While container gardening seems easy to look at, it actually entails a lot of challenges. You may quickly sow a plant in a container, but the real task is ensuring that it thrives. Unlike in an in-ground garden, confining a plant in a tiny space limits its roots’ capability to wander and search for nutrients and moisture, making it harder for the plant to flourish.
Don’t fret, though! You can overcome this endeavor with the proper knowledge and practice, allowing you to grow more pots and reap more fresh herbs and produce through time. Just continue reading below as we’ve listed some of the best tips you should know to achieve success with container gardening!
Choose a plant wisely
The initial thing you need to do is pick which plant you wish to grow. Of course, you can choose, whichever you prefer. However, it is still advisable to opt for plants easier to start from seed or designed for containers. You also need to consider your climate and choose plants that will thrive in your region. Once you have learned the basics, you can grow any plant you love, from tomatoes, basil, cucumber, to zucchini, without much hassle.
Select the suitable container
One common piece of advice you can hear from skilled gardeners is that any container can suffice. While this may be true, there are simply some materials that are more beginner-friendly than the others.
For instance, plastics are lightweight, but they are pretty frail and can rapidly deteriorate if exposed to too much sun. DIY containers, such as old buckets, teapots, or wheelbarrows, will save you money but will require your effort in drilling drainages.
On the other hand, terracotta and clay pots are attractive. The catch is that they can crack in freezing weather, making it unfit for colder areas. Concrete pots are meant for longevity but are pretty heavy. Thus, it can be challenging to move if you intend to place them on balconies or decks.
The solution is to try different container types. Never hesitate to experiment, as that is the key to finding the container that will work best for you.
Remember, soil matters
Don’t dig soil from your garden and use it to fill up your containers. Soil is critical in container gardening, and what plants need is potting soil, which contains elements that can support its growth. Go for organic potting soil, which usually consists of perlite, fine bark, vermiculite, coconut coir, compost, and peat moss. The advantage of potting soil is that they allow drainage while having the capability to hold moisture.
Fertilizers are vital, especially if you are growing vegetables. Containers have very minimal nutrients, and your plant relies significantly on you to provide its needed nutrients to thrive. Different types and forms of fertilizers are available, from slow-release, granular, to liquid fertilizer, which all help to “feed” your plant and allow it to thrive.
Be mindful of the weather
Plants in containers don’t have the same stability compared to those in in-ground gardens. Though your chosen containers may appear hefty enough, the risk of them falling over is high, especially during windy days. Add in hail or rain, and the damage to your well-loved plant can be significant. As such, you need to watch out for the weather. If a storm is expected to hit your area, protect your plants by moving them in safer locations, covered by roofs, walls, or grills. That way, your plant, which you nurtured for a long time, won’t end up harmed.
Consider the light
One element gardeners overlook is the amount of sun their containers receive. Though most plants need much light, you still need to align it with their required exposure to keep them growing properly. Go to the areas where you want to place your containers, measure the time it is exposed to the sun, and place the appropriate plants based on the results.
Another thing devoid of plants in containers is water. You need to water them more frequently, but not overly. Depending on the weather, you need to do it from every few days to daily. Most plants are still small and growing during the spring, which means watering them every three days may be enough. As they grow, be ready to water them once to twice a day, as they consume more water for growth. Remember to water the plants deeply and slowly, so you may reach all parts of the soil and reach all the root zones.
Though plants require water, it doesn’t mean they prefer “swimming” in it -too much water, and they can easily drown or rot. With that, you have to ensure that all your containers have adequately-sized holes for proper drainage. Avoid too small drainages as they can be clogged and deviate from overly large holes as it can result in the soil being washed away.
Container gardening is a wonderful invention that allows you to plant your favorite vegetables and herbs, in any convenient spot, even in small, tight spaces. It can be a daunting task but simply follow the tried-and-true tips above, and soon you’d be relishing fresh produce in the driveway, balcony, patio, or wherever it fits in your home. Happy gardening!