Hi, newbie gardener here with a balcony garden (only), using potting mix in containers.
Can (some? any? all?) soil building principles be applied to gardening in potting mix?
If you're a long time balcony container gardener who uses permaculture principles, what's your soil workflow/setup like?
I've seen people argue elsewhere that container plants should be fed with synthetic ferts because other nutrient sources take too long to break down, but I'm not sold on that logic.
I'm also wondering if potting mix is different enough from soil that certain principles wouldn't apply.
Currently, I'm using bokashi/soil factory method to add nitrogen to my potting soil between plantings, or as a mulch additive . I apply kelp juice when transplanting or when it'll be hot, and 5-4-2 biolive "organic" fertilizer that I add at half the recommended amount every two weeks (instead of once a month). I don't mind long/slow building, and I'd prefer to rely more on the bokashi if I can (I just started this year) - just wondering what experienced folks have done/seen. Thanks!
Well, the answer is surely yes. Although you will have challenges, I will say that the most successful gardening I've ever done has been in containers. It was on a patio in Indiana. Not sure what it is about Indiana but everything grew like gangbusters there.
You aren't going to have a lot of the benefits of planting in the ground, but I'd imagine you'll have fewer pest problems. I think the key to this venture is going to be compost. In your shoes I would investigate a porch-friendly composter, or better yet vermicomposting which could be contained under the sink. I'm not sure if the Ruth Stout method works in containers but it's worth looking into. The idea is to funnel all of your organic waste into the containers.
Containers are nice because you can move them. Rotate plants into the best light, take them indoors when there is a frost. It's nice to have a portable garden.
Be sure to have pollinator-friendly plants, marigolds, etc. Maybe a carpenter bee house or two.