So your container veggie garden did fabulous last year and you are jazzed to start the season strong. You wonder, should I throw out my old soil and start with new? I’d recommend to re-vitalize it!
The best thing to do is to remove your potting soil and mix 1 part compost to 2 parts existing potting soil with all natural fertilizer.
To make your own balanced all natural fertilizer:
1/3 cup of green sand (potash and minerals)
1/3 cup of rock phosphate or bone meal (phosphorous and minerals)
1/3 cup of alfalfa or soybean meal (nitrogen)
1 tbsp Azomite (70 minerals and trace elements)
This fertilizer recipe is good for 40 quarts of potting soil. Just mix it in with compost and your old potting soil to rejuvenate your old potting soil for this season.
While you have your potting soil out (just use a garbage bag to dump it into and mix your new), you can add a self-watering pot reservoir in the bottom of your pot to extend time between watering. Gardener’s Supply Company makes them. They are kind of pricey, but you can make your own as well.
If you are just not that energetic this year, mix in a couple of inches of compost and your natural fertilizer mix at the top of your container before you plant.
For pots that I have self-seeders in, I wait for them to get to a decent size before I add a layer of compost mixed with fertilizer and top with mulch. Mulch forms a very hard layer so only the seeds with very strong stems can break through mulch. Mulch helps keep the moisture in the pots when summer comes and keeps the soil temperature more moderate.
You can use the potting soil you remove for your new containers, in your garden, to add to your compost pile or to fill in low spots in the yard.
For more tips on gardening in small spaces, visit Melodie’s blog at www.VictoryGardenOnTheGolfCourse.com.