Spring is coming and that means it’s time to get ready to garden! To help you get your gardening plans started, we’re sharing a 4 Part Container Gardening Series over the next four days here at 5 Minutes for Mom.
We’ll start today with Planning your Containers and Space, then tomorrow we will talk about Deciding what to Plant, followed by the Tools and Supplies You Need For Container Gardening, and lastly we will round up the series with Keeping Your Container Gardening Pots Looking Their Best. Also, you’ll want to stay tuned later in the summer when we will share Container Gardening Fall Cleanup and Pot Storage.
Container Gardening, also called Urban Gardening, is a great way to add color, vegetables and life to your living space.
You can plant containers to grow inside your house in a windowsill or semi-sunny spot, or outside on a deck or walkway. The only real limit is the space and type of plants you want to grow.
Now is the perfect time to start thinking about your Container Gardens.
Do you want to grow plants and flowers for color or dramatic impact, or veggies and herbs for your table? Or a combination of both edible and decorative plants? It’s all up to you.
First, think about the spaces where you can put your containers. A sunny deck or patio is a great place to start, but many plants will do well on a shelf or ledge. Maybe you have a wide pathway that could use a little color. How about a large focal plant in your entry?
Here are things to consider when planning your garden:
- Space – The easiest way to plan your space is to draw a basic plan of your area(s) that will display your containers. Make a note of which way the sun shines, and how much sun the area(s) receive each day. Allow 1 ½ to 2 times the diameter of the container or pot for minimum distance between them.
- Time – How much time do you want to spend each week on your garden? Whether you grow vegetables or flowers, they will need to be watered several times per week, fertilized, weeded, picked over, pruned, and more. Be realistic about the amount of time you want to spend.
- Expense – Almost anything can be used as a container for gardening; you may have to make holes in some pots or buckets to allow for drainage. Plants can add up, too, especially if you purchase larger shrubs or trees for containers. If you need to purchase soil and amendments, they can be pricey if you have many pots to fill.
- Plants or seeds? – You can start your plants from seeds, and for many flowers (especially annuals), vegetables, and herbs, this is a great and inexpensive way to begin. But you can also plant trees – even fruit trees – in half whiskey barrels, or large flowering shrubs in huge galvanized buckets.
Here are some tips to minimize your costs…
Use five-gallon plastic buckets, which can be obtained from some restaurants for the asking, as well as purchased from the local big box home improvement store. They are great for growing vegetables, allow plenty of rooms for root growth, and can be painted with a plastic surface paint if you want to change their color.
For soil, try to use a mix of compost and garden soil. If you don’t have soil in your yard, you may be able to purchase it from a nursery in bulk. Garden soil is much heavier than the bags of potting soil available at the nursery, but it has more nutrients, and the need to fertilize your plants and garden will not be as frequent.
Finally, look around your house for containers you might use, especially for smaller windowsill gardens. If you are only interested in small plants like indoor flowers or herbs, think about coffee mugs, teapots, pencil holders, canisters, etc. for planting. The rule of thumb for plants is that they need as much space for roots as they have growth on the top. This allows for them to grow and thrive.
There are also many DIY kits and plans for container gardens; although most are designed for vegetables, they would be great for any kind of plants.
Once you have an idea of what your time, budget, and space will allow, then you can start deciding what to plant.
Read our complete Container Gardening Series…
Part 1 – Planning your Containers and Space
Part 2 – Deciding what to Plant
Part 3 – Tools and Supplies You Need For Container Gardening
Part 4 – Keeping Your Container Gardening Pots Looking Their Best
Coming this summer… Bonus – Container Gardening Fall Cleanup and Pot Storage
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