So let’s mix some dirt. When you are preparing dirt that fills a pot or tray it will need to be fluffy. If it is too solid, the little roots will struggle for survival. Outside in the garden or yard, the dirt is alive with worms and other organisms that keep the soil light and airy, but when you have a potted plant, you will need to manually aerate the soil. We do this by adding Perlite and Peat moss.
A little trick you can use in the peat moss bag is to use a forked trowel and loosen the hard chunks of peat. To pack the bags of peat moss, the company shrink wraps it VERY tightly, and it is sometimes hard to break apart. So a forked trowel is handy to loosen it into fine granules. You might want to wear a mask when mixing the soil. If you breathe the dust, it will get in your lungs, and you will be coughing for hours.
Mix one part Perlite and one part Peat Moss to two parts sandy soil. I use a large yogurt container, but any container will work as long as you keep your mixture in the correct proportions. The sandy soil has been cooked on the stove and cooled. If you start with the Perlite in the bottom of your container, you can easily tell if it is thoroughly mixed as you mix the dirt mixture up from the bottom. If not, you will see large areas of white or Perlite that is not mixed in as you drag along the sides. We mix it dry as it mixes easier and more thoroughly.
You will notice when squeezed in your hand it will not hold a consistency. It is time to add some water to the mixture. I will add about 3 to 4 cups. Now when you squeeze the dirt to check the consistency, you will notice that it will stay in a ball in your hand.
Depending on what you are seeding, you may want to make the soil a little fluffier by adding more Perlite or peat. When I transplant African Violets or small flower seeds, I use a heavy mixture of Peat moss. When I’m seeding melons and tomatoes, it’s heavier on the Perlite. You are now ready to fill your containers and begin seeding or transplanting. I bet you didn’t know that playing in the dirt was so much fun. 🙂