Small space gardening can be a rewarding process. Whether you’re decorating a patio or looking to add fresh vegetables to the dinner table, we have some easy tips to get you started.
Container gardening is a simple and portable form of gardening that can produce great results. Find a small space on your deck, balcony or entryway to place containers (ranging from 3 to 10 gallons). A 3-gallon container will fit one group of vegetables, where a 7-gallon will fit two or three. The larger the container, the more plants you can add.
Find a place around your home with good sunlight for the container placement. Once you have your containers arranged, line the bottoms with newspaper to prevent soil from falling out of the drainage holes when watering. Fill the containers 3/4 to the top with potting mix. Add some compost and add a small amount of slow-release fertilizer. (Try and avoid granular fertilizer when container gardening). If you use potting soil, add either vermiculite or sphagnum moss to aid the soil with draining water. The soil in your pot should be mixed well and sit 2 or 3 inches below the rim of your container once prepared.
Place your plant selection in the middle of the container and water generously. Having your containers close to the house, will make it easy for you to check them daily. This will also allow you to easily snip herbs for cooking. Expect to water the containers every other day—depending on the weather, and container size you choose.
Jump Start to Container Gardening:
- find containers—3 gallons per plant average.
- arrange your containers in a sunny location close to a door, for easy access to water and any picking of vegetables or herbs.
- line the bottom of your pot with newspaper to prevent soil loss through drainage holes.
- fill your containers 3/4 to the top with potting mix, then add some compost and a slow- release fertilizer. Mix this well, it should settle down to 2 or 3 inches below the rim of the container.
- place your plant selection in the center of the container and water evenly and throughly. You’ll probably have to water every other day, depending on your container size, as well as the weather. You can add water soluble fertilizer to your watering can once a week if you choose.
Picking a Container
Ideally you’re picking a container that fits both the size and style of the setting around your home. If you choose a dark colored container, it will heat up more in direct sunlight—so make sure to consider the color that will best suit your climate and plant. In addition to the style of your container, you should be looking for some growing benefits. You want a container with wide openings for your plant to expand and grow. Glazed ceramic pots will last much longer than plastic, which tend to take a beating from UV rays. Terra cotta pots dry out faster and take water from your plants. If you want a wood look, use either Redwood or Cedar, which are both fairly rot- and stain-resistant. Make drainage holes about a 1/2 inch wide at the bottom of your container (if it doesn’t come with holes already). This isn’t necessary, but drainage holes are helpful.