photo credit: Hair Squared
You have heard others talk about their container garden. Have you wondered what it would be like to have your own? A simplified container garden is a series of plants growing from some form of container an arranged in a design that is pleasing to the eye.
What is a container garden?
One of the first things that might come to mind when your think about container gardening is a bunch of flower pots with brightly colored flowers arranged on the patio or around the landscaping of the home. However, your container garden does not have to be restricted to flowers. Many vegetables other than cherry tomatoes or peppers grow well in containers. You can plant early varieties and even veggies developed specifically to grow in various containers. Some will require deep containers and some will require more shallow containers, but with a little research and experimentation on your part, you will find what works for the space you have available.
Do I need to transplant?
Perhaps one of the reasons people tend to veer away from maintaining a container garden in the fear of having to transplant young seedlings. However, many vegetables seeds do well when planted directly into the container in which you want to display them. These include kale, garlic, self-blanching celery, potatoes, beans, peas, carrots, and cucumbers. Radishes, spring onions, lettuce, and spinach are also easy to grow from seed. Do not restrict yourself to just one kind of variety for your container garden. Experiment with different types and sow seed at weekly intervals to allow for a continuing harvest throughout the season. Once seedlings have sprouted, thin them out to avoid overcrowding.
What else can I grow?
The vegetables listed above are low growing vegetables, but others can be grown also. Runner beans, peas, and cucumbers do well in containers but require staking as they grow.
You may think you do not have enough room for a container garden. In that case, look up. Dwarf cucumbers, peas, and cherry tomatoes will thrive in well-drained hanging baskets. Strawberries love to grow in window boxes or on boxes that hang on a patio railing.
Where is a good place to start?
Many first time container gardens are herb gardens. Herbs, such as chives, basil, bay, marjoram, thyme, mint, parsley, and sage, grow successfully in hanging baskets or containers and will be easily transportable to the indoors when the weather turns colder.
Smart container choices for your container garden
There are some very attractive plastic containers on the market. So, if you plan to put your container garden on the patio or deck, do not overlook these items. Molded to resemble clay or concrete containers, these plastics pots may actually prove to be more practical. Not only can they fit right in with your outdoor landscaping, they are not susceptible to breakage. They tend to retain moisture a bit longer than clay pots on hot surfaces, will not build experience a buildup of moss or mold when in the shade, and are easier to clean up when the season is over.
The old standbys of half whiskey barrels, wooden boxes, and stoneware work well also. Keep in mind that these containers can be heavy and difficult to move.
Whenever you are planning your container garden, most any kind of container will do. You will need to keep in mind the type of plant you are using, the amount of soil that will be required, how easy it is to move once filled with dirt, and how well it allows for water drainage. The containers can be color coordinated and placed in a formation that is pleasing to the eye. The containers do not have to be relegated to just a flat surface. You can also go vertical with them, placing them on shelves or other styling features that allow for elevation.
Be creative and enjoy the fruits (vegetables) of your labor.