Imagine a vegetable garden taking up about 3 square feet…on your deck or patio in a decorative container. For that matter why not put it in that sunny spot in front of the garage? If you don’t like it there how about by the back door? A moveable garden? Certainly! Such is the flexibility and convenience of container gardening. It is frustrating when that perfect spot for a vegetable garden also happens to be your driveway. How would you like to add a bit of color in a shady spot under a maple? Sound impossible? Well, that can be solved by a whiskey barrel loaded with brightly colored impatiens. In the fall you could plant that same planter with spring flowering bulbs and pansies for a spectacular early show. Don’t feel limited to whiskey barrels; there is a whole range of ornamental planters, urns and window boxes. Such is the excitement and fun of container gardening!
There is so much you can do and it is as easy as 1-2-3….
1-Containers, 2-Soil/Conditions, 3-Plants. Lets consider some possible containers you can use:
Terra Cotta pottery will give you the most options for pot shapes, designs and sizes. Because it will not weather over well through our mountain winters, you are limited to annual plantings or taking the pot indoors in the fall.
Concrete planters are more winter resistant, but you lose portability due to the weight versus clay. The designs are usually more classic and perfect for more permanent spots, i.e., front door, entry ways, etc.
Wooden planters such as cedar buckets, whiskey barrels and window boxes lend another texture to the whole planting. Wood, unless treated, does have a finite life span. A good way to increase their longevity is by ensuring good drainage.
Plastic pots are certainly more durable. No rot problem here. They are lighter in weight as well, which is an important consideration in the case of window boxes and hanging baskets. Your range of container colors expands tremendously and new designs are coming out all the time. They are usually less expensive than clay or concrete and easier to move around the house, yard and garden.
These are but a few of the planter options, yet they give you endless gardening possibilities. Garden under trees, in trees, under windows and on walls. Using containers, it’s easy to bring color to areas where you never dreamed it was possible.
An important point to remember when it comes to container gardening is drainage. A porous material at the bottom of the container, one that will not clog existing drainage holes, is a must. It doesn’t have to be much, maybe a few pieces of broken clay pot.
The perfect soil mix is in the bag! Literally. Most potting soils are pH balanced, contain perlite to lighten the soil, ensuring good drainage, plus polymers that absorb and release water as needed. No need to worry about over-watering – or drought conditions. Yet they are rich in organic matter. Avoid top soil, straight humus and other mixes that might be too heavy. So start thinking of where to expand your garden!