Thursday, January 27, 2011

Container Gardening

Container Gardening 
By Willow Forrestall

There are many websites and books about this subject. There is a lot of vast knowledge and personal experience on how to go about this. The basics are simple and anyone can have a container garden anywhere or spot that gets plenty of sun light.

Your first task is Light charting, its the same for anyone who breaks ground for Garden beds, you should also do this for your container gardens. Certain Plants need full light while others can survive in partial shade to full shade. So this is how I chart my  Natural light flow for indoors and outdoors.

I first get a sketch pad and sketch the area I plan to use. Even if its a room. On the next morning I start charting where the sun light hits, I go into the area every hour and check the Light fall. Indoors you can track it by the way it falls into the windows. Porches are slightly different especially if they have a roof. 

After you have gotten your sun tracking done the next step is planning what you want to grow and in what to grow them in. You can use almost anything as a container from old metal watering cans to Old wheel barrow's. You can construct  flower boxes or buy big pots. I like to use the Big plastic Buckets from Home depot. The ones with rope handles. They do excellent for big plants or several in it. Like a tomato plant with calendar and marigolds (they are companion plants that love each other). What ever you use make sure that it has proper holes for draining. In some you might have to drill holes on the bottom. 

Soil and layers in your containers: Many start with a gravel of some sort, may it come from your yard or you might have to purchase some. Or you can go to a friends place and ask them if they have some to spare ;) The gravel or stones in the bottom of the container helps with drainage. You don't want too much at the bottom of the container. Depending on how deep your container will determine how much to put in. I eyeball it but you should consider for shallow containers about an inch or slightly less. For big deep ones you want anywhere from 3-4 inches maybe more if its 5 gal or bigger.
My soil is my compost material, if you don't have compost material yet then you will have to get the following and this is my potting mix that never fails: Peat moss make sure it is the type that does not have fertilizer added, Earth grow topsoil compost material. They have two brands and I use booth to make my mix as the year goes by it breaks down and becomes a rich soil. Mix all together to make your mix. add it to the pots.

Plants: So many different veggies and herbs and fruits that can be grown in containers.  Many do seed clubs. Seed clubs is simple its a group of friends and seed share. Say you have carrots, broccoli and rosemary, while your friends have something you might want. So how it works is if you have a group of four including yourself, you would devoid up your seeds into four groups. I use small ziplock bags then take a permeant marker and write the seed name on it. I also use my comps printing program and write up the seed info on those free seed envelopes and print them out. After glueing the envelope together i slide the little ziplock bag into it and then write the persons name on it. This is great for those who do not have a lot of room and do not need so much seeds. Some seed packets have loads of seeds and when your tight for space you end up not planting all of it. Almost any plant can be grown in a container, I have seen folks do watermelons to other vine type plants in containers. They train the vines on trellises and grow them vertical to help save space. Imagination and thought is the biggest tools you will need for this.

Now some links for you:

Make sure you check your local agricultural laws on the types of plants that are not allowed. Each state and country have different restrictions. 

Happy Planting and getting your green thumb!

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