Get Started Container Gardening
“A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.” – Liberty Hyde Bailey
If you’ve always wanted to do some gardening but thought you couldn’t because you live in an apartment – think again. You can use your balcony or patio to do some gardening… in containers! Container gardening will allow you to grow fresh vegetables or flowers, and partake in the pleasures of gardening all while enjoying your apartment lifestyle. Use these tips to get started!
Check Your Light
Before you get started, survey the sunlight situation on your patio or balcony. When do you get sunlight? How long does the daylight last? How long does your patio or balcony spend in the shade? This will help you choose your plants or flowers. Certain plants require direct sunlight while others may only need it for part of the day. Choose wisely based on the light you receive.
Assess Your Space
Next, you want to decide how much space you’d like to devote to your container garden. Will you use all of your patio for your garden? Or, do you want your container garden to be an accessory to your balcony space? Either way, check how much room you have for your containers.
Choose Your Container(s)
Now that you’ve assessed your light and your space, it’s time to shop for containers. While plant containers come in a wide variety of sizes, go as big as you can for your area. Larger containers will make gardening easier as they will hold more soil and water, making your plants easier to care for.
You may also want to look for containers that are decorative if you use your patio or balcony for entertaining. There are lots of attractive outdoor containers available!
Make Sure You Have Drainage
Check to make sure the containers you choose have drainage holes in the bottom. Drainage is essential for healthy plants. If water is allowed to sit in a pot, you will find that eventually, your plants will die as they become waterlogged.
If you find a container that you love, but it doesn’t have drainage holes, don’t worry. You can easily add holes to your container so that it will work for your garden.
Prep Your Containers
When your containers are full of soil, they will be very heavy; especially if you bought large ones. Be sure to place your containers where you’d like them before you fill them.
If you have exceptionally large containers, you may want to fill the bottom with gravel, styrofoam or even plastic water bottles to reduce the amount of potting soil you need. Otherwise, fill your containers with potting soil as it will provide the greatest benefits to your plants. Speak with the experts at the local garden shop to see what the best mix would be based on your plants and your container size.
Choose Your Plants
Choosing your plants is the fun part! What do you want to grow in your container garden? Do you want fresh vegetables? Herbs? Beautiful flowers to accent your space? Whatever you choose, read about each plant and make sure it’s appropriate for your space. Once again, your local garden center can be a big help when you make your selection.
Take Care of Your Plants
After you’ve planted your new garden, it becomes all about maintenance. You want to make sure you are regularly watering your plants, without allowing them to become too dry. You’ll also want to fertilize them to help them grow and stay healthy. You may also need to prune or deadhead your plants based on what you have chosen to grow.
If you haven’t had a container garden in the past, now is a great time to get started. You can start small with one container and expand slowly as you establish your green thumb!