Container Gardening

Potted Plant (dee88 | morgueFile.com)

Photo credit: dee88 | morgueFile.com

Container gardening allows anyone the opportunity to grow plants. Annuals, perennials, herbs, trees and shrubs, vegetables, water plants; if it grows in the ground, chances are it can be grown in a pot. Container gardening is mobile, it can be a quick fix, quick spruce up or decoration, and can be short or long term. Container gardening works for homeowners, condo and apartment dwellers, kids, senior citizens, the physically challenged, or anyone who just wants to do a little gardening.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  1. The first thing you’ll need is the container. Any container will work, as long as it’s large enough to support the root system of the plants you intend on growing in it, and has excellent drainage holes. There are so many pots to choose from today. Again, size and good drainage are the two (2) most important factors. Do not add gravel to assist in drainage; all it does is add weight to the pot.
  2. Next, you’ll need a good, soil-less potting mix. These mixes are what the professionals use, and although there are many brands to choose from, the basic ingredients include sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and sometimes a small, finely ground pine bark. Forget the 99¢ bags of potting soil – invest in the soil-less mixes instead. Remember, you can use them year after year. Depending on the soil-less mix, you may want to add extra Pine soil conditioner to the mix (25-30% pine soil conditioner). Combining soil-less potting mix and Pine soil conditioner makes a very nice growing medium.

    Potted Plant (earl53 | morgueFile.com)

    Photo credit: earl53 | morgueFile.com

  3. Soil-less mixes are basically nutrient free, so you will need to add a little fertilizer to the mix. Use a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote for a slow, all season feeding. Then supplement additional feedings as needed with good old Miracle-Gro®, Fish Emulsion, or fertilizer of your choice, and feed as needed depending on what you’ll be growing in your containers.
  4. Here’s the real secret to container gardening: Plants in containers will be depending on you for water, so make sure you have a good water wand. To help cut down on your watering, add Soil Moist to your soil-less mix. These tiny polymers absorb water, swelling to 200 times their original size. As the soil-less mix becomes dry, the Soil Moist releases water back to the soil, basically cutting your watering in half.
Vegetables (Irish_Eyes | morgueFile.com)

Photo credit: Irish_Eyes | morgueFile.com

Do you want to grow your own vegetables, but don’t have room in your yard? Container gardening is your answer! Greens, onions, rhubarb, horseradish, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and even strawberries can be grown in containers. As I mentioned before – if it grows in the ground, chances are you can grow it in a pot and it will grow even better!

Now you’ve got the basics for container gardening. The rest is up to you and your imagination.

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