August 29, 2011

Easy Container Gardening

Prior to living in my current home, I spent many years in an apartment, in homes with no space for a garden, or just being too busy to maintain a garden.

I wish someone had told me how easy it is to have a few simple pots that I could keep on a balcony and pay little attention to. 

For those of you that have an interest in starting a small garden, this is your week. I'll be posting everyday this week about the basic steps to start a balcony garden. 

Your friends will be impressed when they come over for a dinner party and you zip out to pick some fresh lettuce, or maybe you whip up some cocktails with fresh herbs!

Here is this weeks schedule:
Monday: Picking a location for your "garden" and what to look for in the containers that you use. 
Tuesday: Tomato Tuesday.
Wednesday: Buying the right kind of dirt and starts. 
Thursday: Herb and vegetable combos. 
Friday: Caring for your new garden.

Determining a Location:

  • You are going to be growing things that don't require too much sun, but try to place your pots so they are facing south or west.
  • Choose a place that is sheltered from the wind. This can be tricky if you are in an apartment. You might think about placing a wind barrier. A small amount of wind is good, as it will help keep bugs off your plants. 
  • Think about where the water will go when you water your plants. Maybe you will need to purchase a water tray for under the pot. (don't let your pots sit in the water though!)

Containers and Pots: 
  • You can be creative here! Just make sure to not use any wood that has been treated with stain or other chemicals. Not only is it unhealthy for you, but your plants won't grow well. Look around your home, you may be surprised at the containers you already have! (5 gallon bucket, old garbage can, wood crates?)
  • Make sure there are good drainage holes in the bottom of your container. You may consider adding more holes as this is very important to the success of you garden!
  • Prop up the pots on something so that water can easily escape through your drainage holes.
  • You may have heard that adding gravel or other materials to the bottom of a pot increases drainage. It actually makes it worse. Sorry, I don't know why though! I had read a study that it does not work, and tried it myself and my plant did not do well.

Tomato Tuesday tomorrow! I have some rambling reds to show you....

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