Thursday, October 3, 2013

Garden Mix, Potting Mix & Soil Rejuvenation

A visit to the local landscape supplies yard has become like an annual pilgrimage for me at this time of year. Spring has finally arrived and when the sun finally comes out I’m usually always itching to get outside and get a few jobs done.

I often buy compost in 40litre bags to supplement my home-made efforts which costs about $5 a bag, but buying in bulk is much better value especially if you’ve got a few bigger jobs in mind to do. So in case you’re wondering why I have to buy it when I talk so much about making my own, the point is, I find my efforts at making compost are still not producing as much as I need for those bigger jobs.

So I got a half metre each of compost and garden mix which cost $114. They both look much the same because the garden mix has a certain amount of compost already in it, but you can plant directly into it. The compost on the other hand, is a much stronger mix and shouldn’t be planted into directly, but it’s great for rejuvenating the soil.

In addition to the 2 trailer loads of ‘soil’ I stopped in at Bunnings and got an 8kg bag of coarse pumice ($14) which can be added to the garden mix to make it more suitable for potting. The pumice helps to improve drainage and it also helps to aerate the soil.

While I was about it I couldn’t resist this bright pink Azalea which reminded me of one I had some time ago but which died on me. This was in an 8cm pot and cost about $9. So this was my first little potting job using this new mix.

I’ve got a few other jobs planned too, but more about that later.


From an economics point of view the photo below shows 4 x 40litre bags of compost next to my bulk compost which cost $57 — half of the $114 I paid in total. The bags cost $5 each so if you can imagine a pile 2.8 times this size, that would cost the equivalent of $57 the same as what I paid for the bulk mix. Based on this estimate the bulk mix works out about half the price or a little bit more. 

This isn’t as good a value as I recall from 20 odd years ago but it still works out cheaper than the bagged stuff and well worth buying it this way if you’ve got a few bigger jobs to do. 

A 40 litre bag of potting mix costs between $10-20/bag depending on the quality, so buying it by the bag can be expensive, especially if you need several bags. That’s why I buy a load of bulk mix every year. 

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