It is not difficult to start your own container garden, in fact for many people, it is an enjoyable hobby. It can be an economical option to save money on fresh vegetables or herbs. The process of setting one up is the same, whether it will be for indoors or outdoors. Winter is a perfect time for planning your upcoming container garden.
First, write down a list of plants that you are interested in growing. Group them in similar categories. Do you want to plant an herb garden, a vegetable garden, and indoor flowering plants? Pin point your goal.
When you have your basic list, now is the time to do some research on the specific plants on your wish list, and their growing specifications. The internet, library, seed or nursery catalogs can be great sources for finding this information. While you are doing this, be open to plants sharing common growing conditions. These might make great companion plants in a specific container garden.
The specifications you’ll need to find about each plant is how much root space will be needed, how much sun or shade needed, best type of soil, and how much typical watering will be needed. Considerations for frost and the grow season need to be evaluated, if they will be in containers outdoors.
Container Garden Materials Needed
You will also need to research the supplies you’ll need once your gather your plant specification data. Some of those needed supplies will be:
Containers – you can get very creative with these. They may be purchased, large decorative containers, to the small, basic black pots, or making your own out of various materials. The photo above is an old wooden barrel converted into a strawberry container garden. Just make sure that proper drainage can be ensured. Don’t forget, raised beds built from scratch also fits into this category.
Potting Soil – you can purchase potting soil specially designed for container gardens, or you can use compost as well, or a combination of the two.
Water – Depending on how hot and dry the area is where the plants will be growing, you may want to add garden crystals to the soil to help hold water and reduce the frequency of watering. The same principal is used for the glass bulbs as well. These are optional supplies, but can be real time savers.
Tools – hand trowels, gloves, water can or a watering wand that fits on the end of a hose. If your containers are going to be indoors, be sure to put a dish underneath the pots to catch any water runoff.
Plants – you can plant either full grown plants, seedlings, or opt to start yours from seed. This is completely up to your preferences, and budget. For seed starting, be sure to follow the directions on the package for germinating. Most any vegetables can be successfully grown in containers.
Assembling Your Container Garden
After you have gathered your supplies it’s time to get our hands dirty and the fun begins.
Some folks put a ½ inch layer or so at the bottom of the container of charcoal or small pebbles, to assist with drainage. This is optional however.
The next step is to lightly fill your container with potting soil, but not completely to the top. If you are planting seeds, you will fill higher with soil, than if you are planting fully grown plants.
Gently take your plants or seedlings out of their container taking care not to disrupt the roots or pull much on the top of the plant. Dig a hole slightly bigger than the plant and put the roots in, then cover with potting soil. Water thoroughly. Now gently with your hands, lightly tamp the damp soil near the plant and soil to get a good connection, and water again.
Place your containers in your desired location. Pay attention to any fertilizer feeding schedule you may want to opt for. Rotate your containers periodically for balanced light exposure. If these are indoors, you may need to supplement the light with plant grow lights.
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By starting your own container gardens, it can not only be a fun hobby, but can save money, and provide fresh vegetables, plants or herbs for a tasty and healthy addition for your family.
Until next time,
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