Container Gardening, how do I find the containers? How much do they cost, and what is the best container for my container gardening needs?
You can grow plants in virtually anything that holds some soil and has holes in the bottom for drainage. It’s only bounded by your imagination.
My wife loves to go to yard and garage sales. She has come home with a half pick-up load of containers at little to no cost. She decorates them, or if they look nice, she just cleans them thoroughly to ensure that the porous containers are not carrying any disease that will affect our Container gardening crops.
There is also the aesthetics of purchasing some tastefully decorated containers for your gardening that will fit with your décor and your landscaping. There are many roof top gardens and farms in larger cities, as well as large rooftop farms that not only provide the local restaurants with great produce, but lower the heating and cooling bills of the building that they are grown on.
So what are the problems with finding containers for your container gardening needs?
- Finding a good fit for your needs
- Matching the landscaping or the feel of your environment and what you want your container garden to provide for you
- Being able to grow what you want to grow in the space you have
- The cost of all of the containers and everything else you need to start and maintain your container gardening adventure
There are quite a few ways to reach your goals, the first way is to find out how much room you have to grow in, as well as what you want to grow. Below is a short list of some ways to not only use the space you have, but also teach others to do the same.
First, is look in your area for some training related to container gardening. This can include children if you have your own, or work with them in any way:
Gardening in Containers: Growing in Small and Soilless Spaces, US National Gardening Association, Growing Ideas Classroom Projects, 2003 —
Detailed practical guide online, designed for teachers to use in school gardening projects, useful for anyone.
Background, creative containers, plants and schemes, plants for container gardens, special container projects, recommended web sites, books and tools. Chart of vegetables, showing good container varieties, container size, final plant spacing, light requirement, minimum soil depth. Also herbs, annual flowers, bulbs, perennials. 3 web pages, 5,000 words.
Here is a great option for just starting out. Remember to use all of the resources that are available to you, whether they are online or next door. By helping each other, we all win in life.
Make a column out of 1″ chickenwire, 3ft high and 15-16 inches in diameter. You’ll need 5ft of 3ft-wide chickenwire, allowing for a 1ft overlap. Fasten it with twists of thin wire. Line the inside with corrugated cardboard from cardboard boxes.
Stand it up on end, hold a 4″-diameter plastic plumbing pipe in the middle and fill the pipe with sand and stones (builder’s gravel for concrete is ideal). Fill the rest of the column around the pipe with good soil, packed down enough to prevent it sinking too much later (but not too tightly — don’t compact it). Carefully remove the pipe.
Cut slits 2-3″ long through the cardboard in a spiral going round the column from top to bottom. The spiral should go round the column 6 or 7 times, with 6-8″ between the slits, making about 50 slits or more.
The sand and stone core is for watering — water will sink right to the bottom and then spread out to the sides. After you’ve watered it it will sink a little; top up with more soil and sand.
Plant leaf vegetable and salad crop seedlings through the slits. Water every few days.
This gives a growing area of 12 square feet occupying a very small space. Make sure you put it where it will get enough light, or supplement natural sunlight with growing lamps.
You can make a few columns — plant them about two weeks apart for a steady harvest throughout the growing season. Five will give an average family lots of delicious, fresh, green vegetables.
Here are some other ideas that you can use to save time and money while setting up your container gardening empire.
- Garage sales will bring you lots of materials, as well as possibly some of the other items that you need for your container gardening needs.
- Clearance sales from greenhouses and hardware stores
- Coupons from large home improvement stores
- Slightly damaged containers that may still be decorated or repaired
- Be creative. What do you have that you enjoy that can be turned into a container for your gardening needs.
Be creative and remember to look at what you have. That is one of the great Joys of the adventure of farming and gardening.
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Turning your dreams into the Life of Your Dreams
Chris Downs —————— The Caretaker