Container gardening is fun, easy to begin, inexpensive (you may even SAVE money growing plants or vegetables you would otherwise purchase) and really great for folks who don’t have much yard space for ground-bed gardens. There are few things you want to consider before you set off to the Home and Garden Supply store. Here are five.
1. What Type of Containers to Use. If you are simply thinking functional, then any plastic pot or even plastic bucket or other appropriately sized container will do. If you can re-use pots you already have, even better!
If you are thinking decorative you can use wood (a plastic liner is highly recommended), ceramic (can be beautiful but is fragile), terra cotta (they are porous and dry out quickly so you will need to water frequently) or standard clay pots (but be careful of staining on surfaces).
2. What Type of Soil to Use. For container gardening, you do not want to use regular garden soil, because it does not break apart well and usually does not drain well.
Use potting soil, especially in shallow containers, allows the plant’s roots to spread out easily and allows for proper drainage. If you choose to use a deep pot, still use potting soil but you can mix in a little garden soil, too. Any Home and Garden Supply will have the potting soil you need.
3. What Seeds to Use. Simply put, hybrid seeds are fine. The basic difference between hybrid seeds and heirloom seeds is that plants grown from hybrid seeds do not produce fertile seeds of their own. So, for most, buying new seeds each year at your local Home and Garden Supply store is very easy, but for those who don’t have this option available, choose heirloom seeds and harvest the seeds from the plants they produce.
4. What Location to Use. If you are one of the rare and fortunate souls that live in an area that is warm year-round, putting your containers on your deck or patio or yard is fine. Make sure you have good sunlight exposure (usually South or Southwest is best). If you need to keep your containers indoors, you can put them in a foyer, enclosed patio, sun room, or anywhere you get the best sunlight exposure. Make sure you are careful of wood floors or any other surface you don’t want stained.
5. What About Watering. The amount of watering depends on the plants you are growing. Watering frequency also depends on the porous nature of the container you are using. Material like wood or terra cotta, are quite porous and will dry out more quickly than glazed ceramic or plastic.
Your first watering should be a good one. If you have soil that is really dried out, even watering it well may leave air pockets. A quick trick is to submerge the plant and the soil under water briefly and gently press out the air bubbles. Only do this for a few moments so the soil doesn’t break down and dissolve. This helps remove the air pockets in the soil.
Container gardening is a fun way to grow beautiful flowers and plants, and it’s a great way to have lovely fresh vegetables during winter months. If you are new to container gardening, ask for help at the Home and Garden Supply store, and start out small. You will soon find container gardening a satisfying and healthy past time you can enjoy all year through.