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Containing Your Garden

By Deirdre Jones

I made a discovery. You see, I love flowers and plants, but there is limited yard space where I live, so I thought that I would have to be content with admiring the lush gardens and greenery of others' gardens. Then I discovered the concept of container gardening.

Well, actually, the concept of container gardening has been there all along - I had just never really thought about it or considered that it could be the answer to my gardening woes. But, once I discovered it, I decided to give it a try, and I am quite pleased with the results.

If you to try container gardening and want your garden to be successful, you should choose good containers for your plants. But how do you know if the container you want to use is right for your plant?

First of all, use your imagination to choose containers for your garden. You can plant in old bathtubs, crocks, barrels, baskets, bowls, wooden boxes, and sacks - just about anything. I've even seen someone use an old commode - yuck! However, there are things to consider when you're trying to choose suitable containers for your plants.

You should avoid choosing containers for your plants that have narrow openings - your plant is already contained, it needs as much room as possible to grow and thrive. You plant does not have access to the soil and room to spread out as much as in a traditional garden, so that means that you should not hinder its growth and development any further if you can avoid it.

Thinking about cheaper plastic pots? Don't. These cheap plastic containers are more inclined to deteriorate in the sun. And if you're thinking about terracotta pots for your garden, remember that clay pots dry out in the sun. This means you'll have to be careful to water as often as necessary and make sure your plants are not getting overheated and drying out.

Glazed ceramic pots are an excellent choice, but often they do not have enough drainage holes in the bottom. So you'll most likely have to add a few. If this is a problem, you will want to, at the least, add a 1-2 inch layer of gravel at the bottom of the container before adding your soil.

A lot of people like to use wooden containers for their gardens because these containers can be built to specification, but wood can rot easily. So you will want to choose woods that are less susceptible to this problem.

Some types of wood to consider are redwood and cedar. Also, you should be sure that the wooden container you're using hasn't been stained or painted - these chemicals are harmful to plants. You should also avoid wood that has been treated with creosote, penta or other toxic compounds - these are also harmful to plants.

When choosing the containers for your garden, size is also something that needs to be considered. Small pots are restrictive to the root system and dry out very quickly. They should only be used with plants that are very small and have shallow root systems.

If you're growing more plants in your container, generally, you will need a larger, deeper container to compensate. And vegetables with deep roots will require deep pots.

Also, be sure to make sure your tallest plants are not to be more than twice the height of the container. And make note that the plant's fullness does not spread over the edge of the container more than half the width of the container.

And again, drainage is important. Your containers should have an adequate number of holes to allow for proper drainage. Remember, drainage is hindered when you place your containers on solid surfaces such as concrete floors or brick patios. You can alleviate this problem by elevating your potted plants one or two inches above the floor on blocks of wood or placing them on a plant dolly.

Plant dollies are great for larger containers. They make moving your plants around your patio a breeze. No back problems for you...

Where the weather is very hot (such as the desert), you should choose lighter colored containers to reflect the sun and to prevent your plants from absorbing too much heat and drying out. This also helps to discourage uneven root growth.

If you're using hanging baskets, line them with sphagnum moss to help retain some water. And keep these plants out of the hot, afternoon sun.

Well, that should get you started if you’re thinking about starting a container garden. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Article Source: EzineArticles.com/

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