how trash helps me save on potting soil
EVER BEMOAN HOW MUCH POTTING SOIL it takes to fill a really big pot, and how much it all adds up to at the nursery checkout counter? If I’m going to grow something big, or something in there longterm, I’m happy to fill a container up with fresh, high-quality potting soil. But some plants don’t stay in the pot long enough or have big enough root systems to warrant the wasted medium, and money. I employ a bit of trickery in the form of a false bottom for the pot, and here’s how:
Simply bundle some used six-packs or nursery pots, or even packing “peanuts,” inside a discarded plastic bag. Secure it closed with a twist-tie, and insert the new plastic “pillow” in the bottom of the pot, preferably on top of a few upside-down plastic 6-packs or small nursery pots, so the plastic bag doesn’t seal the drainage hole shut. Then top up with your medium. You can also just stack a layer or two of upside-down empty small pots or cellpacks on the bottom of the pot.
This is also a great way to “plunge” a young shrub or tree (in its plastic nursery pot, using it for “annual color” before it gets a permanent garden spot in fall) or a houseplant you may wish to use outdoors in a pot bigger than it needs. Just make the pillow platform, balance the potted plant on it, and backfill around with potting soil or even mulch (my preference, for that use). You can even put several houseplants, pots and all, together in a big outdoor container this way for temporary summer duty.
If I still worked where I used to, I’d call this a “good thing.” :)