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Thread: Container gardening

  1. #1
    moonflower's Avatar
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    hey all

    plotting out my summer plant plans again (this is what a winter in western NY will do to you), and i'm going to *try* for a larger-scale container garden again this year. of course... i'm still a broke student... so it'll be a CHEAP container garden, and i'm working on ways to go about that.

    the main thing i was curious about was the soil mix. obviously, cheaper is better for me, and i found out that i can get free leaf compost from the town where i live. would it be possible to use a mix of this compost and a little vermiculite or perlite and still grow decent plants, or am I asking for trouble with that? i'm figuring that the *FREE* compost will offset the cost of the additives. or should i invest in a commercial potting soil, but less of it, and throw in some compost and vermiculite? what do people here use?

    the plants i want to grow are mainly herbs and vegetables... rosemary, sage, thyme, carrots (i found an adorable dwarf variety), peas, tomatoes, some African daisies and probably a few other showy annuals. i had great luck with the daisies last year so i'm more than willing to try those again!

    thanks!
    "Seeds? Oh yeah... sometimes I forget they grow from those. I feel like they should hatch or something."

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  2. #2
    War. War never changes. Est's Avatar
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    Well, since I'm short on time (it's about dinner!) I can write this at least: get your containers on the cheap!! If you're not already using lefovers from last year, or if you need more, you can go to many different places to get FREE standard size pots.

    I get mine for free from the nursery at the college I attend, but you can often get them from nurseries simply by asking, or checking out by the garbage (if you don't want to deal with people. lol) I got sick and tired of paying for new pots (thanks, but I'd rather spend money on the stuff going IN to the pots!) Well, that's all for now, but I hope that helps in the mean time!
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    swords's Avatar
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    My gardening mix (and potting mix for non-carnivorous tropicals) this year has become a mix of shredded cedar mulch sphagnum peat moss (only 10-20%) and perlite. The mulch is cheap, adds excellent areation/drainage/water retention and is lightweight (basically the benefits of orchid bark but way cheaper). You could definately add leaf compost/leaf mould if you have it and want to add that extra acidic element but a mix entirely of it may be too much for some plants. Pine needles are an excellent soil additive (from under a tree in the woods - not one in a yard which may have been treated).

    Some plants will prefer a higher/neutral soil PH and you should add some lime to the soil mix as the above mix is great for woodland plants and low Ph preferrence of most tropicals but I had to add lime for some of my (legally) rescued wildflowers who require a limed bed.

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    One thing I did for my garden was to dig up the top layer of grass/clay. Then I bough several bags of topsoil ($1.33 at H.D.) and spread those out on the surface. Then I planted strawberries, tomatoes, Swiss chard, beans, etc.... Never tried herbs and spices though. You're right about perlite and vermiculite, being inert and undoing the nutrient concept.

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    The plants you are wanting to grow don't require much acidity in the soil, so i'd forget about the spaghnum peat, or pine needles. Your plan sounds good...a little commercial potting mix, vermiculite and compost. For example...basil doesn't like acidic soil.

    Make sure the compost is well aged, or you will nitrogen burn your plants.
    \"People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution; they don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible,\" Jamie Raskin, to Senator Nancy Jacobs.

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