Win a copy of The Edible Ecosystem Solution this week in the Forest Garden forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • James Freyr
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • jordan barton
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Greg Martin
  • Leigh Tate

Soil building in potting mix/containers?

 
Posts: 2
Location: Southern California, Zone 10b
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi, newbie gardener here with a balcony garden (only), using potting mix in containers.

Questions:
  • 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!
     
    gardener
    Posts: 803
    Location: Durham, NC
    287
    hugelkultur gear urban cooking building writing woodworking
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    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.

    There is a series of "merit badges" in the works here called Permaculture Experience for Apartments.  It's not ready yet but you could read through that and get ideas.

     
    Rob Lineberger
    gardener
    Posts: 803
    Location: Durham, NC
    287
    hugelkultur gear urban cooking building writing woodworking
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Also, if you have sunny windows, take advantage.  I always have herbs growing on my windowsills.
     
    Ace Momo
    Posts: 2
    Location: Southern California, Zone 10b
    1
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Thank you, Rob. Some of those things are new to me; I'll look into them. I appreciate the time you took to respond!
     
    Please enjoy this holographic presentation of our apocalyptic dilemma right after this tiny ad:
    Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now free for a while
    https://permies.com/goodies/8/rmhman
    reply
      Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic