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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Container gardening in Ireland, including Annual Bedding Plants

can i use polystyrene packaging for drainage in container?


 
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needtoknowhow
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:29 pm    Post subject: can i use polystyrene packaging for drainage in container? Reply with quote

Am a complete novice in the gardening world but have piles of enthusiasm!!

read the following article:

http://www.gardenplansireland.com/articles/article28.html

stating that for "container drainage, you should check your container for adequate drainage holes, If you have too few or no drainage holes at all then your plants may suffer from oxygen starvation due to excess water. To prevent drainage points becoming blocked with compost, I suggest placing a layer of broken terracotta or polystyrene bedding plant trays over the drainage holes. In fact broken polystyrene bedding plant trays can also be used to fill the main body of larger containers; this will reduce the amount of potting compost needed."

have 3 massive pots for outdoor which am planting with buxus and underplanting with annuals. have a pile of polystyrene packaging from moving in that's lying idle in the garage. can i use this for adequate drainage. broken up into chunks or should I just take the hammer to a terracotta pot?
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foamcutter
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would break up the foam packaging as it's lying around, no point destroying the terracotta pots as you could plant them out too.
The foam won't degrade in the bottom of the container and is often used in this way.
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needtoknowhow
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for that foamcutter, its great to finally have a use for the stuff - was having bother getting rid of it to recycle place.

Picture of my efforts below. Will be putting a picket fence on 2 sides of the tank (front and one side only, to leave room to access the tank on side farthest away from proposed patio) and going to put pebbles down over weed barrier which will come out beyond the fence enough to sit the pots on it which i hope will be suitable for ensuring the pots will sit off the ground a bit - read that they should be raised on bricks to help the drainage further - and will put down kerbing to contain the pebbles. It will be fairly rectangular so on each side of this area hoping to put in curved raised brick beds, soil is rubbish and shallow so taking the easiest option of filling with good soil as opposed to taking a plow to what's there, to make it less formal looking - hope this weather keeps up for all the ideas I have!!!

Have planted trailing lobelia round the buxus base to add some summer colour. the middle pot has 2 hebe heartbreaker which has some left over lobelia plants also - hope the hebe will grow bigger and wider so didn't want to over fill the pot - memories of last years window box disaster where i put in too many plants and the looked good initially but totally choked each other when they grew a bit and died dramatically!!! Rolling Eyes
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verge
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

worth your while to keep pushing the lobelia away from the base of the buxus as it can cause dead spots on it through lack of light. By the way, thats the lowest oil tank I ever saw. How does the oil get to the burner, is that area of ground really high?
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needtoknowhow
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

verge wrote:
worth your while to keep pushing the lobelia away from the base of the buxus as it can cause dead spots on it through lack of light. By the way, thats the lowest oil tank I ever saw. How does the oil get to the burner, is that area of ground really high?


great, thanks verge - the lobelia is only tiny at the moment but take it it might grow bigger, would you have put something in there with less spread? could always transplate the lobelia to my unbroken terracoptta pots!!

as for the oil tank, i suppose its low alright, only bout 4 ft off the ground, not hugely higher ground level than the house, maybe 3/4 foot of difference sloping gently to the house level - its about 25 ft away from the house. doesn't seem to have caused any issues with oil supply so far, touch wood!!! its great cause the picket fence going round it will only be 4 ft high so wont look like a monster thing!

thanks for all the help so far
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danmac
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must say that the polystyrene foam in the bottom of large containers is a great idea.
I have used this trick in lots of my containers this year and it seems to work very well, plus finding a useful task for the foam packaging is great.
Previously I had been using rocks to fill up the base of the containers, which of course was also much heavier when moving the container. A little bit less stress on the back is always a good thing as well Smile
One thing I'd just like to add is that on top of the polystyrene I have been laying 3 or 4 layers of old newspaper. This I figured would mean that even less compost would sink down into the bottom/gaps between the lumps of foam. As the paper is porous, it lets water seep through so the drainage is still good. It did occur to me that the paper being biodegradable would eventually break down and the compost would sink a bit, but I hope that my guesswork is correct and that by the time this occurs it will be past the growing season for the annuals, which I have planted in the containers.
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