While we’d all like to have a green thumb, there are a few advantages some of us have over others, like a nice sized plot of land to garden on. That doesn’t mean that city dwellers can’t enjoy the benefits of gardening, however. While the containers limit you to smaller plants, container gardens can produce the same perks as larger gardens.
Container gardens aren’t just the perfect option for apartment lovers, either. They’re great for children, disabled people, single people who don’t care to have a large harvest of vegetables, and for those just learning to garden. If things go wrong, you simply throw it out and start over. Container gardening is much less of a commitment than gardening on a plot of land, and there is considerably less weeding to be done!
Where should you begin? The hardest part of container gardening (or any form of gardening for that matter) is to figure out what exactly it is that you want to grow. There are hundreds of internet resources to help you figure out which plants are best in which areas, but as a general rule, most vegetables grow well in containers. Common examples of vegetables to grow in containers include tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuces, and herbs and spices.
Once you’ve decided what you want to plant, the next step is to prepare your space. Be sure to buy the proper pots and/or containers to fit the plants you’ll be growing. Plants like tomatoes get large and heavy quickly, and will definitely need to be transplanted from the small containers they’re sold in at the nursery. Other plants like cucumbers and squash do need a little room to spread out, but they can be trained to grow upright on a trellis.
Finding a sunny spot for your plants is very important – different vegetables require different amounts of sun and shade, so the amount is variable, but a balcony or deck is preferable. If you can’t do that, you can sometimes make a very sunny window work. Be sure to find out whether your plants prefer full sun, shade, or a mixture of both.
The soil you’ll need also varies as much as your plants. Because they’re in containers it’s important to make sure that you use good soil with lots of nutrients. Garden soil alone doesn’t work as well in containers as it does in an actual garden, so many container gardeners choose to mix it with organic materials like peat moss to help it hold moisture better.
Especially since it’s not outside, you’ll need to be especially diligent about watering your garden. If possible, collect rainwater outside for this purpose. If not, be sure to use unchlorinated water. Some people prefer to buy spring water and use that instead. Keep in mind that certain vegetables need more water at certain points in their lives. Some need more when flowering, some need more during germination, and some just need consistent watering all the time. Do a little bit of research on your plants to see which works best for you.
Most importantly, have fun! If your container garden doesn’t work out well, dump it out and try again! Gardening is a hobby that can help you save money, eat healthier, and enjoy the beauty of nature even in the center of a concrete jungle.