January 10, 2019
For the past few weeks, I have been telling you about the importance of having good soil for whatever garden project you are doing. By now, you should also know the importance of having sufficient depth of good soil for growing plants or for having a great lawn. Come the spring, you want to make sure that you have good quality soil and if you need to improve the soil that you have sufficient amount of new soil to finally give you the growing medium that your plants need.
You now know how to make the plants grow in the ground. Let’s take a moment or two to talk about growing plants in containers.
When you are ready to put the plants in the window boxes or other containers, you will fill the container with soil. The question is, what kind of soil. You need a soil that allows the roots to easily spread out into the soil. For this reason alone, you never use bagged topsoil to fill your containers. This soil will tend to settle in the container and this condition makes the soil compacted. This makes it hard to almost impossible for the roots to penetrate through the soil.
You also need a soil that holds water but also allows excess water to drain away. What most people don’t know is that plants roots also take oxygen out of the soil. Sure, the plant roots take up water, but if the soil stays wet all the time, the oxygen is forced out of the soil. Lack of oxygen in the soil will cause the roots to die. Poor quality roots lead to poor quality plant growth.
When you fill those containers, it is important to choose a good quality soil. If that is what you want for your plants, the major brand may not be the soil that you want. Over the years, I have heard many complaints about how poorly plants grow in the major brand.
Truthfully, we use to sell that brand in our store. We don’t sell that brand anymore. We have found over the years that the potting soil from Coast Of Maine products will give you the best soil for root growth and ultimately top growth. If you haven’t tried Coast Of Maine soils, I would suggest that you use them come the spring.
One of the mistakes that gardeners make is that they fill their containers with some topsoil or other filler material and then use potting soil to top off the container. Once you put the plants into the soil, the plant roots begin to grow. As the plants grow, so do the roots. The roots cannot grow in the filler material. The top growth of the plant has an equal amount of root growth.
Come the summer, if you have a small amount of good soil in the container, it will be harder for those roots to give the plants the food and water they need to grow properly. If you fill your containers with a good quality soil and I mean fill the whole container with good quality soil, you will find that the plants grow better and that those containers are less likely to dry out if you have a container filled with a good quality potting soil.
There is another secret to growing great looking plants in your containers. Do you want to know what that is? Better not miss next week’s column!
Well that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.