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The dreaded Slump - how do you allow for it?

You could say that I've got the hump because of the slump! Yeah I know, I'm not making any sense as usual, but bear with me. The Slump, is that annoying thing that occurs whenever we use organic materials to plant out something in a plant pot or above ground bed. It happens because all our friends in the mix (worms, fungi, bacteria, etc., get to work eating their breakfast, dinner, and lunch which reduces the mix  (along with settlement) to cause the mix to reduce. The result for growing veges is not a worry, we simply add some more mix to top up the pot or bed when the veges have been harvested. Usually only a relative short while.

I usually add some manure to the top and turn this over in the top layer of the container / bed to give the creatures more nourishment, and 'hey presto' the bed/pot is full again. 

The problem is more for the growing of trees, etc that are going to be a permanent fixture in the pot. etc, and in my case in the quite tall growing container, the wheelie bin. I have managed to get given and begged for and received quite a few of these and my main use of these is to grow avocados which need a deep soil, - something I don't have at my block. when they have needed more materials added, I have tried tipping them over, carefully pulling the tree towards the top and then shoving more materials under the plant, but this breaks some / a lot of roots and sets the tree back. I don't believe that adding materials to the top would work as this probably cause the bark to rot ( some trees might stand this but most wouldn't). My current idea is to grow some veges, e.g. tomatoes, pumpkins, etc in the container for a couple of years. I would then add materials after each vege season and after a couple of years fill the container right up to the top before planting out the tree.

Can anyone suggest a better way?

The bin here has an avocado seedling growing in it but has been set back by trying to tip it over. pull the tree upwards and inserting materials underneath.

The bin above has a black sapote seedling  (and volunteer ginger plant) in it. You can see how much slump has occurred, it was full two years ago.

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Comment by Christa on April 16, 2017 at 19:11

What a dilemma, Roger.

Option 1 -  If you can put the bin off the ground on a couple of besser blocks, and have a false bottom plate inside the base of the bin.  Using a hydraulic jack through a round hole in the bottom, lifing up the soil and growth.  The only problem is somehow you would have to fill the bottom up with soil,  but do you?.   Ahhh!  too much trouble, just leave it the way it is, there is plenty of soil there.   

Option 2 -Cut the bottom of a bucket and slit it up the side and encase the tree stem, allowing a good airgap, and then fill the outside of the bucket with soil. 

That black sapote looks very healthy, growing in that bin, and I am running out of options.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 16, 2017 at 9:45

Yes, hmmm ... since I cannot physically do what you do, I have resorted to ... adding material from the top. All I do is make sure the new stuff is not close to the stem of the Fig, Mulberry, Saba Nut whatever. In the bins I use, I have more wriggle room since they are roughly 2.5ft x 2ft. With the wheelie bin, I would add a thin layer and batter it back then add another etc and see how it goes.


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