from Virtuous Daughters, June 2004~Volume 4, Number 3
The first step to container gardening is to find the right container for your plants. There are many creative options which are open to you, some of which are: barrels, old tires, buckets, flower pots, boats, children’s toys, wagons, virtually anything that can contain soil.
The container must have adequate drainage so as to keep from drowning the plants in too much water. It must have holes drilled through its bottom in order to drain water. One way to foster superior drainage is to place medium sized rocks at the bottom of the container.
In trying to find a good location for your container consider the following:
The next step is to fill the container with dirt. Unless you live in an area with superior soil that doesn’t gum up, when wet, into clay or mud, you need to buy potting soil. You can fill the bottom third of the container with poor soil if you would like, however the top, where you will plant your plants, needs to be potting soil.
Now that you have chosen a container placed in the best location for your plants and filled it with good dirt, you are ready to begin planting!
Before you begin planting your seeds, bulb, rhizome, or plant, make sure you read the instructions. Many times I have picked up a package of seeds at the store and planted them without finding out the many details on how they are to be planted. The product doesn’t always turn out favorably!
If you are planting plants that have already matured arrange them in height and color, placing droopy ones along the outside of the rim so as to fall over the container sides. Be creative! You don’t need to stick to the old view of keeping colors together or keeping plants separate. Experiment and find out what you like. You may like ivy crawling out of the pot, with bluebells and mums decorating the center. Or a blend of wildflowers may spike your interest. Everyone’s different. Don’t make gardening confining, make it fun!
An easy vegetable plant to container garden is the tomato plant. The container needs to be 18 inches to 2 feet deep. Fill the container and plant the tomato as you would a flower plant. As the tomato plant grows, it will fall over because it cannot hold its own weight. Therefore it is necessary to put a tomato cage over it or brace it with a stick and yarn. Our tomato plants on the back patio boast burgundy yarn and bamboo sticks. As I said, be creative! Keep the tomato protected from high winds and give it full sun. It will soon pay for itself several times over.
Plants grown in a container cannot pull water from the ground to provide for its needs, so you need to water it at least three times a week or your pretty garden will become droopy! The plants also will deplete the nutrients in the soil every month. You will then have to feed it plant food such as “Miracle Grow” or a similar product.
The container garden is the easiest type of garden you can grow. Because it is off the ground, weeding isn’t a problem! ...You will be amazed with the results. Have fun!
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