Beginner’s Guide to Container Gardening

*By: Christi Shingara*

Photo: Gary Barnes

Container gardening is a great way to have a garden without having a lot of outdoor space. I have lived in many apartments throughout the years and usually didn’t have a backyard to plant a garden. Container gardening solved that problem. Below are some tips to consider when you are starting your container garden.

Know your light

Before you go out and buy a bunch of plants or flowers figure out where you will be putting them and how much area that light gets. If you are creating an indoor garden, take note of how many windows you have and how much light you get throughout the day. If you are starting a garden outside, notice how long the sun shines in those areas. Low light means plants can’t have direct sunlight and should be a few feet away from the light source such as a window or artificial light. Once you figure out the lighting situation, that will narrow down what types of plants you will be looking to buy.

Buying the right container

Choose a pot that is comparable to the size of the plant. Choose deeper pots for plants that have a larger root base and shallow pots for a smaller root base. You will also need to make sure you have proper drainage such as holes in the bottom. I personally like containers with built in drainage trays such as these below.

Keep the tags

When you purchase your plants, there usually is a tag attached. This tag has the name of the plant and how to care for it and also how big the plant will get. There has been times where I lost the tag or accidentally threw it out and forgot what kind of plant it was and how to care for it. Very frustrating to say the least!

Feed your plants

We all know that plants need light and water even if it just a little bit. As your plants grow, they also need to be fed as well and the best way to do that when growing plants in containers is by using a liquid fertilizer. Always read the plant tag first on how often you would need to fertilize your plant (some don’t need to be fertilized at all). I use Miracle-Gro Liquafeed All Purpose Plant Food.

Use the right soil

For container gardening, the more potting mix the better. Potting mix is primarily made up of peat moss, bark and perlite (the white pellets you see). The main function of potting mix is to hold moisture and nutrients around the root of your plants. It also gives plants a perfect balance of air, moisture, anchorage and nutrients. I use Burpee Premium Organic Potting Mix.

Do you have a container garden? Let me know in the comments below.

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