Role of Soil in Container Gardening

Role of Soil in Container Gardening

In the field of agriculture, one of the most popular gardening methods used is container gardening and there is an important role of soil in container gardening. This involves growing plants in containers which are later put into the soil for plant growth. In this way, the gardener is able to avoid the mess and maintenance of conventional soil. One of the benefits of this method is that the gardener can be able to save a lot on his gardening budget.

Different Type of Soil and Their Functions

But before you start off with this type of gardening, it would be important for you to know more about the different types of soil and what exactly their functions are. Usually, different types of soil are used in various applications. For instance, loose soil can be mixed to fill in the holes and depressions in a flower bed or plant bed. Clay is the most commonly used soil type.

Clayed or Fired Soil

Soil that has been clayed or fired is a good example of a type of soil that has a fine consistency and holds moisture well. Soil which has been mixed with water holds its shape and structure well. Soil which is made of composted bark is similar to the bark of trees. These materials contain high levels of nitrogen, which makes them ideal for plant growth. On the other hand, the soil type of sand is generally decomposed clay and sand.

Provide Nutrition to Plants

Plants need a certain amount of nutrition each day. This requirement increases as the plant grows. Plants also need certain trace elements like nitrogen, which are important for plant development. A soil which is rich in these elements would provide an optimum environment for plants. Clay soils would suffice if these elements are not available.

Determining Soil Type and Nutrients Needed by Plants

Each plant will require a certain amount of space to grow and prosper. The space will vary from one plant to another. Similarly, the soil type and amount of nutrients required by each plant will vary. It is important to add small amounts of plant food during the first two months of the container planting.

Aeration of Soil

Aerating the soil prior to planting a plant is very essential. During the process of seed germination, the air is required to promote this process of plant development. Soils that are not aerated reach a maximum moisture level after about a week. Soils with a high percentage of dissolved nitrogen also experience a maximum rate of soil expansion. Container gardening, therefore, needs proper knowledge of how to aerate the soil.

Requirements of Plants In Different Seasons

Many plants, especially perennials, have short growing seasons. They also need a lot of sunlight to produce flowers and leaves. During the winter months when the plants’ leaves and flower buds need the extra light provided by the sun to grow, you would need to store a sufficient amount of extra supplies of either plant food or potting soil.

Planting Shrubs and Trees in Containers

Planting shrubs and trees in containers requires you to prepare the area beforehand for them to sprout well. For planting small trees and shrubs, you can create a compost bed. This can be done either in the spring when the plants are just emerging from their dormancy period or in the fall season. Mulch is also an effective means of ensuring that the plants and other organisms within the soil get enough moisture.

Preparing Soil For Larger Plants

When it comes to larger plants, you will still need to prepare the soil for them to thrive. You can opt to line the base of the container with peat moss which is rich in nutrients. This can be left until the springtime to let the microorganisms digest the material, before introducing the first crop of plants.

Watering and Drainage Holes

In addition to these, you need to make sure that the plants get the right amount of water. The holes in the top of the containers should be covered with drainage holes. In most cases, it is best that you leave one drainage hole at the bottom of each pot. Watering the plants should be done on a regular basis. If you are planning to water the plant from the bottom, place small gravels beneath the soil. This will help the roots of the plants sink into the gravels.

Choice of Fertilizers

Whether you are using raised beds or just regular garden soil, there are still certain fertilizers that you should add to it. Potting compost is often a good choice. It is rich in nitrogen and provides ample amounts of plant nutrients. There are many fertilizers which are available in bags or powder form these days. You can just sprinkle some of it onto the soil when you are ready to begin your container gardening. Once you have properly prepared the soil, you are ready to start your planting.

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