Even if the extent of your home’s outdoor space is a tiny deck or patio you can still create a great landscape by doing a bit of container gardening. It is relatively inexpensive and fairly easy and once you flowers and plants are in bloom you too will have a wonderful view out of your window even if there is very little else!

Getting Started: Choosing Your Containers

The containers you use to create your “garden” are important from both a visual and functional point of view. Here are some things to keep in mind as you shop for the right containers to get your project started:

  • Don’t choose containers with narrow openings as they will be too hard to work with.
  • Wooden containers look very nice but they are often very susceptible to rot. Both redwood and cedar are fairly rot resistant though and look lovely without the need for staining or painting.
  • Get your container size right. Try to use containers that have between 15 and 120 quarts capacity. Small pots restrict the root area and dry out very quickly.Make sure your pot has adequate drainage. Holes should be 1/2 inch across. To prevent soil loss line the bottom of the pot with newspaper.
  • If you live in a dry hot climate stick to lighter coloured containers to reduce heat absorption and discourage uneven root growth.
  • Try to ensure that your container garden will get at least 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight a day and choose a good fertilizer to plant your plants in.

What to Grow

Nice hardy annuals are often the best choice for container gardening, especially if you do not have too much time to devote to their care. A few great choices include:

  • Alyssum
  • Begonia
  • Browallia
  • Coleus
  • Geraniums
  • Impatiens
  • Latana
  • Lobelia
  • Marigolds
  • Periwinkle
  • Nasturtiums
  • Pansies
  • Petunias
  • Salvia
  • Sanvitalia
  • Snapdragons
  • Thunbergia
  • Zinnias

You are not limited to flowers though. Many people have great success with vegetables when it comes to container gardening. Tomatoes (especially the gorgeous heirloom varieties) beans, cabbages, lettuces, carrots and onions all grow very well in containers and as they grow they often look as good as they will eventually taste!

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