Are you looking for ways to convert garden soil to potting soil?

Gardeners know how difficult it can be to find the right type of potting soil. Garden soil is excellent for growing vegetables and flowers, but it’s not the best potting mix. It can be too heavy or too sandy for delicate plants like succulents and cacti.

There are so many options out there, but not all of them are created equal. So how do you know which one is best for your needs?

This article will help you learn how to turn garden soil into potting soil and give you some tips on what types of soils work best in pots.  It’s easy! And it’ll save you money and help the environment at the same time.

You can turn garden soil into potting soil easily by following this guide!

What is Potting Soil, And How Does It Differ from Garden Soil?

What Is Potting Soil

Potting soil has a lighter texture than garden soil. It also contains less organic matter to help improve how well it holds moisture in the ground but still allows air to get in so that roots can breathe easily.

For potted plants, having moist potting soil is good for the plant’s health but not too much because if their roots stay in water for too long, it can cause root rot which could eventually kill the plant.

Potting soils usually come with some fertilizer already added. They are easier to re-wet after they dry out since they contain more fibers, making them retain more water than regular garden soil.

How to Turn Garden Soil into Potting Soil : Step-By-Step Guide

Turning garden soil into potting soil is a simple and inexpensive way to make your own rich, nutrient-packed potting mix for indoor or outdoor plants. You will reduce the need for bagged peat moss or other additives found in commercial potting mixes by turning garden soil into potting soil.

To convert garden soil into potting soil, you will need:

  • Shovel
  • Garden hose or drip irrigation system
  • Soil (leaves, grass clippings, weeds removed)
  • Compost or composted manure
  • Sphagnum peat moss or coir

Step 1: Remove large debris like sticks or rocks, then rake the soil to smooth it out.

Step 2: If you live in a rainy climate or have had issues with hard-draining clay soils, consider installing an underground sprinkler system hooked up to a drip irrigation system. This will ensure that the soil is moist at all times.

Step 3: Chop up large pieces of leaves or other debris with a shovel, then set them aside to use as mulch later. They can also be added directly to your compost pile if you have one going.

Step 4: Break down the chunks of leaves and other debris by running over them several times with a lawnmower, as shown here from The Garden Coop.

Step 5: Prepare a good supply of potting mix additives such as organic composted manure and sphagnum peat moss for planting success by adding these ingredients to your garden soil now. If you do not have access to these additives or they are too costly, skip the next step and continue to Step 7.

Prepare a good supply of potting mix

Step 6: If you have a backyard compost pile or worm bin, dump them into your garden soil. This will introduce beneficial microorganisms to help break down plant matter and convert it to natural nutrients for your plants over time. You can also turn this mixture into a compost tea by simply spraying it with a garden hose until it’s moist.

Step 7: Spread at least 4-6 inches of sphagnum peat moss over the surface of the soil now. Peat moss is acidic in nature and helps maintain a healthy pH balance for your plants as they grow.

Step 8: If you are growing plants that require more moisture, such as succulents or cacti, mix in an equal amount of horticultural vermiculite to the mix now. Vermiculite is a water-retaining agent that will help create a dry and well-drained environment for your plants to thrive.

Step 9: Check each plant you use from your garden before using them in a container for planting. Remove any dead or decaying material from the roots of plants that have recently died, as they will not thrive if planted into a container with diseased plants.

Step 10: A good rule of thumb is never to transplant plants during hot weather. Wait until nighttime temperatures stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit before starting a new garden bed or container to avoid shock from transplantation.

Step 11: Plant directly into your soil mixture with a trowel or shovel. You can also use this mixture for container gardening by filling up previously used plastic containers with the mixture until they are full, then adding your seeds or starter plants into them if desired. Enjoy!

Note: If you are not sure how much garden soil to start with, it is recommended that you start small by turning 1 square meter (about 10 square feet) of garden soil into potting soil initially at first.

This way if your mixture ends up drying out too quickly or having other issues that you need to correct before using it for your plants, then at least there will be less of it wasted in the end.

Once you have perfected turning garden soil into potting mix, feel free to use as much of your backfill as needed next time.

Is It Beneficial to Convert Garden Soil into Potting Soil?

Is It Beneficial To Convert Garden Soil Into Potting Soil

There are several benefits to converting your regular garden soil into potting soil. Having organic potting soil means that you will no longer worry about how much fertilizer, weed killer, or pesticides are present in the soil that is taken in by the plant’s roots since it was manufactured with all of these substances already added. The following are some benefits of converting garden soil into potting soil:

  1. Garden soil is usually heavy and can be difficult to work with. Potting soil is lighter and easier to work with, which makes it a better choice for containers.
  2. Garden soil can often contain weed seeds and pests that can infest your plants. Potting soil is usually free of these pests and weeds, which makes it a safer choice for plants.
  3. Garden soil can be nutrient-rich, but it also often contains high levels of salts. Potting soil is lower in nutrients and salts, which makes it a better choice for plants that need low-nutrient soil.
  4. Garden soil can be compacted and hard, making it difficult for water to penetrate. Potting soil is looser and more porous, which makes it a better choice for plants that need well-draining soil.
  5. Garden soil can contain large amounts of clay. Potting soil is usually a mix of organic materials and sand, which makes it a better choice for container plants.
  6. Garden soil can have a hard time staying moist all the way through. Potting soil is moist throughout, making it a better choice for containers that need to be kept constantly moist.

Tips for What Type of Soil Works Best In Pots

Tips for What Type of Soil Works Best In Pots

While there are some tips for selecting the right type of soil, some gardeners use different types of soil for different kinds of plants. This can be more economical if you are not starting with fresh new garden soil.

  • Soil should be light and fluffy for good aeration
  • Mix equal parts of garden soil and potting soil for the best results
  • Never use garden soil on plants that are meant to be planted in the ground, as they require different nutrients
  • Use pots that have drainage holes at the bottom so that excess water can drain out of the container. This will keep plant roots healthy and growing strong.
  • Start with a bag of potting soil. Open it up and pour some onto the ground. Then, dump some more on top of it. This will allow you to see how light and fluffy the mixture is. If the soil sticks together in heavy clumps, it is too wet.
  • Fill potting containers with moistened soil to three-quarters full before adding new plants so that no air pockets get trapped. If you see any air pockets, add more soil until the container is full and even with the top edge of the pot
  • Make sure to pack down each layer of new soil before adding another on top. This will ensure there are no air pockets within the mixture and that your plant’s roots have enough room for growth.
  • Once your containers are filled with soil, be sure to water them well. It will take up to a day for the soil to settle and absorb the moisture.
  • Never use direct garden soil in pots or containers because it can compact heavily, leaving no room for plant roots to grow


  1. What is The Best Type of Garden Soil to Use for Potting Soil?
What Is The Best Type Of Garden Soil To Use For Potting Soil

An ideal soil for planters like these is a soilless mix. The base ingredient of soilless mixes is usually peat moss or coco coir, and they do not contain compost or sand. 

2. Is Garden Soil The Same as Potting Soil?

No. In general, potting soils contain less sand and more compost than garden soil. Different types of soil are designed for different purposes.

3. Can a Normal Potting Mix be Used for Vegetables?

It depends on what you’re growing and where you live. In general, potting mixes that contain slow-release fertilizers are best for vegetables.

4. What Type of Potting Soil is Best for Vegetables?

A potting mix that contains compost is best for vegetables. Using your own potting soil or homemade potting soil will help you save money on your growing expenses.

5. Can I Use Fertilizer as Potting Soil?

Yes, but it depends on how often you will be fertilizing and what kind of fertilizer you use. If you use a water-soluble fertilizer, it’s absorbed quickly. If you choose to use regular soil in your potting mix, then adding fertilizer will help your plants to flourish.

6. Is Compost Soil The Same as Potting Soil?

Is Compost Soil The Same As Potting Soil

No. Compost contains organic matter and is suitable for plants, but it doesn’t contain the necessary ingredients to be used as potting soil.

Final Words

We all know that potting soil is expensive and can be hard to come by. If you’ve got a big project coming up, it’s not always feasible to go out and buy new bags of potting mix. If you want to grow a healthy garden that is bursting with life and color, it’s imperative that your soil be the right type.

In this article, we have highlighted How to Turn Garden Soil into Potting Soil. Use the above method to make sure that you’ll always have fresh potted flowers throughout the year by turning your yard into a little farm.

Remember that these measurements may vary depending on how much original material you have at your disposal, but start small if necessary and work your way up! Happy planting!