Getting with the Basics of Container Gardening

When your gardening ambitions are bigger than the space you have for them, that’s when container gardening can come to the rescue. Containers can be such a convenient way to green up your environment even when you don’t have the room for it.

The great thing about container gardening is that you don’t even need to pick out the spot. Containers can be moved in and out of the sun however you should need it. So you can put them up on a rooftop or out on the balcony or your front steps when you feel that they need a bit of sun, and you can move them back in when you need them indoors or in the shade. Containers can be light enough that you can just move them at will.

For instance, if you should have sensitive perennial plants like kitchen herbs in your containers, you could find that they don’t take very well to being exposed to the elements in the winter. If you want to keep them alive and growing year-round, you’ll have to move those containers indoors. In fact, having several containers right next your kitchen door could make it easy when you’re cooking, to just snip a few leaves when you need them.

And yet, winters aren’t without sunshine, too. You just need to move those containers out in the sun for a couple of hours a day, and your plants will be perfectly happy.

Now you don’t need to buy those purpose-built pots that they make for container gardening just to get started. Just about anything will do – an old wheelbarrow, an old plastic crate thrown away by a supermarket, even an old empty soup can.

What you need to do though is to pick containers for the size that your plants will grow. For most plants, about 9 inches deep would be a good idea. Some kinds of herbs, like coriander for instance, can easily grow in 3 inches of earth. Your container will need to provide for sufficient drainage, too. You can’t have it holding a lot of water with no way to drain out when there’s too much. Drilling a couple of tiny holes at the bottom might do.

Another way to provide for drainage would be to use a clay earthen pot. These are porous, and will just allow your water to evaporate. Which can be a bad thing of course. If there’s too much sun sometimes, it’ll dry your soil out.

But too much drainage can be a healthier situation than too little. When there is space for water to escape, of course, you do protect the roots of your plants; but you also allow your soil a good bit of aeration. And that’s great for plant health.

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