In this companion article to our video on City Steading Garden and Grow we will talk about container gardening. The specifics on how to choose and prepare containers for your garden as well as some other helpful tips and tricks will be covered.
How to choose the right container
Size- In this case, yes size does matter. Most often, the bigger the better. You want to think long term and limit the number of plants you place in each pot so they have the proper amount of room to grow.
Cleanliness- Reusing pots is an economical choice, but over time they can collect an excess of minerals, fungus and disease. This will not only make your container look unappealing, but it will be harmful to anything you plant in it. Clean reused containers but brushing off debris with a brush then soaking in a solution of warm water, dish soap and one cup of vinegar. Scrub them clean to thoroughly remove all the debris and staining. Rinse them well and leave in the sun to dry before replanting. You can also clean with a 10 percent bleach solution. Allow to soak for 10 minutes to kill off any unwanted guests then rinse and dry. If you are cleaning terra cotta pots or other porous vessels you will want to soak in fresh clean water for an additional ten minutes to remove any leftover bleach.
Drainage- Not many plants enjoy having “wet feet” thus drainage is an important factor to consider in container gardening. This can be accomplished by insuring your container has sufficient drainage holes. If you keep your plants in a location where free flowing run off water is not an option then place your pots in a saucer and water slowly as to not create overflow. Self watering pots are another great choice for keeping the water under control. The soil itself can have vermiculite or perlite added to it to aid in drainage. You can also add a layer of gravel in the bottom of your planter for added drainage.
Location- Not only do you want to place your container garden in a spot where it will get the right amount of sunlight, but you also want to make sure that their is adequate air flow. Overcrowding is one of the main reasons for disease.