Container Gardening is a method of growing plants in containers. This method is extremely good for people who live in cities and do not have the luxury of a backyard to grow plants. Container Gardening is therefore an economical way (spatially and financially) to indulge your love for greenery.
Container Gardening is a method that was popularized in the 1950’s and since then it has only grown. Container Gardening is a very simple concept. Containers of various shapes, sizes and material are filled with soil and these sustain plants. To start your own container garden there are some guidelines you must follow.
The Right Amount of Light
It’s important with container gardening that your plants receive the exact amount of sunlight. Remember that potted plants can not dig their roots deep, which means putting them under harsh sunlight would drain them of their water. Therefore you want to place them in a slightly shaded area. Placing them next to a wall would be appropriate as they would be shielded slightly from harsh sunlight and still they would receive some light by reflection off the wall.
Size of Containers
The size of containers depends on the area available to you to carry out container gardening and also the kind of plants you want to include. Once you have determined the size for container gardening there are other things which need to be considered. The kind of plants you choose will have a big part to play in the size. For instance if you choose plants those tend to grow upright then you will need a container with a broad base.
If you choose ones whose roots grow long then you will need a deeper container. Therefore, when you select a container you should make sure there is plenty of room for the roots to grow. Ideally achieve a balance between the size of the plant and the container is essential. A minimum diameter of 12 inches is however recommended for containers.
Choose What Plants to Grow
While considering what plants to grow it is essential that you pick plants which thrive well in your region. In container gardening unlike gardening beds it is always better to select plants which have similar requirements in terms of sunlight, water, temperature and nutrients needed for sustenance. Also try avoiding plants those have a tendency to spread aggressively as they will dwarf other plants.
If you are living in a relatively hot environment then it is better to choose plants which can favor droughts. In container gardening, the roots of plants can not go deep into the soil in search of water. High daytime temperatures can sometime drain out all the water from a container. Therefore, to keep your garden growing, choose plants those would be able to make it through these conditions instead of those that would wither.
The sort of soil you use for container gardening is different from that used for garden beds. It is advisable to use a potting soil mix for container gardening instead of garden soil. The kind of soil you use should be something that retains moisture but is yet able to drain the water and not keep the roots soggy. Also make sure the soil does not easily compact as this would hinder your plant roots from growing. A recommended potting mix for container gardening is one that contains perlite or vermiculite, peat moss and ground bark.
You must also take into account the ph level of soil while doing container gardening. For instance jungle plants need an acidic ph level of 5.5 whereas plants from the temperate zone are more comfortable with a neutral ph level of 7.0. Alkaline soil helps desert plants thrive.
In case of container gardening, it is important to fertilize regularly. Remember that potting mix contains no nutrients, therefore, fertilize often, almost every ten days.
The Material of Containers
The material should be one that assists drainage and does not suffocate the plant’s roots.
Forcontainer gardening, it is extremely important to provide good drainage for you plants. The best way to do this is by providing holes in the containers. Your policy should be – the larger the container the greater the number of holes. Do not just provide the container with one large hole, as; if this gets clogged there will be no way out for the water. Instead provide multiple exits. Lining up the bottom of the container with gravel, sand is recommended by certain people, but this should be avoided as it does not actually assist drainage. Make sure you use potting mix in your containers as this drains well.
Another method that people incorporate is to elevate containers, so that water can drain out easily. Roots are not meant to be soggy so make sure there is proper drainage for effective container gardening.
Water for Container Gardening
Since plants in containers can not grow deep to access water they must be provided with enough water. Container gardening requires you to water the plants at least once daily and maybe even twice during the intense summer heat. Monitor them regularly to make sure they do not get dry.
In container gardening to make sure your plants do not fall prey to pests you have to use pesticides. However, in the environment of your homes it would be better to use natural pesticides. Make a mix out of a cup of vegetable oil and a teaspoon of dish washing liquid. One teaspoon of this mix along with a cup of water should be sprayed on your plants after every ten days.
Policy of Rotation
In container gardening, it is good to keep rotating your plants that you may have a blossoming garden. All plants are in bloom only for a certain period, so once they are done replace them with others. This way you can sequence the blooming of your garden.
An interesting self watering container is also available in the market. The soil and the water are separated by a false bottom in this container. There is also the provision of an overflow hole. What this concept does is that it lets the root of the plants hang from the holes and draw water from the reservoir. This is a good option for container gardening as it manages the draining and supplying of water efficiently.
Container gardening is one of the most efficient ways of growing yourself a little patch of green even in the most cluttered environments.