Getting Started in Container Gardening

Sometimes, the urge to garden might be stomped out by other circumstances,
such as living arrangements or space constrictions. If you live in an
apartment, you can’t really operate a full garden, just because you don’t
really have a yard! I think that one of the best solutions for this
problem is to grow plants in containers. You can hang these, or just
arrange them on your patio, window sill or balcony. Just a few baskets or
pots, and your whole living area will look much classier and nicer.

A benefit of growing in small containers is the fact that you can move
them around to suit your needs. If you rearrange your furniture and you
think that it would look nicer if it was in the other area, it’s no
trouble at all to scoot it over. As long as the lighting is about the
same, your plant shouldn’t mind the transition at all. Another benefit of
the containers’ versatility is the fact that you can adapt it to simulate
any environment depending on the type of soil you fill it with and where
you place it.

If you are trying to make an aesthetically pleasing arrangement of
containers and plants, you can adjust the containers to be at different
heights by hanging them from the ceiling or placing them on supports.
Hanging them will allow you to make the most of the space you have. This
is called “vertical gardening”. If you pull it off right, you can make a
very pleasing arrangement of plants while conserving your valuable space.
If you live in an apartment, you know how important it is to conserve
space! One method of vertical gardening is the use of a wooden step
ladder. If painted correctly, you can arrange all the plants on it in a
beautiful, stylish cascade of color.

The maintenance of container plants takes slightly more time, since you
have to water more often and go around to each individual container.
However, the square footage for container plants is much less than that of
an actual garden, so the time spent on maintenance and watering is more
balanced. It is important that you don’t over-water your container plants,
as this can be just as fatal to their health as under-watering.

When choosing containers for your plants, you’ll want to buy them all at
once along with some extras in case they break or you add more plants
later. You don’t want them to be all the same shape and size, but
definitely the same style so that the compliment each other. Plastic
containers are the best and require the least amount of watering, but if
you want to stick with clay or earthen pots then you should line the
inside with plastic. This helps it retain water more, as the clay will
soak up water.

Another thing to remember when buying pots is the fact that the size of
the pot will ultimately constrict the size of the plant. Make a careful
choice of pots according to what you wish to grow in each one. If you
search for the plant you chose on the internet, you should be able to find
specifications as to how much root space it should be given. This can even
be an advantage for you if you choose a plant that can grow very large. If
you only have a limited amount of space for it, you can constrict it by
choosing a pot that isn’t large enough to support huge amounts of growth.

If the benefits of container gardening sound appealing to you, then you
should start planning out your container garden today. If you write a list
of all the plants you desire to have, you can do the necessary research to
find out what size and shape of pots you should get. After that, it’s just
a matter of arranging them in a way that makes your home look the nicest.

Container Gardening Tips for Newbies

Container gardens can create a natural sanctuary in a busy city street, along rooftops or on balconies. You can easily accentuate the welcoming look of a deck or patio with colourful pots of annuals, or fill your window boxes with beautiful shrub roses or any number of small perennials. Whether you arrange your pots in a group for a massed effect or highlight a smaller space with a single specimen, you’ll be delighted with this simple way to create a garden.

Container gardening enables you to easily vary your color scheme, and as each plant finishes flowering, it can be replaced with another. Whether you choose to harmonize or contrast your colors, make sure there is variety in the height of each plant. Think also of the shape and texture of the leaves. Tall strap-like leaves will give a good vertical background to low-growing, wide-leaved plants. Choose plants with a long flowering season, or have others of a different type ready to replace them as they finish blooming.

Experiment with creative containers. You might have an old porcelain bowl or copper urn you can use, or perhaps you’d rather make something really modern with timber or tiles. If you decide to buy your containers ready-made, terracotta pots look wonderful, but tend to absorb water. You don’t want your plants to dry out, so paint the interior of these pots with a special sealer available from hardware stores.
Cheaper plastic pots can also be painted on the outside with water-based paints for good effect. When purchasing pots, don’t forget to buy matching saucers to catch the drips. This will save cement floors getting stained, or timber floors rotting.
Always use a good quality potting mix in your containers. This will ensure the best performance possible from your plants.

If you have steps leading up to your front door, an attractive pot plant on each one will delight your visitors. Indoors, pots of plants or flowers help to create a cosy and welcoming atmosphere.
Decide ahead of time where you want your pots to be positioned, then buy plants that suit the situation. There is no point buying sun lovers for a shady position, for they will not do well. Some plants also have really large roots, so they are best kept for the open garden.

If you have plenty of space at your front door, a group of potted plants off to one side will be more visually appealing than two similar plants placed each side. Unless they are spectacular, they will look rather boring.
Group the pots in odd numbers rather than even, and vary the height and type. To tie the group together, add large rocks that are similar in appearance and just slightly different in size. Three or five pots of the same type and color, but in different sizes also looks affective.

With a creative mind and some determination, you will soon have a container garden that will be the envy of friends and strangers alike.

Creating a Raised Bed

If your current planting goals involve plants that require good water drainage, I am sure you know how frustrating it is to have a yard that just won’t cooperate. Some plants can handle the excess water that comes about from being in an area that doesn’t drain properly. In fact, it might just cause them to bloom more lushly. However, other plants don’t cope as well, and it will cause them to die a gruesome, bloated death. You should always find out about the drainage required for every plant you buy, and make sure that it won’t conflict with any of the areas you are considering planting it in.

In order to test how much water your designated patch of soil will retain, dig a hole approximately ten inches deep. Fill it with water, and come back in a day when all the water had disappeared. Fill it back up again. If the 2nd hole full of water isn’t gone in 10 hours, your soil has a low saturation point. This means that when water soaks into it, it will stick around for a long time before dissipating. This is unacceptable for almost any plant, and you are going to have to do something to remedy it if you want your plants to survive.

The usual method for improving drainage in your garden is to create a raised bed. This involves creating a border for a small bed, and adding enough soil and compost to it to raise it above the rest of the yard by at least 5 inches. You’ll be amazed at how much your water drainage will be improved by this small modification. If you’re planning to build a raised bed, your prospective area is either on grass or on dirt. For each of these situations, you should build it slightly differently.

If you want to start a raised garden in a non grassy area, you won’t have much trouble. Just find some sort of border to retain the dirt you will be adding. I’ve found that there is nothing that works quite as well as a few two by fours. After you’ve created the wall, you must put in the proper amount soil and steer manure. Depending on how long you plan to wait before planting, you will want to adjust the ratio to allow for any deteriorating that may occur.

If you’re trying to install a raised bed where sod already exists, you will have a slightly more difficult time. You will need to cut the sod around the perimeter of the garden, and flip it over. This may sound simple, but you will need something with a very sharp edge to slice the edges of the sod and get under it. Once you have turned it all upside down, it is best to add a layer of straw to discourage the grass from growing back up. After the layer of straw, simply add all the soil and steer manure that a normal garden would need.

Planting your plants in your new area shouldn’t pose much difficulty. It is essentially the same process as your usual planting session. Just be sure that the roots don’t extent too far into the original ground level. The whole point of creating the raised bed is to keep the roots out of the soil which saturates easily. Having long roots that extend that far completely destroys the point.

Once you have plants in your new bed, you’ll notice an almost immediate improvement. The added soil facilitates better root development. At the same time, evaporation is prevented and decomposition is discouraged. All of these things added together makes for an ideal environment for almost any plant to grow in. So don’t be intimidated by the thought of adjusting the very topography of your yard. It is a simple process as I’m sure you’ve realized, and the long term results are worth every bit of work.

Growing Your Own Herbs

If you’re not the type of person that wants to spend their time managing
an elaborate fruit or vegetable garden, you might consider planting and
maintaining an herb garden. While the product might not seem as
significant, you’ll still enjoy the constant availability of fresh,
delicious herbs to flavor your meals with.

First you’ll want to choose the herbs that you’ll plant. You might have a
hard time doing this because of the huge scope of herbs available. But the
best way to choose is to do what I did; just look at what you have in your
kitchen. By planting your own collection of these herbs, you can save
money on buying them from the grocery store while having the added benefit
of freshness. Some of the herbs you might start with include rosemary,
sage, basil, dill, mint, chives, and parsley among others.

When choosing an area to put your herb garden, you should remember that
the soil should have extremely good drainage. If the dirt gets watered and
stays completely saturated, you have no chance of ever growing a healthy
plant. One of the best ways to fix the drainage problem is to dig a foot
deep in the soil, and put a layer of crushed rocks down before replacing
all the soil. This will allow all that water to escape, thus saving your
plants.

When you are ready to begin planting herbs, you might be tempted to buy
the more expensive plants from the store. However, with herbs it is much
easier to grow them from seed than it is with other plants. Therefore you
can save a bundle of money by sticking with seed packets. Some herbs grow
at a dangerously fast rate. For example, if you plant a mint plant in an
open space then it will take over your entire garden in a matter of days.
The best way to prevent this problem is to plant the more aggressive
plants in pots (with holes in the bottom to allow drainage, of course).

When it comes time to harvest the herbs you have labored so hard over, it
can be fatal to your plant to take off too much. If your plant isn’t well
established, it isn’t healthy to take any leaves at all, even if it looks
like its not using them. You should wait until your plant has been well
established for at least several months before taking off any leaves. This
wait will definitely be worth it, because by growing unabated your plant
will produce healthily for years to come.

Once you’ve harvested your delicious home grown herbs, you’ll want to use
them in cooking. Why else would you have grown them? Well first the
process begins with drying them out. This is easily achieved by placing
them on a cookie sheet and baking them 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 4
hours. After they’re sufficiently dried to be used in cooking, you can
consult the nearest cookbook for instructions on using them to effectively
flavor a dish.

If you want to store your herbs for later usage, you should keep them in a
plastic or glass container. Paper or cardboard will not work, because it
will absorb the taste of the herbs. During the first few days of storage,
you should regularly check the container and see if any moisture has
accumulated. If it has, you must remove all the herbs and re-dry them. If
moisture is left from the first drying process, it will encourage mildew
while you store your herbs. Nobody likes mildew.

So if you enjoy herbs or gardening, or both, then you should probably
consider setting up an herb garden. It might require a little bit of work
at first to set it up for optimal drainage, and pick what herbs you want
to grow. But after the initial hassle, it’s just a matter of harvesting
and drying all your favorite herbs.

Vegetable Gardening Tips

With the costs of living rising all the time, it may be possible to save money and increase your family’s health at the same time by growing vegetables in your backyard.

It’s a good idea to choose your favourite vegetables to grow and plan beds for early, middle of the season and late varieties.

Most vegetables require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, some need 8. Some quick growers like lettuce and radish can be grown between the rows of plants that take longer to mature, like beet or corn, thus making full use of the area available.

Throughout dry periods, vegetable gardens need extra watering. Most vegetables benefit from an inch or more of water each week, especially when they are fruiting.

During the growing season watch for insect pests. If you discover a bug problem early it will be much easier, but be careful to not use pesticides once the vegetable are close to being picked unless it becomes an absolute necessity. Organic gardening is one healthy and environment-friendly option. Once you have reaped your crop, put the vegetable waste into your compost pile so that it can be recycled for next spring.

It is important to protect your vegetable garden from wild animals looking for a tasty treat. Make sure your garden is surrounded by a fence that will keep out dogs, rabbits, and other animals. The harm done by wandering animals during one season can equal the cost of a fence. A fence also can serve as a frame for peas, beans, tomatoes, and other crops that need support.

Protection is needed in order for your vegetable garden to yield a bountiful harvest. Hard work will pay dividends if necessary precautions have been made.

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