From one pot to many, container gardens are a great alternative to an in-ground garden. My current potted line up is rosemary, cabbage, broccoli, and a hosta. I am also trying to revive a dahlia from last year in a big pot this spring. The urgent item on my spring garden to do list is to make a bed for veggies and herbs before my cabbage and broccoli grow too much in their pot. Eek!
1. Choose the right pot: The right pot boasts adequate grow space for what is planted, is sturdy in stature, and has at least one drainage hole. It is also a good idea to choose something else than terra cotta, especially if you need to maintain soil moisture – this material wicks moisture out of the soil. It is safer to choose a pot that is too big, rather that too small, because a small pot can result in a pot-bound plant – i.e. a plant whose roots do not have enough space and thus has restricted growth.
2. Protect your container garden: Make sure to pull your pots out of harms way, if possible, before storms hit or freezing temperatures. It is a good idea to acclimate your plants before taking them inside or moving them to the outdoors. This can be done by storing them a couple of days under cover, such as a covered porch, before moving them indoors for the winter or to an unprotected space outside. Furthermore, it is a good idea to choose the right soil composition for your climate and plant choices. The soil and plant chosen can also affect how frequent the garden needs to be watered – knowing the plants’ needs will help with avoiding under-watering or overwatering.
3. Choose your plants: If you consider yourself to have a brown thumb, starting with easy-to-grow plants might be a good idea. If you have a sunny to partly sunny spot: rosemary, a sun-loving coleus variety, and dusty miller are easy bushy plants to grow. For a shadier spot, try impatiens. For indoors, try a philodendron variety. There are many other plants to choose from! To figure out what works for you, consider the amount of sun your garden will receive, how much water it will receive weekly, and how much space you have. Plants are often potted up in the stores with tags that will inform you of the plants needs regarding sunlight, water, and space.
Bonus Tip: When planting, fill the pot part way, water this soil adequately to promote deep root growth, and then fill the rest of the way with the plant and soil. Then water again when the plants are fully potted up. Watering helps the plant start new growth and also helps settle the soil around the roots. After a few days or another watering, you may notice the soil has settled an inch or more, now you can add a bit more soil to the pot! (Remember to plant in a pot with at least one drainage hole!)
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