Did you know that container gardening can be a lot like making a pizza? Think of all of the different toppings you can put on a pizza; pepperoni, eggplant, peppers, onions and even pineapple! Container gardening is the same way. Your container “recipes” are equally as endless as the number of toppings you can put on your pizza. 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 combining larger containers with smaller ones. You can plant containers with annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs and even bulbs. Don’t forget that a container can be a flower pot or anything that can hold soil and has holes in the bottom of it that let water drain out of the container.
Like eating that pizza container gardening is all about personal preferences and it 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 significantly 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 drainage holes in the container. To promote 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 foundation of every 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. Soil made for containers kind of takes the guesswork out of having the right mix of soil matter.
- Watering - Plants in containers will dry out a lot faster than those 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 that can occur with nighttime watering.
- Feeding - Containers do best with a regular feeding schedule. What you feed them with is also a personal choice. 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.
As the saying goes “variety is the spice of life. That gives it all its flavor!” So, now that you know all about container gardening create a “pizza recipe” that’s right for you!