Great Soil for Great Plants

Preparation is the key to a successful garden and the foundation is your soil. This week we want to help you get started so we've put together some recipes for great soil.

First, does your soil passes the crumble test? A handful of soil should crumble in your hand. If it sticks together, it could be too wet to plant or you have clay soil. If you have heavy clay soil we recommend you add amendments. Below is a good recipe for loosening and enriching soil. If your soil is extra compacted, you may want to add pine fines (composted pine bark mulch used as a soil conditioner) to the recipes below.

How large of an area are you amending? You can amend just the planting hole or amend the entire bed for planting perennials and annuals.

Recipe for Great Soil for Planting Trees and Shrubs—Dig a wide hole (approximately three times the size of the container). Remove the plant from the container and use the container to measure out two containers of compost to surround your new plant in the hole.

Recipe for Great Soil in Your New Beds—per 100 square feet (10'x10')

Mix the following ingredients and turn into existing soil to improve soil structure.
• 8 bags Growing Place Choice Garden Mix
• 1 bag Espoma® Bio-tone Starter Plus
• An additional 1 inch of garden of compost may be added.

Recipe for Great Soil for Acid Loving Plants

This recipe is good for plants like blueberries, rhododendrons, and azaleas.

New Beds – per 100 square feet

• 4 bags Growing Place Choice Garden Mix
• 6 bags Pine Fines
• 2 bags Espoma® Soil Acidifier
• 1 bag Bio-tone Starter Plus

Pine needles or composted oak leaves may be added. Turn into existing soil to improve drainage and lower pH.

Recipe for Great Soil for Containers

• Growing Place Choice or Bumper Crop Potting Mixes
• 16 qt. bag will fill four 8-inch containers
• 1½ cu. ft. bag will fill four 10-inch containers

Add Espoma Bio-tone to the potting mix for a continuous source of organic fertilizer throughout the growing season. Or, if you prefer to consistently feed the plant with a liquid fertilizer, you may opt for Espoma Bloom or Grow Liquid Organic Fertilizer.

New this year! We’re offering Bumper Crop Gardener’s Gold Potting Soil, a certified organic amended container soil with a blend of sphagnum peat moss, composted hen manure, shellfish, perlite and very old dark bark for one-step container planting. It’s great for indoor and outdoor containers.


Also new this season is Coop Poop, a virtually odor-free, aerobically composed chicken manure that is a slow release, non-burning organic fertilizer. Coop Poop is certified against National Organic Standards by the Organic Materials Review Institute.


Great soil and healthy plants make for garden success. We look forward to helping you at The Growing Place.

Aurora Location

2000 Montgomery Road,

Aurora, IL 60504

Phone. 630-820-8088

Naperville Location

25w471 Plank Road,

Naperville, IL 60563

Phone. 630-355-4000

Spring Hours

March 30-June 30

Monday-Friday: 9am-7pm

Saturday: 9am-5pm

Sunday: 11am-5pm

Memorial Day Hours

Monday, May 27


Growing for the future with
right plantsĀ in right places.