Container Gardening – Locate Your Garden Conveniently
Container gardening is the growing of plants in anything that will hold soil. It is suspected that the concept of container gardening started with the Egyptians and Romans. Container growing hit its stride in the U. S. in California in the 1950’s when the people started growing plants in containers in all kinds of dwelling places from small apartments to large estates.
The basic elements of container gardening are:
b) Soil and Planting
c) Water and Food
d) Light and Temperature
The selection of containers is the number one task. Container selection should be given a considerable amount of thought. Container selection depends on what type of plants you intend to grow. Select containers that are large enough to provide an adequate amount of soil for your plant. As your plants grow they will probably need to be moved up to larger containers. Plastic pots deteriorate in the sunlight but are light and easy to move around. Wood will rot after a while. Redwood and cedar do not rot as quickly as some other kinds of woods. Wood allows for various shapes and sizes. Avoid wood containers that are treated with creosote or other toxic chemical preservatives as they will damage you plants. Terracotta pots tend to dry out quickly. Ceramic pots are a good choice. All types of containers must have adequate holes for drainage.
Good growing medium is mandatory. Most container gardeners have found that a “soil less” potting mix is the best. “Soil less” mixes drain well and are free form soil diseases and weed seed. These potting mixes can be obtained at your local nursery or garden store. When you add your medium to your container, leave a 2 inch space between the top of the medium and the top of the container. You will be able to add 1/2 inch or so of mulch later.
Watering frequency and amount depends upon the size and type of plant, the type of container, the amount of sun and shade it gets during the day, and of course, the time of the year. It is best to check containers daily to determine if they require watering. When watering, it is very important that you water the whole soil ball. When water drips out of the drain holes, the plant has probably received enough water.
Plant spacing will be different than it would be in the garden. Vegetables, flowers and herbs should be spaced 1/3 closer to assure a full and balanced container. The root ball for trees and shrubs should be a little less than the container size. All container plants will need to be re-potted as necessary.
Due to the light potting soil and frequent watering, container plants will need to be fertilized frequently. Use a slow-release or water soluble fertilizer.
As a general rule container plants should have some full sun exposure every day. Plants should not be exposed to the full mid day sun. Five hours minimum is a good rule of thumb. The variety of plant determines the amount of sunlight. Generally speaking, leafy vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage will tolerate the most shade. Root vegetables such as carrots will need more sun. Plants such as cucumbers and tomatoes need more sun. Sunlight for flowers depends on the variety. Plants should be turned so that all sides of the container get direct sun light.
Care must be taken to control temperature extremes such as overheating or freezing. Containers will need to be moved to a more friendly environment when necessary.
A certain amount of grooming is required to assure the most healthy and beautiful plants. Plants should be inspected often for pests and disease. Dead foliage and flowers should be removed to prevent fungus. The close proximity of container plants makes them more susceptible to disease.
Container gardening is as old as civilization. Container gardening began its modern growth in California in the middle of the twentieth century, and has grown rapidly in the U.S. since then. Container gardening can be accommodated almost anywhere there is space available. All that is required to be a successful container gardener is to follow a few simple rules. Think through your container garden and then when you have decided on a plan simply choose the proper containers, fill them with the correct potting medium, and follow a few planting rules. Place the containers where they will receive the right amount of sunshine. Water and feed them correctly. Prune and groom them as often as required and keep them from freezing and overheating. Do all of this and you will be an accomplished container gardener.
Container gardening will brighten your dwelling, help feed you and your family and make you feel a sense of calm, and fulfillment. Don’t pass up this beautiful and satisfying experience. It is relatively inexpensive and pays back many times over.
Copyright © Larry Gildea, All Rights Reserved.
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