Mixing Your Own Potting Soil | DIY Potting Mix

I got into the habit of mixing my own soil a few years back after being constantly frustrated with store bought potting mixes.  The soil quality was not always great, and many options came pre-loaded with fertilizer leaving me with less choices on how to feed my pepper plants. 

By mixing my own soil I was still able to purchase all my items locally at the big home improvement stores, but I was able to control what I was adding, and is likely to save you money.


The three primary parts of my soil mix are Peat Moss, Pearlite, and Mushroom Compost.

Peat Moss

Sphagnum peat moss drains well, and  will have good aeration, but has an acidic pH (around 3.5 to 4.5).  You can add limestone to your mix to balance out the pH to something more reasonable for peppers (5.5 to 6.8).


Pearlite is a lightweight expanded volcanic rock that resembles small balls of styrofoam.  Will provide for improved aeration as well as water retention.  Pearlite will also aid in reduced compaction of your soil keeping it loose and well-draining.


I use Oldcastle Black Velvet Mushroom Compost which is available at my local home improvement centers, but any compost addition would likely work just as well.  The mushroom compost I use has a little nutritional value but not a lot, enough to get a seedling started out, but you will need to fertilize an established plant.


Safety: It is probably a good idea to wear a particulate face mask while mixing soil as it can get quite dusty especially if working with dry ingredients.
  • 1 gallon Peat Moss
  • 1 gallon Pearlite
  • 1.5 gallons Compost
  • 1 - 1 1/2 Tbps lime
Combine 1 part peat moss, 1 part pearlite, and 1.5 parts compost (remove any large pieces, and break up any clumps) together, and for every 1 gallon of peat moss add 1 to 1 1/2 tbps of lime to balance out the pH.

And that's it. I like to mix a few 5 gallon buckets full at a time (can keep it all sealed up keep from drying out), but you can mix as much or as little as you want.