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Soil for very large containers

8 years ago

I recently had a multitude of large planters built on my rooftop deck. The internal dimensions of the planters are 22" tall and 19" wide. Between all the planters, there is 53 feet of length to fill with soil. My plan is to do a garden of half boxwoods, and half lavender, with varying annuals filling out the rest.

The first 10-12 inches of the planter bottoms will be filled with upside down laundry baskets (cheap) with extra holes drilled, and with styrofoam packing peanuts. Finally, a weed fabric will be laid on top of the baskets/peanuts. The soil will start from the weed fabric and up. That leaves me with a total of 80 cubic feet of soil to source.

I've been researching Al's mix, and I wanted to know if the 5-1-1 is suitable for large containers like this as well. Obviously, part of the considerations in soil here is the economic cost, from both an initial investment of the soil to replenishment/replacement of the soil over time. I'm unsure if the gritty mix would be a better alternative, but 80 cubic feet of gritty soil mix is getting a little outside of my price range. The other alternative I'm considering if just a simple mix of perlite/compost/peat moss.

Also, I live in Chicago, and my roof does collect it's share of snow. Are there any considerations to take into place when snow on my plants/soil is melting?

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