If you don’t have room for a traditional garden, a container garden is a great alternative. In fact, they make great additions to any type of garden. To be a success they need great soil, especially if you plan to grow food. Here are some tips for picking a great potting mix:
The best place to start is your local nursery. I don’t mean the big box stores, I mean an honest to goodness nursery. They will be able to point you in the right direction for your growing zone, and give you insight into which plants will work best in containers. They are a great wealth of knowledge if you are just starting out on your garden. Be sure to ask which potting mix they recommend.
Read the ingredient list. A good potting mix will contain some of the following; peat or coir to absorb water, organic matter such as compost, bat guano, manure, and/or worm castings (plus many others) for nutrients, and perlite or vermiculite to increase drainage. A good bag of soil will feel “just right” when you pick it up (not too heavy, not too light).
Don’t want to buy pre-made? You can always mix your own.
Basic Potting Soil
2 parts sieved compost
2 parts peat
1 part course builders sand grit, and/or perlite
Depending on what you plan to grow, you might need to add specific nutrition to your container. I have found it easiest to buy a good pre-made soil instead of trying to make our own. Normally we like to DIY things, but if you don’t have a lot to make, it’s much more convenient to buy pre-made.