vegetable patch management
managing pots
Pots are the gardening equivalent of canaries in a coalmine as they will dry out much more quickly than garden beds.  To get the most out of your pots these points should be considered.

  • Photo of pots on a verendah
    Pots on my back verandah.  Note that the pots all have saucers underneath them.

    Photo of a pot trolley.
    Close up of a pot trolley.

    close up photo of a pot trolley base.
    Close up of the wheels on a pot trolley.  The wheels can be locked down so the pot will not move when bumped.

    It's best to have your pots in the zone one area of your garden.  That being the place close to your back door or main thoroughfare as this is the area that you pass through frequently in the course of a day, which means you are more likely to notice when your plants need watering.  For more information on garden zones see the Garden Zones webpage in the Garden Design section.
  • Pots need far more regular checking than any other part of your garden.  If you are the type of person who finds it hard to maintain regular habits or if you are frequently away on trips then It might be best if you don't have any pots, or at least only a few pots.
  • Only use larger pots as they take longer to dry out.  Larger pots need to be watered less frequently which reduces the risk of losing plants from lack of water.  For more information on pot sizes and types see the General Pots webpage.
  • Use saucers under your pots.  Not only will they reduce water runoff but they act as mini reservoirs that will reduce the amount of times you have to water.
  • Place your pots on pot trolleys.  By doing this you will be able to easily move the pots to take advantage of different seasonal conditions and to clean underneath them.  These pot trolleys also reduce the amount of times you will have to lift pots.  They also avoid the type of damage that can occur when pots are placed directly on timber decking.
  • As pots hold a limited amount of soil it is important to regularly add fertaliser.  As my pots are close to the kitchen window I avoid the use of animal manures as they smell too much when wet.  Instead I use a combination of NKP fertiliser, Osmocote slow release fertiliser granules, rock dust, blood and bone and Dynamic Lifter, a chicken manure pellet that does not smell as much as regular animal manures.  I also give regular doses of liquid fertaliser.
  • Use a high quality potting mix.  A potting mix  is preferable to garden compost or soil as it drains better and is less likely to carry disease.  I have found the Debco organic potting mix to be a good quality product.  It is also certified organic by NASAA (National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia), an organisation that has very stringent organic standards.