backyard soil in pots

AliahBishrSeptember 20, 2012

Hello everyone I have been looking into gardening for a while now but I dont have a place to grow since my backyard is shared eith several tenants, but I want to garden anyway...I want to know if its possible to use my backyard soil which is currently growing tons of grass and weeds for my pot gardening? If not what is thd most inexpensive all natural way to go?

Thanks for the help

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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

I have used soil right from the ground in containers and plants grow because of the soils ph and nutrients, but very slow due to low air porosity.

I have tryed soil from my garden where I dump organic material and someimes left over potting mix. It works a little better.

Some Cayenne in 100% topsoil from the garden.

Here they are growing along. I had to mulch to stop them from drying out fast in summer heat.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 12:35AM
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AliahBishr

ok so it would be just fine to use my backyard soil, it will just take a bit longer right?

I will do that until I learn more about what soils are good to buy and use God willing :) thanks for the help

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 5:31PM
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greentiger87

It also depends a lot on what kind of soil you have. If you have clayey soil, you'd be setting yourself up for failure. I would strongly recommend against it unless you know what you're doing.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 5:46PM
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emgardener

AliahBishr,

I've been doing this sort of container planting for several years now quite successfully.

You might want to check out my blog linked below, especially the zero cost container posts and the pepper containers post.

Basically you could probably just drive around with a tub in your car and scrape very rich soil/mulch/compost from the top layer of dirt under pine and maple trees in your area. Mix in a lot of leaves and your done. If you want to take extra care you can optimize this approach by putting more leaves towards the bottom of the container and a heavier mix right at the top, also rotted wood at the top would help a lot (or cut up corn cobs would be great).

Here is a link that might be useful: http://lowcostvegetablegarden.blogspot.com/

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 2:04PM
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TheMasterGardener1(5B)

Having tryed promix bx, I also found a blend of 50% potting mix and 50% peat moss works well. You should add 2 tbl sp of lime per gal of peat added.

It costs about 2.80 a cuft which can fill 10 #1 nursery containers. For the record I harvested 20 lb of jalapenos from just 7 plants each in a #1 nursery container.

It costs 28 cents to fill one #1 pot with the mix I use. So that comes out to 1.96. All season I used about 3 bucks in synthetic fertilizer for my whole crop, so I would say just a few cents for the 7 jalapeno crop. A good fertilizer to use, and is what I use, is Miracle gro all purpose 24-8-16.

So it was about 2.50 to grow 20 lb of jalapeno. I think they go 3.99 a lb in the store! :)

You may find if you look at the economics, you can spend little and get way more if you were to try to spend nothing at all.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 4:06PM
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fidgety(9a)

There's a long-running discussion on this topic here on the forum, link enclosed. I've tried this myself, when moving plants on my very heavy clay soil, if I don't have a space ready yet to move the plant into then I dig as good a rootball as I can get and pot them up temporarily - they really don't thrive. To grow well in pots, they really need better aeration and drainage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Container soils

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 3:11AM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

I have terrible sandy clay soil. I go to our local city mulch giveaway location and pickup a bunch of the composted mulch. I sift it to 1/2 and use the coarse stuff for mulch and the sifted stuff for my 5 part fraction in the 5-1-1 mix. Works great for a year then it gets dumped into the garden as a soil amendment. Plus it ends up being very cheap. I have used it on its own and with the peat and perlite. The 5-1-1 works better for me but straight free compost works better than my junky soil.

I did a quick search and came up with a good starting point for PA free compost sites. free compost PA

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 1:09PM
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