I live in a town house so space is limited, I love to garden and tried a little last year with very little luck. I need help figuring out the best plants, and vegetables to plant in pots, and a small dirt patch (about 1' x 4'). Also, if there are any pointers on how to treat the dirt and watering would be great. Please help.
Hardiness Zone: 7a
By Laura from Neptune, NJ
When I lived in an apartment, I had good luck with Lantana. It actually flowers more if you don't feed it! This is the kind I had in planters: http://www.thegardenfairies3.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=20741531
Now that I have a house, I have one of these in the back yard: http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week067.shtml
It gets really big - at least four feet tall. I'm not sure how wide; we have to keep it trimmed because of a nearby fountain. It's been coming back for years and years.
For your container garden, I'd recommend the kind of Lantana in the first picture. It's shorter and more sprawling. It looks really nice in a hanging basket, and it doesn't mind getting a little dry (but not bone dry). There are other color Lantanas (purple and white, off the top of my head) with similar habit, but *I* don't care for them (but my mom loves these other colors). They don't seem as bug resistant and hardy as the good old yellow ones to me. Nothing will eat the yellow Lantanas, but I ended up with caterpillars when I tried the purple ones.
Some other happy, easy flowers are zinnias, marigolds, and cosmos. And they can be started by seed, which is way cheaper than buying plants! There are shorter varieties of zinnias and marigolds (read the seed packet), but all the cosmos I've ever grown have gotten pretty tall, might not be good for such a small area.
Containers tend to dry out quickly (esp. here in hot Oklahoma). So I get some water holding crystals and add that to my potting mix and raised beds. You can purchase potting mix that already has the crystals in it, also.
These are the first things that come to mind. I'm sure there is more to share. I hope you find inspiration and have a successful garden this year. Good luck!
I started a container garden on a picnic table that was never used just last year. It looked good with plants of all sizes and pot styles on the table and matching ones on the benches. I had the best luck with Peppers (Red Grenn & Jalepenos) jalepenos tacan take a pot around 8" but the peppers needed around 10-12" Herbs were especially easy to grow in my smaller pots and I found they really made a difference in the level of taste and seasoning in my cooking . I grew Rosemary/Lemon Oregano/Parsley/ Sage in smaller pots along with some/ Cherry Tomatoes and Straberrys too. The leaf Lettuce / not a good idea!
I am wondering if anyone knows of a flowering evergreen that I can grow in a container? The area of the planter will get about 6 to 7 hours of afternoon to evening sun.
Hardiness Zone: 7b
By jwmn from Hendersonville, NC
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 Grow, 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)