I live in a rented house and would love to start gardening again. I would like to try container gardening. Does anyone have any hints, tips, ideas? Do's and don'ts?
Look up container gardening under Google and start reading. There is so much information out there. The nice thing about container gardening, when you rent a place, is that you can take the containers with you to your next home.
All vegetables (except corn, I believe) can be grown in containers. Tomatoes need a big pot each (at least 5 gal). Perennials, like hostas, winter over quite nicely in a pot (even in my zone 3 winters). Try some and by the time you get to your own home you should have quite nice sized hostas. (05/04/2005)
If your vegetable gardening is limited by insufficient space or an unsuitable area, consider the possibility of raising fresh, nutritious, homegrown vegetables in containers. A window sill, a patio, a balcony, or a doorstep will provide sufficient space for a productive mini-garden. Problems with soil-borne diseases, nematodes, or poor soil conditions can be easily overcome by switching to a container garden.
Growing plants in containers can be rewarding. By confining the plants to a relatively small space, maintenance can be less of a chore. The plantings can be moved to various sites for different purposes and then moved back. This fact sheet is to answer questions on what you need to get started. Containers can be combined and coordinated with any type of garden. Incorporating tropical foliage, shrubs, trees, vegetables, and flowers is easy to accomplish in a small area using a variety of containers.
Many people who live in an apartment, condominium, or mobile home do not grow a vegetable garden, because space is not available for a garden plot. Lack of yard space is no excuse for not gardening, since many kinds of vegetables can be readily grown in containers. In addition to providing five hours or more of full sun, attention must be given to choosing the proper container, using a good soil mix, planting and spacing requirements, fertilizing, watering, and variety selection.
In a world of limited time and space, container gardening seems to be more and more appropriate. The popularity of container gardening has taken on a life of its own and has almost become an art form. Common plant material can take on an entirely new look when displayed in containers where the plant's unique color, texture or form can be spotlighted. "Instant color" can be introduced by placing containers around the garden. It can change the entire look of a landscape. Unplantable areas and spaces where there really is no place to garden in the ground, suddenly becomes a colorful oasis.
City dwellers, who live in apartments, townhomes or condominiums, can garden just as easily as those with backyards.
Strawberries are a good place to begin. Look for certified virus-free stock and use sterilized soil to eliminate soil-borne fungi. In Colorado, the Ogallala and Fort Laramie varieties are recommended for home gardens.
To keep your containers lighter and easier to move, many people suggest putting packing peanuts in the bottom of the pot. I use this idea, but put them inside a mesh bag or old pair of stockings so when you change the soil out each year, you don't have tons of peanuts stuck in the soil. You can reuse the peanuts and just add fresh soil. Otherwise it is all mixed together and you end up with a big mess. (05/05/2005)
Check out a website called Container Seeds at http://www.containerseeds.com . You need to look for things that are either designed to be grown in containers, or that don't require a lot of space.
I bought a variety of container tomato plants at Walmart. Things that grow easily in containers are herbs, lettuces, arugula, some strawberries, and blueberries. Also, make sure that whatever you decide to plant is hardy for your zone. Look for things that require light conditions that are available where you live. Don't get stuff that requires full sun (such as tomatoes,) if you don't have any sun. I planted lettuce in self watering window boxes, and so far, it seems to be doing well.
When you purchase seeds, look to see how far apart the plants should be. With the limitations of container space, that's a big consideration. At this late date, it is probably pointless in thinking about starting tomatoes from seeds, but things like lettuce, that don't require long to mature are fine. Also plant things that are suitable to the weather conditions. Lettuce likes cool weather. So do peas. Plan to get a huge bag (at least) of some good quality potting soil. If you use something like Miracle Gro, you don't have to worry about fertilizing the stuff from the start. Make sure that all of the containers have adequate drainage as well. Hope this is helpful. (05/07/2005)
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