In mittleider gardening, you are able to use whatever type of soil you want. For us, we mix our own soil using sand, sawdust, and perlite. You can use regular soil, but we like to know what is in the soil and have control over everything we put in.

With the mittleider gardening method, you don’t have to worry about adding manure, worms, or creating compost piles for your soil. You only need these three things:

Soil Formula:
Sand –
2 Parts
Sawdust –
4 Parts
Perlite –
1 Part

We use pre-washed concrete sand. It is a course sand that allows air into your soil. It will compose around 35% of the mixture.

You can find free sawdust from some places. Check saw mills where wood is commonly used. Make sure the sawdust is free of glue and other materials. To be picky, look for sawdust that is not fine grain, and more of shavings like the sample picture for best results. The ratio of sawdust to use is around 55% 4 part.

Perlite is a native product of Idaho and it is manufactured here. It lightens the soil and allows the plants and roots to breath better. It also helps the plants retain the water they need. It doesn’t add nutritional value to the soil. Add 10% 1 parts.

When using these three elements together, your soil is light and fluffy. For example, digging potatoes from the soil can be done by hand without a shovel.

(I also use this soil for planting seedlings in boxes)


I mentioned not needing to add worms to your soil. That doesn’t mean you won’t get a ton of them. Worms love this soil and often find a way to thrive and reproduce to great numbers within it. If you plant in boxes, there is little to no weeding (especially the first year). Mostly weeds will come from outside the garden and if you deal with them quickly, you’ll have to do very little.

Soil Recap:

1) Add 4 part sawdust
2) Add 2 part sand
3) Add some perlite
4) Easy to weed
5) Worms will grow and thrive