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Sun Nov 24, 2019, 03:01 AM

Replenishing soil in container gardens

I once read a thread at gardenweb.com where a gardener claimed that she replaced the soil in every one of her containers in the spring. That's too much work for me. I think there are better ways, in addition to adding compost in the spring. Here's what I did this year:

After pulling the plant out, I dug soil out of the container and put it in a bucket. I added unfinished compost from my bin, which was already loaded with red wigglers (Eisenia Fetida). The purpose of this is to get the red wigglers to add vermicompost to the soil of the container.

Next I added chopped leaves--enough to give a nice, fluffy texture to the soil. These leaves will decompose over the winter and give my container soil more moisture retention ability in the spring. I also mixed in pulverized egg shells (used my food processor and water for this) because the red wigglers love it.

I put the soil I'd dug out (paragraph 2) back in the container and mixed it around with the unfinished compost and the leaves.

I bought several bags of dried peas and soaked them in plastic containers with lids. After leveling off the top of the soil in the container, I sprinkled the top of the container with the peas. They will sprout and act as green manure over the winter/spring. Note: in the spring the green vines have to be chopped up and added back into the container's soil.

After covering the top of the container with the peas, I cover the entire container surface with tac straw (no weed seed plus it has an agent that keeps it "tacked" to the soil--usually guar gum).



By spring of next year, I should have rejuvenated container soil.

Cher





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Reply Replenishing soil in container gardens (Original post)
NJCher Nov 24 OP
rampartc Nov 24 #1
steventh Nov 24 #2
Scarsdale Nov 24 #3
LittleGirl Nov 24 #4
Zaphod42 Nov 24 #5

Response to NJCher (Original post)

Sun Nov 24, 2019, 03:24 AM

1. i use my containers year after year

rotating my "crop." and adding compost, straw, coffee grinds, whatever. I cover the containers (plastic sheet and a brick to keep it on) to suppress weeds bit the peas sound like a good idea. stake them up in the spring and i'll bet you get an early and pleasant surprise.

just be sure to watch for caterpillers in the spring (hornworms and the fuzzy salt marsh moths love to overwinter in my containers).

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Sun Nov 24, 2019, 05:18 AM

2. Sounds like a whole lotta work

In the Spring I plop a whole buncha compost on my containers and raised beds. That's it. Been working fine for me for a decade. i have probably over 100 plants in containers. Everything from miniature hostas to large bushes. I get free compost every Spring, the amount limited only by my ability to transport it.

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Response to steventh (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 24, 2019, 05:33 AM

3. This sounds like

a "labor of love" You must have a green thumb to do all this work, only to you it is not "work". Please share photos of the end results when the flowers bloom. Thanks.

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Sun Nov 24, 2019, 05:48 AM

4. Great tips, thanks.

Have staked out my raised bed for next spring. I havenít had a garden for several years so Iím excited for 2020 and not just for voting!

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Response to NJCher (Original post)

Sun Nov 24, 2019, 08:12 AM

5. I grow my peppers in containers.

 

Eleven-25 gallon feed tubs...and I do basically the same as you. 2020 will the 5th year using that technique, although you've inspired me to do a cover crop this time around. I have a Southern rootknot nematode problem in my in-ground tomato patch, so I'll be planting a mustard cover crop there this winter. Might as well do it in the containers also! What all do you grow in your containers?

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