If you're anything like me, the idea of supporting life for an entire garden sounds virtually impossible. After researching ways to grow vegetables without having a lot of space or sunlight in my yard, as well as very minimal gardening experience in general, I ran into a great idea called container gardening.
Benefits of Container Gardening
Container gardening is basically like having a portable, mini garden. You can grow as much, or as little as you like. You can also move your container to any location that you choose. Personally, I have a back yard that is consumed by large trees that produce an abundance of shade. Although this is nice when the heat is unbearable, it puts a serious damper on my gardening dreams. The idea with container gardening is that you can create a garden
anywhere you want. Most of the sunlight I receive is right at my front door. Using the container gardening idea, I can plant a little tomato plant in a pot and keep it right by my front door where it will flourish.
(Photo Credit: HowStuffWorks.com)
Types of Containers
Some of the most popular choices include terracotta, ceramic and plastic pots. However, finding an old container from the garage will work perfectly too. Items like old watering cans, buckets, or an old wheelbarrow will work just as well at a much better price - FREE!
When choosing a container, consider how much weather the container can handle; an old can that is prone to rust wouldn't be appropriate in a rainy climate, for example. Also consider what it is that you will be planting. Finally, when choosing a container make sure there is a drainage hole somewhere. When you decide to garden in a container you will need to water your plant often and as such, will need to make sure you have some type of drainage method. This will eliminate the potential for drowning your plant. If there is a container you have your heart set on using, but there is no drainage you can always make your own by carefully using a drilling needle.
One small downside to gardening is the bugs. One of the easiest ways to keep bugs out is to keep your plant well groomed and watered as bugs are more likely to attack when your plant is stressed or wilting. You can also purchase (or capture) a handful of lady bugs and have them make their home in your plant. Lady bugs will get rid of aphids while causing no harm to your plant. You can also either rid the bugs with your hand, or bring you container into the kitchen and spray the leaves (remember to spray under the leaves also) with the sink hose.
What To Plant
Considering the size of your container, you can plant anything you want in it! Vegetables will need a slightly larger container to accommodate lots of water and provide room for roots to develop. However, if you just want to grow some beautiful flowers, you can use a smaller container. A few ideas are lettuce, tomatoes (special dwarf varieties, or compact cherry tomatoes work best in containers), herbs, peppers, or a variety of flowers.
(Photo Credit: Olive-Trees.net)
I'm so excited to go purchase my very first tomato plant to care for. Having it right next to my front door should allow me to be a very successful first time gardener. At this point the only issue I foresee is keeping my two year old sons fingers out of it!