A Small Garden to Call Your Own
You don't need a large amount of land to have a garden. Planting all your favorites in containers can give a beautiful array of flowers, vegetables, fruits and herbs. If you have a balcony or a patio, using containers to make a garden is a great idea. Here are some tips to get started:
- Choose containers large enough to prevent plants from getting root bound as they will dry out too fast.
- Plants in pots can dry out quickly so check the soil about 2 inches below the surface to make sure they are getting enough water. It should be slightly moist.
- Water daily in hot weather. Pour water into the pot until it runs out the drainage holes at the bottom.
- If you go away for a period of time, place your plant containers on top of pebbles in shallow saucers and then fill the saucers with water and move to a shaded area.
- Soil will dry out quicker in clay pots and plants in terra cotta pots need more watering than those in plastic pots.
Even the smallest patio or balcony can boast a crop of vegetables or a garden of flowers in containers. Planter boxes, wooden barrels, hanging baskets and large flowerpots are just some of the containers that can be used.
The container gardener is limited only by your imagination.
Planting Vegetables in Containers
You don't need a big garden to grow vegetables, they do very well in containers.
Try lettuce, radishes, green onions, zucchini, tomatoes, and bush or pole beans in containers.
Food plants will need a maximum of 12 inches of soil to grow in, however, those that have shallow roots will only need about 6 inches of soil.
Herbs are well suited for planters in full sun. Plant mint, parsley, chives, oregano, and basil for your own kitchen garden.
The secret to growing vegetables in pots is the growing medium.
Use a 50:50 blend of screened compost with coconut fiber.
If you don't have compost then use granular, organic fertilizer in a potting medium or apply liquid fertilizer throughout the season.
Liquid seaweed boosts fruit and flower production while liquid fish fertilizer aids in the production of leafy greens.
Feed them regularly and you will have a healthy and thriving garden.
Container Gardening Books
How to Plant Containers
Make Your Own Mix for Containers
If you want to make your own perennial mix for containers or planters try this recipe:
In a wheelbarrow mix well:
1/3 screened topsoil
1/3 screend compost
1/3 aged horse manure
Add 10 percent of the above volume of perlite for drainage and aeration. Add one gallon of a balanced granular, organic fertilizer (5:2:4) (containing alfalfa meal, gypsum, rock phosphate, sul-po-mag, greensand, zeolite, kelp meal). Note: Don't use garden soil unless blended with organic matter as it will dry out too quickly and will also deprive the young plant roots of oxygen.
7 Steps for a Successful Container Garden
Almost any plant can grow in containers provided you are willing to give them the love and attention they deserve.
Choose Your Containers Wisely
Plastic containers can deteriorate in the sun, terra cotta is stronger but tends to dry out rather fast.
Glazed ceramic pots can be used, but remember to drill a hole in the bottom for drainage.
Using larger pots is a good idea as you won’t have to water them as much.
Sterilize Your Containers
No matter what material you chose for your container make sure you clean it first.
This is important if the container has been used before.
Use an environmentally friendly all-purpose cleaner and make sure they are well rinsed before planting.
Plan Before You Plant
Where you place the containers will depend on the type of flowers or vegetables you will be growing.
Some plants need full sun while others prefer the shade. The nice part of container gardening is that you can move them if the plants need less or more sun.
Also, plan how you are going to arrange the plants in the container. You will want to work from the middle of the container out towards the edge.
Fertilize, Fertilize, Fertilize
If you want big, beautiful flowers then they need to be fed. Fertilizing every time you water is a great idea because you won’t forget.
For vegetables make sure to use a manure tea as it is natural and won’t leave chemicals on your vegetables.
Essentially manure tea is water extract from manure with soluble nutrients. It helps build the organic content of the soil. Check with your local garden store.
Rotate Your Crops
Planting different vegetables in the same containers will have the same effect that farmers have when they rotate their crops. Different plants need and use different nutrients which help to keep the soil healthy. Just make sure you leave enough room for them to grow.
Plants in containers will require more water than in a regular garden.
This is especially true during the hotter summer months. When you water, make sure the water comes out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
This will tell you that the plants have gotten enough water.
Choose the Best Potting Mix
Make sure you are using a potting mix and not garden soil. Garden soil is too heavy and won’t hold the moisture.
You will need more porous soil. Check for potting soil at your local garden center.
Following these tips will help ensure that you get a beautiful and bountiful garden on your patio or balcony this summer.
Having a composter in your garden is a wonderful way to improve the quality of your garden as well as get rid of kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, and plant and lawn clippings so they don’t end up in the landfill.
If you think compost is dirty and difficult you might want to revisit the type and different styles of compost bins available.
The sealed garden compost bins are designed to keep out rodents and other small animals.
Another benefit is in wet weather a sealed compost bin means you won’t have a heap of wet compost which would stop the microbes from functioning and just rot the material instead of turning it into a wonderful new plant feed.
There are many small garden composters available with some that can sit on a deck or in a courtyard. Your budget and just how small your backyard is will determine what size composter is more suited to your needs.
Miracle-Gro Small Composter
Attracting Birds to Your Garden
One way to attract birds to your garden it offers them food and of course water.
Depending on the size of your yard, you can add a pool or even an ornamental pedestal birdbath.
If you plan on having food for your birds make sure that it is in a location where other animals such as mice and squirrels can’t get to it.
There are a number of seeds including sunflower seeds that birds like as well as some food such as corn.
In order to not scare the birds away, make sure you don’t have anything that is too noisy in the garden such as a windmill or whirligigs.
Also if you have a dog or a cat you might want to make sure that there is a time when they are not in the garden.
Cats especially are good at catching birds and of course, dogs will chase them.
There are certainly some species of trees and plants that don’t agree with birds so check with a local nursery to find out what those would be for your area.
Knowing what kind of birds are native to your area and what they might be attracted to is a good way to attract birds to your particular backyard or garden.
5 Steps for Creating a Beautiful Garden
There isn't any reason to have to spend a small fortune to create a beautiful garden.
As a matter of fact, there are lots of ways to save money when it comes to gardening. Here are five tips to consider:
1. Make a Plan: The first step is to make a plan.
For instance, if you are planting a vegetable garden you will want to choose plants with different times for harvesting your vegetables so you don’t have everything ripening at the same time.
This will also make your garden last longer.
2. Selecting Plants: Select perennials rather than annuals for your flowerbeds so that you will have the same plants flowering in your garden year after year.
They will also multiply each year so your garden will fill in and have a more mature look.
3. Don’t Forget to Compost: Composting your kitchen scraps is good for the environment and really good for your garden.
You can also add your coffee grounds and yard clippings. The end result is much better than any potting soil you can buy from a nursery or hardware store.
This is definitely recycling and very inexpensive!
4. Using Mulch: You don't have to use mulch as you can try other materials such as pebbles or small rocks in your garden as ground cover.
You can also find pebbles and small rocks on the beach if you live near water so you won't have to spend a lot of money.
5. Quality Lasts Longer: Purchasing better quality gardening tools will mean that you save more money in the long run.
Better quality tools will last for years, saving you dollars because you don’t have to replace them every year.
The same goes for gardening gloves, shoes, and other gardening clothes.
Container Gardening Links
- Better Homes and Gardens - home decorating and remodeling ideas, gardening, recipes, and more
From Better Homes and Gardens, ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden plus recipes and entertaining ideas.
- Container Gardening - The Flower Expert - Flowers encyclopedia
The Flower Expert lists all aspects of container gardening.You will find loads of ideas, advice and growing plants containers. The Flower Expert also speaks in detail about Container gardening.
- Garden Guides, Your Guide to Everything Gardening
Learn about gardening on GardenGuides.com. How to grow plants, start a garden, get gardening tips or find supplies. Join the community and connect with gardeners with similar growing interests. Photos of garden, plants, flowers and much more.
- TLC Home "What is container gardening?"
Container gardening is a simple, easy way to bring the outside inside. So what is container gardening, and how can it fix your nature deprivation?
- Gardening Resources :: National Gardening Association
Information and inspiration on gardening with answers to questions about lawns, landscapes, trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, vegetables, herbs and flowers, organic gardens, compost, urban, soil, design, roses, tomato, how to grow in containers.
- Mediation: Gardens in Containers and Planters: Explore Container Gardening
Gardens in Containers: The Applications of Container Gardening as a Meditative Retreat
- Container Gardening - Container Gardening Design, Ideas, and Pictures
This site is about all aspects of container gardening. You'll find lots of advice, container gardening design ideas, tips and pictures.
- Container Gardening - Gardens - Canadian Gardening
Learn everything you know to help plants thrive in containers and pots, from starting a mini vegetable garden to planting a decorative urn or hanging basket.
- Guide to Container Gardening | Garden Guides
Guide to Container Gardening. The basics of container gardening - includes lists of flowers and vegetables that can be grown in containers.
- Use containers: Journey to Forever Organic Garden
You can grow plants in virtually anything that holds some soil and has holes in the bottom for drainage. It's only bounded by your imagination -- a chance for some really creative recycling.