3 essential things to know before setting up your container garden

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Not everyone is so lucky as to have access to a big yard in which to grow the necessary fruits and vegetables for personal consumption.

That’s why container gardening has risen in popularity in the last few years. For those of us who are city dwellers, being able to grow plants in individual pots has been the answer to the question: How can you get fresh, organic produce if you live in the city?

So, if you think you’re ready to become an urban gardener, here are a few things you need to know before you start setting up your container garden.

Sunlight makes all the difference

Light is of the essence when growing plans, so before anything, make sure you can find a corner in your kitchen or balcony that’s flooded with sunlight. South-facing light is preferable because the light that comes in the morning is more beneficial for growing plants.

As opposed to afternoon light that tends to be harsher, and will probably burn your plants and evaporate water all too quickly. This problem is amplified when containers are involved, so make sure you find a suitable place to place your pots.

Pick out the right containers

It’s not the easiest of tasks to pick out a container for your plants. After all, there are so many options. And some are quite expensive. Lots of people tend to think that a pricey ceramic or terra cota container will help plants grow faster and stronger.

But the quality of the container is not an issue here, as it really doesn’t make a difference. What you should take into account, though, is the size of the container. You want to be able to grow bigger plants, because bigger translates into more soil volume, which means more root mass, which ultimately means they can hold more nutrients and water.

Evidently, different plans have different needs. For example, greens and herbs require only minimal space. But if you’re going for something larger like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and such, then you will have to go bigger to give the plants room to grow.

Don’t feel silly throwing a tiny seedling in an enormous bucket, as the plant will eventually grow into it. A big benefit of using large containers, is that your plants will need less tending to.

Good soil is your key ingredient

Container plants need a soil mix that’s specially formulated for holding the water, while also allowing for good drainage and keeping the roots healthy. Such mixes can be purchased from your local garden center and are perfect for those who are only growing a few plants in a few pots.

When purchasing potting soil read the label carefully. Instead of investing in something that’s labelled “topsoil” or “compost”, which could be made out of just about anything, we suggest you go for the organic kind of potting soil.

Now if you’re planning to use larger containers you can make your own soil by mixing these ingredients:

  • 1/3 garden soil
  • 1/3 quality compost
  • 1/3 peat moss

The level of soil in the pot should be one or two inches below the rim of the container after planting. This is referred to as headspace and facilitates proper watering.

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