Gardening in Pots
There are many advantages to adopting pot culture in your home and garden including:
Watering effectively and maintaining nutrient content. Unlike plants in the garden, potted plants don’t have the luxury of being able to access water and nutrients from an extended area and therefore are more reliant on us.
Buy or salvage pots which are appropriate for the type of plants you are growing. Generally, wider is better, and around 30-50cm depth will keep most plants happy. Terracotta and other porous pots can be sealed to reduce evaporation and protect the external finish.
Use premium standard potting mixes. Just look for the Australian Standard ticks in red on the side of the bag. When using larger pots or when growing productive plants, you can incorporate around one quarter to one third Organic Matter such as good quality compost or cow manure. You can also make your own mixes but do your research and maintain high level of hygiene. Avoid using garden soils in pots as they are prone to compaction and don’t drain well in pot situations
Replacing mix/reasons/how often:
Potting mixes tend to break down over time, becoming structurally poor and subsequently effecting plant health and growth. This is particularly problematic when growing veggies, which need optimum conditions to be productive and healthy. Veggie medium should be replaced seasonally or whenever putting in new crop. Changing mix when growing non-productive pot plants isn’t generally as critical – when looking tired, when potting up into larger pot or when mix is no-longer holding onto moisture, are good times to do so.
Fertilise with controlled and slow-release fertilisers (usually twice annually, depending on product) and supplement with liquid fertilisers and teas when plants are actively growing.
Always keep potting mixes moist (there are exceptions of course) as allowing them to dry out can make them water repellent. Don’t leave pots sitting in trays of water to avoid fungal related diseases and water-logging plants.