I can not tell you how fantastically interesting/amazing I find container gardening. I’ve lived in apartments for 98% of my life and had never even considered growing pretty plants and/or veggies and herbs on my patios or porches until recently. Funny, I don’t ever remember using fresh herbs at all growing up. Oh the eighties.
I grew up in Southern California where I could have grown ten million different things and now live in Texas where summers like to kill many precious little plants and the winter frosts aren’t too nice either.
But I digress. Container gardening can allow an apartment dweller or anyone with limited space to get some green going on either in the house or on a patio or even with just a few window boxes. There are countless containers out there that will practically grow the plants for you, but at $50 a container, that is way to rich for my blood, and perhaps for your as well.
What You’ll Need:
- Containers for all the veggies, fruits and/or flowers and plants you’ll be growing
- High quality potting soil and fertilizer: I am currently using the soil from my local nursery, The Natural Gardener. I find when fertilizer and soil are made and mixed locally, both are fresher and not full of nasty chemicals.
- Notebook for recording sun and planning your garden
- A reference guide such as The Bountiful Container, Garden Up or even the Container Gardening for Dummies.
Step 2: Plan!! Take into account the space, light, watering and season. Plant items with similar light and watering needs together and always take note of the light in your home and porch or patio before buying anything. That was a sad realization I had when I didn’t follow my own advice: I got home and realized my porch is 80% shaded and the items I selected (no returns) were not going to grow well without divine intervention.
Also factor in tools such as a trowel, pruning shears and gloves.
Step 3: Get your supplies! There are usually plenty of nurseries in major metropolitan areas but if all else fails, home depot garden center is decent, though $1-3 more per plant than my local people. Plastic containers are the least expensive, Terra Cotta are a close second and pretty ceramic pots decorated in all shapes and sizes are often pricey but will make your porch lovely.Craigslist often advertizes free pots in the “free stuff” pull down in “for sale.” This is a fantastic option if you are on a budget like moi.
Transplants (the little plants already started from seed and ready to go) are the easiest way to start and offer instant gratification. Starting from seed offers many more choices, but takes much more planning. Many gardeners start their planning and seed ordering the winter before they plan to grow those varietals.
Step 4: Plant! Turn the containers sideways to loosen, place your little babies in fresh soil and top with fertilizer, or read the direction on the packaging for your particular fertilizer, and give everything a good watering. A watering can isn’t needed but they look pretty and only set you back a few bucks.
Step 5: Take a breather and admire your fantastic work!
Photo Credits: Gardening Info Zone