Growing vegetables should not suppose be challenging even if you do not have enough space in your house because you can grow vegetables in containers. This type of garden is known as a vegetable container garden.
Vegetable container gardening has many benefits, which include growing good tasty vegetables that may not be found at the market.
But, the question is, what kind of soil should you use for your container vegetable garden?
Short answer: the best soil for growing vegetables in the container is potting mix. This type of soil is well-aerated, and it has both a good water drainage system and pH that is near neutral. You can also use garden soil but you need to do some soil amendment.
Read on for details on how to amend garden soil plus other features to look at when choosing quality soil for your vegetable container garden.
Beginner at gardening? Read our step by step guide to starting a new garden
Best Organic Potting Soil for Vegetables
I know some people if they may be asked “what is the best soil for container gardening?”, may simply answer by saying ” Garden soil “. However, garden soil is not the best soil for growing vegetables in containers.
When you placed garden soil in a pot, the soil compacts, which causes poor aeration and drainage in the soil. The soil can be seen as normal on the surface but when you placed your fingers a few inches down the soil, you will find out that the soil is soggy or waterlogged. And plants’ roots do not absorb nutrients properly in soggy soil.
Additionally, garden soil can contain weeds seeds and other diseased materials, pests, and fungal spores. And all these can affect the healthy growth of your vegetables. The pH levels of your garden soil are not always balanced. Garden soil can be too acidic or basic (alkaline) unless you amend the pH.
As you can see using garden soil for your vegetable container garden is a guest work until you invest in some efforts in correcting the soil, which I’m going to show you later.
The easiest way to find eat soil for your vegetable container garden is to buy potting mixes at grocery stores. This type of soil is already optimized for container gardening.
Potting mixes contain all the necessary organic matters required for maximum plant growth in correct proportion. The potting soil is enriched with peat moss, agricultural lime, compost, vermiculite or perlites, wood chips. All these organic matters improve the quality of soil by increasing airflow or aeration in the soil. They also help improve the water drainage of the soil. While the agricultural lime is added to help balance the soil pH level to the ideal pH for proper vegetable growth.
Read also: How To Grow Vegetables Without Seeds
When you bought commercial soil you do not need to worry about correcting the soil. But, what if you are on a budget? This is because buying potting soil that satisfies your need can be very expensive. In this case, you need to amend the local soil you have available.
Here is a step by step guide to amend garden soil:
How to amend Garden Soil
Correcting the garden soil may be simple or hard. It depends on the size of the container garden you want to lunch. The materials that you need are compost, peat moss, coarse sand, shredded straw, chopped tree branches, or wood chips.
Before you add these materials, you need to kill the weeds seeds, fungal spores, and any other pathogens that may be present in the garden soil. You can do this by sterilizing the garden soil in an oven. You can alternatively place the garden soil in batches in a bowl and heat on fire for 20-40 minutes. Heating can help kill all weeds seeds and diseased pathogens in the soil.
Read also: 15 Best Vegetables To Grow In Wet Soil
Then, allow the soil to cool down. When the garden soil cooled down, add an equal part of garden soil, compost, coarse sand, and peat moss in a separate container and mix thoroughly. To balance the pH if the soil is too acidic, you can add agricultural lime. Then, mix the ingredients thoroughly.
To use the soil mixture for your container garden, add a small amount of chopped straw or any filler such as foam in the container. It is recommended that you add chopped straw as your filler instead of foam. This is because foam can retain water, unlike straw. Then, fill the remaining space with your DIY potting mixes.
What vegetables grow well together in a container?
Almost all leafy vegetables and fruit vegetables can be grown in containers. The most common leafy and fruit vegetables that are widely grown in containers include pole beans, snap peas, cucumber, lettuce, cauliflower, radishes, tomatoes, broccoli, bush beans, onions, garlic, carrots, basil, beets, eggplant, spinach, peppers, and celery.
Read also: 5 basic things every plant needs to grow
What vegetables grow in shallow containers?
The vegetables that can be grown in shallow containers include beets, chard, chili peppers, kale, onions, lettuce, and radish.
What vegetables need full sun?
The vegetables that like full sun include tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, eggplant, peppers, corn, and squash.
Can cucumber be grown in pots?
Cucumber is a vine plant that produces more fruits per plant. The plant can grow up to eight feet long and the fruits are very large. Cucumber can be grown in a container but make sure you choose large pots for your cucumber at least 8 inches diameter pot.
Do potatoes need lots of suns?
Potato prefers partial sun (2-6 hours of direct sunlight) and sandy soil. However, potatoes can also be grown in full sun if you can water them regularly.
Read also: 12 Easy Vegetables To Grow In Full Sun
Choosing the best soil for a vegetable container garden is the first step to launching a successful vegetable garden. This is because if you choose the wrong soil, if you may only waste time and energy. However, when you choose the right soil for a vegetable container garden, your garden will grow successfully without investing any effort.
In this article, I talked about the best type of soil and its features. I also discussed why garden soil is not good for vegetable container gardening and how to amend the garden soil. I hope you will find the article helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.
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