It's not just those with a lot of lands who can enjoy a bountiful of summer veggies and fall herbs. Urbanites, apartment dwellers, and anyone without much garden space can easily and conveniently experience the simple joy of freshly picked basil or a juicy, ripe tomato thanks to container gardening.
With the help of this beginner's handbook filled with pointers from experts and recommendations, you may begin the container garden of your dreams.
What is container gardening?
A container garden is just a garden that is grown in, you guessed it, containers. It can be tailored to fit any area, no matter how big or small. According to Ashley Christian of Homestead Sweet Home, "It can be as simple as a little pot of herbs growing at your kitchen window, a lemon tree on your porch, or a big 4-by-12-foot raised cedar bed full of fresh vegetables in your backyard."
According to the author and gardener Charlotte Ekker Wiggins, "Even though I have space for a traditional garden, I have been cultivating in containers on my home deck for decades." In addition to making it easier for her to carry plants inside during the winter months, she says that having herbs and veggies adjacent to her kitchen is useful for cooking.
Rebecca Sears, a gardening specialist with Ferry-Morse, says that container gardening is a fantastic way to bring outdoor pleasures indoors all year long.
The benefits of a container garden:
Beyond the apparent benefits of growing plants in containers where there may not be garden space, there are other benefits, from preventing pests to carefully regulating growing conditions:
1. It lessens the need to weed:
Although weeds are a fact of life for any gardener, planting in a container slows the spread of weeds. You can have more control over the soil and make sure there are no weeds that are just waiting to sprout.
2. It can divert grazing animals:
Being close to my containers also helps with monitoring wildlife sneaking off with some of the fresh vegetables, according to Wiggins, who advises individuals fearful of deer, rabbits, and other curious animals. It will assist to prevent animals from looking for food to be close to a busy window or door.
3. You have control over the growth environment:
Container gardening allows you total control if your soil is subpar or you are worried about the weather changing. Amy Andrychowicz, a gardening expert and the founder of getting Busy Gardening, explains that containers make it simpler to maintain picky plants or ones that need a particular type of soil, pH, or nutrients.
4. Moving around is simple:
You may easily move it if a particular location receives varying amounts of sunshine depending on the season. You have the freedom to tinker with your arrangement to see where a plant will thrive if it isn't contained in one spot, according to Sears.
5. It has attractive aesthetics:
One of the finest advantages, in Sears' opinion, is that you may create a stunning look that is uniquely yours by using the container and the plants.
Many people choose to do it for aesthetic reasons in addition to growing plants in large yards. They work incredibly well for bringing color and life to a barren part of a deck or patio, front porch, "continues Andrychowicz.
6. You can continue to grow all year long:
Angie Daugirda of Organic Plant Magic declares that container gardening is a fantastic way to introduce plants into practically any room, anywhere, and during any season. Fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs can flourish both indoors and outside depending on the season. Vegetables can thrive both ways.
A container garden's drawbacks include:
Despite all the advantages of growing flowers, herbs, and vegetables in containers, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of as you begin your container garden:
1. Plants will eventually overrun it:
While containers can help plants develop more slowly so they are easier to handle for both indoor and outdoor cultivation, the plant may eventually overflow its container.
According to Wiggins, "Plants with vast and broad roots will eventually need larger vessels to furnish them with the soil and nutrients they need." It's difficult, but repotting is possible. You can follow this advice to help you.
2. Its soil is prone to rapid evaporation:
Container gardens require more frequent watering than in-ground gardens do because they don't hold water, as well as garden soil, might. They will also miss out on the benefits of rain if they are indoors.
In addition to needing more fertilization than in-ground plants, Joanna VonBergen of Gingham Gardens observes that container gardens require more frequent watering.
3. It could draw enquiring animals:
Wiggins adds that having pets can also be difficult, especially since dogs and cats prefer to dig in the ground or even use it as a toilet both inside and outdoors. The addition of huge pebbles, according to her, "may limit such actions so that the soil can be watered evenly."
The best plants for container gardening are:
Vegetables are a great option for container gardens, herbs are a pleasant complement to an indoor garden, and flowers are frequently simple to cultivate and vivid. Selecting plants with shorter root systems that won't get squashed is one of the secrets to a successful container garden. Here are a few choices for those who adore containers.
The ideal flowers for container gardens are:
Veggies that grow best in container gardens:
· Romanesco Lettuce
Most effective herbs for container gardens:
How should you pick your garden's containers?
According to Sears, gardeners have access to a wide variety of containers. You must first take size into account while selecting your container(s). While larger containers can keep more moisture and nutrients, doing so will make it more challenging to shift them as needed.
Small-scale pots, which will gladly contain herbs of all varieties, are a good option if you're working with a limited amount of area. But bear in mind that you'll need to ask a friend to water your plants for you whenever you go, or look into a self-watering system. Drying times for small containers are rapid!
From clay to concrete, plastic, wood, and metal, the choices in terms of materials are essentially limitless. If the container is going somewhere, think about where it will go. Will it go in your yard or on top of some furniture? You'll be able to relocate it, right?
In place of heavier concrete choices, fiberglass is an excellent substitute. Traditional terra-cotta clay pots, according to Wiggins, also allow water to evaporate quickly, whereas other containers hold water and may require more frequent drainage checks.
According to Sears, gardeners can also upcycle pre-existing materials like a wagon or an old barrel for a more environmentally friendly spin.
Here are some reasons drainage is important:
If you want to keep your container garden free of the dreaded root rot, drainage is essential. Andrychowicz notes that "containers must have drainage holes, or the water will pool inside the pot and eventually cause the plants to rot."
Don't forget to place a saucer underneath the plant to capture any extra water if your container is in a location that you want to keep dry. Not already possess a container with holes? Your planter is prepared for its premiere in a container garden once you properly drill holes into it. Here are some additional techniques for adding your drainage.
Before adding soil to a pot, Wiggins continues, "I also suggest adding little dry tree sticks to the bottom part of a pot." The roots of the plants and the soil will remain moist because the dry sticks will absorb and hold onto water.
How can a container garden be planned when space is at a premium?
Small spaces are ideal for container gardens, and there are even more innovative options available than simply stocking your home with pots and planters. If you have a small outdoor balcony or deck, Christian suggests using railing or window box containers to make the most of your space.
Daugirda proposes either cultivating a hanging garden indoors and enjoying a lush, beautiful vibe, or developing a tiered garden to open up additional vertical space for growing plants.
Christian also offers one more piece of advice, this time geared toward apartment dwellers who want to garden: "To avoid leaving any holes, use damage-free Command hooks for your hanging baskets, as well as free-standing living walls or planting towers."
How should a container garden be tended to and maintained?
Soil, light, and water are the three most crucial elements to consider while caring for your container garden. In a professionally managed container garden, all three of these elements are quite simple to modify. You should aim for the following.
Many beginning gardeners can develop their green thumb through the use of containers. Taking care of them is a great way to come in touch with nature, grow your own food, and get some exercise at the same time.