Container gardening is fantastic. It lets you grow plants, including vegetables, where there is no soil – on a balcony, patio or even your garage roof.
They’re brilliant because they’re flexible and help make the most of your space. You can change them simply by shifting the pots around. If you’ve got pot stands on wheels, you can revamp the look of your garden in minutes.
And with a bit of planning and some clever planting, you can produce a container garden for every season.
Choose your container
You can choose anything, but the bigger the better. The more soil it holds, the more moisture and food it will hold and the more root space your plants will have. It will also be easier it is to maintain.
Move it into position before you fill it with soil, or it will get too heavy to shift. Check the pot has sufficient drainage. Waterlogging is a recipe for killing your plants. If there’s no drainage, get out your drill and put as many holes as you can in the bottom.
Then line the pot with crocks – broken pottery or a bit of gravel to stop the holes getting clogged with soil. Put chocks underneath the container to help stop it becoming waterlogged in the winter.
The good news is that you can put almost anything in a container – flowering plants, ornamental shrubs and even fruit and veg.
For bright spring colour, plant bulbs like daffodils, tulips and muscari. Most bulbs are suited to containers and give a striking display.
You can also try primulas. They come in a huge range of colours, but they’re thirsty so keep them well-watered.
If you’re planting for summer, I’d recommend fuchsias, geraniums, marigolds and Busy lizzies.
Later in the year, replace with autumn and winter pansies. While ever the weather’s still cold, watch out for frost and cover the plants with garden fleece or old newspapers if the temperature really drops.
For edible crops, salad leaves and herbs are a great place to start. If you want to grow fruit and vegetables, stick to the same spacings and planting instructions as for a normal veg patch. If you can’t plant in rows, try concentric circles of crops.
To create a container garden, simply repeat the process with lots more containers! Put different sized containers on different levels to create a dynamic, visual space.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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