Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > February 2015 > GARDEN TALK with DOUG - CONCOCTING CONTAINERS


Just to let you know right at the beginning that I AM A CONTAINER GARDENING NUT!  I know that it is only February but now is the time of year when you want to educate yourself about container gardening and make you plans for what you want to do this spring.
                Before I get into sharing some tips on being a successful container gardener I want to get on my “soapbox”  -  DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAILURE!!  With failure comes experience, comes knowledge, so embrace any failure and turn it around.  Don’t let failure win.   I have experienced plenty of failures with my personal containers over the years.  And, at the same time, I have some great successes and some of my successes have been in my landscape for over ten years.  There, I am now off the soapbox. 
                One major question is…what comes first the plants or the choosing of the container?  It’s like the question “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” My personal feeling is that the size of the container will dictate the plant selection and not vise versa.
                So, what is a container?  A: anything the holds soil.  Very simple.  A couple of my containers came from throw away along the road – “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.  With any container it is important to make sure it has drainage holes.  This is essential.
                Container gardening is a form of landscaping.  To be a successful container gardener we need to keep in mind that basic landscape principles apply to container gardening as well.
                Here are some other basic recommendations about container gardening that I want you to think about:
  1.  Decide where you want to place the container.  Sunlight will determine the plant selection.  Will the container get full sun, partial sun, partial shade, or shade?
  2. Decide the size of container for your space.  The size of container, along with the sunlight, will determine what plants, and how many plants, will do best.  For me, larger the better.  I feel that larger containers, with more space and soil, require less maintenance and give you more options when it comes to plant selection.
  3. Decide on the look that you want to create in the containers.  Plants used in the same container need to be compatible in sunlight requirement, soil composition, and water requirements.  Don’t overcrowd the container.  Keep in mind that the plants may be small now but understand the growing habits of each plant.
  4. Soil.  Soil is very important to success.  I prefer a mixture of a good quality potting soil that is mixed with an organic compost and composted cow manure or earthworm castings.  This ‘recipe’ will provide a loose, well drain soil that is full of nutrients.
  5. Fertilizing.  At the time of planting I recommend adding Espoma Bio-Tone to the soil  Bio-Tone is an organic product that promotes root development which will lead to healthier, stronger plants.  Remember, there is only so soil much soil in a container for the plants to get nutrients.  So, it is important to do timely feeding.  Whatever form of fertilizer you like to use – just follow the instructions on proper feeding.
Let your creativity flow this spring and create those “one-of-a-kind” container gardens and enjoy its beauty.
Posted: 2/13/2015 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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