Container Gardens Can Be Easy
Deck/Porch Container Garden
Enjoy a Container Garden
Container gardens are becoming more popular because they can be planted just about anywhere in all sorts of containers, they help supplement our grocery bills, create beauty around our homes, supply good energy and clean air, and they can even help our health, for several reasons. Getting out and keeping busy, using our hands can be fun, exciting and creative!
If you have a patio, balcony, deck, porch or any small space, you can grow a container garden! You can grow them in almost any kind of container, pot, window box, buckets or be creative and use things you have laying around that you can recycle.
Container gardens need plenty of sunlight and grow best in an open area where they can get rain water. If that's not possible, you can collect rain water to use, which is a nice plus in conserving water. Your containers need to have good drainage, so the roots of your plants don't rot. If the bottom of your pots don't have drainage holes or need more, you can make holes in them with a drill. I make at least three small or medium holes for drainage. Think about what kind of plants you'll have in your container garde, when you decide where you'll be putting it. Plants in containers dry out faster than plants in the ground, so either way, they need need plenty of water but good drainage.
Some plants don't like or need full, hot afternoon sunlight, it can burn them, dry them out and kill them, so take care when choosing your location. Perhaps a partial sun and shade spot would be nice. If you don't have much choice or your patio gets full sunlight, you don't want your herbs and flowers burnt in the hot afternoon sun. You can take measures to use patio umbrellas or move the plants into a shadier areas in the late afternoons. There are several ways to cover them or placing them in ways so those that like more sun can get it and those that don't tolerate full sun can be covered. Pay attention to where your sun is and if your plants are the types that need just morning sun or like the hot afternoon sun. The whole point of having a container garden is to enjoy it and not make it too difficult. I have several different locations and I've used trial and error to see what works best.
My own container gardens have a wide variety. I've grow herbs, flowers and vegetables and even cactus! A good thing about container gardens is, you can bring some of your precious plants in for the Winter! I bring in those most sensitive to the cold and leave some outside covered with leaves or extra mulch or even blankets. Bringing plants into warmer temperatures and sun, can dry them out due to warmer temperaturs in the house and sometimes promote new growth on them. It's best to bring them into a cooler part of the house, but not cold, during the winter. It's best not to have a lot of new growth on a plant during the winter, you want the perrineals to hybernate if possible and keep the roots from freezing to keep them alive. Some plants may seem to die, but if you water them lightly and keep them semi-warm, when warmer weather comes outside you can take them out and they will begin to grow again. I cut some of my plants back when their indoors to manage them easier and to help them to use less energy to stay alive. I mist them from time to time for humidity.
Good plants for container gardens are culinary herbs or medicinal herbs. They smell good, you can use them for cooking and home use, adding them to teas or making them into salves or tinctures. There are many herbs that grow well in pots and containers. You can bring them into the kitchen during the winter or dry them in the fall. Flowers in containers from plants, seeds or bulbs are of course beautiful and create ambience for your home! Bulbs will produce over and over again and propagate, or create more, causing you at some point to have to remove a few bulbs and put them in another pot if they get too crowded. I prefer perennial plants, because they come back again and again, every year, unlike annuals, that have to be planted every year because they die eventually.
Growing vegetables in larger pots or containers can also be a good way to help your grocery bill and can be a lot of fun, especially if you have kids that want to help and learn. Some vegetables that grow well in containers are tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, lettuce, radishes, potatoes, tiny pumpkins and just about anything that doesn't take up too much space. Some seeds are even created so the plants are smaller now to grow them in smaller spaces, like bush squash, tomatoes. beans and cucumbers. If you plant vines, put something in your containers that they can grow up on. You can buy small trellis's or you can make some out of all sorts of things, be creative. Perhaps you have an old ladder laying around, part of a fence, bamboo stakes, part of a bird cage, an old tennis racket or build your own trellis out of all sorts of neat stuff you were just going to throw away! I let plants run along the top of my deck and porch and onto some other plants with stakes too, even climbing up to a partial small clothesline I have on my porch!
Some extra tips and warnings:
- Make sure you have plenty of good, rich soil in your containers. Container plants dry out quicker than ground plants because the roots can only go so far. Remember to water when dry and have good drainage if your plants get rain water.
- Educate yourself about the plants you want to plant. It really helps to know what type of soil, container, sunlight and temperatures are good for them.
- Know your planting zone, but remember container gardens aren't exactly the same as gardens for temperatures and frost or extreme heat, but a planting zone is a guide that's helpful.
- Choose appropriate size containers for the plants you're choosing. You may need to repot if the plant grows too large, but most do well if you keep them pruned and lovingly cared for.
- Protect your container garden from animals and bad weather.
- Watch about over watering and under watering and never water your plants in the hottest part of the day, it will burn them, which can damage or kill them! Water in early miorning or evening for the best results. :)
- Pay attention to temperatures and move containers accordingly if their getting too much sun that's burning the leaves or those not getting enough sun. Plants are real good at communicating if we pay attention. Enjoy and have fun!
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