22 July . 2016
Container Gardening Made Simple
The end of summer is fast approaching, and container gardening is a simple form of horticulture that’s fun for the entire family all year long. We’ve put together our favorite container gardening tips to help you improve your green thumb!
The more soil the better. No matter if you’re planting veggies or flowers, they need plenty of soil to nurture their roots. Potting soil with nutrients and fertilizers included can give your plants a huge boost from day one. And remember to leave yourself some headspace at the top of the pot for the plant to have room to spread. The pop of color and broad display you’re looking for needs a solid foundation from which to grow.
Match the plant to the pot. It seems simple, but it’s true, and a mistake often made: if you have a big plant, you need a big pot. The same goes for small plants that are going to get substantially bigger! Most labels will give you an appropriate size at full-growth. Simple and easy, but worth remembering.
Water! Most container plants need a ton of water, so don’t skimp. Plan a regular watering schedule for your gardening containers. It makes it easier if you plant veggies or flowers that require the same amount of water; this will ensure you aren’t soaking one and starving another. Buy containers with drainage holes so excess water has a place to go—and then sit your pots in spots where that drainage won’t cause damage or staining!
Your flowers and veggies need to breathe. Don’t stuff those containers too full. Flowers are a smidge more tolerant of being crowded together in a container, but veggies can’t handle all that company. In order for vegetables and flowers to grow successfully in a gardening container, they need airflow – the more plants, the less airflow, and the less airflow the smaller the roots…and more of a chance for disease or death.
Plants need to play nice together. It’s important to do your research when choosing plants for container gardening. If planting a variety in one container, pay particular attention to sun requirements and invasiveness. For instance don’t plant water hungry peas with a less thirsty veggie like lettuce. The last thing you want is one plant taking over the entire container and compromising the rest of your investment. Also remember: flavors transfer, so only plant similar-flavored veggies together or you could end up with minty tomatoes!
Keep it simple and realistic. When container gardening, it’s important to start simple. If you have a busy schedule and barely have enough time to make dinner for yourself or your family, it doesn’t make sense for you to invest in hundreds of plants. Try starting with a couple of low maintenance plants and slowly work your way up to larger and needier ones. Perhaps plant some easy veggies that the family can help you grow. There’s nothing more exciting and fulfilling than planting something, caring for it, and being able to eat the fruits of your labor!
Read the tags. When beginning a container garden, take special note of the tags that come with the plants. Don’t throw them away! Not only will they remind you of the amount of sun and water needed to grow the plant successfully, but they’ll also remind you what kind of veggie or flower is in the pot. It seems silly, but after planting a couple dozen plants it’s not out of the realm of possibility that you forget which plant is in what pot!
Start with herbs. Herbs are a terrific way to take baby steps into container gardening! Herbs are not only delicious for cooking, but they’re also hardy and low maintenance. Herbs (like mint, basil, or parsley) can be grown on windowsills or outside, and require very little care to succeed. Growing herbs will get you in the habit of watering on a regular basis and give your family fresh flavors to share at dinner.
Have fun! Container gardening is about expressing your style and personality. If your yard is small (or maybe you just prefer xeriscaping), container gardening can make your yard pop. Don’t be shy when choosing fun, bold-colored flowers or exotic veggies. Gardening is a form of expression—get out there and express yourself!
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