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COntainer Gardening

North Augusta, SC

I am starting to grow vegetables in containers. The pots are setting on a table. My specific problem was a recent rain compacted the soil in the pots. . How do I keep this from happening?
What is the best way to fertilize container vegetables? I spinkled some fertilizer in the pots and am wondering if that weakened them somehow or burned them because after the fert and the rain, my seedlings, which I recently transplanted, were lying on their sides. I messed up big time when I thought I was helping them.
To say the least, it was a painful experience to witness. Heartbreaking.

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

I assume you have your seedlings in peat pots? In any case, they need to be protected from rain while they are in small pots--it will do exactly what happened to your seedlings--beat them down. I always put my peat pots in a tray of some sort and water them from the bottom (this keeps the soil from compacting). When they get some size to them, you can add a small amount of liquid fertilizer (I use a very small amount) before you water them. I never fertilize seedlings more than once before putting them in the ground because it will make them grow tall and weak. Be sure not to over water as this will cause problems too. I don't know what types of veggies you were trying to grow but in your climate, you still have plenty of time to start over. If you have any more questions, fire away--we'll be glad to help. Good luck.

North Augusta, SC

Thanks for your response.
I transplanted the seedlings into 6 -8 inch plastic containers. They were started in a large plastic bin, not peat pots. I was sowing salad greens and cole crops so I wanted a large planting and the peat pots were not what I wanted for over 500 seeds.
The plan was to continue growing them on by transplanting them to larger containers, as they would graduate to larger containers as they grew.
I think the rains we've experienced lately and too much fertilizer did them in. I used a lot of different ferts to try to give them all they would need, superphosphate, Schultz, potash and others.
That soil compacted in the pots tightly.Very tightly,
I am new to gardening so I know I'm going to make errors. The thing is knowing and accepting are two different things. ;


Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)

Misty,

I only do a little container gardening, but I suspect that the issue with compacting may have been the "soil". Most of the the container gardners on DG talk about using planting "mix", which is lighter and doesn't compact the same as dirt. You can buy bags of planting mix at big-box stores or garden centers. Sometimes they also have garden soil, which is mostly dirt.

North Augusta, SC

Dreaves, thanks, I am going to try a lighter mix for the containers. The soil I've been using may have been too heavy for the container plantings. I'm willing to experiment until I get it right.
Thanks for your input. Two heads are better than mine.
:-) Misty

Scottsdale, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hi Mistypetals,
I have lots of containers as well. I use 1/3 soil + 1/3 peatmoss + 1/3 pumice stone and the recipe is working well for me. I also put in a small piece of old window screen over the drainage hole to prevent critters from coming into the pot throught the hole.
The key is to find the local nurseries that sell pumice stone and peatmoss. In our area, there is only one and I have to make a long trip and buy them in bulk. I use a very large plastic container to mix all the three ingredients and that mix is what goes into my pots. I hope this helps.

North Augusta, SC

You bet it helps, I never considered critters coming in throught the drainage holes. Oh,my! Thanks for your recipe. I appreciate your response.
What I've learned is the soil I was using is too heavy for the seedlings.
Thanks everybody!

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