First time growing, what to do at end of season?

I.am.ryan(ME 3)August 11, 2011

Hi folks,

This year I decided to expose my young son to the world of gardening (and also myself). Since we are apartment dwellers we had to use containers. We've been using plain old MG potting mix in 4 and 5 gallon plastic buckets (one bucket has some clay soil that we dug up) and are successfully (so far) growing some tomatoes, carrots, peas and pumpkins.

My desire is to use all this potting mix again next growing season to save some money. Could I simply add some compost to make up for lost levels of the potting mix and nutrients? Would it be advisable to save the plants and roots once the food is harvested and let them decompose into the potting mix?

Thanks.

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calistoga_al

Welcome Ryan to the GardenWeb. I note that you just joined, and lots of your fellow gardeners will help you get started. It would help if you would edit your name area to indicate where you garden. We can't tell whether you are in Alaska or Texas. Potting mix is costly, but it does deteriorate and your plants will show it. In our area we can buy potting mix in bulk from our landscape supply much cheaper than the bagged stuff at the nursery. Here you can bring your own container or use their one cubic foot plastic bags which they fill for you. Check your local sources. Al

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 10:26AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I've always reused my soil. I would add the compost to it. Throw out the old veggie plants. If you want to compost do that in a separate container. Welcome to the wonderful world of gardening!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 3:48PM
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I.am.ryan(ME 3)

Thanks for the advice. I went ahead and updated my growing area.

I have heard potting mix deteriorates. I'm hoping compost will make it usable for another season or more. If not then it'll be a good science experiment for my oldest.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 6:53AM
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capoman(5a)

You could always mix up some of the 5-1-1 mix listed on this forum. It's much cheaper then buying premixed potting soil, and will last quite a while. It's usually not best to reuse soil due to potential disease transfer, but if you to reuse a soil, the 5-1-1 has very good longevity. You can always rejuvenate by adding more pine bark. It can also be composted.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 7:25AM
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