I haven’t actually tried this tip yet (I recently read it in a book), but it sounds like a great idea and if it works, it will help me to overcome one of my big gardening dilemmas.
First, the dilemma: Since my dogs seem to lay barren anything that is growing in the ground in our yard, I have wanted to get more involved in container gardening. The “experts” have given multiple reasons why container gardening is a great thing, and I suppose it is. My main objection has always been that in order to have a container of any decent size, it takes so much soil! Why not just use soil from our garden to fill them? Because our clay soil is just terrible and is one of the other problems that we are working like crazy to resolve. Therefore, container gardening just seemed like such an expensive proposition that I limited myself to just a few containers each year.
Now for the remedy: Leaves! If this works the way the book proposes, I will be so happy. The idea is to save your fall leaves in bags and use them to fill the bottom part of your pots (about one-third to one-half full, depending on the soil depth requirements of your plant). By only having to add potting soil and compost to the top portion of the pot, you can save some money. (I am also excited to have another way to use the tons of leaves our trees drop each year; I never like to have organic material end up in a landfill!) For containers that will hold my “permanent” plants, I will probably continue to fill them to the top with my soil/compost mix. But for seasonal things (like tomatoes, etc.), I will use the leaf trick. After the season is over, I will remove the soil from the top of the pots and then add the “weathered” leaves to the compost heap or maybe even directly into the garden soil depending on its state. I’ll let you know how it works!
I can’t tell you how excited I am! You see, last summer, I found the most wonderful container for the times that I want something a little larger. It is just the right size, it’s strong and durable, and comes in a variety of colors. Even better, I was able to pick one up on sale last summer at Wal-Mart for only $5! Just drill a few holes in the bottom and add a little piece of old window screen and you have the perfect planter. I am pleased to present to you my new favorite gardening container….the party tub (also marketed as a child’s toy bin)!
I just loved this orange one. I’ve also seen them in red, purple, neon green, bright yellow, and for those who are of a milder taste, even black. The leaf trick now makes it possible for me to have these babies sprinkled all over my yard, filled with vegetables of all kinds. Yippy!