I really tick myself off sometimes!!!!!

seattlegardenerApril 23, 2013

I have a terrible habit of doing what I think is a good thing and then going online to see if it was the right thing to do. I just added bagged steer manure to some of my containers....not much, just a couple of handfuls on top of the soil and dug it in and watered them. THEN I read that you should never put manure in containers. Did I kill them, do you think?

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Most of the manure I've seen has a very low N content and isn't at all likely to burn, but it can be counterproductive because of its small particle size and the speed with which it breaks down. Container growing is more about soil structure and making sure your plants' roots are getting ample amounts of air, than it is about providing nutrition via the soil. There is no sense in destroying a planting's opportunity to reach its potential by sacrificing aeration for nutrition - getting nutrients to plants is monkey-easy, so focus on making sure you're growing in the drainage/aeration sweet spot.

Let me know if you want more info. Understanding how soils work and what impacts the air/water balance in soils is a critical part of becoming proficient at growing in containers.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 4:19PM
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Thanks, Al - Can always count on you. You must be a dynamo of energy with all the gardening you do and answer people's dumb questions, too.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 5:36PM
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It should be okay. I have done that many times and the results were acceptable. The best way to use the manure is to mix it with your compost and mix that with your container soil. Two seasons ago I loaded my raised garden with humus and composted leaves. My tomato and pepper plants were beautiful and gigantic, but produced little fruit. I believe that there was too much nitorgen. The following year I did nothing but till the soil and I had much more fruit.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 7:34AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The best way to use your manure is on the garden or beds, not in containers. The difference between survive and thrive is in attention to details, more specifically to those details that have the potential to limit plants.

Fertilizers are excellent at providing nutrients. We don't need manure for that. There will be far fewer problems and better results if the grower focuses on the soil's structure and its ability to provide a healthy air:water ratio instead of its ability to provide nutrition, and gives over nutrient provision to a reliable fertilizer.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 1:35PM
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