Soil less gardening
Soil is the most primitive and natural medium for growing plants. Soil less gardening contours away from the very basic form. It uses other natural materials like peat moss and coco peat (treated coir) as the medium to provide water and nutrition to plants.
Disadvantages of Soil based gardening
- Soil may contain bacteria harmful to plants
- On regular watering and less tilling soil becomes compact and reduces aeration to the roots
- Weed seeds which can grow into competition for other plants can also be present in the soil
- Pests if transferred with the soil can be another menace
Soil less gardening starts with replacing soil as the growing medium for plants.
A new potting mix has to be created to grow plants. An ideal potting mix should allow the free growth of roots. It should provide the plant roots with proper aeration. Water retention capacity of the potting mix should be adequate in order to release water and water based nutrients to the plant at a slow pace as required.
Soil less Potting mix can be bought from the market in the premix form or can be mixed and prepared with the ingredients.
Main ingredients of a Soil less potting mix are:
- Coco Peat: Coir is a coconut fibre by-product and is treated with heat and stabilised to form coco peat. Some of the types are intoduced with trichoderma fungi which help in plant root growth.
- Compost: It is the end product of decomposition of organic matter and helps in improving soil structure, it is full of nutrients in slow release form.
- Perlite: It is a volcanic mineral looks like pebbles of foam. It provides the potting mix a base structure and does not hamper its pH value or water and nutrient retention capabilities.
- Vermiculite: A mica type material which is heated and expanded to increase its water retention capacity.
Basic Potting Mix Ratio
- 2 Parts of Compost
- 2-4 parts of Coco Peat
- 1 part of Perlite
- 1 part of Vermiculite
While mixing do use the required gardening tools
Pre-mix potting mixes can also be used but we should check for the mix ratio before going for a pre-mix