“Do some self care, garden” – My Therapist
As the sun begins to come out and the temperature hovers around fifty degrees I along with my neighbors got antsy. I rushed out to my garden to survey all the stuff I didn’t do last year and noticed all my neighbors out with their tools in hand.
Immediately we started talking about how excited we were for the new year. What went wrong last year, and what we all planned on growing. We were all buzzing with excitement. I felt like we were kids who were let out for recess.
We also talked about the new methods we planned to use this year to garden. My furthest neighbor uses traditional gardening. Meaning he took a plot of land, removed the grass and planted seeds. My next door neighbor did a mixture of traditional, raised beds, and container gardening last year. I was 100% containers last year. I also planned to be 100% containers this year.
The question I am constantly asked is why do container garden versus other methods? Below are my top ten reasons.
1. Little to no weeds – when you grow in containers you should use container mix. I use Mel’s Mix from the Square Foot Gardening Method. I highly encourage you to get this book. This mix creates the perfect growing medium and is virtually weed free.
2. Plants grow bigger than planned and you can move them – I am horrible at plant sizing. I see little seedlings and I plant away. Then my plants grow to full size and I have no space. With containers I can just rearrange the garden to create more growing room. This is usually when my front porch and back patio become full.
3. Easy on my back – I have horrible back issues so with pots I can pick them up and garden on a table or ledge. My garden actually has raised planks that are 2ft off the ground and the pots sit on the planks.
4. More control over soil and amendments – as a new gardener I was constantly trying new fertilizer methods. I don’t know about you but I’ve killed a few plants with too much fertilizer. In pots I only kill one plant instead of killing the entire garden.
5. Companion planting made easy – as you start growing more vegetables you will learn some plants should not be near each other. Example potatoes should not be planted near cucumbers. Because these are two things I love I always plant at least five varieties of each. When one ends up next to another I simply move the plant.
6. No slugs – slugs love gardens yet we don’t love slugs. They get into your veggies and feast away. There are many videos that tell you how to get rid of slugs. I prefer to not deal with them at all. To date I’ve never seen a slug crawl into my containers.
7. Fix mistakes – my first year container gardening was a little rough. I wasn’t getting enough water to certain plants, I didn’t add the correct amendments, I also didn’t stake everything that I should have. Containers helped me fix this. I added water dished to containers and watered from the bottom up. If the amendments were off I could just remove the plant and remix the soil. If there was no trellis again I just moved the plant to a trellis.
8. Crop rotation – I don’t know about you but remembering what I planted where is a chore. Simply remembering what I planted is a chore. With containers I don’t have to remember anything. At the end of the season I dumped all the clean soil into buckets and use it the following year.
9. Contaminated soil – I had a friend who’s whole garden was killed due to bad soil she had purchased. She had a raised bed and a few containers and had to throw everything out. With containers, only the contaminated soil would have needed to be thrown out. Soil is way too expensive to waste.
10. Control issues – I have control issues and container gardening let’s me control everything. If the sun is beaming I can move my lettuce to the shade. If the tomatoes need to turn colors I make sure they get full sun. If the temperature gets too cold I can put the pots in the garage (I’ve done this).
This list consists of my top ten. There are many more advantages and some disadvantages as well. Research has helped me make fewer mistakes. Share some of your tips on container gardening.
And as always, Let’s Grow Some Stuff.