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Do I need to put stones/cracked pots in the bottom of a container before the compost?

New Romney, Kent, United Kingdom Gb

I've heard different opinions about this. Somehwre on this site - can't remember where - I read that putting stones, pebbles, cracked pots, etc, in the bottom of a container actually worsens the drainage, rather than aids it. What am I to do I ask? I beg of you my peers, assist me with this little matter!




Answers

 

I've no idea Merfyn but I shall be interested in the answers! Mostly I don't but if the pot is deeper than required I use broken up polystyrene plant trays in the bottom which doesn't make the pot so heavy.

17 Sep, 2009

 

think it may depend on your soil perhaps? Heavy clay might be grateful for any extra help with drainage, lighter soil not so fussy - ?

17 Sep, 2009

 

Thanks. I'm using compost from the garden centre, so it's quite light. I did a mix this year - some pots with stones/some without, but I forgot in which pot I put stones, so I don't know what difference it made! Doh!

17 Sep, 2009

 

Have to say, we never do. I found that the broken crocks etc. just harboured small molluscs and woodlice. I DO put a piece of aluminium gauze (the stuff sold for car repairs) over the drainage holes to stop the ingress of small critters. Zinc gauze was better but you cannot get it now.
Agree with the use of broken polystyrene in the bottom of large pots to make them lighter, but do not think it is of any great benefit to the plants.

17 Sep, 2009

 

Polystyrene is good broken up, but a bit electro-static on your fingers. If you don't mind weight, pebbles are good, pea gravel, horticultural grit, sharp sand. It all drains so well.

17 Sep, 2009

 

I tried the polystyrene idea in a really big pot but it just made it top heavy and kept blowing over in the slightest breeze. (force 5 today Merf! ! !) Lol

17 Sep, 2009

 

I'm still inwardly debating.....!

17 Sep, 2009

 

debate no longer,the plants need feading but more important they need water if you give them water you must give them dranige'' I do not use anything in baskets (no need) in pots I use broken pots, in boxes and tubs I use lime stone, by doing so I can give the plants a good watering knowing that excess will quickly draine off,and at the same time pulling air in to the container,(something else the roots need) at the moment I am changing to winter blumers in my containers, and the lime stone gets scalded same as the cointainers,doing it today so that tomorrow I can dround a few worms in Trawsfynydd, I am not one of them I knew my father.

17 Sep, 2009

 

Merfyn we don't put any broken crocks in the bottom of our pots but we do use a free draining compost mix.

17 Sep, 2009

 

I do, I use polystyrene plant trays broken up, if there's none available I put gravel in the bottom of the pot.

17 Sep, 2009

 

Looks like it is down to what you feel works for you Merfyn...

17 Sep, 2009

 

There's really only two reasons for putting crocks in the bottom of a pot which has holes for drainage 1) in case there's any solid lumps in the soil you use to fill the pot (whatever the soil is) which MIGHT end up blocking the drainage hole and 2, it harks back to the days when all pots were terracotta and only had one large drainage hole at the base, which meant the soil might actually fall out the hole.
Just in case you're interested, Merfyn!

17 Sep, 2009

 

I do - because my garden suffers from wind (hic!) - sorry, couldn't resist that!

Seriously, several of my pots blow over without crocks or stones in the bottom.

17 Sep, 2009

 

John Innes compost would give more weight to your pots too, Spritz.

17 Sep, 2009

 

Our pots are heavy enough without adding crocks... if we're using a big clay with just the one hole we put a broken crock across the hole to prevent the soil all falling out :-)

17 Sep, 2009

 

Good golly chaps and chapesses! That's made everything clear as day for me.......much! There's only one thing for it I'm afraid, and that's to put a thin layer of crocks or pebbles at the bottom and see what occurs! Thank you all for your energetic replies and advice!

17 Sep, 2009

 

Why, are you using large terracotta pots with only one hole in them? (see my answer above!)

17 Sep, 2009

 

I've got a mixture of pots and containers. Some are plastic tubs, some are terracotta pots, and next year I'll have something more unusual hopefully!

17 Sep, 2009

 

Ooooooh that sounds interesting, care to enlighten us? or is this one of those watch this space jobbies?

17 Sep, 2009

 

More unusual... care to enlighten us? If it is a polystyrene fish box trough it does not need drainage.

17 Sep, 2009

 

I always used to religiously put either broken pots, gravel, or polystyrene in pots (ca 150 pots at one time). I often used the worm like bits of polystyrene that come in parcels.

I then got fed up with the polystyrene because if you want to tip the used compost onto the garden it's a right game to separate it out.

I then got fed up with the whole crock/gravel business as well and stopped putting anything in at all except the compost. I can detect no difference whatsoever in the results.....the pots thrive regardless.

17 Sep, 2009

 

I inherited several big pots with HUGE holes in and I put some old carpet in them.

17 Sep, 2009

 

Novel, Ian - I've used jeycloths in the bottom of a pot to keep the ants out before now.

17 Sep, 2009

 

Must admit to being a crock pot (or should that be a crack pot...? lol) Anyway, I always use crocks in the bottom of containers (all 400 and odd of them...) and cut old tights up as well, to cover the drainage hole (stops the vine weevils creeping in...)

17 Sep, 2009

 

I've now got this image of GoYers all cutting up bits of carpet, crumbling polystyrene, collecting up bits of broken pots and pebbles, cutting up old tights, folding jeycloths, cutting up old jumpers - I guess its gardening Jim, but not as we know it...

17 Sep, 2009

 

I use a cut up piece of green shading and chuck in some 3mm grit or any other similar material

17 Sep, 2009

 

But it is Bamboo, that's what makes it so much fun.........

17 Sep, 2009

 

Oh dear - more suggestions! I'll try Mrs James' tights for a novel idea (just make sure she's not in them at the time though!). But I see Cestina has done all the tests already, and the results are the same.

Decision made: nothing in the bottom, but make sure all pots/containers are raised off the ground slightly. Then we'll see what happens!

18 Sep, 2009

 

Isn't gardening fun? Thank god we all have different ideas on how to do things :-)

18 Sep, 2009

 

Oh I do love this site - but it'd be useless without you people of course!

18 Sep, 2009

 

one thing has come out of all this for me , what a brilunt idear the tights' but in a slightly different way' I allways find it a bind when I change the compos in my pots and containers,I have to seperate out the stones or crocks. why not put them in the tights so that you have them alltogather when you tip the containers out , and the tights would cover the hols to stop the what ever geting in, dont hang about patent applyed for,

18 Sep, 2009

 

You're a genius Cliffo!! I'm off to do it now.....

18 Sep, 2009

 

Damn good idea Cliff! I'll give it a try!

18 Sep, 2009

 

And it is my birthday today.

18 Sep, 2009

 

Hi' Lily 2, no ofence but I thought someone wold have asked me if I came from Berk shire.

18 Sep, 2009

 

Jonathan you sneaked in while I was writing my last one, meny happy returns,and congratulations on your lovly garden, Cliff.

18 Sep, 2009

 

Happy birthday from me too Jonathan.
Cliffo, Jonathan and me live very near each other so I guess we're a pair of Berks!!

18 Sep, 2009

 

Happy birthday Jonathan!

18 Sep, 2009

 

Ditto from me! :-)

18 Sep, 2009

 

And from B & I

18 Sep, 2009

 

Many thanks to you all, I am 44 today. You
will be the only people I have chatted to today. More or less every day is like this as my social isolation is very extreme. My illness causes me such an incredibly acute degree of mental incapacitation and mental fatigueability, that I can never hold any conversation with people other than in minute amounts and only very occasionally. The amont of mental energy available to me per day is probably less than a thousandth of that of a normal human being. It is a concept of illness almost impossible to communicate or explain to anyone. I haven't been out of my flat for many years, and don't ever receive visitors (except occasionally my Dad who comes to help my garden, and grocery deliveries). I never see or meet any other people. GOY has literally done wonders for me, and is my main means of contact with the outside world.
It is better to be a 'Berk' than an 'Ox', because the latter are stubborn.

18 Sep, 2009

 

now I know why I like this site somuch,

18 Sep, 2009

 

happy birthday from me as well jonathan I've just looked at the photo's of your garden, its beautiful, you've managed to get so much in a small space--and so much colour
i'm a relatively new member of GOY and have found it great,all these like minded folk I always thought gardeners were nice people--now I know--

18 Sep, 2009

 

Happy birthday jonathan and many happy returns I think you are a lovely person ,a big birthday x from me

18 Sep, 2009

 

Jonathan I'm glad you have all of us to chat to. Hope it has been a truly Happy Birthday.

18 Sep, 2009

 

Thank you all so much.

18 Sep, 2009

 

Jonathan your garden and photos are inspirational. Quite wonderful. Thank you.....

I wish I'd known about the tights when I was fiddling with all those things in the pots.

I don't actually raise most of my pots now though I used to, again I've detected no difference.

18 Sep, 2009

 

I'm glad we were able to share your birthday Jonathan. You may be housebound but your garden is beautiful and a real credit to you. I hope others can see it too and appreciate all your hard work.
Another 'happy birthday' from me x.

18 Sep, 2009

 

"Happy Birthday" from me too Jonathan xx
You and your garden are both inspirational :)

18 Sep, 2009

How do I say thanks?

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