Did you ever happen to have that experience where you had a glimpse of your neighbor’s yard and saw their blossoming garden, then you suddenly felt quite envious about it? Oh well, I certainly feel you. I did have that same experience way back when and it urged me to start my own flourished piece of land filled with plant diversities. Perhaps, a lot of people have the same sentiments as you do. In Fayetteville, just like in most cities and states, gardening is not only considered as an activity or a hobby, but it is also a transition to a healthier lifestyle as what experts suggest. Yes, landscaping is a great addition to your property’s curb appeal as well as its beautification, but a healthy garden on top of it will out everything into perspective.
Now, do you want to build or start your own garden but is limited by your space? Worry no more my friend, your dream can now be possible even if you have a small area – all thanks to container or pot gardening. This method of gardening is highly beneficial for urbanites and apartment-dwellers who wishes to grown their own garden and organic food. Aside from the fact that it can maximize your space, container gardening can also offer a lot of benefits such as improved indoor air quality and freshly-picked organic produce.
Although, it may be easier than it seems, starting a container garden or incorporating it with your Fayetteville landscaping can be quite tricky. The challenging part is keeping your plants alive and your container gardens thriving and looking their best.
Why Container Gardening Is A Good Choice
You might think that container gardening is only for those who have small garden space or urban dwellers, well, you’re wrong. Even if you own a wide garden area, you can still make use of container gardening to properly organize your plants and give room for other plants to grow or if you plan to add more features to your space. Not only that, container gardening offers a whole lot more of benefits than you can imagine. Regardless if you’re a beginner or a pro, it’s actually a good choice.
Having said that, probably the next question you can think of is, why? The most obvious answer is that it can be less work because they can be placed closer to a water source. It is also a great start for beginners wherein they can practice and hone their planting skills – this is where they can learn from their mistakes. Moreover, container gardening makes it easier to save seeds used to create future plants or share with other gardening enthusiasts.
Furthermore, growing plants in containers can avoid critters and other wildlife to feed on your plants. Plus, if you’re thinking about designing the interior or exterior of your home, the addition of container plants is a great idea and you can easily move it around without breaking a sweat.
So, in the case of gardening crosses your mind, container gardening is worth the try.
Secrets Revealed – Best Practices For Successful Container Gardening
Once you’ve finally decided to start container gardening, you have to prepare yourself for the next steps you have to do. You can’t just buy a pot and start growing seeds – it doesn’t work that way. In order for your garden to work, there are strategies and techniques that you should follow. Expert gardeners from Fayetteville have been doing it for years and their practices are a sure-fire success. Here, we have gathered the best practices and revealed the secrets for successful container gardening.
Pick The Right Pot Or Container
First things first – you need to pick the right pot or container for your plants to grown in. Pots or containers come in a variety of materials, such as terra-cotta, ceramic, wood, and plastic. Some containers can be expensive, however, since container gardening has become popular, choices for pots have expanded as well.
In choosing the perfect pot to plant, it’s paramount that you contemplate on the where the container is going or its placement. For example, if you’re planning to put it in a deck or desires to achieve a natural setting, wooden pots are the best choice. Clay pots or terra-cotta are also great for achieving a natural-looking garden or area. On the other hand, synthetic materials such as resins, plastics, polymers, or fiberglass, complement your hardscape. Most residential properties use wooden or clay pots. In some cases, other gardeners recycle plastic containers or tires and use it for container gardening.
Size matters – you should keep that in mind. Some would say that the bigger the pot, the better, which is actually true most of the times. Bigger pots allow more space for the plants to grow and stretch its roots, can hold more soil and it can help create a good scale. The size of the pot should also correspond to the type of seed or plant you want to grow. For example, Spinach and leafy Asian greens can be grown in shallow trays as well, but you’ll get a better yield planting them in a container with a 6-8” (15-20cm) root zone.
In planting tomatoes, peppers and other fruiting plants, a 5-gallon (27cm) is the minimum size. A 7-gallon (35cm) pot or container is best for growing peppers, chiles, eggplants, and bush tomatoes. It’s very important that you learn how to determine the right container size for your plants.
Pots or containers also come in various shapes such as square, rectangular, or cylindrical. These containers are known to have more soil volume in the lower half of the container, where it retains moisture better. Tapered pots are also used for container gardening and it is better in directing water right to the bottom. It also comes in vase style, cone shape, trapezoidal and more.
Decide On A Sunny Location
Exposure to sunlight is one of the essential nutrients your plants need in order for them to thrive. Most plants require at least six hours exposure, hence, it is paramount that you place your containers in a sunny location. Not all plants require full exposure to the sun, there are some which also grow in shade. Given this, you have to determine whether your plants grow best in sun or shade and match their light conditions.
For example, petunias, geraniums, calibrachoa, and verbena are annual plants which grow well under sufficient sun exposure, while begonia, caladium, impatiens, and torenia are annual plants which thrive in shade.
Choose The Right Soil
Your choice of soil is one of the most important things you have to do to make your container gardening successful. Most soils in Arkansas, including Fayetteville, are acidic, which requires being amended with lime to raise the soil pH. Given this, experts highly advise not to use of avoid filling your pots or containers with soil directly from the garden, instead, you can use a good potting soil. A high-quality potting soil contains necessary supplements that could promote your plants’ vitality and growth such as peat moss, compost, perlite, vermiculite, and/or rotted manure.
When you purchase your potting soil, always read the label before you buy. Once you have knowledge of the basic components of potting soil and the most common potting soil ingredients, it is for certain that you can choose the ideal product. Loam-Based Potting Mix, Peat-Based Potting Mix, and Coir-Based Potting are few of the most common potting soils being used for container gardening.
Choose Healthy Plants
One of the most important factors that can determine the success or failure of your container gardening is your choice of plants. If you have a minimal or limited space, pick the plants that you like or the plants which you can benefit from such as the fruit-bearing ones. Choose the plants which thrive in Fayetteville soil and grow plants anywhere there is sunshine. Remember that plants that thrive in like soil, watering, and light conditions make successful combinations.
In combining plants for your container gardening, there are a lot of things that should be taken into consideration such as size, texture, proportion, color, setting, and lighting (the amount of sun it requires). Once you’ve chosen your plants, it’s equally important that you take good care of them in order for the plants to grow healthy.
In keeping your plants healthy, place fruit-bearing plants like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and eggplant in a sunny location. On the other hand, lettuce, cabbage, collards, mustard greens, spinach, and parsley can be placed in shady areas since it does not require sun exposure as much as the fruit-bearing plants. In terms of the watering, the next technique will be your guide.
Make A Watering Schedule
Before you panic about the proper way or technique on how to properly water your plants, just remember this, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to watering. However, when you choose your plants, it’s imperative that you also understand their watering requirements and that will help you determine how often and how much water they need. One of the most obvious indicators that it’s time to water your plants is the soil – you have to feel it and when it’s dry, water it. Plants that =grow in containers require frequent watering compared to actual garden plants.
Moreover, under watering or over watering your container plants can cause it to wither, catch a disease and die. This is where the relevance of a watering schedule takes place. During hot, sunny periods you’ll probably have to irrigate every day and it’s really significant since there are 217 sunny days in Fayetteville. Now, to make your watering more efficient, you can install a drip irrigation system with a timer that waters your plants automatically every day. Or, you can still opt for a watering can or garden hose, as long as you are observant and strictly follow your watering schedule.
Aside from water and sunlight, your container plants also require fertilizer in order to flourish. There are some potting soils which already contain slow-release fertilizer mixed in, but it’s still a good idea to add a few drops of liquid fertilizer every time you water. This extra dose of plant food can add points to the success of your container gardening.
In terms of fertilizers for potted plants, the most recommended ones are the water soluble fertilizers. It is available in powder and liquid form. This type of fertilizer is easy to use since it can be added directly to the pot or to the water you use for watering the plants. Other types of plant food like dry fertilizers and slow-release fertilizer are as not as effective as the water soluble type.
You might want to remember the 3 fertilizer numbers and what it indicates: the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content in the fertilizer. Now, in determining the ratio of the supplemental contents, you have to consider your soil type or the potting soil you used. In most cases, a ratio of 3-1-2 is the best.
Don’t Forget To Clean Up
Just like everything else around us, there are times when things get pretty out of shape, same goes for your plants. Some annuals and perennials will begin to look tired by late summer or your flowering plants aren’t as good as it was in other seasons, hence, it’s time to replace them. Your efforts of trying to salvage aren’t reasonable enough. The best thing you can do here is to carefully remove the dead ones or the faded blooms and replace them. Your container could use some touches for a second and fresher life.
In addition, it’s a must-do chore that you clean up before winter comes. The dead or faded blooms can be tossed into the compost pile and you can store the empty containers. Clay pots with soil in it can crack during winter if left outside, and I can bet, you don’t want that to happen. Also, you can move your potted plants inside your house to prevent them from the hard frost.
Tips In Preparing Your Pot
Alright, so have learned the best practices for a successful container gardening, yey! Now, we’ll discuss with your on how to prepare your pots or containers properly to ensure that your plants will grow well in it. Yes, you may have bought an expensive pot, but if your preparation is not good enough, it’ll beat the purpose of purchasing one. Without further ado, here are the tips and tricks you have to observe in getting your pot ready for planting.
- Most pots have holes at the bottom while some don’t. In case your pot doesn’t seem like it, drill holes at the bottom and fill it halfway up with Styrofoam popcorn. Then, lay broken pieces of clay or small stones on the bottom for drainage purposes. Use a high-quality potting soil or mixture for planting.
- Use containers between 15 and 120 quarts capacity. Remember, the bigger the pot or container, the better it is for the plants to grow. Small pots restrict the root area, causing it to dry very quickly.
- In making holes, it should be 1/2 inch across in order to provide adequate drainage. Line the base of the pot with newspaper to prevent soil loss.
- Allow free drainage by setting your containers or pots on bricks or blocks.
Way To Sum It Up
Container gardening isn’t only meant for the experts, you know. As a beginner, you can learn it too. By following the secrets and practices we’ve mentioned above, certainly, you can grow potted plants in Fayetteville with flying colors. Worried about not having a green thumb? Scratch it! It’s not a requirement for a prolific container garden, it can be an advantage, though.
Growing plants, whether it’s leafy, root crops, flowers, herbs, or fruit-bearing vegetables, container gardening can be a good choice. Besides, it’s one way of saving space on your landscape, garden or urban-dwelling. Not to mention, a greener way of living, plus a guaranteed organic and freshly picked crops.