Container Gardens

A garden isn't only for people who have a large yard.  A garden can be one pot or many pots on a porch, a patio or a windowsill.  The only need for a garden is a plant and your desire to take care of it and nurture it.

Container gardens have different requirements than the traditional garden will.  The first consideration is the container itself.  The container will be exposed to direct sunlight a large portion of the day.  It needs to be sturdy to withstand the elements and frequent watering.   A light color will reflect excessive sun rays and keep the roots from burning.  Plastic and terra cotta pots are inexpensive, but will show the effects of weather and use after a year.  Glazed pots will be more durable than non-glazed terra cotta versions.

The containers used must also have ample openings.  The sun needs to filter through the soil to warm and nurture the roots and seeds.  Wide openings also help collect rain water and promote circulation of air to the roots.

No matter what type of pot you choose, it must have holes in the bottom for drainage.  With being outside, rains can easily flood plants and drown them.  Drain holes will prevent that from happening.  A plastic dish or saucer under the pot will prevent any soil from making a mess on the patio or running through your patio onto a level below yours.

The pots you need to buy will have to be deep enough for the pants roots to grow.  Vegetables and perennials will deep deeper pots than annuals will.  Buy them large enough to leave ample room for growing, especially if they are perennials.  Also factor in room if they will need stakes or cages to grow up, like tomatoes.

To better promote growth and drainage, put a layer of small stones in the bottom of the pot.  Then add in material like soil or compost halfway up.  Put the plant in according to its instructions and cover with more soil.  Top it off with water for the roots to recover from transplant shock.  Place the plant under partial shade for the first couple of days so it can have time to recover before being placed in hot, direct sunlight.

Certain vegetables grow very well in containers.  Plants like carrots, radishes, onions and peppers are easiest because they don't require stakes or cages.  If space allows, bigger pots can be used for tomatoes, beans and peas.  They all require strings or cages for their vines to grow up.   Miniature versions of other vegetables are being developed to grow on bushes instead of long vines.  Pumpkins, squash and cucumbers need a lot of space to grow, but can be modified in a small area.

Herbs grow well in containers.  Each herb can be placed in a separate pot or use a large one and combine several flavors.  Herbs can be started indoors from seed several weeks before they can be planted outside in frost prone areas.  Catnip, parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme are all easy to start from seed.

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.