Container Culture [was Perched Water Table]

Laura & Dave
Thu, 05 Dec 2013 21:52:21 PST
I agree, interesting thread, and I'll throw in my two cents for what it's worth.
   I grow almost all my plants in band pots, those square pots with narrow 
strips of plastic running from side to side dividing the bottom into four 
squares.  I use a fairly gritty soil mix, so to keep it in the pots, I cut a 
piece of artists' plastic canvas to fit the bottom.  This provides drainage for 
nearly the entire bottom footprint of the pot.  I have built raised beds on a 
concrete slab (used to be a basketball court) that has most of the plants in 
them.  All the pots are then bedded in sawdust (I use pine, easily acquired here 
in the northwest at feed stores).  I make sure that there is at least a 
centimeter of sawdust between the bottom of the pot and the underlying surface.  
The sawdust wicks the water away from the pots since it is easy for the soil and 
sawdust to contact each other through the thin, porous canvas.  As a bonus, the 
sawdust offers cold protection, and helps keep the plants cool and the roots 
damp in summer.  After three, or sometimes four years, the sawdust has broken 
down enough that it stays soggy, and must be replaced. The old sawdust is great 
on the compost pile, mixed with available greens and other brown ingredients.  
This works as well for larger pots, with the bottom holes on the sides of the pots.
   Dave Brastow
   Tumwater, Washington  USA, where the above is being tested this week by day 
temperatures near freezing and nights down to -16 to -12 F ( 8 - 10 C).

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