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CONTAINER GARDENING

Updated on April 6, 2013

YOU CAN GROW A GARDEN ANYWHERE

Are you limited to the area you have to grow flowers and vegetables?

Become a Container Gardener!

Even a person with a very small patio or porch can grow vegetables and flowers.

You are only limited by your imagination or lack of it. I have seen wonderful container gardens hanging out windows from high rise apartments.

CHOOSING THE CORRECT POT FOR PLANTING

Lets begin by choosing the correct type of pot for your location, area size and type of plants and vegetables you want to grow.

Do not choose pots with small or narrow openings.

Very cheap plastic pots will deteriorate quickly from the sun

Choose a larger pot than you believe you need to avoid binding the roots and rapid soil moisture loss.

The pot you choose needs good drainage

If you live in a very hot area, purchase light colored pots, if a colder climate choose dark colored pots.

For more information Container Gardening - How To Choose the Perfect Pot

MIXING UP SOME SOIL FOR YOUR CONTAINERS

You want your growing mixture to drain quickly, yet retain moisture to keep the roots moist. Compost makes an excellent potting soil for container gardening. If you do not have a ready supply of compost, most likely you do not if you have limited space, you can use a good commercial potting mix. Most of the commercial potting mixes are acidic so you might want to add a little lime to it. Most people that garden in containers have concluded that soiless potting mix works best.

Another choice is to mix your own potting soil.

A rich mix can be made for annuals and for perennials by mixing 2 parts peat and 1 part commercial compost

A mix for Tomatoes and lettuce mix 1 part peat, 1 part garden soil and 1 part commercial compost

For cactus and succulents you want a light mix of 1 part Perlite or course sand and 1 part peat

If you are using a mix using peat, wet the peat before mixing. This will hold enough moisture for your new plants.

You want to add a slow release fertilizer to your mix. Peat has little or no nutrition for you new plants and the slow release fertilizer will keep your plants healthy for months.

The Complete Container Garden

CORRECT SUNLIGHT MEANS HEALTHY PLANTS

Your container garden will need at least five hours of direct sunlight each day, and many plants will benefit from even more. As a general rule, leafy vegetables such as cabbage and lettuce can tolerate the most shade, while root crops such as beets and carrots will need more sun. Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers need the most sun. The amount of sunlight needed by flowers varies depending on the varieties grown. Check the flower guides for sunlight requirements.

FEED YOUR PLANTS - THEY WILL FEED YOU

Since potting mixes drain water rapidly, fertilizer will be washed out of the container as you water. Lighter mixes will require more frequent fertilizing than heavier mixes. It's a good idea to use a dilute liquid fertilizer with every other watering. Liquid fish emulsion or liquid seaweed are great plant boosters, but remember that you need to provide your plants with a variety of nutrients. Check the labels on the products in you garden center to be sure that they contain a complete, balanced solution that includes trace elements.

Your container garden will lose moisture rapidly and probably will need watering daily.

GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY WITH AMAZON

Like a good cook a good gardener has plenty of books on hand for inspiration, ideas and instructions. Here are some of the best for container gardeners.

SELECTING YOUR PLANTS

Container gardening requires proper planning just like that of traditional gardening. Planning consists of finding your USDA zone (this will help to identify the suitable plant variety of your zone), amount of daylight you are receiving in your apartment, and finally choose your beloved plant variety.

It is always advisable to buy the plants from nearest nursery unless you have right conditions to germinate seedlings indoors. You should not keep the tender plants of container gardening outside below 45° F temperature or in soaring winds. If possible you want to bring your container garden inside if there is a chance of frost.

WHAT SHOULD YOU GROW IN YOUR POTS?

perennials are the east choice. You can also choose a number of different annuals for your flowering garden. There are also a number of Vegetables that are suitable for growing in your new container garden.

Here is a list of suitable flowers and vegetables.

ANNUALS FOR YOUR CONTAINER GARDEN

Here is a nice list of Annuals for you to choose from for planting in you containers. These will help you create a beautiful - bright - personal landscape in your container garden.

Alyssum

Begonia

Browallia

Coleus

Geraniums

Impatiens

Latana

Lobelia

Marigolds

Periwinkle

Nasturtiums

Pansies

Petunias

Salvia

Sanvitalia

Snapdragons

Thunbergia

Zinnias

Create A Beautiful Edible Container Garden

Do you want to create a beautiful edible container garden? Then begin with some of your favorite foods from this list.

Beans, Snap

Beans, Lima

Beets

silver beet

Broccoli 1 plant per 5 gal. pot

Brussels Sprouts 1 plant per 5 gal. pot

Cabbage 1 plant per 5 gal. pot

Chinese Cabbage 1 plant per 5 gal. pot

Carrots

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Lettuce

oak leaf lettuce

Onion

Peppers (chile peppers)

Radish

Spinach

Squash

Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes

THE FRUITS AND NUTS OF AMAZON

Here are some great reference materials to help you plant your own personal orchard. Fruits and Nuts are extremely healthy foods and they are fun to grow.

MORE ON CONTAINER VEGETABLE GARDENING

If you have poor garden soil, limited space, not enough sun in the garden area, or impaired mobility, you may want to grow vegetables in containers. Containers allow you to have a movable garden with the opportunity for a limited vegetable supply, or a supplemental source of vegetables that are difficult to locate for purchase. Container gardening also affords better pest management and a chance to have color in areas where you want it. Container vegetable gardening is also a great way to introduce children to gardening.

The downside of container gardening is that containers need frequent watering. Since the root system is restricted by the size of the container, some plants may produce smaller fruit, and some vegetables don't grow well in containers. Vegetables that grow well in containers are those with a confined habit of growth, such as salad greens, spinach, eggplant, Swiss chard, beets, radish, carrots, peppers, bush beans, determinate tomatoes, bush varieties of summer squash and cucumbers, green onions, and many herbs. It isn't that other vegetables can't be grown, but that they may not be as suitable for container culture. Read More ...

FILL YOUR POTTING SHED

Lets be honest - No one wants to try creating a garden with nothing but a knife and fork. Tools make the job quick and easy. Using the right tool for the right job is always the best approach.

MORE CONTAINER GARDENING TIPS

With container gardening it's easy to be adventurous even if you have just a few square feet of patio, deck, balcony or rooftop.

And because plantings can be changed with the seasons, pots, hanging baskets and window boxes offer scope for originality.

In spring, try bulbs and pansies; then move to colorful summer and fall annuals, and even perennials, or ornamental grasses.

Read More ...

It is time to plan for your Fall Gardening

Many gardeners do not even consider fall gardening because of the winter frosts that might make an early appearance. On the contrary, fall gardening will result in excellent vegetables and will extend crops long after spring planted plants are finished. Vegetables produced from fall gardening are sometimes sweeter and milder than those grow in the summer and offer a brand new taste to the same old veggies.

What you choose to grow during you fall gardening will depend on your available space and what you like to eat, just like spring plants. Even the crops that enjoy the heat, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, okra, and peppers, will produce until frosts hit, which can be pretty late in the year in southern areas. However, there are some plants that will quit towards the end of summer like snap-beans, summer squash, and cucumbers. If these vegetables are planted around the middle of the summer they can be harvested until the first frosts as well. Hardy, tough vegetables will grow until the temperature is as low as 20 degrees, but those that aren’t as strong will only be able to grow through light frosts. Remember that if you have root and tuber plants and the tops are killed by a freeze the edible part can be saved if a large amount of mulch is used.

When fall gardening, make sure and pick the vegetables with the shortest growing season so they can be full grown and harvested before the frost arrives. Most seed packages will be labeled “early season”, or you can find the seeds boasting the fewest days to maturity. You may want to go after your seeds for fall gardening in spring or early summer; they are usually not kept in stock towards the end of summer. If they are stored in a cool and dry location they will keep until you are ready to plant.

In order to know exactly when the best time to start fall gardening, you must know about when the first hard frost will hit your area. One of the best ways to tell this is by a Farmer’s Almanac. They will give you exact dates and are rarely wrong. You will also need to know exactly how long it is going to take your plants to mature.

To get your soil ready for fall gardening you must first remove any leftover spring/summer crops and weeds. Crops leftover from the last season can end up spreading bacteria and disease if left in the garden. Spread a couple of inches of compost or mulch over the garden area to increase the nutrients, however, if spring plants were fertilized heavily it may not need much, if any. Till the top layer of soil, wet it down, and let it set for about 12-24 hours. Once this has been done, you are ready to start planting.

Many gardeners will run from fall gardening so they don’t have to deal with frosts, but if tough, sturdy vegetables are planted they can withstand a few frosts and give you some wonderful tasting produce. Fall gardening gives you the chance to enjoy your vegetable garden for at least a little bit more time.

The Perfect Garden Container

To plant your seeds of knowledge in

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Welcome to my potting shed. I hope you enjoyed my gardening lens and found it of use. If you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to plant them here. Don't forget to say hello, I would love to hear from you.

THE POTTING SHED - - PLANT YOUR COMMENTS HERE-

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Love your gardening lens here.... my husband is an avid organic gardener and has a HUGE garden. I like to do flower gardening, though I don't plant too many potted plants outdoors, I seem to get too many root-bound plants that end up dying... thanks for the tips, these might help!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 6 years ago

      I'll garden where I can: even small pots can grown a few herbs or flowers. Planters are also helpful for crops that are invasive like mint.

    • profile image

      sandygardens 7 years ago

      I have just started to use containers for gardening. Thanks for all the great tips!

    • profile image

      windowbox 8 years ago

      Container Gardening is good Idea foe the urban area as in urban ares there is not enough space for the gardening so they can use Container, Flower Boxes , PVC Boxes For the gardening.......all of these are easy to use and not demanding so much care and quite able to give a attractive look to your house....

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      gardengrrrl 9 years ago

      I grow lots of things in containers. I think my favorite is to grow herbs because they are beautiful and useful. I added a link to this lense from my new lens on patio gardening. I would love thoughts and feedback.