Container gardening is a pretty common way of gardening, especially if you are lacking space, live in an apartment or are in the golden age and cannot look after a big garden. It is also a good solution to grow some kitchen herbs and have them handy when cooking or if it’s your first attempt at growing anything and you’re not willing to invest too much effort or money. Container gardening is an easy and accessible way of growing some flowers, plants, fruits or veggies. It can also be really fun and rewarding. Here are the best tips and all you need to know about container gardening.
Choosing a Container
There are different types of container that you can choose from. There are containers made of plastic, clay pots, wires, cans, ceramics, and wood. Whatever you choose, make sure that there are enough holes to provide good drainage in order to prevent clogging and rotting of roots. If the material allows, and you think there are not enough holes in the container, you can puncture it and add more holes.
Choosing the right size that can accommodate your plantings is also a factor that you need to consider when choosing a container. If you are planting aromatic herbs, you can choose a 3″ ceramic or clay pot, if you want to plant big tomatoes or a salad garden where assorted types of vegetables will share one container, you can choose a barrel for example. Try opting for containers whose size is at least 8″ in depth, and at least 6″ in width for plants that can be planted in a shallow fashion. Ensure that there is enough room for roots to grow. Examples of plants that can be grown in shallow containers are herbs, radishes, lettuce, and peppers.
You can buy different types of containers at your home improvement and garden centers. Some department stores have sections for pots as well. Choose the best one for your container garden. If you are choosing wood, be sure to choose one that doesn’t rot or use a liner to prevent rotting. Plastic pots are the cheapest and easiest to maintain. Hanging containers made of wires are great for tomatoes planted upside down whereby the tomatoes will grow downwards for easier picking.
You can also make your own container, by recycling used cans like those cans used to package coffee and puncturing holes with nails at the bottom. You can use big soda plastic bottles to plant smaller herbs, you can cut the top part to create a wider mouth then puncture holes at the bottom.
Choosing the Base
Choose loose soil for container gardening. The more porous your soil mixture, the better it is for container vegetable gardening. Add peat moss and garden loam to keep moisture. Add gravel and sand for drainage. Add a slow release fertilizer and make sure to keep the pH at 6.5.
Choosing the Plant
There are a lot of choices for container vegetable gardening. Since vegetables can be easily grown in containers it would be easy to choose which ones to grow. You can mix them in one big container or separate each kind per container. Just make sure they are not overcrowded in one pot or different pots crowding each other. They need air to grow so give them enough space.
Choosing a Location
Another factor to consider in container vegetable gardening is choosing the location for your containers. Make sure that it gets enough sunlight if needed. Some vegetables may need shade to thrive, so ensure you pick the right spot for those kind of vegetables. If you live in a high rise where you can put potted plants on the balcony, ensure that you have enough protection against the harsh elements. If it is too windy, wrap some plastic around your balcony to protect from damage that can be caused by strong winds. Some plants may require heat and sun, so if it does not match the climate of where you live, better skip on them.
How to properly water
As in any garden, you need to ensure that your container vegetable garden gets enough water. Take into consideration the size of the container when you water your plants. Smaller containers with lesser soil will tend to dry faster than those in huge pots with more soil. Check the soil daily by feeling with your finger if the soil is still damp or dry. You know you need to water more if it is a dry or if it’s a sunny day.
How to use fertilizer
Check the recommended amount of fertilizers to use for each planting. Usually the seed packet will tell you what type of fertilizer and how often to administer it. It’s good to follow the recommended instructions and doses in order not to over- or under fertilize your soil. Both scenarios are not recommended.
To summarize, before starting container gardening, you need to a find a container (literally any container), check out your location or plan accordingly, pick your preferred plant/vegetable/fruit (or the easiest to grow) and then make sure to fertilise it, water it and look after it in a careful manner. We have no doubt you’ll be successful in this project.
Container gardening also has all the benefits of gardening without the downside like the need to own machinery (lawn mower, weed whipper, hedge cutters, leaf blowers etc…) Don’t wait to get started, you are going to love it.