August 31, 2011

Easy Container Gardening: Buying Soil and Starts

Continuing on with my easy container gardening week! You have picked out your containers and found a suitable location for them. Next, it's time to go to the store to buy soil and your herb and vegetable starts.

Soil:
  • Container gardening requires slightly different soil than your raised beds. In order for your plants to receive enough oxygen, you need to purchase a lighter soil. Purchase organic potting soil. My favorite is:

  • Purchase a small bag of organic mulch. Mulch is important for maintaining soil temperature, conserving moisture, and keeping pests away. You will be adding about one inch of mulch around the base of your plant. This really does make a difference, so don't skip this step!
Love this stuff!

Buying Starts (don't start from seed at this point)
  • Pick the healthiest looking starts (duh).You can buy duds, and you most likely will blame yourself for killing the plant when really it was not your fault!

  • Look for dark green leaves.
  • Short and stout is a sign of a healthy plant.
  • Do not buy starts that have flowers or buds!  Starts should be too young to have buds or flowers, and are most likely stressed if they are already blooming. 
  • Feel the plants leaves and pick the ones that feel a bit weathered. Especially with basil, if leaves feel like tissue paper, it probably isn't hardened off, and will most likely not do well. 
Now we have the basics down, tomorrow we are on to the fun stuff. I'll be discussing different varieties of herbs and vegetables that you can grow together!
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