Getting Started with Container Gardening
Just because you live in an apartment or you don’t have a grand yard to design a big beautiful garden doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden at all. Container gardening is becoming very popular for many reasons. One, obviously, is that you don’t need much space at all and it can be done pretty much anywhere you live. Secondly, more people these days are trying to save money by planting herbs and veggies at home. Whatever reason you may be thinking about starting a container garden, here is some information to help you get started.
Choosing Your Container
When you start shopping you’ll notice that there are all kinds of containers available. Among the ones you’ll find are wooden containers, plastic, glazed ceramic and clay pot containers.
Plastic containers are prone to cracking when they become brittle from direct sunlight. It’s not easy for plant roots to grow in them and over time you’ll start to see them fade.
Be cautious about clay pots, too. If you use clay pots, you’ll find yourself having to baby your plants and always trying to keep them moist enough. Clay is porous and the moisture your plants need to grow and thrive is easily lost.
Whatever containers you choose, make sure that they have holes in the bottom to allow water to drain properly. ½” is plenty big enough for these holes.
Fill ‘Er Up
Before you start filling your container, make sure that you have it positioned where you want it. It may be small, but don’t underestimate how much it will weigh once you’re done.
Get some 1” flat-stone gravel to use in the bottom of your container. Line the bottom with them and then lay in about two inches of soaked newspaper. This will help conserve water. Now lay in some good fertilizer and start filling your container with compost and gently press it in to firm it as you’re filling it up.
Good Plant Choices for Sunny &Shaded Areas
Just like people, plants are all different and have different needs. What grows well in the direct sunlight may not do so well in the shade and vice versa. Some good choices if your container is mostly going to be in the shade are:
Fuchsia – Beautiful flowers that look gorgeous in mixed containers and come in a variety of colors.
Begonias – Careful not to over-water them and you’ll have blooming flowers all summer long.
Wishbone Flower – Very easy to take care of, doesn’t mind the heat and needs good drainage.
If your containers are going to be exposed to a lot of direct sunlight, consider these:
Million Bells – Butterflies and humming birds love ‘em. Don’t over-water them, as they don’t thrive if they’re too wet.
Brush Violet – These velvety flowers grow well with almost anything. The main thing you need to protect them from is wind.
Cape Daisy – Dedicate yourself to a little deadheading and you’ll enjoy beautiful blooms that are pretty hardy (all the way to 25 degrees!)