Tips for Testing the Soil of Your Container Garden
62. Use a pH Meter: Acid-loving plants like blueberries, azaleas, and gardenias prefer pH lower than 6. Alkaline-lovers like clematis, crocus, and geraniums need a pH higher than 7.5. Learn how to check the soil pH at home here.
63. Amend Soil pH: Add aluminum sulfate to lower the pH, and lime to raise the pH. Learn more here.
64. Do a Soil Test:
Avoid testing when it’s wet or recently fertilized. Find the remaining instructions here.
65. Check the Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the soil temperature is 60°F at least.
Tips for Fertilizing Container Plants
66. Feed at the Right Time: Depending on the plant and its fertilization needs, add fertilizer at an adequate time. It can be at the time of planting, middle of the growing period, fruiting, or depend on the season and growth. You know it’s time to fertilize when you notice abnormal and widespread yellowing of the leaves and slow growth.
67. Supplement Monthly: Watering container plants flush out soil nutrients, so it’s a great idea to add in small amounts of liquid feed intermittently, usually once in every 3-4 weeks.
68. Adjust Dosage Accordingly:
Fruit vegetables need more fertilizer than ornamental plants. Using organic fertilizer is critical when you’re growing edibles. Most of the vegetables and herbs can grow productively with the application of one-third of compost or aged manure at the time of planting and another application during mid-growth.
69. Water Soluble Fertilizer vs. Slow Release Fertilizer: Slow-release fertilizers are easier to use, but the former is cheaper and gives you more control, especially when you’re dealing with picky plants.
70. Fertilizer Numbers: If you’re ever confused about the fertilizer numbers and NPK ratio for your plants, use any balanced fertilizer with numbers like 10-10-10 or 20-20-20.
71. Bloom Booster is a Myth: Plants need a balanced diet to produce blooms. Hence, bloom boosters loaded with phosphorous are of no help unless your soil is phosphorus deficient. Plants will only use as much phosphorus as they need. This article at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will help.
72. Under-Fertilizing is Better than Over-Fertilizing:
Fertilizer diluted to half its strength works best for herbs and other low fertilizer requirement plants. Follow the instructions on the label when you’re using a slow-release fertilizer.
Tips to Keep Your Container Garden Alive in Summer
73. Water Regularly: In summers, water regularly but slowly and deeply. If your summers are hot and windy, always keep the growing medium slightly moist.
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