Container Gardening - Knowledgebase Question

Elk Grove, CA
Avatar for amfoy
Question by amfoy
January 12, 1998
How do I prepare the soil and drainage for container gardening to grow tomatoes and roses? Is there a special way to allow for drainage and watering? I have really big containers, about 24" wide and 24" height.

Answer from NGA
January 12, 1998
When you garden in containers you need to remember that water is used up rather quickly by plants. In the summer you may have to add water once or twice a day. Another caution about container gardening is that it's easy to under or over feed. All that water will leach nutrients from the soil at a fast rate. On the other hand, fertilizer salts can build up if applied too often.

With those cautions in mind, both tomatoes and roses will adapt to growing in containers, and the sizes you have will be fine. The roses might need to graduate to larger pots as they mature. The soil you use for containers should be loose, light, and retain moisture. Rather than filling them with garden soil, invest in some commercial potting soil, or make your own with one-half peat, one-quarter sand, and one-quarter perlite. Either mixture will encourage good root development and the containers will be easier to move around because potting soil is considerably lighter than garden soil.

Both roses and tomatoes should be in full sunshine during the spring and summer months.

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