However tiny your gardening space, size is no limit when gardening in a container! You can harvest a crop of vegetables or enjoy a whole garden’s worth of colorful flowers from even the smallest patio or balcony when using containers. Ceramic pots, wooden boxes, barrels, wheelbarrows even old bathtubs are just some of the containers suitable for planting. The only limit is your imagination!
Choosing your container
Make sure your container has adequate drainage. You may have to drill holes in the bottom to make sure excess water can drain away. Place gravel or broken pot shards at the bottom before adding soil so that water can escape, but dirt won’t wash out.
Be aware that some wooden containers may eventually rot. Unfortunately, treating the wood with preservatives may cause those chemicals to leach into the soil of your container and damage plants, so instead try to choose a rot resistant wood like redwood or cedar.
Experiment with whimsical containers like bathtubs, wheelbarrows, old stoves, metal buckets or a birdcage lined with moss. Even an old workboot can be charming with a delicate flower trailing from it! Just make sure your container allows for adequate root growth, especially if you are growing root vegetables like carrots or potatoes.
Although you can use soil or compost from your garden, you will get the very best results by using soil made especially for containers. Purchased soil means that you are getting the clean, weed and disease free mixture that is so important when growing in containers. As well, if you have been troubled by any type of blight or disease in your regular garden area, you want to avoid reusing that soil in your containers.
Be sure to fertilize
Fertilizer is essential when growing plants in a container. Add a mild solution every time you water or feed the plants once a week with a slightly stronger mixture.(See our article How to Choose the right Fertilizer) For any fertilizer, read the directions carefully as plants in containers can be more susceptible to burning if you put on anything too strong.
Sunny or shady?
Beautiful containers can sit in sunny or shady areas. Just make sure that the plants you choose are right for the area you plan to place your container garden. Generally vegetables will need lots of sun, but there are many colorful flowers, vines and smaller trees that will thrive in pots placed in your shady areas.
Whatever you plan to grow you will be delighted when you discover the fun of growing plants in every size and shape of container.