Container Gardening – A Few Simple Tips

If you do not have much outside space available, or only a paved or gravelled area, a container garden can still allow you to get growing – often more prolifically than you might imagine.

If you are considering starting a container garden, here are a few simple tips to help you avoid some common pitfalls and meet with greater success.

The Basics for a Container Garden:

  • Think about where your container garden is positioned. Don’t start with the plants you wish to grow. Start with the environment of the site before determining the right plants for the right places. Observing the site is key. Think about sunlight and shade, wind and water before making plant choices.
  • Match the material, size and shape of each container to the size and growth habit of each plant you intend to grow. Remember, you need to know what plants like, and how large they grow before you choose a container for each one.
  • Different containers made from different materials have different characteristics. (I advise you to think about sustainability too.) Even the colour of a container can make a difference to the conditions provided within it.
  • Remember that you do not need to spend a fortune. Often, reclaimed materials can be used to create your container garden. Just make sure you make adequate drainage holes in any reclaimed containers you choose.
  • Fill pots with a suitable mix for the plants you are growing. Think about moisture and drainage, fertility, and pH. Purchase a sustainable potting mix, or better yet, make your own. (Making your own home-made compost is a great place to start.)
  • Provide support for any container plants which might need it.
  • Harvest rainwater to use in watering your container plants.
  • Use an organic mulch around the tops of your containers to conserve water and add nutrients.
  • Make homemade organic plant feeds for your container plants (using natural resources).
  • Remember that plants in containers typically need more water and feeding than plants grown in the ground.

Thinking Holistically in a Container Garden

  • Make sure you consider the vertical space as well as the horizontal to make the most of all the space available.
  • Remember, container plants may be separated at the roots, but still have a relationship with other plants and wildlife your garden.
  • Group container grown plants together – you can still benefit from some forms of companion planting for organic pest control and the attraction of beneficial insects.
  • Plants might also be grouped to confer environmental benefits – shading, reduced moisture loss, heat retention in cold weather etc..
  • The right layout is key – think about access for watering and care, beneficial plant combinations, and practicalities as well as aesthetics.

If you would like some help to plan a container garden, please do get in touch.

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