Don’t treat your soil like dirt

Nathan Law

A good foundation for growing anything is vital! After all, you wouldn’t build a house on a pile of dirt, would you? Think of your soil as the foundation which will build something beautiful or edible. Last week our Green Thumb Gardening focused on some flower combinations that make for […]

A good foundation for growing anything is vital! After all, you wouldn’t build a house on a pile of dirt, would you? Think of your soil as the foundation which will build something beautiful or edible.

Last week our Green Thumb Gardening focused on some flower combinations that make for gorgeous containers BUT before you plant, make sure you start with a good potting mix.

Thankfully, my urns and pots are big enough that, come spring planting time, I don’t have to start from scratch. I remove some of the old and replace with some new – potting mix and annuals.

Years ago, I use to make my own potting mix. I would buy huge bags of topsoil, perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, and a smaller bag of charcoal. I eventually broke myself of that habit for a couple of reasons, it was too labor-intensive and too costly. At the time, I was putting in several flower beds and the red clay soil had to be amended. That was then. Now the beds are in great shape but the containers I plant each year benefit immensely from a fresh dose of potting mix.

After years of experimenting, these are my go-to potting mixes:

  • Miracle-Gro – a great mixture of all the right stuff and some of their mixes are available with moisture-retention additives. It does tend to be on the pricier sides, especially if you are buying multiple bags. It’s available at most garden centers.
  • Expert Gardener – this is Walmart’s less pricey version of potting mix. It does the job but perhaps not quite as rich a mixture as other brands.
  • Kelloggs – now carried by every Home Depot in the US. This potting mix is excellent and is a few dollars cheaper than Miracle-Gro. This has become my new favorite potting mix.

Planting a container step-by-step

Last year this huge urn was home to a beautiful red Mandevilla. This year, I’m giving it a fresh look with salvia, daylilies, and Purple Heart. The Stella d’Oro daylilies, my filler, were transplants from one of my flower beds that were in need of dividing. The Purple Heart was also divided from another container as my spiller. The salvia is a new addition and serves as my thriller.

After mulching, make sure you water in well so that your new plants get off to the best start possible. Summer will be here before we know it. The evaporation rate is pretty high when temperatures approach 90 degrees. Water and food will keep them thriving in the months ahead.

Happy planting!

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