Preparing your pot/ grow bag or garden bed – Part2 – The Sandwich Soil layering method
In my previous blog I had shared the knowledge base on soil layers. Natures design is unique and replicating the same format in our pots/ grow bags is not really necessary. However we can take the tip from nature and create a sustainable soil layer which can withstand heat and retain water and fertilizer.
For this article purpose I am going to take the example of a setting up a standard 12″x 12″ HDPE grow bag.
- Large gravels from the seving process while preparing your potting mix.
- A bit of river sand (cocopeat in case of no river sand)
- Neem oil cake
- Horticultural Charcoal broken to small pieces or self prepared Bio Charcoal
Now you are wondering what? Charcoal now where did this come from and what is this Bio Charcoal? I know I can read your mind… 🙂
Charcoal use in garden: Charcoal helps in raising the PH level of the soil, improves the air circulation and helps the soil to retain water and nutrients. This continues for years making the soil rich and full of micro organisms. Do not use the charcoal used for barbeque as they may contain chemicals use the normal ones available in local stores. You can also check with your local ironing person (if they still uses charcoal) where they gets it from.
Bio Charcoal: Its nothing but the charcoal which you can prepare by burning your garden dry waste including the weeds. Just ensure the seeds and any pests are completely burned and nothing but deep color smoke is coming out. Allow it to cool and you have your own Bio Charcoal.
Coming back the layering method is pretty simple. Picture is self made so kindly excuse 🙂
Lets go bottoms up 🙂
5. Cover the bottom 2 inch layer with the gravels you had retained earlier.
4. Now layer the next one inch with a mix of river sand/ coco peat, your potting mix and neem oil cake (You might wonder why we are adding neem oil cake now as we already added it during the preparation). Well this is to ensure no soil pests thrive even deep inside the soil.
3. Now cover this with one and half inch of charcoal or bio charcoal. Ensure to break the charcoal to small pieces.
2. Top it up with 1/2 an inch of river sand.
Now that we have setup 5 inch of layering we are left with another 7 inch space.
1. Fill the rest of the 6 inches with your potting mix and and plant or sow your seed.
0. Remember the thumb rule, always leave and empty space a thumb measure from above the top of the pot/ grow bag bare minimum an inch. This helps in when you water your plants
The above mentioned is the sandwich soil layering method I am following. Have learnt this from expert gardeners and after multiple R&D have freezed on this method. While they say that the soil would hold good for upto 4 years with this method, many of my pots are already 2 years old and the plants are really doing well. All you need to do is just top up the soil with required nutrients at required time.
Try it out, hope this helps. Next would enter to the core topics soon… Until then happy gardening.