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I love the idea of gardening; I grew up with flower beds and gardens all my life. My parents still garden. Since we joined the army we have moved around a lot and we rent, so there are not always spaces that we can dig up and plant a garden. We live in military housing right now; which means we cannot dig up the yard. There are rocks around our bit of grass so I wouldn’t want to dig too much anyway. So I have had to get pretty creative over the last 10 years. Containers and raised beds were my only option most of the time. I do not have tools to build raised garden beds and buying the pre-made raised beds and pots can be pretty costly, so I decided to use recycled containers and flower pots.
I took our old plastic kiddy pool and drilled a few holes in the bottom of it for drainage (well my husband did and he drilled more than a few). The base layer is of loose rock. Next I filled the pool with dirt and viola you’ve got yourself a small garden. Here are some other ideas.
You want to make sure you fill your pot up with dirt. This will give your plant the space its’ roots will need to grow deep and wide, which in turn makes your plants taller and stronger, so it can produce bigger fruits. Having enough dirt also helps provide the nurturance the plant needs to grow. I am not saying pack the dirt in and stomp it down, then your plants will have a hard time breaking through it, you just need to fill the pot to the rim.
I don’t mean space, as in you need a large area for planting. That is the great thing about container gardening. You can do it on your patio, or that super sunny area of your yard that seems to only grow weeds. When I say space I mean the amount of room your plant has to grow. I talked about this a little about this when filling up your pots with dirt. The deeper the soil the deeper the plant’s roots can grow. For plants that you want longer or larger produce from you might only have one or two plants per container. For tomatoes and peppers you’ll want very few plants in large pots. For carrots you want a container that is deep.
Save your small containers for flowers and herbs.
This also means make sure the plants are compatible with each other. Tomatoes and cauliflower do not get along. This will make your cauliflower not produce, which is very saddening when they grow and grow without producing any cauliflower. Check out this for compatibility of plants.
When container gardening you have to make sure they get watered enough and have adequate drainage. Too much water sitting at the bottom of your pots will produce fungi and molds. It also brings unwanted bugs. On the other hand containers soil will dry out faster. They are more exposed to the climate around it. It does not rain much here, which is why I have a reminder set on my phone to help remind me to water them every day at the same time. Experimenting with your area’s climate is important. If you have a more windy and dry area, water more. If you live in a more humid area you’ll want to water less.
This is what I have learned over the last few container gardening seasons. It is definitely a trial and era process. Do you have any gardening tips? What kind of containers will you try?
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