Container Gardening For Small Spaces
Container Gardening is simple and not really an art form as some would have you believe. It does not require being the ultimate flower arranger or artist.An attractive container garden and for that matter a garden can be achieved with little or no experience with a little help from gardenersgardening.
The Best way to accumulate Ideas For Containers
It would be easy to say just do it on your own.A little education never hurts and it will put many ideas at your disposal.You can read available information on containergardening at this site or get a recommended book and plan how your vegetable gardening or your gardening of flowers will look.
A Trip to a Professional Garden With A Camera In Hand
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and it is true. A good digital camera in hand and a pleasant trip to gardens local or far away will assist in your design.These gardens always display container gardening along side soil gardening techniques.At least one such garden will be featured on this site every month entitled garden tours.
GARDENING IN CONTAINER REQUIRES THE APPROPRIATE CONTAINER
Containers today are available in many sizes,shapes,and materials as you can see in these pictures.Whatever the material the container is composed of make certain it has an adequate number of holes in the bottom for good drainage. You may need to add more holes by drilling or punching more holes to achieve the desired drainage.You are also better raising the container off a cement floor or patio floor by one or two inches to improve the drainage. This can easily be done with blocks of wood or several bricks. The size of the container is important whether it be container vegetable gardening or container gardening flowers. In most cases plants that grow in the soil can be raised in containers as long as sufficient space remains for root development.There are some shallow rooted plants such as lettuce,peppers,radishes,herbs and other annuals that require a container to be six inches in diameter with an 8-inch deep soil.Large 5 gallon containers such as a bushel basket,half barrels,and wooden tubs are best suited for growing tomatoes,squash,pole beans,cucumbers,and deep rooted perennials.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER SOIL IN CONTAINER GARDENING
It is not a good container idea to utilize soil straight from the garden.In most cases the soil is too heavy unless your garden has sandy loam or sandy soil.Clay soil produces its worst attributes when put in a container. It holds too much moisture when wet,resulting in too little air for the roots. It also pulls away from the sides of the pot when dry. This web site offers the opportunity for many deep discounted books on gardening.
Synthetic soils are the best for container vegetable gardening.The container medium must be porous,because roots require both air and water.The potting soil found at your local garden centers is lightweight and can make a good container soil. It will especially do well for your container flower garden.However if your dealing with a large container garden you may want to mix your own. You can do this by mixing 1 bushel each of vermiculite and peat moss,add 10 tablespoons of limestone,5 tablespoons of 0-20-0 superphospate and 1 cup of garden fertilizer such as 6-12-12 or 5-10-10. You have to mix the material well adding a little water to reduce the dust.It will be necessary to thoroughly wet tne mix before seeding or transplanting.
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SHRUBS IN CONTAINERS
There are a large number of shrubs that can be successfully grown in containers. They can add a great deal to your indoor decor as well as patio and sunroom. Shrubs ,however,have distinctive planting and care conditions than lets say container flowering plants or even ferns for that matter.
The most successful shrubs that are grown in containers to name a few are rhododendron,barberry,wisteria,clematis(with trellis),forsythia,jasmine,boxwood,and other various hedge shrubs. There are many many more that can be grown in containers.I would approach your local garden center for advice on which shrub would be best for your container experience.
Keep in mind that shrubs are larger than most other plants and it will require you to purchase a good size container. It should be be at least two and half feet wide and about one and half feet in depth. This should cover a shrub growing to heights of four to five feet with a spread of three to four feet wide. You must purchase a pot that has drainage holes in the bottom. It would be a good idea to review the area you intend to place this shrub to ensure there is enough room for both spreading and height and the area has adequate light.
TO PLANT YOUR SHRUBplace two inches of coarse gravel or you can use broken pieces of old clay pots as your drainage material placed in the bottom of the container. The next step is to add a layer of potting soil making sure there is a sufficient amount so the base of the stem on your shrub will be level with the top of the container once you place it in the container. A soiless potting mix can be used for shrubs using three parts moss to one part builder's sand and include four tablespoons of all purpose fertilizer per bushel of mix. In using a good soil based mix,I would mix two parts soil plus 1 part compost or leaf mold and one part sand or perlite.
MAKE SURE YOUR ROOT BALL IS MOISTand the root system is healthy. Place the shrub in the center of the pot in the potting soil or soiless mixture you have prepared making certain that you placed enough of either to have the base of the stem level with the top of the pot. Now fill in and around your shrub with the remainder of the material being sure to firm the soil with your hands. You should work the mixture until the material is about one-half an inch below the lip of the container. A thorough watering is now in order waiting for it to drain the first time and then water it once more.
The shrub should be watered well when you test the soil with your hand for moisture and find it to be dry. The shrub's top growth maybe prune preferably in the late autumn or early spring to retain its shape and size. In order to stop the shrub from obtaining heights that may not be desirable, I would remove the shrub from its pot every four to six years and prune about four inches of root ends and soil from the root ball. Then wash out your container and using new material or soil replant your shrub. It will remain dormant maybe for a period of six to eight weeks but recover nicely after that period.
THERE ARE MANY METHODS TO EASE WATERING
There are many watering gadgets available to assist you if time is not on your side. I have used self watering containers which prove very effective. You can use water retaining crystals which is simply added to the soil at the time you are filling your container with potting soil. This substance is excellent for hanging baskets which tend to dry out rather rapidly. You might want to invest in a long handled spray extension which attaches to your hose. There is also a gadget that raises and lowers your baskets and looks like a minature pulley system. The crystals can be used as well with your ground level containers.
THERE ARE MANY FEEDING OPTIONS AVAILIABLE
These two options I feel are the best. A good thing to remember here is that you have a confined plant which can not spread its roots out across a large area so that the plant is solely dependent on what you feed it. This seperates using containers from regular gardeners gardening.A good brand of potting soil will in the beginning provide your plants with all the essential nutrients but as your plants spread out and grow taller they will require regular feeding.A good liquid fertilizer will resolve this problem and keep your plant perking along with proper nutrients. All you need to do is follow the directions on your liquid container for the best results.
Now you say I do not have time for all this attention to proper feeding of my containers well I have some good news for you. There are slow release pellets that can be purchased to relieve you of this chore. You insert these pellets at the time of planting your containers. These pellets will last the entire season,releasing nutrients when your plants are watered.
One of the other options available is an irrigation system which I am not going to go into in great detail here. This method ranges from water timers attached to your hose or tap to a tube system which is disperse through out your containers. The more elaborate you become the more expensive container gardening can become. Click to review a good lesson in planting flowers in containers
We will be showing you in this section container garden flowering as well as types of containers that can be used,bulb container gardening and other interesting facts about container gardening.
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