Container Gardening

Vegetables, Flowers and Herbs

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Container Gardens for:
Growing Food and Flowers

Container gardening makes it possible to garden in almost anywhere. People are using container gardening in balconies, roof tops, decks, porches and indoors.
Flowers, vegetables, fruits and herbs can be grown in almost any vessel with good drainage and it's non-toxic. The vessel just has to be large enough to accommodate the plant of choice and light enough if you are bringing it indoors. If my planters are stationary, the bigger the better. They use less water and the soil stays cooler.

As for containers:

I look at the size of my plant and then decide on the decorative pot. If I am using a wood container, I like to line my wood container with a plastic liner or I use a plastic pot as a sleeve to protect my wood. Then in the fall I just bring the potted plant in the plastic pot indoors. To cover the plastic pot rim outside in the large container; I just mulch everything. Right now I am using gravel to mulch my containers, because chipmunks and squirrels won't leave my plants alone. First I used chicken wire and they found a way of lifting the wire. Gravel works! I was surprised.

Flowers are good for container gardening?

Around my patio, I use annuals. Mostly geraniums, grasses, sedums and Calla lilies because slugs and snails don't seem to like them. For growing anything in containers, I usually put something tall in the middle or around the back. Something that grows well and covers the soil and gaps. The three principles of flower arranging; A thriller - a filler and a - spiller.

What vegetables and fruits grow well together in containers?

I grow mostly salad crops, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and marigolds. For some reason Zon6 is not long enough for peppers to grow to maturity outside. I start my pepper plants indoors, transplant them to a bigger pot and keep them indoors. I tried growing peppers outdoors and bringing them in before the first frost, but the aphids did get the best of my peppers and eventually they all died. I washed and sprayed everything, but I still lost them. So I grow some peppers outside ( usually end up picking them green ) and some indoors. It's January 17 and my pepper plants are still blooming by my sunny window.

Fruits and trees for container gardening:

Dwarf fruit trees works well. Once I grew a lemon and a fig tree in a container outside, but I had to bring those indoors for the winter. Right now, I have a cedar tree that my daughter grew from seed growing in a wood container by the back door.

Raised Planter Garden:

I think Raised Planter Containers are so creative. Some of the raised planter containers comes with "crop hoop covers". If you cover your garden with a plastic hoop cover, you might be able to extent your growing season.
If you need to sit down to garden, this type of garden planter works, because it's just a shallow box with legs. If you are making your own container garden, you can adjust the legs to the height you need. As for irrigation, you can rig drip-irrigation or just fill up a plastic bottle with water, poke a few holes around the bottom of the bottle and poke the full bottle in the soil next to the plants that need the extra moisture. With a raised garden it's easier to keep Critters and Pests out of it as well.
I have raised vegetables beds and I find it easier to weed, fertilize, water and keeping it tidy. If I can only do one bed a day, that's what I do.

Best Containers for Landscaping Pots?

For me the bigger the better; more soil less time spent watering.
I like wood, metal or terra cotta.
Once I plant them, they will stay on that spot, but right now I have 3 wooden containers that I have to move. They needed to be moved last year. Where they are, I need a garden path. Next year's project. :)

Things I use for container gardening:

This is where I get creative and use whatever I have and only buy when I find something special that just pops in my car.
At the moment I'm using what I have like; husbands old boots, hanging baskets old watering cans, old metal buckets and extra wood from old wood projects. Indoors, I try to put my plastic pots in decorative containers or just leave them on a plant saucer in their plastic pots until next spring. I love the look and growing in clay pots, but I can't leave them outside during the winter. However, sometimes I do put them outside and feel spoiled until it's time to scrub them and bring them indoors.

Vegetable plant combination ideas for container gardens:

I plant what we like to eat like;
1 bush Tomato, Basil and a Marigold per pot. Marigolds will deter pests and insects.
Pepper, Parsley, Oregano and a Marigold etc.
I usually plant, 1 vegetable, 1 herb and 1 flower depending on the size of the container.

Perennial container gardening ideas:

I like ornamental Grasses, Hostas, Roses, Perennial Candytuft, Sedums and dwarf trees.

Keys to container gardening success:

Soil:

The potting soil mixture should be light, but be able to hold moisture and drain well. Basic garden soil is too heavy and compact and will not drain well. You can also buy potting soil or make your own.
With 1 part potting soil, 1 part compost, 1 part sand, vermiculite or perlite. Vermiculite will keep your pot from being too heavy and easier to move around .

Water:

Don't let your container garden soil dry out completely. It's hard to hydrate the soil and plants to its original form. I water my containers early in the morning and if it's very hot, I will do it again after supper. Watering at the end of the day, tells my body to slow down. Early in the morning watering with a hot cup of coffee in hand is heavenly.

Food:

I give my containers liquid food, compost tea or worm casting tea every two weeks. If I miss a week, my planters still look happy.

Deadheading:

Removing all of the dead leaves and flowers will keep your container garden looking fresh and healthy. Happy Gardening!
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Cons about container gardening?

Weight.
Outside - the bigger the container the better.
Inside - it's the weight of the container that's a problem for most people.
My Mom uses plant caddies with rollers on all of her heavy containers. It makes her large plants a lot easier to move around. For small pots you can buy the plant caddies at the $Store. If you have a pot that's too deep for what you need, you can add some of your plastic recycling to the bottom of the container. Some Vegetables would be happy with that, because they have shallow roots.

Selecting plants ( flowers ) for container gardens:

Container gardening is a great way to brighten up a deck, balcony, a dark corner or just for a pop of colour wherever it's needed in the garden.
A suggestion for plants that will do well in pots, containers, urns, throughs, sinks or on hanging baskets.
Position your container before filling it - a watered container is very heavy. :)
Make sure your container has proper drainage and then you're ready to go.
Water and feed your plants regularly.
I feed mine with compost tea, fish emulsion every couple of weeks during the summer.
I also water my smaller potted plants every day during the hot summer.

Plants (flowers)

Best Plants for Outdoor Containers

Begonia:

height: 6 - 12"
description: Compact, fleshy plants with waxy single or double flowers that are pink, yellow, red and white. Foliage is fleshy and green, maroon, or bronze. Blooms spring to frost.
culture: Full sun to partial shade. Moist, well drained soil rich in organic matter. Best propagated by cuttings. Almost continuous bloom. Can be brought indoors in fall and overwintered as a houseplant.

Calladium:

height: 9 - 30"
description: Genus are grown for its showy many coloured leaves marked and patterned in combination of white, pink, red or green.
culture: Annual. Grown as a summer bulb from tuber-corms. Partial to deep shape. Moist, well drained soil rich in organic matter. Remove flowers as they appear. Propagate by division. Dig tuber-corms and store in a cool dry spot over winter.

Calendula Officinalis:

height: 6 - 24"
description: Daisy-family member with yellow, cream, white or orange daisylike flowers and bright green leaves. Blooms spring to frost.
culture: Annual. Full sun to partial shade. Rich moist soil. Excellent cut flower.

Chrysanthemum:

height: 12 - 48"
description: Fall blooming perennial with yellow, purple, scarlet, orange, pink or white daisylike flowers that may be single or double.
culture: Hardy perennial. Full sun to partial shade. Rich to average, moist, well-drained soil. Pinch back in July to encourage branching. Good cut flower.

Coleus:

height: 6 - 36"
description: Annual. Shrubby plant grown for its ornamental foliage, which is variegated in combinations of chartruese, white, bronze, copper, gold, yellow, pink, red, purple or green. Good house plant.
culture: Annual. Full sun to partial shade. Propagate by cuttings or seeds. Pinch off flowers as they form unless you want to save the seeds. Excellent plant to add colour to a shady spot.

Daylily:

height: 12 - 48"
description: Trumpet-shaped flowers in yellow, orange, red, pink or lavender. Each bloom opens for only one day.
culture: Hardy perennial. Full sun to partial shade. Moist well drained soil, rich in organic matter. Propagate by division. Many cultivars available.

Hostas:

height: 6 - 36"
description: Sturdy, clump forming perennials grown for their attractive foliage, which may be blue-green, green or patterned with white, cream or yellow. Spikes of blue or white bell flowers that bloom in summer.
culture: Hardy perennial. Likes deep shade. Moist well drained soil, rich in organic matter. Propagate by division and underplant with spring bulbs like crocuses or daffodils for spring colour.

Impatiens:

height: 6 - 30"
description: Mound-shaped, fleshy plant covered with single or double flowers of white, pink, orange, salmon, red, or lavender. Blooms appear spring to frost.
culture: Annual. Partial to dense shade. Moist, well-drained soil, rich in organic matter. Prefers warm weather and can be brought indoors in fall and overwintered as a houseplant.

Lantana:

height: 16 - 36"
description: Shrubby plant with many clusters of tiny flowers that are usually yellow or pink on opening and opening and change to orange, red or lavender. Blooms appear spring to frost.
culture: Annual. Full sun. Rich, loamy and well drained soil. Propagate by softwood cuttings. Can be brought indoors in fall and wintered as a houseplant.

Lobelia:

height: 4 - 8"
description: Trailing, summer-blooming annual with many small fan-shaped flowers in deep blue, pale blue, red or white.
culture: Annual. Full sun to partial shade. Rich, sandy, moist soil. Do not cover seeds, it need light for germination. Pinch plants to encourage extra growth. Attractive when combined with other annuals.

Nicotiana:

height: 18 - 30"
description: Summer flowering plants with white, lime, lavender, pink or red trumpet shaped flowers that are fragrant at night.
culture: Annual. Full sun to partial shade. Moist, well-drained soil, rich in organic matter. For me they are self-seeders.

Pelargoniums | Geraniums:

height: 12 - 36"
description: Grown for ornamental flowers. Grown for their 3-5" wide flower clusters in pink, white, red and salmon. Blooms appear spring to frost.
culture: Annual. Full sun. Rich light, sandy soil with good drainage. Pinch geranium branch tips after the first flush of blooms to encourage branching. Remove flowers as they fade. Can be brought in fall and wintered as a houseplant.

Petunia:

height: 10 - 18"
description: Popular, sprawling annual with trumpet-shaped flowers. Comes in many colours and shapes. Blooms appear spring to frost.
culture: Annual. Full sun. Rich, light, sandy soil with very good drainage. Pinch back tips are first flush of blooms to encourage branching. Dead head often.

Note: Most of these container plants are Hummingbirds and Butterfly magnets as well as being good for container gardens.
I also like ornamental grasses for height in my containers and Fuchsias for hanging baskets.