Container Gardening – Conserving Soil – Using less soil (Google / Seattle Home&Garden Examiner)

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http://www.examiner.com/x-261-Seattle-Home–Garden-Examiner~y2008m6d21-Container-Gardening–Conserving-Soil

Container Gardening – Conserving Soil

POSTED June 21, 10:36 PM

We love the look and convenience of container gardening: from the beautiful flowers to the edible vegetables. The one problem is the large amount of soil and/or compost they can gobble up. From years of trial and error, we have come up with a couple of ways to cut down the soil volume without affecting the plants.

Here are two ideas to try that will allow you to enjoy container gardening while using less soil.1. Empty pop and/or beers cans can be used to reduce the amount of soil needed in container gardening. Take a few of the empty can and place them either upside down or on their sides (to avoid dirt filling up through the opening) on the bottom of your large plant container. Slowly add the dirt (making sure the cans stay upright) and plants,

2. If you have recycled all your cans, you can still conserve soil while container gardening with newspaper, packaging peanuts or fallen items from nature. Take some old newspaper, crumple it up (like a ball) and add it to the bottom of your large planter. You can also use some of those annoying “package peanuts” or any lightweight packaging product or some fallen pinecones or small twigs in the same way. Put the Filler items up to about 1/3 of the pot. Do not pack them solidly, leave some room between the papers or loosely layer the items so there is room for the roots should they get down to that level. Now add the soil and your plants.

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This works especially well with shallow rooted annuals and plants that will never even come close to reaching the lower part of the larger container.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.