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Container gardening

Small-scale gardening at home

From SheKnows Canada
Do you love the idea of growing fresh vegetables and beautiful flowers right in your own backyard but unfortunately just don't have the space? Don't worry; plant a container garden instead!

Container gardern

A container garden can fit almost anywhere! A few planters on a deck, patio, terrace or even hooked onto a Juliet balcony will suffice. Satisfy your green thumb with these ideas.

The right planter

While almost any container will do, here are some things to consider:

  • Plastic containers are cost-effective but aren't durable, as they tend to deteriorate in the sun. On a positive note, the lighter weight of the plastic makes them easy to move around.
  • Terracotta planters have a timeless appeal and are readily available. However, they tend to dry out quickly, which means you may have to water the plants more often.
  • Glazed ceramic pots can be a costly option, but they are available in almost any colour and style to suit your outdoor decor.
  • Instead of using a standard pot, try out other options. Wheelbarrows, half a wine barrel, watering cans, wooden buckets, metal tins and teapots are all fun ideas.
  • Consider your outdoor decor, available space and what you will be planting when deciding on the containers to use. Most vegetables will need the room of a large container to thrive, flowers can be grown in almost any size planter and small bunches of herbs can handle smaller or medium-size pots.

Planting basics

  • Whether they're old, new, recycled or reinvented, be sure to wash out all containers prior to use.
  • Avoid using pressure-treated or chemically treated wood as a planter for vegetables or fruit, as the chemicals may leach into the food. The same thing applies for buckets or containers that have previously stored chemicals or waste.
  • Ensure the container you will be using as a planter has adequate drainage. Most planters will have drainage holes, but if not, you will have to drill out several small holes from the bottom.
  • Use a drainage saucer if possible so your deck or other space won't be damaged by water runoff.
  • Plan out your space. Some plants will require more sun or shade than others, so read the instructions on the seed packets or the plant information sheet to ensure a healthy crop of plants, then design your space accordingly.
  • Plant the seeds or plants in your containers according to the directions outlined on either the seed packet or the info sheet supplied with an existing plant.
  • Some great edibles to plant are lettuce, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, green onions and herbs.
  • Most annual flower varieties will grow well in pots for the season.

A couple of other suggestions

  • To help make the relocation of plants easier, purchase a few wheeled platforms to use, or make your own from an appropriate sized square piece of plywood and four casters attached to the bottom. Stain or paint if desired.
  • Once your container garden is under way, remember to fertilize, water often, prune off dead leaves and be aware of the placement to the sun.

More gardening articles

Grow your own kitchen herb garden
Make your own compost
Tips for having a successful vegetable garden

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