When you live in a small space with little to no yard, you start to feel disconnected from nature. Though you’re not able to cultivate a traditional garden, it doesn’t mean you can’t think outside of the box —in this case, that’s inside of the box, with a container garden.
Simplistic and beautiful, a container garden is an easy way to grow everything from cucumbers to catnip. Plant whatever your green thumb desires, with this introduction to container gardening and a few ideas for what to grow.
How to Build a Container Garden
When considering your budget as you plan your container garden, think of what type of plants you’ll grow, as well as soil type and plastic or ceramic containers you’ll need. A friend may give you a few clippings of plants growing like wildfire, or you may want to start your plants from seed.
For your first garden, it’s best to start with just a few plants. Keep in mind, you will have more upfront costs if this is your first container garden since you will need to get the containers, dirt and other basic gardening supplies. Here’s what you need to know to get started:
1. Purchase your dirt, plants, and containers, with enough dirt for each pot. If the pots don’t have drainage holes, drill them in on the bottom.
2. In the bottom of the containers, layer a few coffee filters over the holes.
3. On top of the filters, add bits of sticks, newspaper, cardboard and any other items that are compostable. Plant matter adds nitrogen, and brown matter items add carbon to your soil mix. A balance of these makes for a healthy plant environment.
4. Add dirt on top of the compostable mix. If you want to include a natural drip feeder, use a plastic bottle with holes poked in it so that it evenly drains into the soil, watering the plant. Just the mouth of the bottle should be above the dirt. Secure the bottle with dirt.
5. Plant your seeds or baby plants into the container, following planting instructions on the packages. If spacing plants out in the same container, the rule of thumb is to give six inches of space between plants. Gently fill in a top layer of dirt.
Water according to instructions, and don’t let the plants dry out. Nurture your plants with sun and plant food. Young seeds that you start indoors will need to be carefully and slowly brought outside. Once you place your seedlings outside in their perspective containers, you may want to cover with a clear plastic bottle (cut off bottom and place over plant) or stick forks teeth pointing up around the seedling to prevent birds from taking them away.
Container Garden Planning Ideas
There are so many possibilities for what to grow in containers. Garden planning is best done a little at a time. Pick a theme for your garden and go from there:
Vegetable and Fruit Garden
You don’t need to have a big yard to grow a vegetable or fruit garden, because containers are perfect for many of these plants. The taste of ripe fried green tomatoes and the smell of fresh cucumber that you’ve personally grown can’t be beat. Many vegetables are successfully grown in a container: tomatoes, zucchini, spinach and peppers.
If you use herbs and spices often in your cooking, an herbal garden is perfect for you. Many herbs do well outside and inside. For example, mints like rosemary need full sun, but mints such as basil are low-maintenance and are happy in partial sun. Other easy to grow, container-friendly herbs that are perfect for a balcony include: coriander, chives, sage, thyme, parsley, and sorrel.
Butterfly and Bee Garden
If you live in an urban area, it’s especially hard on the bees and butterflies to find sustenance. A container garden made especially for butterflies and bees will help out Mother Nature and offer a beautiful experience as you watch them feed.
Some states and programs offer discount or free pollinator seed packets to those creating a safe space for bees and butterflies, as a supported effort of preservation. Plants helpful to bees and butterflies include: calendula, echinacea, bee balm, hosta, asters, lavender, verbena and zinnias.
Whether you have a small balcony or a wall of windows with amazing southern or western sunlight, there are a wide variety of flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables that will thrive in a container garden. You don’t need a big yard to experience nature and cultivate a garden. The reward of growing a little of your own food and herbs and creating a beautiful green space will be a delight, as you enjoy your garden with a cup of coffee every morning.
from Apartment Living Blog https://www.forrent.com/blog/diy/apartment-patio-container-gardening-ideas/