Miniature Gardening 101: The Dirt
One of the challenges over the last 10 years with bringing the miniature garden hobby out in the open, and finding ways to share it with the rest of the world, is that it attracts a wide variety of people. And why wouldn’t it? It comes in many forms and is quite possibly the most accessible way to garden within the garden industry. Old or young, rural or urban, spatially challenged or not, experienced growers or those brand new to gardening, are finding out that miniature gardening is not tied to any financial, geographic or physical condition. Everyone that is willing can find something to enjoy about miniature gardening in some form or another.
Let’s get started:
What is the difference between soil and dirt?
Soil is alive. Dirt is dead. You can see the difference. Soil is dark, rich and full of organic matter. Dirt is the lifeless, gray sandy stuff between the cracks in the sidewalk.
Can I use the soil from my garden in my container?
No. Use potting soil for your containers. Soil from your garden bed will not work.
Potting soil is engineered to have everything that a plant needs to keep the plant healthy. Different kinds of plants like particular types of potting soil mixes. A cactus, for example, likes its roots dry and will need a different kind of potting soil than say, an African Violet, that will need constant moisture around its roots. This information is usually noted within the plant’s care instructions on the tag. Your local independent garden center will have a variety of potting soils and the knowledgeable staff to find what you need for your project.
There are different types of garden soil in your garden bed: sandy, loamy or clay, for example. This depends on where you live and whether your garden bed has been cultivated or not. Topsoil is meant for the garden bed and is not a substitute for potting soil.
Our miniature garden plants prefer regular organic potting soil. Stay away from the potting soils that include fertilizer or added polymers (the stuff the keeps the moisture in.) There is usually enough nutrients in fresh potting soil to feed the plants for a couple of years before needed any food.
Conifers and most of our miniature garden trees like a bit of air around their roots. If the regular potting mix does not contain enough drainage material like vermiculite or perlite, you may need to add some. (Look for a heavily peppered mix, like a peppered steak.) Providing a good mix of well-draining soil now, will help keep your miniature garden together for years.
Note that conifers planted in the ground will not need any fertilizer, they have the ability to find their own nutrients if your garden soil has a good mix of compost.
Stay Tuned for what’s up next: Miniature Gardening 102: Indoor vs. Outdoor
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