If you’ve been wanting to start a garden but feel a little overwhelmed by the task, why not a container garden? You can start simply with just a pot or two and expand as you build your confidence. Why a container garden?
– You can grow a great variety of vegetables, fruits and flowers in containers.
– You don’t have nearly as much soil prep as you do for an in-ground garden.
Containers can be squeezed into small spaces where a larger garden won’t work, for example, on a balcony or small porch.
There are many different types of containers available to use: half wine barrels, plastic pots, glazed clay pots, 5 gallon buckets or other recycled containers can all work. In general, you want a pot that will hold soil and moisture but also allow drainage. If your container does not have drainage holes, make sure you add some. If you pot is large, put it where you want it before filling it with soil. If your pot is less than 10 inches, be careful what you plant in it as the soil will dry out fast. This size would work for a succulent but not a tomato plant.
Soil is probably the most important factor in having happy container plants. A good quality soil mix might cost you a little more but your plants will be much happier and more productive.
Make sure the pot has a drainage hole. Although it seems hard to believe, adding gravel at the bottom of the pot will raise the saturation zone, leaving less room for the roots to grow. So don’t put gravel in the bottom of your pots.
The rule for fertilizer is weakly, weekly. That is frequent but low doses of fertilizer are best for container plants. Using a water-soluble fertilizer is an easy way to control the amount of fertilizer your plants get.
Thank you to the UC Master Gardeners of Monterey Bay. ■
— For more information visit http://cecolusa.ucanr.edu/