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As yard size diminishes or people move into apartments, it isn’t always possible or practical to raise a full size garden.  Sometimes physical restrictions prevent the necessary ability to plant, weed, harvest or sustain a large garden.  All is not lost however as container gardening is well and thriving. A front porch or patio may need some perking up. We still need to garden and there are several ways to have it all.

There are several simple tricks to having a successful container adventure.  Don’t be shy, pick up larger planters than you think you need. Of course, fit them to your space. There are such a plethora of colors and available.  You can use metal pots, wheelbarrows, troughs…let your imagination run. Terra Cotta, ceramic or stone planters are heavy, but they hold moisture. There are plastic or composite planters that look like the real thing.  You have to choose what works for you. Breakable planters will need to either be taken inside out of the elements or covered to protect them in the fall/winter.  The freeze/thaw cycle can crack and weaken them. Make sure there are drainage holes for the excess water. You don’t want to drown your plants.

Success begins with soil. Not only does that pertain to gardens, but container gardens as well. You definitely don’t want to put regular dirt into container gardens. It’s too heavy and drains poorly in pots. You want soil that drains well and can still hold moisture. There are many potting mixes on the market to choose from. Do your homework as they differ for succulents to annuals. Peat moss is lightweight and soaks up water and nutrients like a sponge. Vermiculite is flakes of mica that absorb water and release it slowly. Perlite is heat expanded granules of volcanic ash and while not absorbing water, they help the soil drain and avoid compaction. There are coconut husks, and fine bark or mulch as well. Moss’ Greenhouse carries” SunGro#1”  that is exceptional and a wonderful potting mix.

Consistent watering is vital to a plant’s health. As the roots can’t expand like they normally would to seek out moisture, you need to help them in the pots. They are dependent on you.

Just like you couldn’t subsist on water alone, you need nutrients to provide your vitamins and minerals necessary for good growth and development. Plants need fed. They require: nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium. Look for potting mix that contains fertilizer if you can.

Decide your color combination, theme and placing of the containers. Plant a tall attention getter plant, a filler, and a drape. That creates 3 points of interest. Height, substance and the trailing plant will draw your eye over the whole creation. 

Container Gardening is fun, educational and can provide hours of relaxation and joy.     

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