Container Gardening

Spring Is Here And I Am So Excited I Wet My Plants!!

I hope everyone had a good Easter although restrictions are again in place due to rising numbers of Covid cases and their variants caused by spring break which was the week before. The need to reduce the number of these cases that will surly arise over this long weekend as get-togethers will happen no matter what the rules makes this again a tricky spring for us all.  We are all weary of this plague but  vaccines will be available to everyone soon and hopefully this means we can have more get-togethers over the summer. 

I’m now very busy in the greenhouse as transplant season has arrived. I just wish it were a bit warmer but this was forecast to be a cooler spring.  At least we didn’t get the nasty weather that southern Alberta and Saskatchewan had recently.  One just has to start out with quite a few layers of clothes in the morning and discard them as needed throughout the day until it starts cooling off in the evening and then you just reapply them. 

Last week caused me to start thinking of those who either are moving, have no garden space or live in apartments.  You too can grow a garden with the use of a variety of containers and the sky is the limit.  Anything that will hold soil or be made to hold soil will do.  Let your creative self have its way!  You need not spend money on expensive pots when old kettles, chairs, drift wood, plastic pails and containers, old boots, bird cages, wooden boxes made from woods like cedar that will not rot away can be used. Even old tires can be stacked and painted to make attractive planters.  The beauty of containers is that most can be moved to areas of more shade or sun as needed.  They can be artfully arranged on porches, balconies, stairs or throughout the yard in perennial beds for an additional burst of colour.  Clear glass containers can be partially filled with coloured rock that is used in fish tanks before they are filled with a potting soil.  A container that is 18 to 24 inches can hold 5 or  6 plants depending on their rooting systems and growth habits.  You can mix grasses, succulents, flowering plants or greenery playing with different textures and colour combinations.  You can also mix perennials with annuals and food plants with flowers.

It is best if a potting soil is used as it will contain a balanced mixture of vermiculite, peat moss, sand and other organic materials that will allow for good drainage and will be free of weeds.  You can also make this mixture yourself with the above mentioned ingredients.  Drainage is very important with container gardening as roots will rot and unhealthy plants will be a result of poor drainage.  Fertilizing too is an important aspect you can use a diluted  mixture of fish fertilizer and water (about a quarter of the recommended amount) as you will use it more often.  Use this every other watering which depending on your container will be more frequent than if you were to plant in a garden bed with mulch, compost and manure.  If you are using more porous containers such as clay or wood you might  need more frequent watering depending if it is in a sunny or more shady place. More plants or faster growing plants with significant root systems will also need more frequent watering.  Do not allow your containers to dry out as it is extremely difficult to rehydrate  them and your plants will suffer.  Container gardening for this reason alone can be more time consuming but well worth the effort. Hanging baskets need not only hold flowers,  strawberries and herbs can be very productive as well as attractive in hanging baskets.

Almost all vegetables, herbs and flowers can be grown in pots.  If there is no way to ensure good drainage  be sure to put a couple of inches of small rocks in the bottom of the container. You can also make a water garden to grace your deck by lining a wooden barrel half with plastic.  Be sure to throw in a couple of gold fish as this will prevent mosquitoes from invading your yard.  Remember to dead head flowering plants and water the soil not the leaves of the plants to prevent disease and keep a spray bottle of soapy water for  when you notice insects on your plants.  You can use interesting rocks, pieces of wood, figurines or glass bottles around the edges of the pot or among the plants.  Like I said they sky’s the limit when you container plant.   

Happy Gardening!

Samantha Nason
BS Ranch & Greenhouses
250 547 6567 • samanthanason@hotmail.com

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