Thursday, 25 February 2010

Container Gardening

Container Gardening

Garden enthusiast’s who lack space for gardening aspirations shouldn't fret, because North America’s favourite pastime is not necessarily out of range for them.

Smaller spaces, balconies, decks, and even windowsills, will accept a container garden. This can bring great pleasure and allow even apartment dwellers to have a little piece of paradise.
Choice of containers is limited only by your imagination, dwelling space, and the size of your wallet.

Clay pots, wooden barrels, hanging baskets, and urns, are all excellent examples.
Just imagine, all this without the aggravation of maintaining a lawn or weeding flowerbeds!
Personally, I am happy to mow the lawn and weed the garden, but this mean's that I may be an exception to the rule!

As with conventional gardening, containers require suitable preparation. Space, light, access to water, and weather, must be taken into account.
Restricted root space may put added constraints on your plant preferences since some are prolific in producing these over the course of a growing season.

Containers may have to be stored in a protected area to keep from freezing, and tender plants may not over-winter due to exposure of colder temperatures and wind.
Knowing your hardiness zone will help identify suitable plants for the new oasis.

You can plant bulbs, seeds, annuals, perennials, or even herbs & veggies in your containers. Just think of the fresh basil and tomatoes that can be grown in a very small space!
Something I do in my front yard, where I have two large wooden containers is to layer bulbs beneath other plants. This offers year-round interest, and I experiment with different plant combinations. This is half the fun, and it's a strategy will helps me get the most show from my containers.

Consider planting bulbs for spring blossoms, veggies for food, herbs for scent, and hardy mums for fall to winter flowers. Evergreen boughs can be rammed into the soil with dogwood branches before the frost hardens the soil, which can be left in the containers all winter for a festive look. Nearly any plant can be grown in a container, (size being the main limitation), so get out and experiment!

Potting soil works better than gardening soil, which is too heavy for most containers, and fertilizing is require more often than in a standard garden because annuals and vegetables diminish the nutrients rather quickly. Drainage is also a consideration.
I have used Styrofoam peanuts for drainage, which is great because it keeps them out of our landfill sites.

Not sure what to plant in your containers or how to attend to them? There are ample resources available. Books, magazines, websites, and local garden centres are all great places to start, and volunteering at a local garden club is another way to meet garden enthusiasts who are always happy to share their knowledge!

Happily, container gardening is rather inexpensive. There are initial expenses with containers, soil, and a periodic investment in plants, but with such ranges in size and material, there is something available for every budget and taste.

While Winter is still here, look at websites and magazines to get ideas, then when the season is in swing, you can start experimenting and experience the pleasure developing your container garden!


Campbell Jane said...

I just found this site of yours on Twitter. I'm going to try some container gardening this year. I'll plant them and my hubby will water them. haha
I mailed you those "Maypops" yesterday. :)

KarenSloan-WallFlowerStudio said...

Hey! Glad you found my other blog, Janet!
You will have Bee-Yoo-ti-full containers, my friend! My husband will cut the grass, but that's about it. Besides, I want to expand the garden and get rid of all that turf nonsense altogether! : )
Looking forward to the "Maypops", lol, love the name! Can't wait to plant them! Thanks so much : ) Will take pictures of my Maypops if you take pictures of your containers!

Campbell Jane said...

I forgot I told ya I put them in the mail. haha Well we'll see how the containers go. I don't have a green thumb like the rest of my family!

KarenSloan-WallFlowerStudio said...

You likely don't give yourself enough credit, Janet! Gardening to me is painting with nature : )
Shall let you know when they arrive. Thanks again xo