Container Gardens

container gardens flickr.com

The season for growing has begun!  Admittedly, this is my favorite time of year.  It always brings up warm and dreamy memories of the small historic town on the ocean where I lived many years ago.  I lived in an apartment without much yard space, as did my neighbors.  Instead we had lots of concrete and tar.  Not the best conditions for gardening, although there was one special neighbor who took landscaping our concrete yards to a whole new level.

She planted extraordinary vegetable and flower pots that took your breath away.  They truly stopped you in your tracks. You would marvel, smell the flowers, and experience the moment, in awe of their beauty and amazed at the reality that something this stunning could be grown in pots on concrete.  As it turns out you really only need sunshine, water, decent fertilizer and desire to grow a little something of your own.  It can also be done fairly inexpensively.

There are many options for affordable containers.  I tend to like the look of terra cotta pots.  Not only are they less expensive (you can pick them up at many discount stores for less than $5), the porous stone allows oxygen and air flow, providing a more natural existence for your plants.

You can also get creative and craft your own containers.  There are many inexpensive objects and materials you could use.  About.com has a list of great ideas:  http://containergardening.about.com/od/floweringcontainergarden/tp/Ideas-For-Cheap-Or-Free-Cotnainers.htm .

And if you love to shop yard sales, you might find an inspiring object you could convert into a garden container.  For a larger garden space consider purchasing a plastic children’s swimming pool; they’re about $10.  The possibilities for garden containers are endless!

As for the plants, seeds will cost $1-$3 a packet and can also be found at discount stores.  If you choose seed packets you may need to start some of these plants indoors for several weeks before you can transplant them into your container.  There are also a variety of seeds that can be planted directly in the container.  The directions on the package will guide you.  If your preference is to start with small plants, check local farm stands for reasonable prices, and the local home improvement stores tend to run periodic sales.  Whichever choice you make, be sure to follow the growing instructions and check out the following websites for further instruction:

http://extension.illinois.edu/containergardening/

http://www.container-gardening-for-food.com/

http://containergardening.about.com/od/containergardening101/tp/Ten-Container-Garden-Tips-For-Beginners.htm .

May your growing season be a success!

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