Container gardens allow anyone with any size home to enjoy growing things, not to mention the delectable crunch of biting into homegrown organic veggies. If you’re considering starting a container garden, you’ll feel the satisfaction that comes with nurturing new plant life in no time.
To succeed at container gardening, you will need to do some prep work, however. Here’s a guide to container gardening for beginners that will help you harvest goodies or just reflect on your beautiful floral creations.
1. Select Containers
Pick your containers like Goldilocks: not too big, not too small, but just right. Research how much room the plants you intend to use need to thrive and buy a few additional sizes in case you feel like adding more plants later.
2. Scout Locations
Most plants thrive best in sunny locations with a few exceptions. Those starting outdoor container gardens should check the USDA Hardiness Zone tool to determine the best time to plant.
3. Prepare the Base
Just as container size matters, so does the potting soil you select. You may choose to buy a variety of potting soil types for different plants, or you can let the dirt determine your choice of flowers or veggies.
4. Pick Some Vegetables
Many veggie plants thrive in containers. Make a salsa garden by filling pots with tomatoes, hot peppers and cilantro. Radishes, celery and lettuce grow well on windowsills or in the ground.
6. Choose Some Flowers
Maybe you want to fill your home with color, not just grow your own produce. Begonias, impatiens and verbenas come in a spectrum of colors and are sure to delight your eyes and nose each time you water them.
7. Mulch and Protect
Just like outdoor garden patches, mulch likewise keeps container plant roots warm while retaining moisture. Unless you live in an arid climate, mulch container plants lightly, as too much water retention can cause mold.
8. Establish a Watering System
All plants need water, and the number of container plants you grow relies in part on the time you have to slake their thirst. Small gardens make do with just a sprinkling can, but larger, outdoor container gardens benefit from a drip system that can keep plants healthy even while you’re on vacation.
9. Feed Plants What They Need
Did you know that most gardeners fail to feed their plants what they need for maximum growth? Most container plants thrive best when fertilized twice per week, so invest in a quality organic liquid plant food to keep your beginner container garden growing strong.
10. Learn to Prune
Many plants require regular pruning to spur new growth and look their best. Snip off dead branches, leaves and deadheads when necessary. For tough-stemmed plants, invest in quality pruning shears.
11. Harvest Your Crops
If some or all of your containers grow food plants, enjoy the harvest when it comes. Plan a special meal centered on the fruits of your gardening labors. Involve the kids if you have them so the whole family can enjoy a farm-to-table dinner.
12. Share the Love
Did your garden grow a bit too much? Share your homegrown goodies with family and friends, and keep a stash of seeds from annual plants to produce a new crop next year.
How Does Your Container Garden Grow?
If you’ve followed the tips above, your beginner container gardens will soon flourish. Enjoy the sense of satisfaction gained by watching your baby plants grow and bloom.