What is Container Gardening?

Containers come in handy in those places where the climate is unfavorable, or the soil or water inadequate. If your space is limited, container gardening is best for you. This technique allows plant materials to be changed, renewed or moved around easily and to be enjoyed closer at hand than in a conventional garden. You can have very simple plants in your container garden or elaborate, depending on the space you have.

Depending on the exposure your container garden gets to the sun, it will grow well. However, you may face problems from strong winds, but even those can be overcome if you construct a screen of opaque plastic or fiberglass to reduce light intensity or a screen of lattice or a trellis to reduce light and wind.

Selecting Containers: After you decide where to place your plants, next, decide which containers you will grow your plants in. Choose from ordinary clay pots, wooden boxes, barrels, tubs, and metal and plastic, or antique kettles, jugs and crocks. But remember, all of them should have a drainage hole at the bottom.

Plant Selection: How much and how long the sun shines on your plants will determine their health. While selecting plants, therefore, bear in mind the fact that the south brings in more light than northern and that nearby structures such as buildings, trees, overhangs can deflect light towards them and away from your plants.

Choose vegetables, herbs and annuals that can be grown in the full glare of the sun. Leafy vegetables and shade-happy plants such as tuberous begonias, fuchsias and ferns have to be grown where the sun doesn’t shine very brightly. If herbs are more to your taste, choose from chives, mints, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon and thymes. Among vegetables, place ornamental kale, lettuce, tomatoes and eggplant into containers where the sun shines brightly.

Place forget-me-nots or pansies in containers in the early spring, and once they have blossomed for the year, replace them with summer-blooming annuals such as lavender and thyme.

As shades, use vines by placing them on a window, in a window box or on a trellis. Choose from morning glory, gourds, cucumbers, squash, Boston ivy, trumpet vine and English ivy.

Cultural Needs: Make a light and brittle potting mixture with one part loam, one part peat moss, leaf mold or compost and one part soil lightener. For every six-inch pot of mixture, add one tablespoonful of limestone and another of 5-10-10 fertilizer.

In the growing season, particularly if the plants are doing well, you might need to water them more than once each day. See that this does not lead to a lack of plant nutrients in the constrained soil volume in the container. However, you can avert this problem by using a very weak solution of fertilizer (one teaspoonful per gallon of water) every time you water your plants.

Now that you have created your very own garden, go ahead and enjoy it. People often say that music helps plants grow better, while others say that talking to them helps too. You could try both – why not?