Building soil in a small space

I’m trying to figure out how to build nutrient rich soil to put into my container garden. I’m hesitant to use local soils due to pollutants and I am also going to be packing it up three flights of stairs! My grow tower takes a lot of soil! Does anyone have suggestions for this?

Dawn, I saw that you’re in Salt Lake (thanks for that intro!). I visited there late last year for a conference and loved it.

I’ve had *great luck putting all of my kitchen scraps into a large garbage can and just letting them sit until they break down. It doesn’t smell, but you would have to drill a hole in the bottom and have some way to capture the resulting liquid. Wondering if you couldn’t do similar right in your grow tower? Maybe adding potting soil just in each little planting hole? It might take awhile to fill it, though.

Also, vermicomposting, if you haven’t tried that already!

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Kris,

Thanks! My grow tower does have an internal compost bin that goes the the center. Last time it took 17 medium sized bags of potting soil to fill it for planting. I thought about finding some rich soil, pitting soil, coconut husk, and mixing that. I’m hoping the coconut could help as a filler.

The grow tower (check it out online) holds 50 plants and is really awesome.

Do you have any suggestions for a lighter weight and airy soil? Am I on the right track or is it not the best plan for growing foods?

Thanks,

Dawn

I have a grow tower, too. I just started using it a month or so ago. You might look at “Mel’s Mix” that is suggested for square foot gardening. It’s meant to be lightweight but very rich. I’ve not tried it, but it comes to mind. The other thing I’d do is incorporate some perlite and/or vermiculite to keep the soil loose and lighter. That grow tower is big to fill!

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If you or any of your friends have a pet bunny, adding ‘bunny berries’ to your soil can really cheer up your plants. It’s a ‘cold’ manure so it can be used immediately and doesn’t have to compost before it can be used. Due to the high cost of imported fertilizers here in Hawaii, bunny manure is the only fertilizer we can afford since we have a herd of bunnies producing fluffy fiber for us. They also create lovely manure which not only keeps our gardens thriving, but helps out our neighbor’s gardens, too.

Maybe your garden needs a bunny? Adding ‘livestock’ to your ‘farm’ is a traditional thing, after all. The bunny can speed compost the parts of most garden plants that you don’t want to eat (although check first to make sure it’s a bunny safe plant, they can’t eat all greenery) and the garden will thrive and grow faster.

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