Why Substituting Vermiculite Is Not An Option For Square Foot Gardening
To be successful when square foot gardening, make sure your soil mixture is well-drained, but can retain some moisture. Finding a healthy balance between wet and dry is essential. Vermiculite is the preferred soil conditioner that is used for this type of gardening. It has properties that allow it to improve soil drainage while still enabling your soil to hold on to enough moisture to support plant life.
Vermiculite, Not Sand
Sand is not an acceptable substitute for vermiculite in square foot gardening. This is because sand breaks up soil and increases the density of the growing medium. This will impact the loose soil structure that is essential for container gardening. Only use medium to coarse grain vermiculite when mixing your growing medium.
Vermiculite, Not Perlite
Perlite is often suggested as an alternative when vermiculite is too expensive or hard to find. However, perlite holds less water and doesn’t create the same favorable growing conditions that vermiculite creates.