Container Gardening

Have a Small Space? Grow a Garden with These Container Garden Ideas!

If you are limited by space, location or back/knee pain, then you’re probably looking for some creative container garden ideas. Consider growing vegetables and flowers in containers on your patio, balcony, rooftop or in a window, as each will provide an excellent space for productive mini gardens. Diseased plants, pests and poor soil conditions are easily overcome when you garden in a container.

Types of Planters to Use When Container Gardening
Improvements has a variety of containers for gardening, including self-watering window boxessquare or rectangular planter boxes and jute planters.

Window Boxes
Window boxes are a good container garden idea because they are easy-to-install and immediately enhance your home’s appeal. Our low-maintenance Self-Watering Window Planters are UV resistant for long-lasting protection from the sun so they keep their good looks whatever the weather. A water reservoir is built into the base of the Self-Watering Window Planter, allowing plants to practically water themselves, and a built-in drain plug allows excess water to run out – protecting plant roots. It even has a built-in liner for easy transport.

Planter Boxes
If you have limited gardening space, our raised garden beds allow you to plant vegetables or flowers closer together. You can also find planter boxes that feature a slatted shelf underneath for storing garden tools or pots. Some planter boxes even have a reservoir in the base that collects water through drainage holes on the floor of the inside planter, keeping roots from getting too wet and rotting. Both of these planters are an excellent choice for balconies, porches, or patio container gardening.

Jute Planters
Made from 100% natural jute plant fibers, these jute planters are ideal for container gardening. They provide good drainage while keeping roots from getting too hot. With these grow bags, you can easily move your plants to follow the sun or away from an overnight freeze.

Which Plant to Plant?
Just about all vegetables and flowers will grow well in a container garden. Vegetables that grow the best in containers are those items you might find in your salad: radishes, snow peas, carrots, tomatoes and lettuce. Most any flower is capable of growing well in a container garden.

When collecting your container garden ideas, the size of your container, your regional location, and the time of year are the only limitations to what you choose to grow. For example, most seeds should be planted outdoors in your container garden only after any danger of frost has passed. Seeds can be started indoors and moved outdoors once conditions are acceptable.

Dishing the Dirt
Container Garden Dirt
Any growing media (because it doesn’t necessarily have to be dirt!) must hold water but drain well, contain nutrients and be physically supportive in order to grow healthy plants in a container garden. Synthetic or soilless mixes are excellent choices for container gardening and may contain sawdust, wood chips, peat moss, perlite or vermiculite. They are disease-free, do not contain weed seeds, hold moisture and nutrients, but also drain well and are lightweight.

Helping Them Grow
Above the soil or below, your container garden will need a couple extra things to help it along. Fertilizers, whether time-release, water soluble, or organic should be appropriate to the plant being grown and adhere to the dosage recommendations. Some plants, like tomatoes, will need a little assistance in standing tall and tomato cages do a good job there.

Container Gardening Plants Prefer Showers
Proper watering is the key to a successful container garden. Usually, once per day is enough, but good drainage is essential. Not enough drainage and your plants will literally drown from lack of oxygen. Too much and your plants won’t have a chance to absorb what they need before it’s gone. Avoid wetting the leaves of indoor container gardens to help prevent plant diseases and use a mulch of some type if you feel water is evaporating from the soil too quickly. Rather than lugging around a huge watering can, garden hose cart can help you easily water all of your containers.

If you’re uncertain about your plant’s water needs, here are two easy ways you can find out how much water is needed:

  • Use your finger: Poke your finger into the soil around the base of the plant, down to the second knuckle. When you remove your finger, and it has soil stuck to it, then the soil has sufficient moisture. If your finger is relatively clean, the soil is dry and needs to be watered right away.
  • The dig test: For larger areas and before watering, simply make note of the moisture level of your soil, 6 to 12 inches below the surface. Your goal is to determine how long it takes for your irrigation system — whether it’s a soaker hose, drip irrigation, watering wand, or overhead system — to soak the soil to the target depth.

Light ‘Em Up
Nearly all vegetables will grow better in full sun, but leafy ones like lettuce can tolerate more shade than root plants like radishes and carrots. Flowers often require either full or partial sun, but the advantage to container gardening is that you can move your container if necessary. When purchasing seeds or young plants, always check the tags to make sure you are purchasing a plant for which you can provide the proper lighting.

Your Bountiful Harvest
This is the truly fun part, right? Your work has paid off with a healthy, abundant crop of vegetables and flowers for your table. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful conversation starter to inform your guests that they are eating a salad grown by you right in your own container garden? The flowers of the centerpiece were too!

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