Soil for Your Containers
It is important that you chose the right soil for the type of garden you are growing. The soil you use when planting in the ground or in a raised bed garden should not be the same as what you use in a pot or other container.
Bags of potting soil, sold by almost every store this time of year, is best for your container garden. However, there are a few things to consider when selecting your container soil.
Soil Density Matters
It is important to consider the density of your soil when planting your garden. The younger the plant, the less dense you want your soil to be. When planting seeds, you want a soil mixture that provides a lot of space for new roots to grow.
Peat moss is an organic compound that provides space for young roots to grow. It is not soil and it does not provide food to your plants, but when mixed with soil it provides the aeration needed for plant growth.
Potting soil contains peat moss, making it lighter in density and perfect for container gardens.
It is especially important to use the lighter potting soil for all of your hanging plant containers since it contains more peat moss and therefore retains less water. While it means you will need to water your hanging plants more often, it also means that the containers themselves will not be as heavy when wet.
Make Your Own Potting Soil
If you're interested in making your own potting soil, there are three key ingredients you will need: compost, peat moss, and vermiculite.
Compost is decomposed organic matter. Many people make their own compost, but it can also be purchased at many garden centers. Compost is lightweight and rich in the nutrients that your garden needs.
Peat moss (as we discussed earlier) is great for providing aeration for your soil. It also provides for good drainage. Peat moss can be used as a top layer in your garden to retain moisture as well (similar to mulch).
Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral made from volcanic ash. It is the white specs you find in your potting soil and its job is to retain water while keeping the soil lightweight.
Remember, lightweight soil is key for container gardening. Do not try and use the high nutrient garden soil from your raised bed garden in your pots. It is too heavy and will not allow for proper drainage or aeration for your plants.
One Final Tip
Make sure that you use new soil each year for your container garden. Reusing your soil can spread disease. It is also a good idea to wash your containers before each season with a mixture of bleach (10%) and water (90%) to kill any lurking diseases in your containers.
30 Day Challenge
For those of you who are following along with the challenge, how are you doing? Did you build your raised bed or purchase all your containers over the long weekend? If you have any questions, please post them here or on my blog and I will do my best to help you. See you tomorrow!
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