No Space? Try Container Gardening
Photo: © Brebca - Adobe Stock Photo
The beauty of container gardening is that it doesn't require a lot of space to get great results. Many different types of plants such as annual and perennial flowers, vegetables, and herbs can be successfully grown in the smallest corners of patios or balconies. All that's needed is an area that provides about five hours of sunlight a day.
Choosing a Container
An important part of container gardening is, of course, the container. Avoid small containers or ones that have narrow openings. Plastic or terra-cotta pots with predrilled drainage holes that are sold in gardening and home centers are a great choice for container gardening. Wooden containers made from untreated lumber can be used as well, but avoid using containers made from treated lumber because the harmful chemicals can leach into the potting mix.
Choosing Potting Mix
Plants grown in containers have to be treated a little differently than plants grown in the ground. The smaller amount of soil in the container limits the nutrients available to the plants, and the soil must be well drained and remain loose to encourage root health. For this reason, it's best to avoid regular garden soil because repeat watering will cause the soil to become hard and compacted. The best product to use for container growing is a peat-based artificial soil that contains perlite or vermiculite additives for drainage.
Fertilizing Container Plants
Even when using the best potting mixes, plants in containers will need additional fertilizer. The rapidly growing plants quickly absorb the nutrients from the potting mix, and the necessary frequent watering will wash away nutrients. In general, liquid fertilizer applied once every two weeks is enough to keep plants healthy.