What do those who are aching to get out in their gardens and dig around in the dirt do when it’s still winter? One option is to plant a container garden.
Flower pots, or any containers, can be used for your favorite flowers or plants. You can keep the pots indoors, taking them outside during warmer days to get some fresh air and sunlight. If they are heavy pots, be sure and put them on a rolling caster. Once spring has arrived, and the last threat for a freeze has passed, you can either transfer your plants to the soil, or keep them outdoors all the time in their containers.
One of the fun parts about creating container gardens is that virtually anything can be used as a pot. This includes old teapots, wooden fruit crates, coffee cans, those empty decorative popcorn tins from Christmas, and kitchen canisters. The only thing you need to be cautious about is making sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of the container.
A few tips from abouthome.com about container gardens include water and light needs, as well as drainage concerns. According to abouthome.com, the single biggest mistake that container gardeners make may be overestimating the amount light that their plants are getting. One of the first things to do when planning your container gardens is to honestly asses how much direct sunlight your pot will get. No matter how much sunlight you have, or don’t have, there is a plant that can fill your needs, but it is critical that you put plants in your containers that thrive in the light you’ve got, not the light you want. After you’ve determined how much sun your pot gets, you need to find the right plants to fill those pots, matching the plant to sun exposure they will get.
As far as water goes, the only way to know that you’ve given your plant enough water is if the water is flowing out of the drainage holes and out the bottom. You can not assume that you have given the plant enough water until you see it run out. The reason to do this is to make sure the plants’ roots are receiving the water they need, not just the top of the soil.
If your pot or container doesn’t have drainage holes, make some. Drainage holes should be fairly large, at least an inch in diameter, or the risk is that they will get clogged with soil. You don’t want to make them too large, or all your soil will fall through the bottom of the pot.
Sometimes, especially when you are planting a mixed container, it is hard to make sure the soil fills in all the holes between the plants. However, it is very important that you do this because you want a plants roots to be surrounded by soil. It is the soil that allows your plants’ roots to stay moist and absorb water and nutrition, if there is too much air surrounding the roots, they die.
One way to make sure the soil gets in between the plants is to give the container a serious watering when you are done planting, after watering, look to see if there are indentations in the soil, if so add more potting soil to fill in the holes.
When planting your container garden, don’t just use dirt directly from your yard. You need to use potting soil, which is specifically designed for the growing conditions of a container or pot. In a pot, garden soil will compact and basically turn into a cement-like substance that will make it impossible for your plants to grow and thrive. Potting mix is designed to stay light and fluffy in a container. While your plants’ roots don’t want to be out in the air, they do need oxygen, which they won’t be able to access in a compacted soil.
When and if you decide to leave your containers outdoors, remember that water is heavy and containers need a lot of it. When you are planning where to place your pots for the summer, make sure you have easy access to water. Preferably you have a hose that will reach, or if you are using a watering can, your water source will be close to your pots.
Reach Michael Bush at [email protected]