then, crush it between your fingers.

  • If there is little resistance and the sample falls into dust, it is fine sand, fine loamy sand, or very little clay is present.
  • If there is medium resistance, it is silty clay or sandy clay.
  • If there is excellent resistance, it is clay.

c. The shaking test

The shaking test - Lifeee Blog

First, fill a glass jar with a lid halfway to the top with soil, and then fill it with water until it is 3/4 full.

Then, put on the lid, shake the jar vigorously to thoroughly blend the mixture, and then set it aside.

Finally, check your jar after 6 to 10 hours.

The soil and water will have separated and settled into layers.

  • The larger sand particles are the heaviest and settle at the bottom.
  • Followed by a layer of silt.
  • Then topped by a layer of clay.

B – Check Your Soil Texture Correctly

The easiest way

First, collect your soil sample from your garden.

Then take it to your County Extension Office (a branch of the USDA), state land-grant university extension services, or various independent soil testing laboratories for testing.

Using the soil texture triangle

Using the soil texture triangle - Lifeee Blog
Soil texture triangle

+Step #1: Continue with the shake test and measure the height of each layer and the overall height of the soil (including all layers).

+Step #2: Translate these measurements into percentages for each component by dividing the height of each component by the height of the sample.

+Step #3: Use the U.S.D.A Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Soil Textural Triangle determines the soil type.

+Step #4: Drawing lines to represent the percentages of the three components. The point where they converge is the soil texture.

That is all you need to do to test your vegetable garden soil texture.

You can start with simple tests and improve your skills over time.

Either way, it is an important step that cannot be overlooked.

You have now completed the third chapter.

Let’s go on.

IV/ Prepare Your Gardening Soil

Prepare Your Gardening Soil - Lifeee Blog

After testing the soil for the vegetable garden, we will enter the soil preparation step.

This chapter will teach you how to create the right soil structure for growing vegetables and correct them if your soil is not balanced.

The more you prepare the soil for growing vegetables, the freer you will be in the future.

Let’s go.

1. Soil amendment

Soil amendments are materials that are added to the soil to change it somehow.

Amendments can be divided into two main categories: organic (compost, aged manure, wood…) and inorganic (sand, perlite, lime, and vermiculite).

If your tests show alkaline or very acidic soil, you can blend in amendments to bring the pH into a range suitable for the plants you want to grow.

Your soil is too acidic

Your soil is too acidic - Lifeee Blog

You have standard options for treatment are wood ashes, agricultural lime, and eggshells.

It will help raise the soil’s pH, making it less acidic and more alkaline.

Your soil is too alkaline

Your soil is too alkaline - Lifeee Blog

If your soil is alkaline, you can lower your its pH (or make it more acidic) by using several products.

They can be sphagnum peat, elemental sulfur, aluminum sulfate, iron sulfate, acidifying nitrogen, and organic mulches.

Best Soil Amendment


The Andersons HumiChar Organic Soil Amendment

Top 1 Best Soil Amendment
The Andersons HumiChar Organic Soil Amendment


The Andersons Humic DG Organic Soil Amendment

Top 2 Best Soil Amendment
The Andersons Humic DG Organic Soil Amendment


Wakefield BioChar – Premium Garden Soil Conditioner

Top 3 Best Soil Amendment
Wakefield BioChar – Premium Garden Soil Conditioner


Char Bliss – Pure Organic Soil Conditioner

Top 4 Best Soil Amendment
Char Bliss – Pure Organic Soil Conditioner

2. Create your soil structure

Good soil texture should be crumbly to the touch, not clumpy or sandy.

We are all beginners, so learning how to create the proper soil structure will give us more opportunities to improve our skills.

+Step #1: Remove all sticks, weeds, roots, rocks, debris, and other material.

+Step #2: Double digging vs. tilling.

Double digging

Double digging - Lifeee Blog
Double digging

Double digging is a method of preparing the soil to a greater depth.

This is a technique invented by French market gardeners in the 19th century.

Double digging relieves compaction, improves drainage, and minimizes stratification.

All you need to do are:

First, remove the topsoil layer.

Start double digging at one end of a bed and move backward.

Dig a trench as wide across as you want, but the trench should be 9-12 inches deep with a spade.

Remove this topsoil and pile it up into a wheelbarrow or at the end of the bed.

Second, breaking down the subsoil.

No one ever said the digging had to be done by hand.

You can dig with a fork or a rototiller.

Anyway, we need to improve the tilth of this subsoil.

Tilth is defined as the physical condition of the soil as related to its ease of tillage, fitness as a seedbed, and its promotion of seedling emergence and root penetration.

Tilth - Lifeee Blog

Third, add organic matter.

In this step, you will add the organic material you have prepared in advance in the trench.

Finally, rinse and repeat.

Dig the second trench.

The topsoil from the second trench will replace the topsoil from the first trench.

Continue this method until you get the last trench.

Fill the last trench with the topsoil you dug up from the first one.

Double digging for initial soil preparation does an excellent job if your soil is compacted. If your soil is nice, loose, and loamy, you do not want to double dig because that will just disturb the earthworms.

earthworms - Lifeee Blog


Tilling - Lifeee Blog

Tilling is simply turning over and breaking up the soil.

The best time to till the soil is in spring or autumn when the soil is dry and warm enough.

Tilling will cultivate the soil 8-10 inches deep if you are create a new garden in an area where the soil is very poor.

You can also till at a shallower level of 4-8 inches when mixing organic matter into your beds.

You should use electric garden tools to save your effort and time in this step.

+Step #3: Raised garden bed

Raised garden bed - Lifeee Blog
Raised garden bed

You should grow vegetables on an in-ground row bed or raised bed if you have a large garden,.

Not only that helps your soil aerate and drain water better, but your beds are never walked on and do not get compacted.

You can easily make it at home or buy it online.

3. Add nutrients to the soil

Add nutrients to the soil - Lifeee Blog
Add nutrients to the soil

When you give the soil nutrients, you are also feeding the plants.

The regular supply of nutrients also results in improved crop yields.

You can add nutrients to the soil by:

  • Mixing it with the soil
  • Spreading mulch.

You should use it regularly because both ways are good.

You have now completed chapter four.

In this chapter, you learn about soil amendment, creating your soil structure, and adding nutrients to the soil.

Now let’s explore what nutrients you need to use in the next chapter.

V/ Your Organic Matter

Organic Matter - Lifeee Blog

In the previous chapter, you learned how to add nutrients to your soil.

Once you treat the soil well, it will treat your plants well.

And thanks to the nutrients that I have added before, my vegetable garden is so green that I can use it more often.

Because of that, we will learn further what those nutrients are in this chapter.

1. What is organic matter?

Organic matter consists of plant and animal material that is in the process of decomposing.

When it has fully decomposed, it is called humus.

It serves as a reservoir of nutrients and water in your soil.

However, you may be wondering:

What is the difference between organic material and organic matter?

To answer that question, read the table below.

Organic material

Anything basically that occurs and is alive in nature can be considered organic material.
Organic matter

To become organic matter, organic material must be decomposed into humus.
Organic material vs. Organic matter

Humus is organic material that has been converted by microorganisms to a resistant state of decomposition.

2. Why should I add organic matter to my vegetable garden?

add organic matter - Lifeee Blog
Add organic matter

Organic matter is a material that gardeners use as fertilizer to help their plants grow.

The impact of organic matter is not rich in nutrients and not fast to reach the results immediately as inorganic fertilizers or chemicals.

When applied to the garden, they act as a slow-release biofertilizer, feeding your plants over a more extended period.

However, the benefits organic matter offers really make chemical fertilizers incomparable.

Using them regularly, you will get:

  • Organic matter helps you correct soil imbalances in your vegetable garden.
  • Organic matter does not build up to harmful residues and causes pollution due to runoff from rain or irrigation like inorganic fertilizer.
  • Organic matter improves soil structure so that water and air can move freely through the soil.
  • Organic matter also feeds the microorganisms and insects that make up the balanced ecosystem of the soil.
  • Organic matter increases nutrient content in the soil like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium… but also builds up copper, iron, zinc, and manganese.
  • Organic matter prevents plant diseases, pests and protects plants for healthy growth.

You get great benefits from organic matter but making them is also very simple.

First, you need to pile organic materials in layers in a heap or compost bin.

Then, add soil and moisture into the mixture you created earlier.

Finally, you will get rich, dark humus that enriches and creates favorable conditions for any vegetable to grow.

3. Some popular organic materials you should add to your vegetable garden

A – Organic Compost

Organic compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help your plants grow.

It is made by decomposing organic materials into simpler organic and inorganic compounds in composting.

Composting requires gathering a mix of ‘Greens’ and ‘Browns’ at its simplest level.

  • Browns are more woody materials rich in carbon-like stalks, paper, wood chips, dead leaves, branches, and twigs.
  • Greens are nitrogen-rich materials, such as leaves, food scraps, grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds.

Good compost is rich in plant nutrients and beneficial organisms.

You should not mix with the following materials: Invasive weeds; Meat/fish/bones; Fat/oil/grease; Dairy products; Cooked foods (attracts animals), Pet waste (dog, cat), and Plastics, Metals, and Glass. Toxic material, Charcoal.

Best Compost


Jobe’s Organics Compost Starter

Top 1 Best Compost
Jobe’s Organics Compost Starter


Charlie’s Compost

Top 2 Best Compost
Charlie’s Compost


Espoma Organic Traditions Compost Starter

Top 3 Best Compost
Espoma Organic Traditions Compost Starter


Michigan Peat Garden Magic Compost and Manure

Top 4 Best Compost
Michigan Peat Garden Magic Compost and Manure


Espoma Organic Land and Sea Gourmet Compost

Top 5 Best Compost
Espoma Organic Land and Sea Gourmet Compost


Wakefield Compost Hero Biochar Blend

Top 6 Best Compost
Wakefield Compost Hero Biochar Blend


Fishnure Odorless Organic Humus Compost Fish Manure Fertilizer

Top 7 Best Compost
Fishnure Odorless Organic Humus Compost Fish Manure Fertilizer


Blue Ribbon Organics – Natural Premium Organic Compost for Plants

Top 8 Best Compost
Blue Ribbon Organics – Natural Premium Organic Compost for Plants


R&M Organics Premium Organic Compost

Top 9 Best Compost
R&M Organics Premium Organic Compost

B – Mushroom Compost

The mushroom compost is made by mushroom growers using organic materials such as hay, straw, corn cobs and hulls, and poultry or horse manure.

When blended into soil, it is like a low-release, organic plant fertilizer.

Mushroom compost provides a readily available source of organic material, enriches the soil, and supplies nutrients for the healthy growth of plants.

It also increases the soil’s water-holding capacity, which decreases your watering needs.

However, the soluble salts and other nutrients in fresh, undiluted mushroom compost are too concentrated for germinating seeds, young plants, and salt-sensitive plants.

To avoid killing and stressing germinating seeds before using them on young plants, you should:

  • Mixing mushroom compost with garden soil.
  • Make mushroom compost tea to use as a liquid fertilizer/ foliar spray.

Best Mushroom Compost


MycoHaus Sterilized Compost Mushroom Substrate

Top 1 Best Mushroom Compost
MycoHaus Sterilized Compost Mushroom Substrate

TOP 2 – Mushroom Substrate

Top 2 Best Mushroom Compost – Mushroom Substrate


Mushroom Compost Organic

Top 3 Best Mushroom Compost
Mushroom Compost Organic


Gro Well Brands Cp – Mushroom Compost

Top 4 Best Mushroom Compost
Gro Well Brands Cp – Mushroom Compost


Waupaca Northwoods – Mushroom Compost

Top 5 Best Mushroom Compost
Waupaca Northwoods – Mushroom Compost

C – Manure

Manure is simply the waste products of animals (poultry, cattle, or horses) that have been composted to remove any pathogens and break them down.

There are two common types of manure in use:

Fresh manure
Fresh manure typically has high amounts of ammonium or soluble nitrogen.

Sometimes, its concentration of nutrients may be too high for plants and burn them.

You must never use fresh manure on fruits and vegetables significantly when growing crops where the edible portion is in contact with the soil.

If you need to use it, you should add it at least four months before harvest or in the fall.

Composted manure

Composting manure eliminates some of the problems of fresh manure and leaves the more stable organic forms.

These manures used as fertilizers are typically from herbivores such as cows, sheep, chickens, etc.

However, you should not use cat or dog manure. These types of manures are unsuitable for the garden or the compost pile, as these are likely to carry parasites.

In general, animal manure composts are rich in plant nutrients such as Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K).

It is a valuable soil amendment because it contributes to soil fertility by adding organic matter and nutrients to your garden.

Best Manure Compost


Hoffman 20505 Dehydrated Super Manure

Top 1 Best Manure Compost
Hoffman 20505 Dehydrated Super Manure


Black Kow® Composted Cow Manure

Top 2 Best Manure Compost
Black Kow® Composted Cow Manure


Espoma Organic Chicken Manure

Top 3 Best Manure Compost
Espoma Organic Chicken Manure


Michigan Peat – Wholly Cow Compost and Manure

Top 4 Best Manure Compost
Michigan Peat – Wholly Cow Compost and Manure

D – Peat Moss

Peat moss is the dead fibrous material that forms when mosses and other living materials decompose in peat bogs.

It first became available in the mid-1900s, and gardeners use peat moss mainly as a soil amendment or ingredient in potting soil.

It has an acid pH (3,5 – 4,5) and one application of peat moss lasts for several years.

Peat moss holds its weight in moisture several times and releases the moisture to the plant’s roots as needed.

It doesn’t add any nutrients to the soil but holds onto nutrients, so they aren’t rinsed out of the soil when you water the plant.

Although peat moss has many benefits, it is considered unsustainable because peat moss takes hundreds of years to be created in nature.

As an alternative to that, people used…

Best Peat Moss


Miracle-Gro Sphagnum Peat Moss

Top 1 Best Peat Moss
Miracle-Gro Sphagnum Peat Moss


Organic Sphagnum Peat Moss by Perfect Plants

Top 2 Best Peat Moss
Organic Sphagnum Peat Moss by Perfect Plants


Sphagnum Peat Moss for Gardening

Top 3 Best Peat Moss
Sphagnum Peat Moss for Gardening


Espoma Organic Peat Moss

Top 4 Best Peat Moss
Espoma Organic Peat Moss


Premium Natural Sphagnum Peat Moss

Top 5 Best Peat Moss
Premium Natural Sphagnum Peat Moss

E – Coir

Coir (or coconut fiber) is a byproduct of fiber processing. It has become a favored alternative to peat moss over the past 20 years.

It is everything between the shell and the outer coating of the coconut.

Coir is slowly decomposed, sterile, and free of weed seeds.

It has a less acidic soil pH (5.5 to 6.8 pH).

Coir is rich in potassium (K) and the micronutrients iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu).

It also improves air porosity in soil and improves moisture retention.

The types of coir you often see are:

  • Coco peat

The “peat” of coconut coir, this basically looks like finely ground coconut or peat moss.

Because it can let out salts that will kill your plant, you should mix it with your soil.

  • Coco fiber

Coconut fiber adds air pockets which your growing media needs to provide oxygen to the root zone in your soil.

However, coconut fibers do break down rather quickly, so the air pockets will decrease over time.

  • Coco chips

Coconut chips are basically a natural type of expanded clay pellet.

They’re large enough to create air pockets and absorb water so your plants won’t dehydrate completely.

You should use the right mixture of these three types for best results when using coir for your vegetable garden.

Now you have completed chapter five.

In this chapter, you have learned about the common types of organic materials.

It is time to add what you have learned to your vegetable garden soil.

Let’s move on to the next chapter – the soil mix recipe.

Best Coco Coir


Burpee Organic Coconut Coir

Top 1 Best Coco Coir
Burpee Organic Coconut Coir


Plantonix Coco Coir Brick

Top 2 Best Coco Coir
Plantonix Coco Coir Brick


SpongEase Pro Coco Coir Brick

Top 3 Best Coco Coir
SpongEase Pro Coco Coir Brick


ReptiChip Compressed Coconut Chip Substrate

Top 4 Best Coco Coir
ReptiChip Compressed Coconut Chip Substrate


Verdana Coconut Fiber Potting Mix

Top 5 Best Coco Coir
Verdana Coconut Fiber Potting Mix


Kempf Compressed Coco Coir Pith Block

Top 6 Best Coco Coir
Kempf Compressed Coco Coir Pith Block


Coco Bliss Premium Coco Coir Brick

Top 7 Best Coco Coir
Coco Bliss Premium Coco Coir Brick


General Hydroponics CocoTek

Top 8 Best Coco Coir
General Hydroponics CocoTek

VI/ Vegetable Garden Soil Mix Recipes

In the previous chapters, you learned what soil qualities are suitable for growing vegetables.

They drain well, stay moist for a long time, contain many nutrients, and have a well-balanced pH.

But in gardening, no one is entirely right.

So, you need to learn, practice, and improve your skills over time.

And to make it easier for you,

Let’s learn how to create your own soil mix recipe.

1. Determine the characteristics of the ideal soil type

Before mixing soil, you have to know what kind of soil you need.

And as you know, the ideal soil for growing vegetables has such characteristics as:

  • Good drainage
  • Moisture-retentive
  • Anti-subsidence
  • Contains many nutrients
  • Create a suitable living environment for microorganisms

That’s all.

And what you should do is balance those things when you want to create your own new soil mix recipe.

2. Soil mix recipe ingredients

A – Drainage and anti-subsidence ingredients

  • Coconut coir
  • Vermiculite
  • Perlite

Vermiculite and perlite are lightweight materials used to aerate and improve soil structure. It also increases the ability to hold water.

Best Vermiculite & Perlite


xGarden Horticultural Grade Premium Perlite

Top 1 Best Vermiculite & Perlite
xGarden Horticultural Grade Premium Perlite


Organic Perlite by Perfect Plants

Top 2 Best Vermiculite & Perlite
Organic Perlite by Perfect Plants


Espoma Organic Perlite

Top 3 Best Vermiculite & Perlite
Espoma Organic Perlite


Professional Grade Vermiculite by Plantation

Top 4 Best Vermiculite & Perlite
Professional Grade Vermiculite by Plantation


Organic Vermiculite by Perfect Plants

Top 5 Best Vermiculite & Perlite
Organic Vermiculite by Perfect Plants


PVP Industries Organic Perlite Planting Soil

Top 6 Best Vermiculite & Perlite
PVP Industries Organic Perlite Planting Soil


xGarden Horticultural Grade Premium Vermiculite

Top 7 Best Vermiculite & Perlite
xGarden Horticultural Grade Premium Vermiculite


Organic Perlite for All Plants

Top 8 Best Vermiculite & Perlite
Organic Perlite for All Plants


Mother Earth Perlite

Top 9 Best Vermiculite & Perlite
Mother Earth Perlite

B – Moisturizing ingredients

  • Mushroom
  • Peat moss

C – Nutrition ingredients

  • Compost
  • Manure
  • High-quality topsoil

Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil (usually between 2 to 10 inches in depth) that contains most of the ground’s nutrients and fertility.
Buying high-quality topsoil if you do not want to make your own soil mix recipes will be a great start.

  • Worm castings

Vermicompost (worm castings) is the product of the decomposition process that relies on earthworms and microorganisms to convert organic materials into a valuable soil amendment and source of nutrients.

Best Vermicompost (Worm Castings)


Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer

Top 1 Best Worm Castings (Vermicompost)
Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer


BRUT WORM FARMS Worm Castings Soil Builder

Top 2 Best Worm Castings (Vermicompost)
BRUT WORM FARMS Worm Castings Soil Builder


VermisTerra – Standard Earthworm Castings

Top 3 Best Worm Castings (Vermicompost)
VermisTerra – Standard Earthworm Castings


Dr. Verm’s Premium Worm Castings

Top 4 Best Worm Castings (Vermicompost)
Dr. Verm’s Premium Worm Castings


Worm Bliss Premium Vegan & Organic Earthworm Castings

Top 5 Best Worm Castings (Vermicompost)
Worm Bliss Premium Vegan & Organic Earthworm Castings

D – Other ingredients

  • Leaves

Shred the leaves, wet them down, and add them to your soil. It is an efficient source of carbon and nitrogen in the long run.

  • Mineralized Rock Dust

Rock dust is pulverized rock. It can be man-made or occur naturally.

Rock dust is not a fertilizer, for it lacks the qualifying levels of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

However, it contains minerals and trace elements widely used in organic farming practices.

The main purpose of rock dust is for a place microbes to attach, to help break down the soil and give plants more nutrients.

  • Ground bark

It is made out of tree bark shredded into fine, medium, and large pieces for top dressing your beds.

Bark mulch provides a lot of benefits to your garden.

Besides trapping moisture in the soil, it also suppresses weed growth.

Bark mulch protects the soil from compacting and insulates plants from extreme hot & cold temperatures.

So adding a layer of bark mulch keeps plants warm in the winter and cooler in the summer.

  • Mycorrhizae (mycorrhiza)

A mycorrhiza is a symbiotic association between a green plant and a fungus. These specialized fungi colonize plant roots and extend far into the soil.

Mycorrhizal fungal filaments in the soil are truly extensions of root systems. They are more effective in nutrient and water absorption than the roots themselves.

The key benefits that mycorrhizae provide to growers are root system enhancement, improved nutrient efficiency, and increased water absorption & utilization.

Best Mycorrhizae


Great White Mycorrhizae

Top 1 Best Mycorrhizae
Great White Mycorrhizae


Mycorrhizal Inoculant by DYNOMYCO™

Top 2 Best Mycorrhizae
Mycorrhizal Inoculant by DYNOMYCO™


MYCO+ – The Best Mycorrhizae Root Booster

Top 3 Best Mycorrhizae
MYCO+ – The Best Mycorrhizae Root Booster


Myco Bliss Organic Mycorrhizal Fungi

Top 4 Best Mycorrhizae
Myco Bliss Organic Mycorrhizal Fungi
  • Rice hulls

Rice hulls (or rice husks) are the hard-protecting coverings of rice grains. Parboiled rice hulls have a pH near neutral to slightly alkaline.

They are one of the sustainable soil amendments because they help improve drainage, water holding capacity, and aeration.

Rice hulls are the perfect replacement for perlite and vermiculite because it provides a less dusty mixing environment, lower essential cost, and decomposition over time.

  • Kelp meal/ Bone meal/ Blood meal

Kelp meal is made from dried ocean seaweed and then ground up into a meal-type product.

The benefits of kelp are that it is an entirely natural, organic product and a source of over 67 vitamins, amino acids, trace minerals, or micro-nutrients, including Calcium, and Magnesium, Sulfur, Manganese , Copper , Iron , and Zinc.

Bone meal is a mixture of finely and coarsely ground animal bones and slaughterhouse waste products.

It is a slow-release organic fertilizer that provides Phosphorus, Calcium, and a small amount of Nitrogen to plants.

Bone meal is water-insoluble. It can only be broken down in acidic soil (pH < 7.0) and releases its nutrients over 1 to 4 months.

A blood meal is a dry, inert powder made from blood, used as a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer or sometimes as a composting activator.

A blood meal is different from a bone meal in that a blood meal contains a higher amount of nitrogen, while a bone meal contains phosphorus.

They are used as a fertilizer to encourage healthier plant growth and promote more excellent fruit and vegetable yields.

When looking for a natural organic soil amendment, kelp meal, bone meal, or blood meal is a great choice not to be missed.

Best Kelp Meal, Bone Meal & Blood Meal


Burpee Bone Meal Fertilizer

Top 1 Best Kelp Meal, Bone Meal & Blood Meal
Burpee Bone Meal Fertilizer


Jobe’s Bone Meal Fertilizer Spikes

Top 2 Best Kelp Meal, Bone Meal & Blood Meal
Jobe’s Bone Meal Fertilizer Spikes


Espoma Bone Meal

Top 3 Best Kelp Meal, Bone Meal & Blood Meal
Espoma Bone Meal


Down to Earth Organic Fish Bone Meal Fertilizer

Down to Earth Organic Fish Bone Meal Fertilizer


Down to Earth Blood Meal Fertilizer

Top 5 Best Kelp Meal, Bone Meal & Blood Meal
Down to Earth Blood Meal Fertilizer


Down to Earth Kelp Meal

Top 6 Best Kelp Meal, Bone Meal & Blood Meal
Down to Earth Kelp Meal

3. How to make my soil mix recipes?

If you have come this far, you’re an explorer.

And in the spirit of discovery, you also know that nothing is absolutely right or wrong.

So is the soil mixing recipe.

And to start with, you should forget everything you have learned.

Remember only the features you want your soil to have:

  • Moisture-retentive
  • Anti-subsidence
  • Many nutrients

That is all.

The easiest way is to just buy topsoil and compost, in bags or not, mix them, and add them to your vegetable garden.

But you know it is not interesting, right?

So, let’s get started.

A – 1/3 For All

1/3FA simply means you balance three features moisture-retentive, anti-subsidence, and many nutrients.

All you need to do is mix the ingredients you already know in equal proportions.

For example

1/3FA = 1/3 Peat moss (moisture-retentive) + 1/3 Vermiculite (anti-subsidence + 1/3 Compost (nutrients)

Another example

1/3FA = 1/3 Mushroom + 1/3 Perlite + 1/3 Compost

1/3FA = 1/3 Peat moss + 1/3 Rice hulls + 1/3 Compost

I think this recipe would be suitable if you grow vegetables in a garden bed.

It will give you good results.

Suppose you are planting vegetables in your garden. In that case, you may need to consider the budget by choosing cheap ingredients and mix with the garden soil you prepared.

B – Raised Bed Recipes

There are a few other ways to create your own soil mix.

Here are some of them.

50% High-quality Topsoil + 40% Compost + 10% Other ingredients


50% High-quality Topsoil + 30% Compost + 20% Other ingredients.

Other ingredients you can choose like 20% organic matter or 10% vermicompost.

This recipe is for a garden bed that you have prepared earlier.

With it, you can have a great green garden or have a bad memory. It all depends on the quality of the topsoil you buy from the manufacturer.

So you should do a little bit of research and choose carefully before buying.

Best Soil for Growing


Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix

Top 1 Best Soil for Growing
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix


Miracle-Gro Potting Mix

Top 2 Best Soil for Growing
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix


Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix

Top 3 Best Soil for Growing
Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix


Foxfarm Ocean Forest Plant Garden Soil

Top 4 Best Soil for Growing
Foxfarm Ocean Forest Plant Garden Soil


Miracle-Gro Houseplant Potting Mix

Top 5 Best Soil for Growing
Miracle-Gro Houseplant Potting Mix


Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

Top 6 Best Soil for Growing
Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix


FoxFarm Rapid Growth Garden Potting Soil Mix

Top 7 Best Soil for Growing
FoxFarm Rapid Growth Garden Potting Soil Mix


FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor for Garden and Plants

Top 8 Best Soil for Growing
FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor for Garden and Plants

C – Your Own Recipes

You should not stick to a specific theory, especially in gardening.

So create your own recipe with what you’ve learned.

Remember, you might be wrong the first time, but maybe it will be right next time.

Just keep making and correct mistakes.

But you will need …

4. Soil mix tips

  • pH.

After mixing your soil, test and adjust the pH to medium, it will help maximize your performance and create the right environment for microorganisms to live.

  • Starting seeds.

Light and fine-textured mixes are best for use when starting seeds and rooting cuttings.

  • Compost.

Take good care of the compost. Because that is the source that will provide most of the nutrition for your vegetables.

  • Gardening habits.

Soil mixing is also related to your gardening habits.

If you find yourself watering regularly, add a few ingredients to help drain the water quickly.

If you are busy at work, good moisturizing ingredients are something you should add more to save time watering your plants.

That is all.

Once you have your own soil mix recipe, you can use it to grow cabbage or potatoes.

Now you are finished with chapter six.

After going through this chapter, you have learned how to create your vegetable garden soil mix recipes.

You are also closed to completing this ultimate tutorial.

Let’s go to the last part and finish it.

VII/ Improve and maintain your soil

You have learned how to create a soil mix recipe to grow your own vegetables.


Now, every time you feel “I hate my life“, go out into your garden and play in the dirt.

You will be in a better mood

However, having one positive result and maintaining that positive result are entirely different.

And you know,

Doesn’t it make sense if you cannot maintain the results you put in sweat, effort, and money over time, right?

Because of that, I have a few suggestions for you to maintain and improve the quality of your garden even further.

1. Till less and avoid walking on your soil

Tilling soil too often causes erosion and destroys the natural environment of microorganisms.

And stepping on garden soil will compact it.

So you should create permanent garden beds and pathways to avoid those problems.

You may be wondering:

How often do I no longer need to touch my garden soil?

If this is your first time, tilling will be needed in an unbalanced garden.

But if you have been maintaining it for two months, it’s good enough to grow on its own.

2. Regularly add organic materials and compost

You need to continually add organic material and compost to prevent your garden from returning to its heavy clay state.

Moreover, plants need various nutrients for optimum health like us, and you know they have a lot of compost.

You can add a layer of old manure or compost over the soil to let it decay through the fall and winter.

Or you can also work shredded leaves or compost into the top few inches of soil.

Anyway, instead of cleaning your garden down to the soil line each fall, you can allow leaves and other plant material to decay naturally.

It will become part of the ongoing ecosystem of good garden soil, and there will be little additional work you need to do.

3. Check your soil periodically

After a season or so, it is good to collect a soil sample and test it.


Because you need to make sure your soil has any nutrient deficiencies or pH problems.

The easiest way is to send it to local extension service, garden center, or landscaping office.

A simple test from them can determine what type of soil you have.

You can also do it yourself if you have enough knowledge of soil testing.

But anyway, you need to make sure your soil is in pH balance, has good drainage and has many nutrients for your vegetables.

That is all.

Just a few notes for you on the path of gardening that you will continue later in this article.


You have completed the tutorial.

Want to Grow Your Vegetables Fast?

AeroGarden Bounty Basic

Top 1 Garden Growing
AeroGarden Bounty Basic

The Smart Garden 3

Top 2 Garden Growing
The Smart Garden 3

The Smart Garden 9

Top 3 Garden Growing
The Smart Garden 9


So that’s my ultimate guide to creating your vegetable garden soil.

In this guide, you have learned what type of soil is, how to test your soil and how to create your own soil mix recipes.

Now it is your turn.

What chapter do you want to practice first?

Or maybe you have the ratio of your recipes after this guide.

Anyway, let me know by leaving a comment below.

  • SONKIR Soil pH Meter
  • The Andersons HumiChar Organic Soil Amendment
  • Jobe's Organics Compost Starter
  • MycoHaus Sterilized Compost Mushroom Substrate
  • Hoffman 20505 Dehydrated Super Manure
  • Miracle-Gro Sphagnum Peat Moss
  • Burpee Organic Coconut Coir
  • xGarden Horticultural Grade Premium Perlite
  • Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer
  • Great White Mycorrhizae
  • Burpee Bone Meal Fertilizer

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