Down-to-earth, please

barb_roselover_inJune 7, 2011

I hate to show my ignorance in what I consider an important question, but please take pity on people like me. I am an older, widowed participant in my gardening love, and rather than the very intelligent, educated advice, would someone just give, in plain language, what I need to incorporate in my container soil. I can't find the turface, fines and stuff that is in these helps, What do I need to do to be successful in my container gardening without getting complicated. I find it necessary to grow many of my vegetables in containers because of just getting out of the hospital and my limitations for this season. I have to "be good", but I still want to be messing around in the dirt. Bless you for any help. Barb

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

You arent showing ignorance at all. It sounds like you just need something very simple and easy to find. For annual flowers and veggies you can get by with plain old potting soil. It wont hurt a thing for one season. Adding some perlite will help with drainage if you like. Last year I did a couple tomatoes in five gallon buckets using miracle grow bagged potting soil. They did just fine and gave me plenty of fruit.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 5:51PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

For many years I grew vegetables and flowering annuals in containers using just a top quality potting soil and a complete fertilizer. Rather than buying Miracle Gro type mixes with added fertilizers and "moisture control" from big box stores, I would ecourage you to locate a garden center that sells brands like Metromix, Fafards or Promix. If you can find one that includes composted bark, it will have better drainage. Then look for a complete fertilizer with a ratio close to 3-1-2. I've used Osmocote controlled release fertilizer mixed into my soil while also adding soluble fertilizer when watering. Miracle Gro 24-8-16 is pretty widely available and works well. The most important thing for vegetables is to use the largest containers you can afford and handle. I use 15 to 25 gallon grow bags for my vegetables, but many people succed with smaller pots.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 10:58PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

If you really want a low-maintenance, low-stress situation then you might try an Earthbox if you can afford them. You can get one at Amazon for ~50$ with free delivery. Then just follow the instructions in the box. I used regular Miracle Gro "potting mix" (without moisture control) for one box and Pro Mix BX for another. I'm growing tomatoes in them and both are doing very well.

This year I also made my own soils (the more complicated ones you are talking about) and I have a comparison going between pepper plants in the 5-1-1 mix and some that are in a regular Eartbox (and some in an Earthtainer). So far the ones I baby in the 5-1-1 are doing slightly better but the Earthbox is *far* less work for very similar results.

I guess the one downside to the Earthboxes is that they might be not *enough* work for you if you really want to get your hands in some dirty. But if you just want some easy vegetables that you grow yourself and then just want to deal with pruning and picking? I say buy a earthbox, fill it with miracle gro potting mix, follow the directions, and you can't go wrong.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 4:58PM
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Yes I too dont like 6 month potting soils. I make my own from peat, perlite, and lime. Otherwise I would go with scotts 4 month soil.

Water when palnts are very dry rather then many waters. Use MG fertilizer with gypsum for Ca source if you use potting soil.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 5:21PM
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Thanks for the replies. I am going with the simplest one for now (mksmth). Next year is another story. There are too many obstacles for this year, and I am lucky to get them watered. Have to be extremely careful about lifting and pulling. Use the Osmacote by just sprinkling on the top and have available this year the Earthtone by Espoma. Thanks again - Barb

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 11:22PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

I hope you know to have drain holes in your containers ,and try not to overwater

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 5:02PM
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