Sunday, January 19, 2014

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
-Wendell Berry

With this unseasonably warm (and dry) winter so far, the small plants I've purchased, and those started from seed to this point have almost been literally growing through the roof.

Plants I purchased back in December are already in need of potting up into larger containers. The seeds that were started right after Thanksgiving? I transferred them from 1 inch cells to 2-1/4 inch cells the end of December, and now they're outgrowing these cells! A tropical Passion Vine specie I purchased several months back in a 4 inch container was potted up into a 6 inch pot about a month ago. It's blooming in mid winter (!!!), I've already cut back close to a foot of growth on it, and will need to be potted up once again. Its bloom time is usually summer through fall. Normally at this time, this Passion Vine would be dormant, if not completely withered down to the ground from a hard frost.

What's a butterfly container garden gardener to do? Start planting.

With the copious amounts of potting soil needed to fill up all of the containers currently on hand, and those projected for purchase later, it would be prohibitively expensive buying sacks of the stuff at a local home improvement store or nursery shop. Instead, I found a topsoil yard in the area that sells bulk potting soil in smaller quantities. A large trash can full of it goes for $6.00 VS. a 2 cubic foot of packaged soil goes anywhere from $3.00 to $10.00+.

I bought several 20 gallon storage totes at Home Depot that I've commandeered for filling up with bulk potting soil. They charge me $2.00 per tote to fill. Each tote is roughly equivalent to about 2 cubic feet. It's a very good quality mix, but I've customized it by adding composted fir bark, peat, and perlite to the mix. This makes for a very light, moisture retentive, and fast draining soil. With the extra goodies added to the basic mix, my guess is that it costs me around $2.50 per 2 cubic feet for excellent potting soil custom made just the way I want it. I'm calling it Andy's Amazingly Awesome Astonishing Awe-inspiring Profundo Perfecto Potting Soil.

Not much, but it's a start.

More plants ready for containers.

All right: a head start! I really wasn't expecting to get to this point until mid February. At the moment, I'm potting up and placing them willy-nilly around the house until I get a better feel for how many pots total and how large they will all be. Once all plants are in their containers, I'll arrange them for height and size.

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