Every gardener with fair to poor soil is faced with a dilemma – to dig it out and replace it with a variety of possible soil amendments, or… not? One solution to this question, for those with limited money, time, soil dig-ability and/or back strength, is something known as “pocket planting.” I have practiced this method for years, with some success, but only just learned that there is a name for it.
Basically, the idea is to dig out a space for a plant, amend the dug-out area with as much good soil/compost as you can, being sure to mix at least some of the original soil in, and hope for the best. It’s not the most scientific way to give your new babies a good start in life, but in cases where the alternative is to leave a rocky, weedy, or clay-filled site bare, it may be better than nothing. In the case of a parking strip, unless you’re extra industrious, feeling really flush or having a landscaper take care of getting it started for you, it might be your only viable choice.
Here is a link to a Portland nursery’s page with ideas for “hellstrip” plantings, complete with before/after photos of their pocket planting site. The “after” photos say it all!
Has anyone else used this method where you would otherwise have had to dig out the entire area? How did it work for you? Or are you more in favor of the garden advice that it’s pointless to “plant a $50 plant in a $10 hole”?