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Dirt, and dirt alone

I have rebelled against the issue of putting drainage material in the bottom of containers since I started gardening in Iowa. From day one of this adventure, I took one look at the bags of pea gravel and thought, Haul a bunch of rocks home from the store just to line the bottom of some pots? Hell no.

Yes, I know there are alternative methods of putting containers together, methods that, indeed, are a bit less weighty than the rock method. Styrofoam peanuts, for example (although if you use the non-dissolving kind, that seems like some kind of major crime against the earth, and, well, I can’t imagine the dissolving kind last very long down there…), or two-liter bottles of soda (empty, of course….please do not be burying a full two-liter bottle in your dirt and then coming to cry to me about how your containers aren’t draining) with holes drilled in them.

But I generally drink my Diet Coke out of cans, and hadn’t really thought ahead enough to start collecting them in time to line the bottom of the barrels.

I also had this little piece of logistics to take into account: Access to our patio is either through the building and through our apartment, which has very light-colored carpeting. In other words, garden stuff? Gets carried up the back stairs. Which are very steep. And then said garden stuff gets carried across the back of every apartment on our side of the building, all the way to the patio.

And this? This is what haunts me at night. Everything I carry in? I’m going to have to, at some point, carry back out again, unless I figure out a way to rent this apartment, with or without Fatemeh, until they carry me out of it.

So about those rocks? I was not carrying rocks in, drainage or no drainage. And this is how, once again, I decided that this step in the container gardening process is totally overrated, and how, once again, I decided that those wine barrels would get filled with dirt and dirt alone.

8 Comments on “Dirt, and dirt alone”

  1. #1 Heather's Garden
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 6:09 am

    For tomatoes you’re going to want those containers full of dirt and dirt alone anyway. I can’t wait until I actually see a photo of planted tomatoes!

  2. #2 Gary
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Rocks??? I always use Republican congressmen.

    Good luck.

  3. #3 inadvertentgardener
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Heather, ;-)

    Gary, sadly, Republican congressmen don’t drain very well, either.

  4. #4 Jean Ann Van Krevelen
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I have used diet coke cans with a layer of landscape fabric over the top for shallow rooted plants. I have also used smaller pots turned upside down for the same purpose.

    Great conversation…I am sharing it on the Cool Springs Press Facebook page later today. :)

  5. #5 inadvertentgardener
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Jean, oh right! I forgot about the smaller-pots technique — thanks for that reminder. Good to know the Diet Coke can option works — very interesting. Thanks for sharing the conversation!

  6. #6 Diana
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Meh. I never put drainage material in my pots.

    Then again, I tend to skip steps in everything I do. It’s just so tedious and boring to do things the “right way”. I much prefer my way.

  7. #7 inadvertentgardener
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Diana, yeah…I’m stubborn like that (not saying you’re stubborn, but I am saying that I am!).

  8. #8 Chiot's Run
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I never put stuff in the bottoms of my pots, I figure the plants can use the space. I do put a piece of newspaper or something in there to keep the soil from coming out the drainage hole, but that’s it.

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