Monday, 1 July 2013

Steps to Start a Container Garden

Many people may want to start a garden but say "we don't have room" if you find yourself saying this rest assured you can still start one. All you need is a small porch, balcony, veranda or courtyard that gets some sunlight and away you go.

There are a variety of containers you can grow plants in that come in many shapes and sizes, you can even grow some types of plants in cardboard boxes. 

Our first vegetable and herb gardens were started in containers with great success. In this post we will share our tips and advice that we learned along the way.

First up choose which types of plants you wish to grow, herbs, vegetables, small trees, flowers or succulents (just to name a few)

Find a reputable garden nursery to purchase your plants, seeds and soil. Always follow the instructions that come with them. Eg: position- full sun, part sun or shade.

It is best to monitor your planting spot to see how much sun it gets throughout the day so you know which plants will grow best in that position.

Planting in Containers
Once you have chosen which plants you wish to grow think ahead to when it will be fully grown and get yourself a container to match. This saves time repotting and prevents the plant from dying off from minimal space.

Make sure your containers have good drainage, if the holes are too small make them bigger with scissors or a sharp knife. You can also put a layer of big rocks at the bottom of the container to ensure good drainage.

Fill your pots with your quality soil and put in your plants or seeds. If your plants will need support with stakes as they start to mature add them now. If you add them later you may destroy it's roots.

Give them a good water and talk to them often to help them grow.

If you live in an upstairs apartment be sure to use trays under your plants, as your neighbours may complain if water drips down onto the balcony under yours. Trays are also useful during summer as it will give the plant the ability to draw water through it roots.

Mulching is also beneficial during summer months, it helps to prevent the soil from drying out quickly. We like to use sugar cane mulch as it also gives the the plant some much needed nutrients.

Planting in Boxes
If you choose to start with cardboard boxes they will be good for only one crop so choose herbs that you will harvest or root vegetables. Once the crop is finished you can place the cardboard in the compost or shred and place on larger garden beds.

Wooden boxes can be reused just give them a good wash with mild eco friendly dish liquid with some essential oils added. Rinse well.

Tips for box planting

  • Line the bottom of the box with biodegradable garbage or plastic bags, this will prevent the box from breaking down too fast. (make sure it will still have good drainage by leaving some gaps)
  • Be sure you are happy with it's position as it may crumble if moved from it's original spot after planting.
  • Wooden boxes should be lined with several layers or newspaper before adding the soil, this will prevent your soil from falling out.

Remember that plants that are grown in containers or boxes need a little more care than those that are in the ground. They may need extra food and water as they will not be able to absorb them naturally through surrounding soil. See our learning about plants post to find out more and to learn about symptoms of a sick plant.

If you find your plants are getting invaded by bugs see our natural pest control post to get some safe and natural remedies.

We wish you luck with your container gardens and most of all the joy that comes with watching your plants grow. Feel free to contact us if you have any tips, questions or trouble shooting.

Thank You for Reading

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