Over the years Sue Dail has planted and cared for thousands of the window boxes, hanging baskets and container gardens as part of our garden center team. She says many people make a very serious mistake when planting window boxes, hanging baskets and container gardens.
“Many people forget about what the plants will be growing in. Great looking planters start with what most people never think about: the soil,” she explains. “Even the best plants won’t do well if you put their roots in a poor environment. That means thinking about the soil you use in your containers.”
Sue's tips for avoiding this mistake are:
1) Start fresh: Replacing the soil in your planters and window boxes every year. “Never re-use soil,” warns Sue. “Last year’s soil has worked hard and many of the nutrients, including key minerals, have been used up. Elements in the soil that help it retain moisture, such as peat, have decomposed and won’t retain water as well as last year leading to the need for more frequent watering. Plus last year’s soil may contain pathogens, spores or diseases that could make it harder for your new plants to stay healthy.”
2) Select the right type: Use a quality soil designed for the challenging growing environment of containers. “In window boxes and other containers, you don’t have earth worms helping to aerate the soil,” explains Sue. “A quality potting soil, such as the Coast of Maine potting soil we carry at the farm, takes that into account.”
3 ) Be generous: Don’t skimp on the amount of soil you use. “When you plant your containers, make sure that the soil is nearly level with the top of the container immediately after you plant,” suggests Sue. “Over the coming weeks that soil will compact a bit as it settles. You can’t add it later, so be sure you put enough in to start with.”
A visit to our garden center gives you access to you a full range Coast of Maine’s soils, plant foods and gardening amendments in addition to being able to consult with us about which ones would suit your needs the best. In the spring and early summer you can also choose from thousands of plants including vegetable plants, annuals, herbs, sun and shade-loving perennials, shrubs and fruit trees.
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