With their efficient use of space, sunlight, and water, container gardens are popping up everywhere. No longer bound to pretty annuals, today’s urban gardeners are filling their pots and planters with fresh, edible greens, trailing herbs, and bushy tomatoes.
While there are many great reasons to start a container garden, keeping it thriving can be a whole other adventure. We’ve gathered ten helpful tips that will help you make the most of your container, your plants, and your green thumb.
1. Get a bigger planter than you think. The bigger the plant, and the longer it takes to grow, the bigger the container it should be grown in.
2. Make room. It’s easy to overcrowd a container, especially if you love that instant “wow!” factor. Resist the urge and remember that gardening is a beautiful exercise in patience (and impatiens, should you add those, too). Your plants will thank you with better yields and healthier foliage.
3. Uphold the amendment. Amend your potting soil with a mixture of compost to add nutrients and drainage to the soil. Your plants will appreciate the thoughtfulness. Once your plants are in and settled, top the soil with a fine layer of mulch to protect their young roots and help seal in that precious moisture.
4. Fruits need roots. Plants that fruit, like tomatoes and peppers, will need more consistent fertilizer and attention than the lower maintenance greens and herbs.
5. Just add water. Because plants are limited to the water within the pot, they tend to soak up moisture quickly. Keep an eye on your plants and aim for soil that feels damp to the touch.
6. But not too much water. Every one of your containers should have drainage holes; if not, you’ll need to either drill some or make the existing ones bigger. And do not put gravel in the bottom of the pot. Contrary to popular belief, the best place to add gravel is on the outside of the pot, in the planter saucer.
7. Catch some rays. Most vegetables love basking in sunshine, so give them as much of it as you can. Plants that receive at least 6 hours of sunshine tend to produce better, resist powdery mildew, and grow stronger roots. If your containers don’t get a ton of sun, you still have plenty of part-shade plants to choose from, especially in the herbs and greens families.
8. Watch the wind. Patios and rooftops can be windy places so offer your container some protection. Decorative lattice is a great choice as it offers sturdy support while letting in that crucial sunlight.
9. Keep it growing. Once you harvest your first round, keep it going by planting another set of seeds. Just remember to keep adding a bit of compost each time to replenish the soil’s nutrients.
10. Don’t give up. Sometimes, despite best efforts (and sometimes because of them), plants just don’t take. Keep trying. Gardening is an exceptionally rewarding pastime even if the only thing you do is dig.
When you want homegrown produce without the large-scale hassle, container gardens are the way to grow. From home gardens to home cleanliness, The Maids are here to help.