How to create a container garden


How to create a container garden

A step-by-step guide to growing potted herbs and vegetables

If you’re little on backyard space but big on sustainable gardens, growing herbs and vegetables in containers is a great way to make the best of both.

If you’re a renter, live in an apartment or townhouse, or just like the aesthetic of potted plants, here’s how to make your veggie garden flourish, TIANNA NADALIN writes.

What to use
These days you can use pretty much anything you like. From inexpensive plastic containers to terracotta pots or even vintage vessels, you can choose containers that will work best with the size and aesthetic of your space. You just need to be able to drill a few holes in the bottom for draining.

What to grow
You can grow just about anything in a pot, perhaps with the exception of some of the heavier root vegetables. Here is our pick of some of the easier crops to get you on the right track.

SALAD GREENS: These will grow in just about anything. Opt for varieties that are looseleaf (such as rocket, kale, spinach, etc) so you can snip off the leaves as you need them rather than pulling out the whole plant.

CHERRY TOMATOES: Regular tomatoes can be challenging to grow as they require a lot of attention and care, so opt for smaller varieties like cherry or Roma. Given the shallow depth of pots, you’ll need to make sure there is adequate supply of nutrients.

CHILLIES: Chillies are the pot planter’s best friend and will grow like wildfire in most locations.

BEANS: Growing beans in pots is a good option in cooler climates, where soil temperatures are prohibitive for in-ground potting. Be sure to bring these inside at night as they do not thrive in freezing temperatures.

HERBS: Many culinary herbs can be easily grown in pots. Rosemary, oregano, thyme and mint are super easy, while basil and parsley can be a little more temperamental. Choose either perennial or Vietnamese basil for a longer-lasting plant, or the more familiar Italian green basil. Make sure your herb pots are in a shady spot as direct sun can be too harsh.

How to plant
Clean: Make sure there are no remnants of previous soils on the inside.

Seal: Porous materials such as timber or terracotta will need to be sealed to ensure moisture isn’t absorbed by the container instead of the plants.

Drainage: Place a layer of gravel (3-5cm) at the bottom of the pot to assist drainage.

Soil: Only use high-quality soil and potting mix. Fill to a few centimetres below the top and water straight away.

When to water
Containers need to be watered more regularly as the roots are more shallow than in the ground. Soil should be slightly moist to the touch and try to make sure the containers never dry out completely. After a few waters you might find the soil has compacted slightly so top with extra soil or mulch.

Compost is a great option, or take an organic approach and look for chemical-free fertilisers.

NEXT: How to grow strawberries>>

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