In kids gardening activities, Kids’ sterile potting soil is particularly important because the product of planting, growing, and harvesting depends on the soil being used. If the soil we use is not suitable for children’s gardening activities, appropriate results cannot be reached. In general, the best kids gardening soil for indoor plants to ensure gardening safety for kids is a sterile soil that has the following characteristics:
1) Be clean, hygienic, and free of any pests and weeds:
In order to prioritize the health of our children, it is necessary to provide sterile dirt or soil to kids. Kids’ sterile potting soil should be clean and free of any pests and contamination.
2) High water absorption and light:
All seeds require moisture to germinate. The kids gardening soil should always be wet during the germination period. As a result, we should use a soil type that can hold water for a long time. Besides, the soil should be light so that the plant can easily expand its roots.
3) Have enough nutrients for the plant to grow:
After planting the seeds for kids, the plant must have sufficient nutrients to grow. If there are not enough nutrients, the soil must be fertilized. In this case, we must be cautious, as incorrect use of fertilizer may cause young plants to become over-fertilized and die.
Today, various soil types are available as for kids’ gardening. Based on the characteristics mentioned thus far, the following section will examine each soil type so that we can introduce the best soil for indoor plants and kids’ gardening:
Garden Soil: Can We Use Garden Soil in Pots?
Extremely high in nutrients, garden soil is a living soil, meaning that the soil contains living organisms. A significant drawback of this soil is that, after watering it, soil particles stick together and block air paths, which can harm young roots that require the presence of air in the soil to grow). This phenomenon is usually due to the presence of clay in the garden soil. On the other hand, the advantage of clay is that it retains water for a longer time.
Thus, although garden soil is rich in nutrients, it cannot be used in kids’ indoor gardening. It is difficult for plants to germinate in this heavy soil. Additionally, the presence of weeds, pests, and other living organisms means that this is not a sterile soil and, thus, it is not the ideal soil for kids, and it cannot be used as a kids’ safe potting soil.
Houseplant soils are a combination of several soils such as leaf mold, sand, gravel, compost, sawdust, peat moss, perlite, and others. These soils are relatively light and are rich in nutrients. Although its respectable water storage capacity makes it suitable for a variety of houseplants, this kind of soil is not an ideal soil for children’s gardening, as it is not a sterile soil and has an inadequate water capacity that does not allow it to retain moisture long enough. Compared to garden soil, houseplant soil are a better choice as a kids’ sterile potting soil, but it is still not the best kids gardening soil.
Cocopeat is not soil. Cocopeat is the peelings of a coconut that has been shaped into a soil bed. This product is light, clean, and sterile dirt and has a high water absorption capacity; its only drawback is its lack of nutrients. If cocopeat is used as a kids’ safe potting soil, it is necessary to use it together with growth fertilizers to increase the growth rate of plants and sprouts. Overall we can call cocopeat a child-friendly soil but not a nutritious soil.
Hygienic Soil: The Best Kids’ Sterile Potting Soil
Hygienic soil is the best type of kids’ sterile potting soil. We define hygienic soil as a combination of peat moss and perlite. Peat moss alone is a light soil with a high water absorption capacity. But the presence of perlite next to it makes it lighter and increases its absorption power. It is completely sterile soil and contains nutrients needed for plant growth. This is the best kids gardening soil for indoor purposes.
Perlite is not a type of soil but a volcanic rock. This stone is used as a soil amendment combined with various soils and substrates such as peat moss, potting soil, and cocopeat to increase soil quality. Perlite lightens the soil and opens soil pores, resulting in increased aeration inside the soil. On the other hand, perlite has a high-water storage capacity and, therefore, increases the water absorption capacity of the soil.
Leca (Clay pebbles)
Leca is made of clay. Clay expands in high-temperature furnaces to produce Leica. In addition to being clean and free of any pests, it is a sterile soil due to its production process. Leca has a strong capacity for water absorption and, due to its spheric shape, causes porosity in the kids gardening soil; this is conducive to water drainage as well as soil aeration. Leca is usually used in combination with soil or placed at the bottom of the pot. The presence of Leca at the bottom of the pot makes it easier for water to escape from the pot.
To sum it up, the best soil for indoor plants and Kids’ sterile potting soil is hygienic soil, which is a mixture of peat moss and perlite. It is the best child-friendly soil. If you do not have access to this sterile soil, use a mix of cocopeat and perlite or sterilized houseplant soil for kids gardening soil. Also, if you are planting seeds in large pots or want to transfer the seedlings to larger pots, use Leca at the bottom of your pots to improve water drainage of your sterile dirt mixture.