In parts of country where the quality of soil is poor due to the surplus of rocks, stones, clay or sand it is prudent to have a good potting mix for growing herbs. While a good soil or a potting mix is essential for the veggies and fruits I really did not have any problem growing herbs in my garden soil.
Many of the gardeners or farmers having acres of farms in rocky terrain, it helps to improve the composition of soil. Whether your home garden has a good soil mix or you procure the soil from nursery, your aim should be to have a good quality soil that drains well. Herbs do not like too much moisture and they may rot if the draining capacity of soil is poor.
What makes Good Soil Mix?
You can engineer soil mixes for various herbs and observe which does best. For container gardening using potting mixes that are soil-less can ensure disease and weed free environment. They are light, porous and have good drainage too. If you are using fertilizers, I would advise you to read the instructions thoroughly. An over dosage of fertilizers can actually kill herb plants especially if it contains potassium and lime. Releasing small quantities of fertilizer in the ground works best.
In most cases garden soil works out best provided you modify the properties, especially if it contains more clay or sand. The amendment for soil that contains more clay is adding sand and perlite or vermiculite.
In addition, if the pH of your garden soil is off the mark, you might have to alter the pH value.
Potting Mix for Container Gardening
Whether you make the potting mix yourself with the help of homemade compost or have it delivered from garden stores, you need to balance the soil so that it holds adequate moisture for container gardening. Planter boxes should have well functioning drainage system.
The composition of soil that works for your herb garden may vary. If you make the compost yourself try the popular proportion of mixing 25 % garden soil with 25 % homemade compost and remaining with sand. Another combination that works well is with peat moss. Add 25 % of peat moss and 25 % of garden soil to 50 % of sand.
If you rely on garden soil, the disadvantage is that the soil you are using may contain pests, weeds and fewer nutrients.Besides, the garden soil has tendency to clog the containers.
Soilless media is advantageous because it is devoid of all these negatives. You need however, to change it more frequently compared to soil based medium.
Organic soil mix and gardening techniques work best for herbs and other plants. Traditional techniques like sheet composting, preparing home-made mulch ensure natural layering and decomposition of organic matter enriching the soil naturally. Alternative techniques like permaculture methods and lasagna techniques ensure lower requirements of water and pest control. They also have less problems of weed.