Monday, 7 January 2013

GUEST POST: Getting Started with Container Gardening

Container gardening is a great way for many to get started with gardening. You can start a container garden whether you have a big yard or no yard at all. You can start a container garden on your porch or patio. You can even start one in your living room.

Container gardens also offer convenience. You can control the quality of the soil entirely, so you don't have to spend a lot of time and effort trying to improve the soil in your yard if it is poor. Weeds are also not a problem in container gardens, requiring less maintenance than a traditional garden.

If you are considering trying a container garden, here's what you need to know about how to get started:

Choose What to Grow
You can grow pretty much any crop in your container garden. The key is to be sure that you have a container that can accommodate the full reach of the roots. Therefore, you need to determine what crops you would like to grow and study their root needs before deciding which ones will be best for the container garden you would like to have.

Large crops like watermelon may be prohibitive since you may not want to get a container that is big enough to hold the patch or you might not be able to afford it. Crops like corn or tomatoes may require multiple containers to accommodate the full amount you would like to grow.

Get the Right Containers
In most instances, any container that is big enough to hold the plant's roots and that has some drainage will be fine to use. You can use old tupperware, empty paint buckets, kiddie pools, or even old tires. However, some containers can make maintenance more challenging. For example, metal and ceramic containers can heat up and dry out your plants more quickly. Clay pots can soak up water and dry out plants, as well. Typically, plastic containers are the easiest to maintain.

Place Plants in the Right Location
Whether your plants are in a container or in the ground, they need to get the right amount of sunlight. The great thing about a container garden is that it can be moved to wherever you need it based on the seasons of the year and the sunlight patterns. However, it is worth taking the time to research how much sun each of your plants will need and to plan out the best place in your house or in your yard to get that much sun.

Plant in the Right Soil
Here's where you may need to do a bit of research. Each plant may require different growing conditions and soil. You may not be able to simply dig up some soil from your yard and plant your seeds. Soil has to be properly nourished and have the right balance of nutrients in order for your plants to grow and thrive. You can check in with your local cooperative extension office for testing or guidance if you want to use your own soil.

You can also start with potted soil that you buy from a local nursery or home improvement store. You can add compost or fertilizer, as well as plant food. Again, talk to an extension agent for guidance or do some of your own research at the library or online.

Give the Right Amount of Water
Most container gardens will only need to be watered once a day, but if you live in an especially hot climate, you may need to water twice a day. However, you must be careful not to overwater or you may drown your plants. The key is to keep your soil moist but not wet.
Container gardening is a great way to get started with gardening, and it makes growing your own produce easier if you don't have much experience or if you don't have much space to grow a garden. These tips can get you started so that you can have lots of fresh fruits and veggies or beautiful flowers for your enjoyment.

Do you have a container garden? Share your tips for success in the comments!

Kay Winders is presently the resident writer for, where she researches the best way for people to pay off their debts without damaging their credit. In her spare time, she enjoys freelance writing, the beach and gardening.


Karen said...

I started my container garden on my back balcony a couple of months ago and am really enjoying it - the bonus is that my 9 year old has really gotten into it to. It is a lovely way to produce some of our own veggies and for us to spend time together :)

Mrs. Lucky said...

It sure is Karen. Our kids are quite involved in the whole process of growing fruit and vegetables too and it makes them even more interested in the consumption of the fresh produce. My sister has a a container garden on her balcony as well and she grows many types of herbs and some veggies there successfully. Her daughter, who is about to become a qualified biologist, has been at least as much into it since childhood and she always tries to grow something new there every year.

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