• Lynelle McMillan-Holmes

Tips for Starting Your Own Container Garden

Although you may be hesitant on starting your own container garden, push pass the fear, and just do it! Before you get started though, you will need to do a little research and some planning. I will share some tips to get you on your way below.

  1. Planning is very important! There is vital information you will need to ensure your garden is successful. The tips I provide in this step will also be helpful if you ever decide to plant in the ground. You will need to know which planting zone you reside in to make sure you get the plants that will grow properly in your area and according to the season. You also need to research each plant to know what it needs in order to grow into a healthy, producing plant. Some plants are best to get as seedlings (little plants), and others grow best from just planting the seed. You also need to know how much water and sunlight each plant will need and how tall and wide they could possibly get. Knowing which soil is best for the plant is also important. Potting soil varies slightly, and strategies for mixing the soil varies depending on each person's preference, so you have to decide what is best and conducive for you.

  2. The next step is selecting your containers. First, make sure the container will be large enough for the fully grown plant. Containers vary as much as people vary. If you select plastic containers, make sure they are safe for you to consume what you grow in them. Look at the recycling number on the bottom of the container. It should be a 1, 2, or 4 polypropylene or a 5. I will insert a sample picture below. With other containers, make sure they haven't had any toxic chemicals in them. Also make sure all containers have adequate drainage holes to prevent root rot and other problems. While you are at it, decide how you plan to label each pot once you've plant something in it. I have a collection of reusable plastic label stakes, and I also use popsicle sticks.

  3. Select your soil. I watched many videos on soil, and every video was slightly different. This really depends on what the plant prefers, and if you want to garden organically. If so, pay careful attention to what is in the potting mix that you choose. I used a mixture of Miracle Gro and garden soil.

  4. Finally, plant your seeds or seedlings and water down. Container gardening requires daily watering because the plants' roots are contained in the pots, and are at your mercy for water. Don't over water the plants either. At this point, some people apply mulch to help deter dryness, but I decided not to add mulch. I usually water in the morning, just when the sun is coming up, or in the early evening after the sun has gone down to keep the sun from scalding the plants with the water you applied. I wrote down what and when I planted, so I can make notes on the success or failure in order to know how to plan for next year.

Pay close attention to the weather for any last frosts which would not be good for the plants. Find a way to protect them if necessary. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me and read the previous article about what I planted this year.

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