Thursday, May 29, 2014

Container Gardening Made Easy

Container gardening is fun, therapeutic, and easy to do!  Come Spring, it's so comforting to head to the local nursery, pick out some plants, bring them home and watch them grow.  Here is a "How To" Guide to container gardening for beginners.  Start slow and pick easy to grow (aka Hard To Kill!) plants for your first container garden!

(Geraniums, Cherry Tomatoes, Rosemary, Geraniums, Basil)

1.) Head to your local home improvement store or nursery.

2.) Pick up a bag of pre-mixed potting soil (Like Miracle Gro Potting Mix).  Make sure you buy POTTING mix (not garden mix) - it is best for container gardening.

3.) Choose your herbs and flowers.
Easy to grow...

Cherry Tomatoes

4.) Choose your pots.  I have found that pots at least 12 inches wide work best for most of the flowers and herbs I'm growing.  And they also must have draining holes in the bottom to allow for proper water drainage.

5.) Fill pot 1/2 full with soil mixture (or as much soil as you need to bring the flower up as high as you'd like it to be once the pot is full of soil and flowers).  Squeeze the plastic pot that your flower came in to work it loose from the container (works best when the soil is wet).  Slowly remove the flower or herb from the plastic pot it came in.  Being mindful of the roots, gently work your fingers through the bottom roots of the herb/flower.  This allows the roots to burrow into the new soil easier.  Place flower in pot and fill up pot with more garden soil.  Gently press down to secure flower.  

6.) Repeat with the rest of your herbs/flowers.

7.) Give your new babies a good soak with water.  Most herbs and flowers like to be watered at the spot where their stem meets the dirt, not from the top of their petals.

1.) Stick your finger down in the soil about an inch to 2 inches every day to see if your plants need to be watered. Watering differs from climate to climate.  The only way to start to get a feel of how often they need to be watered is to get your hands dirty - if dirt is dry, water 'em.  You can over water however, so you have to try and wait for the soil to dry out before you douse them.  It's the hardest part (I think) about gardening.  But sooner or later you'll get a feel for it and your plants will thrive.

2.) Feed your plants every 2 weeks.  I bought 2 different fertilizers.  One that promotes BLOOM growth for my flowers (to get more color) and one that is good for herbs and veggies.

Every plant has different pruning practices. Here are the plants I have on my deck:

Geraniums: Once bloom head dies, remove entire head and stem down to where it splits from main stalk.

Petunias: Remove dead heads below the green cup that holds the bloom.

Basil: Prune basil often to promote growth.  Make sure to clip off clusters BEFORE they bloom white flowers at the top.

Rosemary: Cut stalks as needed for cooking, or more often to promote growth. Can cut anywhere.

Cherry Tomatoes: Suckers grow in the "V" of where the main stalk splits into branches.  Simply pluck those little suckers out of the v when you see them.

Lavender: Cut off dead blooms to promote more growth (Save them and dry them to make lavender sachets!)

Happy Planting!


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