Somebody getting an early start?

Getting ready to fill all these containers, repotting/uppotting around February one.These containers were idle for a few years. An $8.00 bag will only fill 1/2 container. Shucks.


I picked up 2 bags of Black Kow for $8 last week.


I’m thinking of using a lot of Black Kow this year as part of a raised bed mix and also to help with in-place composting of leaves.


I started 4 40 gallon pots and 1 30 gallon. The 30 gallon took 3 bags of soil and the 40 gallons took 4 bags of soil. It is amazing how many bags can fit into one pot.

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I grow many not hardy enough trees in containers. I gradually realize that the container and potting soil can cost more than a tree

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I make a passable growing medium without too much expense. Get wood chips from the transfer station. Break them down with Urea fertilizer (Unless you have access to large amounts of free chicken manure or such.)

Urea is about 10x more powerful as an N source pound for pound than chicken manure for reference. Spike it with Iron sulfate and also micronutrients if you have them.

Adjust tilth by adding diatomaceous earth clay sweeping compound from the auto parts store and larger twigs and sticks sifted from the pile.

It will perform about like average store bought potting soil on an N-P-K level. Other nutes are a crapshoot. I sprang for a soil test and now I spike the pile with real-chemical-name ferts on a formula derived from the test. The cost for treating a yard and a half of chips is probably $15-20 all in.

I also still add peat moss, but less and less as time goes by. It doesn’t seem to make much difference.

You do have to start well in advance of the growing season. A year is ideal.


In my case I pay nothing for most of my 300 or more containers. I save used containers/nursery pots.
Now, I may buy $50 in bagged soil and another $50 in amendments/fertilizers. I get by with less than $1 per tree in most cases. Except the older and bigger ones.
I doubt I’d save a lot by preparing a year ahead, but I might get a better / more organic
soil mix if I did.
Time and
effort spent watering, especially in a dry year,
are bigger worries than cost of pots and soil when it comes to container growing.

I like your approach, I get wood chips from are electric company by the truckloads, leave it sit for a few years, about 3. Now I use mainly Stay Green from Lowe,s, pretty decent.
This hobby is about the cheapest way among other ones. Check out hunting and fishing sports, $ 50,000 bass rig, $ 10000 guns not one but 10 or more. My fish habitat cost nothing, could be freezerfull if I want that much.
Rainwater? Have 500gl tank. Wellwater? $12.00 a month. Fertilizer? Depends what’s on sale. I am not a cheapo, just frugal.


That’s my line of defense, when we start thinking about all the money we spend on our ‘one edible apple’!

" I don’t play golf or have a boat ".

I say that to myself as I check out at Home Depot or Southern States . . . and I feel much better!


I use recycled nursery pots and have collected many from my friends too. But most pot sizes are less than a gallon. Few 2 gallons, fewer 3 gallons or 5 gallons. As the trees grow larger, I need more pots in between 5 to 15 gallons which cost quite a lot as the pot size getting bigger.

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Our local municipal village offers free delivery of truck load of woodchip. But how can I combat black knot or other nasty fungi, bacteria, virus that mixed in the wood chips? I really worried about introducing these disease into my yard. Our nearby waste treatment also offer free delivery of sludgy compost. It looks as good as any store bought compost but advise only to use in landscape not to use for the veggies garden. I think the sludgy containers a lot of heavy metals. It probably is not good for the soil in the long run. Really, what I am facing is a trade off between getting free materials and possibly introducing diseases and toxicating the soil

Supposedly a hot compost heap kills the pathogens. You can certainly crank up the temp with urea. But who knows for sure? I would be leery of sewage sludge too, but that’s just an accepted public health measure are this point.

To me, making reasonably efficient and knowledgeable use of the inputs is part of the hobby.

Waste treatment plant? Not going that extreme. The big load I got a few years ago from the Electric Company is gone last fall.

Yeah, city folks call it waste management😜. It deal with things that go down to the toilet

I hear you…as they get to the 5 and 7 and 10 gallon size, I start running scarce too. But I have probably 150 idle 3 gallon pots on hand.

I probably don’t have big enough yard to put this many pots

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