Some plants and vegetables need a large pot for healthy plant growth, as well as providing the perfect home for your plants. Growing plants and vegetables in pots require some special attention that you don’t normally consider when growing them outside in a regular garden.  Some large container gardening tips and things you should think about are the type of soil, the cost of filling a large pot and soil amendments.

Container Garden Soil

The soil you should use in your container gardens should be commercial, premixed soil designed specifically for use in potted plants.  Or you can make your own potting soil.  Two basic recipes to make your own potting soil are:

Basic Soilless Potting Mix includes:

  • 4-6 Parts Sphagnum Peat Moss
  • 1 Part Perlite
  • 1 Part Vermiculite

Compost Potting Soil Mix includes:

  • 2 Parts Compost
  • 2-4 Parts Sphagnum Peat Moss
  • 1 Part Perlite
  • 1 Part Vermiculite

You want your container garden soil to be fresh, well aerated, provide good drainage and be able to maintain moisture.

Using dirt from outside is not a good idea.  Sure it’s a cheaper way to go, but it will bring problems to your container plants.  In the long run, it is not as cheap as you think.  Some of the problems you run into are:

  • Poor Drainage
  • Poor aeration
  • May contain insects
  • May contain weed seeds
  • Potential for some diseases
  • May give your plants some root rot issues
  • Will pack tightly together which leads to poor drainage and no aeration.

Using potting soil left over in your pots is not a good idea either for many of the above issues.  Don’t let used potting soil go to waste, just dump it out into your outside gardens.  Your outside plants will like it.

Filling Up a Large Container Tips

Having one or more large containers to plant could be expensive to fill up, especially when you are buying commercial soil mixes.  In order to reduce the cost, you can add some fillers to the bottom of your container.  There are several things around the house your can use.  It is important to use items that will fill up the space, but not breakdown in the container over the growing season.  Some readily available fillers are:

  • Plastic water bottles
  • Plastic milk jugs
  • Crushed aluminum cans
  • Packing Peanuts (disease free as they are usually sterile)

Your plants will only need about 12″ of soil.  Use your filler of choice for the lower 1/4 to 1/3 of the container.  Cover the “fillers” with some weed barrier cloth to keep the soil from falling down around the fillers.

Soil Amendments

Container plants require more attention than plants in your outside garden.  Two container garden soil amendments you should consider are Soil Moist and a time releasing fertilizer.

Soil moist is a product that will expand 200 times it’s size and will help keep the soil moist if you forget to check the water.

Adding a plant fertilizer that will release nutrients gradually over 3 to 6 months will help keep your plants fed.





Filed under: Container Gardening