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Posts Tagged ‘container gardening’

The whole shebang

Container gardening can be very practical and fun.  I do container gardening because I rent.  Which means when I move my plants go with me. I have a yard the size of a VW beetle and it is jammed packed with potted everything.  I plant for food, smell, looks and love.  I plant herbs for medicine rare and common.  I have fruit trees in pots.  Ready to go!Black, stripped, variegated, running and clumping bamboo for looks.  Ginger, comfrey, borage, violets for all those reasons.  My potted veggie garden this year is a Cherokee purple tomato.  I put my basil right in there with the tomato and everyone is happy. I have onions and garlic in a window box planter. And the parsley is very happy in with the clover, chia and alfalfa. I grab a handful of this and mix it in the blender for a green smoothie.

I use anything and everything for a container.  Standard pots, clay, plastic bags, wooden boxes, anything that will hold dirt.  Anything you can put  drainage holes in can become a potted garden.  I have wheel barrels, teapots, wastebaskets, woven baskets, laundry basket, window boxes, water buckets, and even plastic bags.  I put bulbs in the laundry basket and then bury the basket.  Easy to dig up the bulbs and deters gophers and what not from eating my bulbs.

Tempest in a teapot IMG_0484I use good organic soil, compost, mixed with a lot of coffee grounds I have collected from coffee houses. Coffee grounds make great drainage and the worms love it.  Keep the soil light and airy and enough holes so the plants are never sitting in water.  Only marsh plants like wet feet.

Container plants typically use more water than plants in the ground.  I noticed clay pots dry out faster than plastic pots and a North wind sucks the moisture right out of the air.  Dry on top means could use some water. I like to put an indicator plant, like violets, in with the plants. Violets are pretty, and have shallow roots so when they start to droop it means my pot needs water.

Hydrangerous...

Have to keep an eye out for root bound.   Root bound plants do not take up water because it is so dense.  I had a hydrangea in a pot that I watered everyday but the leaves still drooped saying, I am thirsty.  I took it out of the pot. Yup, it was root bound and the roots were bone dry.  It was dying of thirst. And I don’t know what happened to all the dirt. I think the plants eat it.  So just watch you leaves.  They will tell you what they need.

Feed a good organic fertilizer, worm tea is the best, perhaps every other week during the growing season and then let them rest during the fall and winter.  No fertilizer.

Trees especially citrus are great in pots. They have dwarf and semi dwarf varieties for just such occasions.  Fruit trees like apples, apricots, plums, etc are fine in a pot too.  They just will not form a taproot so repotting and clipping the roots occasionally may be necessary.  Grapes and berries are great in a container just put them in a cage or trellis them. I have honeysuckle growing outside my window for the sweet smell. I strung three fishing lines from the pot and attached it to the overhang. Smells great, and makes a dense barrier for privacy or shade. You can cut it down to nothing making it easy to move.  Put your big pots and trees on wheels if you can. Easy to move around.IMG_0473

A pot garden for asparagus, rhubarb and Aloe Vera can go anywhere you do.  These things take time, 2 or three years, before you can harvest, so you don’t want to be starting them new each time you move.   And make sure you never turn down or throw away anything that you can put a plant in.  When all this stuff starts growing it will make babies and you will need to put the babies in something. I once used an old pair of work boots to transplant some starts.  It worked fine and looked kinda of cool too.   Keep all your thirsty plants like parsley, cilantro, and basil in a separate pot from your dry plants like sage, rosemary, and fennel.  It’s a water thing.

I have some 20-year-old plants in containers I have hauled all over hell’s half acre.  I may be an extreme case but I don’t think I am alone.  Do you have a unique or unusal container you would like to share? inch by inch

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