Container Gardening Tips
Container Gardening is great for small spaces or even if you have no ‘outside’ space to garden!
Any type of gardening can be a lot of fun… but if you happen to not have a large yard, or maybe no yard at all, then you might not think you can have a garden. Container gardening is perfect for this situation, and in fact they are so popular that even people with larger yards who have the space, still use containers for growing things.
Containers can be used for growing just about anything…. well maybe not an Oak tree… at least not for very long! With the growing popularity of growing your own veggies and herbs, containers fit in very well, and you know exactly where your fresh greens or other goodies have come from. With the concerns about the economy and just the state of the world, things have become less ‘certain’ than they used to be, and many people feel the need to be more self-sufficient.
When it comes to providing for yourself, you might think you need a large block of land, and while that is ideal, there is no reason why you cannot get started right where you are, even if that is in an apartment. You can easily get some reusable containers that are made just for this purpose, and one of my favorites is the EarthBox which you can get through Amazon.
Growing food in containers need not be expensive and providing you follow some simple steps it need not be difficult either. If this is the first time you have grown anything, then you might want to start with a popular herb or a vegetable, like lettuce; something that you use regularly, so you can get the benefits as soon as possible.
Below I have listed some steps you can follow to plant out some basil, which is a very popular kitchen herb, that actually has some therapeutic value as well. After you follow these steps, there is no reason why you can’t just repeat the process again for another kitchen favorite…
Make sure you have all the supplies you will need before you start, so you can go through the setup process without having to stop part way through.
You will need the following items for this example.
Three plastic pots with drainage holes in the bottom, preferably with trays underneath to catch soil and water drainage, about 5-6 inches in diameter, and 5-6 inches deep, one packet of basil seeds, one small bag of organic compost, one small bag of peat moss, one small garden trowel, one small watering can or clean spray bottle, and one very sunny windowsill (or a florescent or halogen grow light if no sunny window is available.) The total cost for these materials will be somewhere around $20 or less if you have a sunny windowsill. If you need a grow light, that will cost an additional $15-$20.
Getting your soil ready.
Mix together 1 part peat moss with 5 parts compost. (For every one trowel full of peat moss, put in 5 trowels full of compost.) Fill the three pots up to about ½ inch from the top with this mixture.
The Fun Part…. Planting your seeds.
Simply make a hole about 1 inch deep in the center of each pot with your finger. Put about three seeds into each hole. Then cover the seeds with soil. Water lightly and place in the windowsill or under a grow light. Once the seeds sprout and reach about 2 inches in height, remove any extra sprouts so that you only have one plant in each pot.
Maintaining your Plants… Keeping them growing and healthy.
In order to care for your plants, all you need to do is water them regularly and keep them maintained. Check the soil daily for moisture. Whenever the soil feels dry, water lightly. To maintain the bushy growth, pinch off the tops of each stem every couple of weeks and remove any flower stalks as soon as you see them growing.
So that is all you need to do to make a basic start with container gardening. There is no reason why you can’t just ‘rinse and repeat’ as they say, and do it all over again with other herbs or even some yummy salad greens or strawberries. Strawberries do well in hanging baskets which is just another form of growing in a container.
If you want to make the whole process even easier and you would like to venture into planting larger plants like tomatoes, squash, beans or peas, then you might want to consider some larger containers. The EarthBox is designed for just this purpose, and it makes the process even easier when you want to expand your gardening efforts.
The EarthBox is made with a water conservation system that enables more controlled watering, and feeding for your plants. It is made to use over an dover again, and once you get the hang of it, you will easily be able to make up your own soil mixes and organic fertilizers.
There is nothing quite as good as eating fresh picked vegetables, herbs and fruit right from your own garden. You know exactly what they have had put on them, and you know that they don’t have any harmful bacteria or chemicals. Plus being so fresh you cannot beat the flavor, and once you have tried growing your own, you won’t want to go back to eating store bought produce!