Using Compost in Your Container Garden

Posted on May 3 2011 - 2:06am by Mike Lieberman

When you are growing in containers, you need to make sure that you amend your soil because the nutrients are being washed through the container or absorbed by the plant.

One way that you can amend the soil is by adding compost to it.

To use the compost, you’ll want to add some to the container especially around the base of the plant. Then you’ll need to water it in. This will allow the compost to make it’s way into the container and into the plants.

A sign that your plant is lacking nourishment is when the leaves begin to yellow. Ideally you don’t want it to get to that point though.

Once the plant is established in your container for a few weeks, you might want to add some compost to feed it and gauge it from there.

What are some other ways to feed and nourish your plants?


  • Aurorabelarose

    I re-use water from cooking,to water plants from after rinsing raw beans or after rinsing hot pasta,not sure if that starch helps the soil or not? Things like that.I like drink the juice of cooked plants, but if you don’t maybe that’s good to water your plants with,enriching it,I would hope so.Anyone know for sure?

    I do have plant food,when I get around to it.

  • Mike Lieberman

    I’ve heard that you can reuse that water too. Good call.

  • Bren in BGgarden

    I love what you do in your corner of the block! We could all learn from you – big or small gardens need are inspired by your shares.

  • Michael Nolan

    I actually save the bathwater when I soak in epsom salts. The magnesium sulfate can be beneficial to the plants and the soil.

  • R Kintz

    I catch rain water, add rabbit droppings along with the wood flake bedding. Left in the sun, covered, it makes a “tea” that I water all my flower pots. I’m considering using it on my vegetable plants that are in ten or fifteen gallon containers. Is that a good substitute for compost?

  • Chad

    Compost tea is a great way to fertilize your plants and is easier to add to them than compost is.

  • Red Icculus

    Aerated compost, alfalfa, and blackstrap molasses tea is how I fertilize. If magnesium becomes a problem, I add a pinch of epsom salt.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Awww thanks Bren.

  • Mike Lieberman

    I like that idea and since you are so damned sexy you can bottle that bath water and sell it. I’ll take 10% of the profits for coming up with the idea 😉

  • Mike Lieberman

    It certainly might be worth the experiment to see what happens compared to regular compost.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Do you make your own?

  • Mike Lieberman

    Thanks for the tips.

  • Chad

    Yes, A bit of compost in a 5 gallon bucket left to steep a bit will do wonders. It can even be sprayed on the foliage for a gentle boost (although I probably wouldn’t do that with things like your lettuces where you eat the foliage). Lots of info on different recipes on the net.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Sweet. Thanks.

  • Chris

    I just started vermicomposting, haven’t had the little guys long enough to have done it yet but the soil is supposed to be great, you can also add the leachate (worm pee) dilluted in water, its basically liquid gold for plants!

  • Mike Lieberman

    Sweet. That stuff should be great for your plants.

  • Gina_tyler

    you can use rice water,if you cook your rice and you have to drain out the left over (out of a steamer) use this in the soil.
    Blood works good
    Diluted urine works good
    Coffee grinds work good
    Someone mentioned Rabbitt poop- Works GREAT!
    Of course Chicken Poo
    If you know Homeopathy (AGROHOMEOPATHY) works amazing for gardening

  • Guest

    I have a lots of clover growing all over the place. Clover is a legume
    that fixes its own nitrogen. Once in a while I grab a bunch of clover
    (it overgrows anyways) and throw it in the compost bin.

    Free nitrogen!

  • Mike Lieberman


  • Niya

    You mention using green and brown things to make the compost. I get the green but what do you use for brown? I thought of rotting leaves for example, but these are not around all year. What do you use?
    Thanks for the massive inspiration.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Word. This should answer that question for you