Beginner's Guide to Container Gardening

If you are keen to start growing your own but do not have a big space then you might think that it will be impossible for you to start an organic vegetable garden. But even if you only have a small space, you can still do a lot. There are many opportunities to grow a lot of food if you just consider container gardening. Container gardening is easier and costs far less than you might imagine.

Containers:

If you are interested in creating a sustainable container garden, there are many things that can be used to contain your plants. You do not necessarily have to buy new, plastic containers. You can often get pots and containers free from other gardeners. Alternatively, if you use your imagination, there are many different items that can be used as containers. You could consider old half barrels, gallon tubs and larger containers used for food packaging, old car tyres, hessian sacks and can create small, raised beds from scrap wood such as old wooden pallets. The key thing is to make sure that you choose an appropriate container for the plants you wish to grow. Some will do better in plastic, others in terracotta. Make a plan and then slowly work towards your goals.

Potting Medium:

In order to keep down the carbon footprint of your gardening and avoid damaging our already threatened natural environment, it is best to choose a peat-free potting medium. Another way to keep down your carbon footprint is to create your own compost at home, from plant waste, paper and cardboard and kitchen waste. It is possible to compost even in a small space. Consider hot composting, tumblers or vermiculture (a wormery). When sowing and potting up, make sure to amend the growing medium as necessary to suit the conditions which the plant you wish to grow requires. Consider drainage and mulch to maintain fertility and reduce water loss.

Common Pitfalls:

One of the main problems you face when it comes to container gardening is knowing how much to water, and when. Many common problems with container gardens are caused by either over or under watering. Make sure that you have created the right environment for your plants and are aware of their watering requirements. Another common problem is pests. Consider all the means at your disposal to help with pest problems, from companion planting to netting to traps. A successful organic garden can be very productive as long as you plan effectively and react to problems intelligently as they occur.

Possibilities:

There are a great many possibilities when it comes to the plants that you will be able to grow in a container garden, even at a rented property or one with very little outdoors space. Think beyond herbs and salads and grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers and you could be enjoying fresh and healthy produce for many years to come.

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