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Container Gardening: Tips For Planning & Potting

Feb 23, 2008
Container gardening solves many problems for the avid & novice gardener. It's the ideal solution to challenges such as limited space and poor soil.

Container gardening also allows you to place your garden where you want and need it. Container gardening can also improve monitoring and control so that optimal growing conditions can be maintained.

But what is container gardening? Container gardening is the raising of plants in soil filled containers outside of the traditional garden. It affords many people the chance to garden who would otherwise not have the space for an open garden on the ground. Container gardening is ideal for city dwellers who have only a balcony or rooftop to garden on. But even if space is not a problem, container gardening can just make gardening easier and more convenient.

While any type of container will do, it's best to use something that's not too shallow and does not leak. Most Home and Garden stores and nurseries sell prefabricated containers for container gardening. Or you can simply build your own to fit the space. With a little imagination, almost anything can be used for your container gardening project. An old wheel barrow or large kettle for instance. Even an old computer case! The container you select for container gardening doesn't just have to be functional. It can also be a design element.

Good quality soil is critical to a plant's growth and continued health. And container gardening affords you the chance to totally control the medium your plants are growing in. Buying good quality planting and potting mix helps assure you of a successful container gardening project. Since container gardening is usually in containers under twenty gallons in size, it is a wise idea not to scrimp on the cost of soil. Once you have your container and soil, it is time to begin container gardening.

Select your container. As stated earlier, the container should not be too shallow. It needs to be large enough for deep root development. Just make sure it is clean to begin with and then fill the bottom with two to three inches of gravel or drainage and then fill the rest of the container with soil. If you're using a large container for your container gardening, remember that it may be very heavy once it's filled with rocks and soil, so you may want to prepare it in the spot where it will be used so you don't have to move it. Once your container is filled and in place, you will want to give the soil a good watering to settle everything and to wet any peat moss that may be in the potting mix. Once this is done, you are ready to plant your plants according to the needs of the individual plants.

Proper watering is also an important element of successful container gardening. Plants in containers will need more frequent watering than plants in an open garden. So particular attention needs to be paid to watering, especially on hot sunny days. A drip irrigation system for your container gardening project will take care of this need easily and will protect your plants from the trauma of fainting on a hot day from lack of water.

Container gardening can be fun and easy with just a little planning and preparation. Plan your container garden today.
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