Container gardening can be an awful lot like a chicken recipe (My apologies to our readers who are Vegetarians. Please don’t hold it against me!). Think of all of the different ways that chicken can be served; stir-fried, kabobs, cordon bleu and that old mainstay fried chicken. Container gardening is the same way. Your container “recipes” are equally as endless as the number of chicken recipes in a cookbook. For example, you can have containers that are all the same color or you can have different colored pots. You can have a display of containers that are all the same size or you can have the same display with large containers and small containers combined. You can plant containers with annual flowers, perennial flowers (Yes, you can grow perennials in containers!) vegetables, herbs and even bulbs and remember that a container can be a flower pot or anything that can hold soil and has holes in the bottom of to allow water to drain out of the container.
Like cooking with chicken container gardening is all about personal preferences and container gardening allows you the opportunity to change your mind over and over again. Planting a different flower in a container from one year to the next or even just moving a container from one spot to another can radically change how your garden looks. Gardening in a container even allows you to change your mind during a growing season. Try sprucing up a tired container in the fall by adding pansies, asters or chrysanthemums. You can substitute one plant for another or change the entire planting altogether. The possibilities are endless!
Before you jump into gardening with containers there are a few basic tips to keep in mind:
- Drainage-Most container flowers don’t like to be saturated. It is important that there be holes for drainage in the container. To assist with good drainage I line my containers with aluminum or plastic soda containers. It keeps them out of the landfill and it makes the pot lighter in case I want to move it around later. The amount you put in will vary depending upon the size of the container but you want to have at least a quarter to a third of the pot lined this way.
- Soil-Good soil is the bedrock of any successful container. I lean towards a soil mix that is made specifically for containers and is identified as such on the packaging. If you prefer you can get organic soil which is soil that is certified to be free of chemicals and man-made herbicides and pesticides. You can usually get this at your local hardware or home improvement store. Soil made for containers kind of takes the guess work out of having the right mix of soil matter.
- Watering-Containers will dry out a lot faster than plants that are planted directly in the soil. During the summer you may have to water pots daily. Watering in the morning helps keep the pot evenly moist during the day and is a good way to minimize the possibility of fungus or other diseases than can occur with nighttime watering.
- Feeding-Containers do best with a regular feeding schedule. What you feed them with is also a personal choice. Miracle Gro, which is a man-made liquid fertilizer or some other liquid fertilizer is what I’ve found to be the easiest way to do this and I usually feed my containers on a regular every other week schedule.
So, now that you know all about container gardening create a “recipe” that’s right for you!