Mitch BakerMitch Baker is the Horticultural Specialist at the American Plant Food Co. Garden Center and Nursery, in Bethesda, MD, focusing on natural gardening products and organic gardening. Mitch is a MD Certified Professional Horticulturist, with 31 years of experience in the garden center industry. He has studied at numerous horticultural institutions from New York to Oregon, and also serves on the board of the Rachel Carson Council.
Hi, I am Mitch Baker with American Plant Food. We have planted up our container garden now, fertilizing and watering are the next steps, and they are key to keeping a container garden like this looking good throughout the growing season. Fertilizers have lots of different choices today; from powder to granular forms to liquid forms, water-soluble fertilizers. Im going to recommend an organic liquid fertilizer like the fish and seaweed combination. This feeds the soil as well as the plants. So, it promotes the life in the soil. Weve used a composted soil amendment. We want to take advantage of that by using an organic fertilizer to enhance the life in the soil. Now, there are also granular forms of fertilizers. This is a pill type, convenient, easy-to-use fertilizer thats compressed into a large tablet or pill like this. Its an organic fertilizer, but it also contains micro-organisms, so, we can add some additional micro-organisms to the soil. These are easy to use, just as is, you place them in the soil right in the root zone around the plants. For a container this size, three tablets, just placed into the soil, then those will dissolve the first time you water. Watering is really important for container gardens like this in order to do well. Containers dry out a lot faster than plants that are in the ground, so you want to make sure they get adequate water each time you water, and water regularly. Now, I am using a water wand here on the end of the hose that helps break up the pressure of the water, you get a nice volume, a flood of water without all the pressure, and you want to thoroughly saturate the container when you water, not just a little bit of water, but enough water to thoroughly saturate all of the soil in the container, and allow it then to drain out at the bottom of the container naturally. About an inch of water a week is necessary, depending upon temperature and time of year. A container like this, again, watering it well each time you water, not just a little bit of water, thoroughly saturate that root ball so that you can see the excess water draining at the bottom. Think about watering once a week as a guideline, but you may have to adjust that depending upon temperature and time of year. Fertilizing, youre going to need to repeat that throughout the year. This is a seasonal garden, you want to maximize the results, so depending upon the type of fertilizer you are using you may need to repeat that every two weeks, once a month, every six weeks. Follow the label directions on the fertilizer, but make sure you continue to feed right through the season to get the maximum results out of a container garden like this. Water regularly, feed regularly, a container like this will give you pleasure for the entire growing season.