When the first hints of spring hit the air we can’t wait to spend more time outside. Many of us are itching to get out in the garden and start working the soil and getting it ready to plant.
But if you don’t have a yard or a large space for a garden you can still enjoy growing beautiful flowers and produce. You can have your own mini garden in containers.
You can grow just about anything in a container. You are only restricted by the size of your pot! You can grow almost any type of flower or food in a flower pot. In fact, it is beautiful when you combine the two! Bright red cherry tomatoes or vibrant peppers add color and interest to a container garden, and when mixed with the bright blossoms of flowers they are even more beautiful. There are a few basics to keep in mind when you are planting a container. If you follow these guidelines you will have a gorgeous container garden that you can be proud of.
First of all you need to consider the soil. You can’t just put garden soil in a pot and plant your plants. Regular garden soil is too heavy for a container. You want a soil mixture that will drain well, yet hold moisture. You can buy potting soil commercially or you can mix up your own using about 1 part garden soil to 2 parts organic material such as compost or peat moss. Slow release fertilizer is a must! When you are getting ready to plant, mix some slow release fertilizer into the soil mixture. This type of plant food breaks down gradually over about three months, feeding your plants during that time. The fertilizer is usually in small pellets or granules that you work into the potting soil. After you mix in the fertilizer you are ready to plant.
When you plant your plants, dig a hole in the potting soil that is a little deeper and wider than the root ball on your plant. Make sure you gently massage the roots of the plant before you put it in the hole. This will allow the roots to break free from their current growing pattern and spread out. After you set the plant in, fill the hole with water and let it drain a little. Then put the loose soil around the plant and firmly pat it down. Keep in mind that pants in containers are planted closer together than they are in the garden, usually about four to six inches apart. After you have planted all the plants, cut them back about one third to one half. This step bothers a lot of people, but you will have a healthier container garden if you do this. Remember, you have just given these plants quite a shock by transplanting them. When you cut them back, they will put their energy into developing stronger roots and that in turn will give you stronger plants. Container gardens need to be watered every day. Pots tend to dry out quicker because of their size and design. You can find automatic watering systems or self-watering pots so you can make sure they are always moist. A container garden is a rewarding and fun way to grow both flower and produce. They are easy to plant and maintain, and the end result is worth it.