How To Plant a Container Garden
Ready to give your hand at gardening a try? If you are ready but are limited by time or space, try planting your garden in a container. Here are some tips for building a successful container garden.
Creative Containers: Look Around!
Your container doesn't have to be a terra cotta pot. You can use just about anything that will hold soil, provide drainage and accommodate the plants you intend to grow. Anything goes when it comes to containers. You are only limited by your imagination and creativity. Here are a few ideas but you can also brainstorm your own list! Half wooden barrels, feed tubs or troughs, wheelbarrows, windowboxes, old chairs, wagons, tubs, beach pails, crates, bathtubs, or tea pots. Once you have selected your container, you are ready to prepare it and choose your plants.
Preparing Your Container
Rule number one in container gardening: drain it! Make sure your container has holes in the bottom to drain off water. Without drainage, the plant's roots with smother. If your container does not have holes and it is feasible to create some, make ½” holes in the bottom. On the other hand, if your container is a basket or the like and will not hold water or soil well, line it with a thick plastic, bubble wrap, newspaper, sphagnum moss, or nylon mesh screening to hold the soil, allow for drainage and keep pests out. Once you have your container properly drained, make it is placed so that the water can drain from underneath. You may need to raise it up on blocks.
Now, you are ready to add soil to your container. To ensure that your plants will thrive, you need a soil mix that is rich in nutrients, drains well, and retains moisture. Soil from your garden will likely bee too dense for a container garden. Your best bet is to buy a rich, organic potting soil from your local nursery.
Choosing Your Plants
Anything goes when it comes to containers, as long as you allow enough room for the plants you have chosen. For variety and visual interest, choose complimentary colors and plants with varying heights. You can also consider adding a small trellis or coil support for a climber or even for a vegetable. Need a kick start? Here are a few ideas:
• Salad Galore: Red and green lettuces, cherry tomatoes, a bush cucumber, and some herbs.
• Fiesta: Patio tomato, jalapeno, and onions. Get your avocados from your local farmer's market. If not, you will be waiting to see fruit for a decade—if you're lucky!
• Marinara Bounty: Patio tomato, herbs like oregano and basil, and onions.
• Herbal Delight: Thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, dill, cilantro, parsley—you will never be out of herbs for a meal again!
• Floral scented basket: lavender, nicotiana, geraniums, heliotrope make a lovely scented display.
• Bright and bold: geraniums, coleus, bacopa, ipomoea (morning glory), penstemmon, bamboo, fountain grass, elephant ear, canna, abutilon, euphorbia, lantana, nasturtium, alyssum, lobelia, creeping zinnia.
The trick to planting a pleasing container is to have a tall plant in the center as a focal point, filler or medium sized plants and a few trailing plants that spill over the edges of your container. Pack it full, keep it well watered and enjoy!