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To start with, be sure to insert the center watering tube down over the tapered cone at the bottom of the planter. Use only mild pressure to insert the tube, arrow pointing down. You may choose to use seeds to start with, or transfer already established plants into your planter. Either way, follow the instructions below for ensuring good success with your "My Little Garden Barrel" planter.
You will quickly come to find that growing fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs in your new garden barrel planter is a tremendously fun and rewarding pursuit. In many ways, growing plants in your new garden barrel planter will be easier and is certainly more efficient than the traditional in-ground gardening. The advantages easily outweigh the limitations. 
But like any other profitable undertaking, it is absolutely necessary to follow a few basic rules to ensure success.
When growing plants in our garden barrel planters, just remember these three very basic things; The Right Soil, The Right Amount of Water & The Right Amount of Nutrients.  (And of course, an appropriate amount of Sunlight!)
The Right Soil:
You do not want to load down your garden barrel planter with heavy, compacted garden soil. Rather, you will need a good mixture of lightweight potting soil mixed together with some peat moss, fertilizer and/or natural compost and some mineral aggregates. Potting soil mixes are usually lightweight and will allow for good drainage of water so as to not drown the plant root system. The peat moss added to the potting soil mix will help hold and retain some water to make the potting soil mix more efficient. The mineral aggregates added to the mix will help create air pockets which are essential for healthy plant growth. Good mineral aggregate examples are perlite or vermiculite. Either of which can be obtained at your local garden center. Then finally, you want to make sure your soil mixture contains an adequate supply of nutrients. (See below for more details.)
The Right Amount of Water:
Because watering is so critical to the success of container gardening, we have designed our garden barrel planters with a unique perforated watering tube inserted into the middle of the container to provide an adequate supply of water to all the plants. Each time you water, you can pour water on the top surface, on the side cups and then directly down into the watering tube to ensure for good soil saturation throughout the garden barrel planter.
(When you first fill up your planter, make sure to adequately wet the soil in the bottom of the planter to prevent water running out of the drain holes the first time you pour water into the watering tube!)
Under hot, dry summer conditions, you should be watering your plants twice daily. Once in the morning and early afternoon. If you notice the soil in your planter starting to draw away from the inside edge, you are not watering enough. For better water conservation, and certainly better quality of water, consider purchasing and using a rain barrel to capture gutter run-off water.
The Right Amount of Nutrients:
The potential for a greater loss of nutrients can be higher for container gardening than that of traditional gardening. For this reason, it is important to add a source of nutrients periodically to ensure for proper feeding of the plants. Follow the instructions above for adding dry fertilizer, or simply start with a good organic compost mix. Then, add a water soluble fertilizer to your plants every 7 10 days, especially during blooming and fruit yielding times. For a more organic option, many people use a liquid fish emulsion vs. other types of water soluable fertilizers.
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