I'm going to do just a few veggies in containers; patio tomato, some
herbs, maybe some green beans in one, lettuces/chard.
So, I noticed they have some "Organic" soil at the stores for vegetables,
for use "in ground". Is that just a bunch of hokum? I don't see they have
"organic" soil for containers, just good old potting mix. But they've
made me paranoid now that plain old potting mix is filled with evil!
Seriously, what might I best use for growing edible veggies in
I use cheapest bagged top soil and add limestone for tomatoes and garden
fertilizer throughout the season. In the spring, I'll skim off top
which may have seedlings from bird feeder, etc. and add more top soil.
Makes no sense to me to grow your own but spend more for materials than
vegetables are worth.
I vote for mixing your own dirt, even if you end up buying
constituents. For "just a few", though you might do as well just to buy
the mix. You might buy just one unit of the mix and see how it compares
mechanically to your garden earth when in containers. Seems to me you
could devise some sort of comparative compaction/drainage measurement.
Subjective, yes, but surely you believe your own lying eyes! LOL ;-)
IME, you shouldn't expect much nutritionally from sto'-bought unless
nutrients are shown on the package.
Chives, garlic chives, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, bay,
tomatoes (indeterminate and determinate), eggplant, jalapeno peppers,
bell peppers, all are among plants that I grow in containers that range
in size from quart-sized terra cotta to halves of 60-gallon "olive"
barrels, top-load washing machine tub and basket (separately) and one
very temporary 46-gal plastic storage bin. Except for the bay,
everything is in exactly the same soil as is in my raised beds. I use a
bottom layer of pine straw to improve drainage; doing so may be
unnecessary, but I do it, anyway. Save for the jalapenos, all or some
part of the containerized soil is changed completely as frequently as
each "season" for some but at least every two-three years.
Down here, with prudent handling, indoor-outdoor jalapenos (in at
night for most of winter) grow for years and years until the year that I
misjudge the overnight low ;-0 The same bottom-heating (solar gain) that
debilitates containerized plants during the warm season also allows me,
in most years, to overwinter at least a few bell peppers and eggplant,
which resume production very early, although, the peppers recover more
As practical matters, I've found overheating of the soil and
restrictive container volume (root crowding, in general, even in the
raised beds) to have the strongest influence over whether my plants
thrive. Tomatoes are very sensitive to overheating, even in the fall. I
use pine straw to protect containers and beds.
USDA zone 9b, peninsular FL, U.S.A.
I'm guessing you mean outdoors. But
Nothings going to happen. The organic thing is about people getting away
from pesticides .
Potting soil is just fine. I'm only a mediocre gardener, but I have
done a lot of edible plants in containers using potting soil and soiless
mixes. To have stuff in the winter. If I was going to do this . With
little cash expenditures. I d use a mix of potting soil, Or with the slow
release fertilizer. And a bunch of gravel in the bottom for drainage. Start
them in small containers , then put the whole plant and its root ball into a
bigger container when it fills the smaller pot up. And get bigger containers
then you think you need for the tomatoes. . This will prevent root binding.
And stunting of growth. You need to water a lot, as the soil dries out
fast. and have good drainage. And a general fertilizer.
If I wanted to spend a bit more. Id use the same potting mix to start . Add
about 20% perlite, and 50% worm castings in the bigger container. Add
some other additives like bone meal, blood meal, a little lime, kelp,
seeweed, Then Id use a fish based fertilizer mixed in water for the life of
the plants .
If you get bugs, Id use Neem oil sprayed on the leaves.
This is a fragment of one issue within the organic sphere and your
statement dismisses the whole sphere of organic culturing of food,
plants and everything. Organic does not rule out the use of
insecticides, but does minimize them, restricts them to specific types
and (more on this when I have time to rant a bit) targets them very
closely to limit collateral damage.
I've got a few things growing in containers and my impression so far is
that containers are more sensitive to watering. Water from a heavy rain
cant run off or spread as it would if it was in ground. And containered
plants can't reach for water. Commercial mixes attempt to compensate for
that by being lighter and more absorbent, and are more tolerant of over
watering and infrequent watering. For the lightest mixes there is a lot
of stuff in there that you would never find in the garden (like
I don't have any real recommendations other than to be careful that
you have good drainage and good soil. Potted plants have less resilience
to soil with poor water characteristics (particularly in small pots) but
it is also easier to fill it with good soil. Soil in the garden can get
better year over year as it gets amended and the worms work it,
containers typically don't have that option.
So, use the same good soil you would in the garden, if you could. Keep a
closer watch on soil moisture and watering.
And bear in mind that I'm "feeling" my way through this so I may not
have this exactly right!
that all pretty much makes sense... and it jives with my experience.
So what about re-using soil from last years containerized plants, by
dumping it all into a wheel-barrow, mixing it all up and amending it with
some compost and peat? Are there any issues from re-using soil that was
simply left out all winter? If none of the plantings from last year were
sick or diseased, I'm thinking it's an okay way to go?
Organic, means certified organic, no toxic sludge, no urban grass
clippings containing herbicides, ect.
Organic may not be important for ornamentals, but could be for plants
that you consume, or if you have special health issues. Our local
landscape materials provider sells organic compost in bulk at reasonable
prices. Whether they have bulk organic potting soil is another matter,
but people are doing raised gardens, so you never know.
Organic potting soil isn't hard to come by. It's just a Google away.
Or check with local University Extension offices, Master Gardeners, or
look for a nursery that you can trust.
I've been happy with Gardener and Bloome Potting Soil and only just now
realized that it is organic.
Their sales locator is
If you are familiar with the history of your soil, maybe the best would
be to mix it with the "in ground" organic potting soil that you found.
If worse comes to worse, Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil seems to be
ubiquitous, but because of the damage that their other products have
caused, I would try to avoid them.
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
I have about 200 feet of raised beds, every year I plant 6-8, 8 gallon
veggie conatiners on my deck..I use 3/4 garden dirt. rest potting soil and
mushroom manure, when season is over I return material to the raised beds
till next year..works for me.
'growing organic tomatoes' (http://tinyurl.com/37vnhym ) in container.
You may use the old soil. After winter I solarize my container soil and
I also mix a good portion of home made compost to ensure natural
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