How to make your own Potting Soil


Following the successful Tamil Nadu Horticulture Department Do It Yourself Kit launch, many people have one common doubt on what should be the correct proportion for good pot mixing. In this article we can learn to make an inexpensive planting medium for your organic terrace garden or for house plants.

Though there are several brands of ready-made potting soils available and they are a terrific convenience for gardeners, they come at a price and if you plan to start your own organic garden the price can add up fast and leave a hole in your pocket.

For the budget conscious and for the folks who want to be self-reliant, making your own potting soil can prove to be a cheap and reliable alternative.

With the following recipe you can create your own organic potting soil in large batches at the fraction of cost that you would be spending on readymade ones.

You can also ensure that the produce that you are going to grow is healthy and organic by taking control over the soil that is used to grow them.

Difference between the potting soil and garden soil

Question might arise on why can’t we use the regular garden soil instead of Potting soil? Well, of course garden soil can be used for growing plants but potting soil is lighter and airier than the garden soil.

Potting soil helps in moving the water from top to bottom easily and completely drains it out, this keep the roots of the plant free from rot and diseases. Garden soil in the pot on the other hand retains water.

Garden soil is heavier compared to potting soil. If you plan to start a full-fledged roof-top garden, it is advisable to use potting mix as they are lighter alternatives.

Potting soil recipe

Materials required;

  • 1 part Compost
  • 1 part Red Soil
  • 1 part coco peat
  • River sand

Mix the compost, red soil and coco peat uniformly and break down any lumps in the mixture. Set the soil aside. Do not mix the river sand yet.

Filling the planting container

If you plan to use planter bags (which are in vogue these days) fold the bag into three equal parts, as show in the photo. Mark the bottom most part and fold that part in to two parts and cut the edges as shown in the following photos to make holes for water drainage.

Grow bag cut

Grow bag cuts


Filling the planter bag

Fill one-third of the planter bag with the plain unmixed river sand. Fill the remaining portion with the soil mix that we had made.

Set the filled bag aside for 2 days to set before you plant anything in them.


Pot MixingFinal Pot Mixing


Sunny thanks for this article 🙂



12 comments on “How to make your own Potting Soil

  1. Thanks for the nice article. What about perlite, vermiculite etc that are sold in the nursery?

    • Hello Narayanan,

      Those are all additional manure for better plant growth. But the article has basic ingredient for preparing the potting soil

  2. hi Sathish,, this article is really useful for us.thanks.we r residing at Madurai.from where can we get all this materials and planting bags. plz guide us

    • Hello Savitha,

      You can contact local Plant nursery shop where you can get everything.

      Share this article if you feel this was useful. Happy Gardening

  3. sure . tnx for ur respond. when any doubt arises I’ll cm again

  4. Hi Sathish / Harish,
    Method is very good.
    Am in process of setting up a home garden of size around 500 Sqft. currently am getting a mix of soil from nursaries for 100Rs / 25KG bag.

    Is there a way we can create compost ourself? Please let me know

  5. Hi, what type of conpost we need to use and any specific brand name? Please help me out

  6. I’m having Coco peat,vermi compost and river sand.i don’t have red soil is there any alternate

  7. Hi Sathish,
    Thanks for a very informative article. I have a balcony garden and growing flowering plants, tomatoes, chilli and herbs. I would like to use the organic compost from the vegetable waste in the house, and hence created my own Kamba, but buying three clay pots and stacking them over each other, using the bottom most as the permanent compost reservoir. My question is, my compost do not decompose very well. They get dried. What can I do to get a good organic compost please?

    Thanks in advance!

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