Thursday, May 26, 2011

Container Garden Success


Earlier in this spring I made a post about a Portable Container Garden which I planned to use for my garden this year. I just wanted to post and say that my garden was a success! I have sugar snap peas and lettuce that are doing amazing. I have some herbs that are doing great as well. The tomatoes and peppers do not seem to be having any problems, and my pumpkin plant seems to be making progress. 

For those who are interested in container gardening, here are some tips that I have learned over the years.

1. Be creative with your containers, do not feel obligated to buy the $50 pot unless you just really think it is pretty.
2. Place gravel or some form of small rocks at the bottom of the container. This allows the water to drain better, which prevents the roots from getting soggy.
3. Make sure you do not try to grow too much in a pot. Read the seed package to see how far apart you can grow your plants. Some plants it is ok to grow several in a small area, mostly herbs, while others like tomatoes and peppers need their space. 
4. Along the same point as #3, make sure that you know how much root space the plants will need. Obviously root vegetables will need a very deep container, like the ones in the rear containers in my garden. Herbs and lettuce typically do not need a lot of depth.
5. Arrange your containers so they get the most sunlight. This may seem obvious, but it can be easy to arrange the containers in a neat cluster. Avoid putting the larger containers in front of the smaller containers because you will create an undesired shadow.

6. Water appropriately. This is true of any type of garden you have, but container gardens are a little more sensitive because they cannot tap into the grounds water or they can trap too much moisture if over watered.
7. Container gardens require a lot of soil, which can add up if you plan to have a large garden. I always use the $1 a bag of compost. It works lovely and is a great fertile soil. I will warn you it is not the most pleasant to deal with, but it is cheap and works better than the Miracle-Gro soil I've used in the past. If you know you will have problems watering, then I do recommend the Miracle-Gro Moisture Control.

8. A good way to combat moisture issues is to cut up an old sponge into small pieces and add it throughout the soil. It will suck up the extra water if you over water, and there will be a reserve of water if you forget to water. I do this with plants I put into the ground as well.

9. Make sure you pick a container that has holes at the bottom. You can drill your own holes if you are handy, but I recommend having holes both at the bottom and on the sides. Don't drill holes up too high up, otherwise they will just get clogged with roots or dirt.
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