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Starting a Container Garden5 November 2011
Deciding to start a container garden is a good way to dabble in gardening without throwing all your time into it. There are so many reasons why people choose to start a container garden and all of them are quite valid:
• No space for an in-ground garden.
• Physical limitations - can't bend down or are wheelchair bound.
• Patio or deck needs that extra something.
• You've inherited pots from your well-meaning garden-lover friend, so why not?
• Want herbs inside on the windowsill.
• The dirt in your yard is clay or awful in some other way - gardening in containers allows you to add fresh healthy soil every year.
• You can start earlier and end earlier because you're able to cover the pots from frost or wheel them inside on questionable nights.
Before you start, know your pots and choose them based on their looks and the material they're made of. Clay pots tend to dry out very quickly in higher, dry climates and plastic pots can break down fairly quickly in hot, sunny places. Some wood rots easily, and treated wood is not good for vegetable plantings. Good choices are wood such as cedar or redwood, or glazed pots. Whatever you choose, they do need to have good drainage so you don't invite disease or allow the plants' roots to rot.
Once you've decided on your pots, place them where they will go so you don’t have to move them when they're full and heavy. Consider putting bigger pots on wheeled plant stands so you can move them around with ease.
Next it's time to choose what you want to put in the pots. Whether you're planting vegetables or flowers, consider what the plant will do as it grows. Some plants are viney and will grow down the side of the pot so obviously taller containers are better for these.
Deciding on which flowers to plant is where a lot of people become overwhelmed. Start by looking at the big pots the nursery already has planted. You can see they have more than one type of flower and might actually have quite a few. Also note the color combinations, the height of the plants and if any spill gracefully over the edge of the container. Pick tall for the middle, surround it with medium height, and finish the outside rim with some trailing plants and you've got a very pleasing pot!
While you're at the nursery picking out plants, select a good potting soil mix to fill your pots. When planting, leave room at the top of the container so soil doesn't spill out when you water.
Give special attention to your newly planted pots, especially if it's very hot out. They'll need extra water and maybe even some additional shade to recover from the shock of being replanted. Don't forget to fertilize regularly.
There are many different reasons why people start a container garden such as physical, space, or time limitations. Deciding on the right pots and choosing some great flower combinations makes for some beautiful containers and a very rewarding experience.