As you move your plants up in container size, or when they are planted into the ground, you are going to need to add amendments to the soil. The basics for amendments the garden include, but not limited to, quality top soil and compost. For those container gardeners, this is where potting mix comes in handy. These mixes usually includes a slow release plant food that will last usually about 3 months, but it is recommended to add compost.
The most common way to buy these products is to find them bagged but they can get pretty expensive. There are many different schools of thought as to what is necessary but most have the same basic idea. Some people mix their own and work with different formulas but I just buy the bagged stuff for my containers. I know many people out there do not like Miracle-Gro but it has worked for me so far. I have a 75 gallon tumbling compost bin and most of the compost goes into my raised beds or the garden itself. We compost and recycle as much as possible and this results in much less trash. Not everybody is able to compost at home and this is where we need to find alternatives.
I am lucky enough to have a local cafe that offers free compost to local gardeners. This is a huge help for those people that simply cannot compost themselves but not everybody has this free option. It may seem like a strange inquiry to some but if you check with your local eateries, they may do the same thing. Of course, free is always best but there are still cheap options out there.
If you need to buy your compost and/or soil, there may be an option to buy from your city or county. Many cities and counties across the country offer these materials by the yard. This option is much cheaper than the bagged option. A quick call to your city or county office is a start.
I know these options may not be available to everybody but there are many people out there that can do it and have not done it. So this is a call to action to get out there and at least research your options. Who knows? You may find out something that you did not know before and all you had to do was ask.
Are you asking?