Container Gardening

Garden 2011

I just planted a container in my garden so I may as well talk about what I do with containers.  This one I planted with peppermint so I can contain the peppermint.  Mints like to go crazy spreading and I didn’t want this one to spread just yet.  I have spearmint that is spreading on one side of the house, but I haven’t figured out where I want some peppermint.  Hence the container.

I don’t do anything too special with my containers.  Not anymore than I do any other thing for my garden.  I get a decent potting soil from the store, put some rocks or broken terra-cotta in the bottom (for drainage) and then I plop my plant in there.  The only thing is to make sure the container is big enough for the plant or else you’ll be re-potting sooner than you want.

There are lots of benefits to containers.  They can be moved all around the house and yard to take advantage of the micro-climates created by buildings and other plants.  If you only have a patio, porch, or balcony you can have a small garden. 

While I was renting, when we first got married, I did tomatoes, onions, and peppers in half a wine barrel.  This meant I didn’t have to ask permission from the land lord to put a garden in.  I made the mistake of lining the barrel with plastic.  It didn’t drain well so I had to be very careful about how much I watered.  I did a similar thing with large plastic pots when I lived in an apartment that had a small patio.  These were lighter and easier to maneuver but I could only put one plant in each.

Main considerations for your containers:

  • Size: You’ll want to either plant things that have shallow roots or get a deep pot.  Something like tomatoes, the pot should be about 24 inches deep.
  • Color/Material: Containers can be part of a yard or garden design.  They can either enhance the scenery or they can detract from it.
  • What do you want to grow? Veggies? Flowers? House plants?
  • Micro-climate: A place up close to the house will not freeze much but it may get scorched by the hot sun reflecting off the building in the heat of summer.
  • Water: How often you water will be determined by the type of soil used, the type of container (many are made that have water reservoirs in them), and the amount of drainage you put in.  Your temperatures will change throughout the summer and so should your watering habits.  When it is super hot you’ll have to water at least once a day and sometimes two or three times. 

I don’t think there is anything that can’t be planted in a container.  Some that I have grown in containers: Tomatoes, onions, strawberries, flowers, basil, avocado, and dwarf lime.  Strawberries are great in hanging baskets because the plant trails over the sides.  The avocado I have is one that was sprouting in my compost pile.  The lime I just ordered from a catalog this spring.  The lime and avocado would never survive outside where I live so they are destined for containers for their life here.

Sounds like my youngest is up.  I hope this helps with containers.  I don’t think there is anything you can’t put in a container of some sort.  I’ve seen where people are now growing potatoes in bags and garbage cans.  Give it a shot.  If it doesn’t work with one experiment with something else or a little different type of soil.  Just don’t forget to feed the container with a fertilizer made for containers/house plants.  It is less likely to burn the plant.


About littlehawkyarns

I am a small business owner, spinner, knitter, gardener, and mom. I have two children, two dogs, a husband, and two cats. I enjoy canning good food, getting involved in my community, and going on adventuress with my family.
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