Garden ideas for all you urban dwellers lacking a yard or access to a community garden plot, container gardening is undoubtedly the best way to harvest a bounty of products on your own. It could be anything you wish – from fresh flowers and veggies to some mesmerizing greenery. Simply put, there’s a heap of different ways container gardening can help you make the best use of your limited balcony, terrace or other unused space.
Better still, container gardening doesn’t cost you much and it can be done by pretty much anyone including amateurs who have little or no prior experience with gardening ideas.
Here’re some really useful tips that will help you get started with your very own container garden with guaranteed success:
Container Garden Ideas For Plants
Tomato, basil, zucchini and summer squash, rosemary, dill, mint, parsley, onion, oregano, strawberries, pineapples, chives, peppers, spinach, thyme, sage, cucumber, lettuce, kale, radishes, carrots, potatoes, beets, pole beans, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, parsnips, just to name a few.
- Cast Cement
- Clay (terra cotta pots, chimney tiles or drain tiles)
- Hypertufa (easy to make-it-yourself lightweight stone)
- Some Meta
- Molded Plastic, Resin or Fiberglass
- Plastic Bags
- Peat Pots
- Pottery (glazed or unglazed)
- Wood (boxes, hollowed stumps, tree bark, baskets)
Please note that you may also require additional tools and materials depending on what and where you plan to plant.
Important Things To Remember
Tip#1 When It Comes To Containers, Bigger Is Always Better
First thing first – small cute containers may seem aesthetically pleasant to the inexperienced eyes, but they’re not half as practical as bigger containers are. Plants always require deep root space in order to grow adequately which small containers cannot provide, leading to stunned, unhealthy and unproductive plants.
Typically, you should look for containers that are at least 10-inches deep and 10-inches wide. Plants like squash, sunflowers, tomatoes, and root vegetables have even larger needs vis-à-vis root space. They usually need containers with 5-gallon soil capacity (assuming you’re using gallons of roughly the same size as standard paint-buckets).
For salad greens (e.g. lettuce), it is okay to use relatively smaller containers as long as you plant them at an early stage.
Tip#2 Each Container Must Be Equipped With Good Drainage
As you probably already know, plants can’t survive without a steady supply of oxygen to their root system for respiration. However, this fact is often overlooked. In fact, a lot of containers sold at nurseries sand home centers sometimes don’t have proper holes in the bottom.
Subsequently, the containers are slowly filled up with water, which eventually results in the death or root rot. This can be avoided by drilling some drainage holes in the base.
To avoid soil loss, you could always cover the holes with something like a piece of landscape fabric or screen from the inside. Please avoid using a layer of gravel as it might lead to even more serious drainage problem.
Tip#3 Well-Watered Plants Are Healthy Plants
This is no rocket science – everyone knows that saving select few plants, most commonly harvested plants require a steady and balanced supply of water to survive. Certain types of platters, especially those made of wood, terra cotta or cloth usually tend to let a lot of air on the sides.
This airflow eventually dries out the soil at a much faster rate, thus making it imperative for you to water the plants more frequently. Similarly, take extra precautions for plants kept on patios, terrace, walkways or other surfaces where they can heat up much more quickly during summer.
To avoid such inconvenience, it is recommended that you add a layer of mulch (e.g. shredded paper, compost, or coconut fiber) at the top of the container. This will reduce the evaporation rate by sealing in some of the moisture in the soil.
Tip#4 Fertilize Regularly
Unlike naturally grown plants, the plants in your container garden ideas are 100% dependent on you for their nutritional requirements. Therefore, always make it a point to use balanced organic fertilizers that contain both micronutrients (magnesium, calcium, trace minerals, and sulfur) as well as macronutrients (potash, phosphorous, nitrogen).
Also, try and find out which type of fertilizer makes the best choice for the plants in your container garden (rather than using them on hunch).
Tip#5 Change The Soil Every Year
For optimum health of your plants, remove the top few inches of soil from the container once a year (preferably during spring) add new soil-mix and then fertilize again. This is important because refreshing the soil and fertilizing once a year not only will ensure the survival of your plants but will also keep the soil mix fertile and capable of catering to their nutritional requirements.