Container Gardening

Like to garden, but lack the time, the space or even a yard? Decorating a deck or patio? Want to grow some herbs or vegetables for cooking? If so, you might consider trying container gardening.

Container planters, available in a wide variety of styles, shapes and sizes, offer you considerable gardening versatility.

If space is an issue, you can grow your container plants on a balcony, deck, patio, porch – or even a doorstep – while creating an attractive decorative display as an additional benefit.

Or maybe you’re seeking a convenient way to grow a few vegetables and herbs. A single tomato plant and some potted herbs may meet your needs.

Choose containers that reflect your own sense of style and design and complement your home and outdoor space. But take into account how well they help–or hinder–plant growth. There are many sizes, shapes, and materials from clay, wood, plastic, or ceramic from which to choose. These all require an adequate number of holes in the bottom for proper drainage. Additional holes may be needed in containers that do not drain quickly.

A good choice are all natural coco liners. They make great container liners, particularly for wire and metal planters, stands and hanging baskets. They keep soil in and aid in keeping it moist. Coco liners also can be used with hard-wall planters.

Plus, coco is naturally resistant to insects, bacteria, fungi, mold and diseases. Known for their excellent drainage and aeration properties, coco liners promote visibly better, faster plant growth by rehydrating easily while preventing root rot.

Generally speaking, most plants can grow in containers. The size of the container should be chosen based on the plants you choose. Make sure your container provides ample space for the plant to develop roots.

A fairly lightweight soil or potting mix is preferable for container gardening.

The medium should be firm enough to support plants, but porous enough for the roots to receive water and air. Packaged potting soil is readily available and is likely to encourage plant growth. You can also add a half inch or so of mulch on top of the growing medium.

A water-soluble fertilizer used every two to three weeks works well for container plantings. Be careful not to over-fertilize.

Most plants require a minimum of 5 hours of sunlight a day and some, like tomato plants, even more. With containers, you have the advantage of moving your plants to determine the optimum amount of sun they require to thrive.

Containers may dry out very quickly, especially if they are placed in full sun. Pay close attention to your container plantings. The volume of soil is relatively small, so daily or even twice-daily watering may be required. Water your plant until the water runs out of the coco liner or drainage holes. Terra cotta, clay and other porous pots also allow additional evaporation from the sides of the pots. When your soil tends to be excessively dry or the plants wilt, place your containers close to one another. The foliage can help to create shade for the soil to keep it cool and moist. Nowadays, you can even find containers that include a water reservoir at the bottom that allows for less frequent watering.

Placing containers on solid surfaces reduces drainage. Raise the container an inch or two by placing it on blocks of wood. And consider using hanging baskets.

Using containers, you can garden on the smallest balcony, porch or deck. Even on a rooftop or doorstep. Grow ornamentals for display or vegetables and herbs for dining. The opportunities presented by container gardening are unlimited.

1 Comment

  • Sunil says:

    Lowe’s sells a great book on container garending published by Sunset and that is how I got started. Although now I live on about an acre, I started garending in containers on an enclosed condo patio. I still have over 200 plants growing in containers in my yard, including herbs, citrus and veggies. Tomatoes, peppers and herbs are great to grow in containers. I grow 5 different varieties of tomatoes, 3 pepper varieties and a host of herbs like thyme, sage, chives, basil, 2 kinds of oregano, tarragon, dill, mint, chamomile and some others I don’t remember right now. I found growing vine plants like cucumber, pumpkin and squash is a little tricky in containers, but they do show you how in the Sunset book. For free advice on garending in containers in your zone, you can contact a master gardener or the county agricultural extension.

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