There are a variety of reasons why you might be looking into container gardening. The simple fact that they are relatively easy to get started is one of the more popular ‘excuses’ to have a garden in containers on your deck, patio or sunroom. With a container garden, you avoid some of the issues with frost, critters, seasonal effects and other problems that you might have if you had planted in the ground.
This doesn’t mean that there are no challenges with this type of gardening. In fact, you may be searching for ideas or inspiration for your patio garden and don’t know where to turn. Our goal is to give you some of the basic information that can get you started. If you want to pursue the topic further, visit HGTV. Here, we’ll be addressing some of the more common questions that come up when getting a garden like this started.
When Should I Start My Container Garden?
This is a good question, but the answer depends on where you live and where you wish to start from. In other words, if you live in a climate where you’re still getting snow in March, you may have to postpone the patio garden in favor of having the plants potted in your sunroom, greenhouse or other area first. Then, when the frost-risk passes, you can move it outdoors. Similarly, depending on ‘where’ you wish to start from – whether this is seeds, seedlings or small plants – this affects the equation also.
To answer the general question more broadly, you can start your seeds or have your plants outdoors when the average temperature is high enough to support the growth of whatever type of plants, vegetables, herbs or flowers you are wishing to grow. If you have an enclosed patio room or sunroom where you can start your plants, then the time of year may be less of an issue. You’ll likely face a greater problem getting seedlings or plants out of season to plant than you will actually growing them at home.
How Large of A Pot Should I Use for My Container Garden?
The answer to this also has more to do with your personal taste for aesthetics as well as for what you wish to plant. In general, a larger pot or container will allow you to plant more in them and also will allow for the soil to stay moist for longer. This is beneficial in a few respects. One, it keeps the plants watered more effectively. Two, you will not need to water as frequently, leaving you more time to pursue other interests or activities – you don’t want to be kept imprisoned by the work of having to tend your container garden endlessly. The whole idea is to enjoy a nice herb garden or other type of living ‘portable’ garden without the hassle of an in-ground variety.
These can also be great choices – garden bags. Tough, heavy duty polyethylene. Better for plants-bigger nutrient and water reservoir. Better for the environment: no end-of-season plastic waste. Size: 39 x16 x9 Reusable Grow Bag, 39 x 16 x 9, Green
What Type of Soil for A Container Garden?
The type of soil is something that will make a difference for your garden. After all, soil, water, a container and the sun are all that are necessary to grow a garden. However, the right pH of the soil, water drainage and nutrient content can mean big differences in the life of your plants or vegetables. One thing to ensure is that you use a mulch. Mulch is nothing more than a type of cover or fill material that locks in moisture and inhibits evaporation around your plants.
Gravel, bark or wood chips and even compost can make for great mulch choices. Gravel is great for Mediterranean-style plants and cacti. Pebbles are a related choice and is good for use in pool landscape and other areas where these types of plants will be found. Bark chips are also helpful in controlling weed growth. Compost can be an especially good choice if tomato container gardening is high up on your list. Composting is a great way to add organic material and nutrients back into your soil. There are other products sold through your local home improvement warehouse or nurseries also.
If gardening is in your blood, then you might also consider a raised planting bed. These can be considered larger container gardens, in a sense. These are nothing more than (typically) wooden structures that hold soil above ground level. It is important that they be made of materials that will not leach into your soil and kill the plants or vegetables. Pressure treated lumbers are a no-no here. Cedar and redwood make for good choices.
Hopefully, these container gardening ideas have helped you to develop a better sense of what will work in your situation. Have fun and enjoy getting those fingernails dirty!