Growing a Great Container Garden

Nothing beats fresh vegetables out of your own garden. The taste of a freshly picked tomato is pure heaven and digging your own new, red potatoes is so rewarding. But what do you do if you don’t have a large yard or no yard at all? No problem! You can grow a vegetable garden in a container!

Many people think of container gardening as an easy way to grow beautiful flowers and accent patios and porches with color. But have you ever tried adding a few vegetables in with the flowers? Growing vegetables and herbs in containers is just as easy as growing flowers and you get delicious results! You can mix a cherry tomato plant in with a pot of marigolds and snapdragons. The bright red fruit is a beautiful addition to the colorful blooms. Put a couple of red potato starts in a large planter with a few flowers, the foliage of potato plants is very beautiful and you will also have a few tiny white flowers as well.
H
ow about dedicating a few planters to just produce? Strawberries often produce more fruit when planted in a container because they don’t have much room to spread. Strawberry plants spread by sending out runners that root down and start a new plant. Once the strawberries run out of room to send out shoots, they put all their energy into producing fruit.  How delicious to have fresh strawberries just outside your door!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning a container garden.  

Properly prepare your pot. Your pot will need good drainage so make sure it has drainage holes drilled in the bottom. If your pot does not have drainage holes, either drill holes or create a drainage area by adding a layer of gravel at the bottom. If you have a very large pot, you can create a drainage area and eliminate the need for large quantities of soil by adding a layer of styrofoam at the bottom.  This will also make the pot easier to move around. Just remember to add enough soil for the plants to have a good root system.

Don’t use garden soil. The soil in your yard is generally too heavy for container use. A container gardening needs light soil that is rich in organic material for proper drainage.  Mix regular potting soil with compost and peat moss to get a healthy soil that is perfect for containers.  It is a good idea to mix in time release fertilizer while you are mixing the soil. Most time release fertilizers last about three months so plan to add more at that time.

When you are transplanting new plants, dig the hole about twice as large as the plants root ball.  Then back fill the hole with some loose soil, this will give the tender roots soft soil to anchor in. Before you place the plant in the hole, massage the roots to break them up slightly. The plant roots have been confined to a small area while they are getting their start, however they need to break free and they need a little help from you to do that.

Give your plants a healthy start by using a root starting fertilizer as you are planting. Mix the liquid fertilizer with water and add it as you plant each new plant to your container.  Root starting fertilizers contain the proper nutrients that help to prevent transplant shock.  

Trim the plant after you plant it. This is a difficult thing for most gardeners to do. After all you just bought a beautiful, full plant at the store! You need to remember that the plant needs to put effort into building a strong root system. This is difficult if the plant is trying to maintain full blooms or large amounts of foliage as well.  A good rule of thumb is to cut off the plant by two thirds. Don’t worry, your plant will grow back fuller and healthier than before.

Combine plants with similar requirements. If a plant requires full sun, don’t pair it up with a plant that does best in partial shade. Careful planning will yield the best results in container gardening.  

Containers are a great way to have fresh produce all summer long. Growing your own fresh produce is rewarding and allows you to provide healthy food for your family. Give container gardening a try, you will love the results!

Piper is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness, good nutrition, and the outdoors. She loves to work in the garden with her small garden tiller. She enjoys nature, reading and fitness. Check out her new website, http://www.smallgardentiller.org to learn all about getting the best small garden tiller so you can have a beautiful garden too!

Container Growing Vegetables

You have probably thought about container growing vegetables lately during this difficult time in order to save a bit of money. You can start a little at a time to see if it will work for you as opposed to regular in-ground vegetable gardening. Container growing vegetables can be a very handy and rewarding project.

You can grow vegetables in almost any type of container as long as it is large enough and has drainage holes in the bottom. The larger the container the easier it is to maintain. The more soil it is capable of holding the most moisture it will hold. The larger the container, at least 18 inches or more, the better you are. Choosing your containers is also very important. If you choose a self-watering container make sure they have overflow holes to eliminate extra water during rain storms. These containers are good for the gardener that does not have a lot of time to water or is unable to water daily. Plastic containers or glazed ceramic containers are considered to be the best containers to use. The problem with terra cotta containers is the clay that is used to make them will absorb all the moisture out of the soil so the use of a drain tray will be needed to fill with water to give moisture back to the soil.

Having the proper drainage for the containers will prevent the vegetable plants from getting too soggy and possibly drowning. You can place pebbles or rocks in the bottom of the container so you will not lose soil as the water is draining; the extra water will flow between and around the rocks and leave the soil in tact.

Your container vegetables will need food in order to produce a crop and that is when fertilizer comes in handy. The soil you purchase may already have fertilizer included, if it does not you can mix some of the fertilizer with your soil before you place in the container. Every few weeks it would be a good idea to give your vegetables a diluted dose of liquid fish emulsion for added nutrition.  

You do not want your vegetables to receive too much heat, so if you live in an area that gets extremely hot weather you will need to place your containers in the shade during the afternoon heat or they will burn. If you use metal containers or dark colored containers they could possibly heat up too much and cook the roots of the plants. If you live in an area that gets very cold temperatures during the vegetable growing season you may want to bring the containers inside during that time. Vegetables do not like cold soil and that is soil that gets down to less than 60 degrees F.  

The soil to be used should be a good quality that is meant for growing vegetables. It is best not to use the soil that comes from your regular garden because it will probably compact too easily and drain poorly. Using this soil could also bring weeds to your container vegetables and that is one reason for container gardening, very few weeds. Organic potting soil is the preferred soil to use for your vegetables for a healthier diet.

You vegetables will need at least six hours of sun a day; another good reason for container growing vegetables is you can move them around. Water is also needed for your garden to grow to maturity. The soil should be kept moist but never wet. You stick your finger, as far as the first knuckle, into the soil to check if you are not sure; if it comes out dry it is time to water. You may need to water more than once a day during the hottest days of the summer.

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Barbara enjoys some backyard gardening and is trying a little container growing of vegetables. Come visit the website Gardeners Garden Supplies to see other articles regarding gardening and accessories and leave a few comments or thoughts.

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Watering Your Container Garden Plants – Some Tips and Techniques

The value of proper watering cannot be stressed sufficient for your container garden plants. Container Gardens are uncovered to wind and sun so they dry out quicker than plants in the ground. There are no accurate systems about watering your container garden plants. You have to become acquainted with the needs of a range of garden plants. The best tip is to check them daily and water the plant when the outside of the soil begins to look dry. Feeling the soil will also help you agree on the damp desires of your container garden. Or, take the simple way and invest in a water meter if you are not sure.

How much and when to water will dependent on the type of plant and soil, the type and size of container, and the amount of spotlight to sun and wind. Climate and the weather also play their part. During hot spells mainly plants in your container garden require daily water, except those in small clay pots, which may need it twice. Some plants, like fuchsias and tuberous begonias, wilt when dry, but geraniums and succulents are not so sensitive to neglect. On the other hand, it is good to let soil dry out a little between watering. This prevents the soil from depleting its nutrients.

Since unglazed containers dry out fast, watch them more directly. Wooden tubs, window boxes, and planters dry out more gradually; metal is the unhurried of all. Groups of plants in big containers keep moist longer than single specimens. An excellent technique to keep away from excess dryness is to have groupings of plants, set close together. This allows the container plants to shade one another to sustain cool and stop damp evaporation.

There are numerous methods of watering the plants. If you have various containers in your container garden, depend on the hose, allowing water to flow through unhurriedly and smoothly. Water small pots with a watering can that has a long spout or buy one of the self watering boxes now available. When plants are grouping closely in a container garden, set up a sprinkler or hose with a fine spray nearby, allowing it to run for an extended while, until the soil is dry. In several states where the climate is dry, an automatic sprinkler system is a must to remain your whole garden hydrated. Remember this tip with geraniums and petunias; keep away from sprinklers which spot blossoms.

One thing is definite; you must not dependent on rain to remain your container garden plants hydrated. Even heavy showers drop a surprisingly small amount of damp, and unless rains are frequent and lengthy, you must do your own watering. Remember those window boxes and other containers close to homes or below trees can stay dry in spite of an all-day downpour.

Though it is necessary to give sufficient water to your container garden, it is equally important not to over water and so cause root rot. Over-watering also prevents aeration of the soil, and will cause the plant to drown.

One good technique is to set your container garden, if the containers are not too big, in a basin or pail of water for a number of hours, or until the shell of the soil feels moist (this is the theory behind self watering containers). Or immerse the pot in a tub or huge barrel of water and put down it there until air is eliminated and the bubbling stops.

The top common rule is to soak soil thoroughly when you water and then permit it to go just a bit dry before you water your container garden again. Best of all, remain a small spiral notebook and paste the care of every plant into it so that you will always have the needs of every individual plant at your fingertips.

If you go away for extended periods during the summer, give the container garden serious thought before making it a project. On the other hand, you can enjoy both holidays and plants if you are not present for only small periods. The best safeguard is to entrust your container garden to a responsible friend. Or if you are going away for a vacation at your other home, or one that you have rented, take the container garden with you as a little bit of home.

Many techniques can be practiced. One is to organize smaller containers in boxes of peat moss, sawdust, or soil that has been well dry. Then there is the pot-in-pot system, whereby small pots are set in bigger ones, with moist peat moss inserted between.

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SURVIVAL GARDENING FOR APARTMENT DWELLERS How Small Container Gardens Can Save You Money And Your Life

There’s no denying we live in uncertain economic times. Everyday financial experts pronounce another wave of bank failures, home foreclosures, job losses and global economic woe. Survival-minded people are implementing every way possible to minimize their losses, shore up their resources and live as frugally as possible. The good news is, personal food production is one area that doesn’t cost much money to start (pennies really), and can produce HUGE results, saving you a ton of money on your grocery bill. If you can grow 30 pounds of tomatoes, that’s 30 pounds of tomatoes you didn’t buy at the grocery store. Don’t fall for the belief that you need a big plot of land to produce big results with your crops. The truth is you don’t need a large garden to grow your own food. Even if you rent an apartment, you can grow enough food in containers to dramatically lower your food bill every month, and quite possibly feed you, your family and friends.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND: FOOD4WEALTH™

One of the easiest methods of food production is found in the Food4Wealth™ system, which shows you how to grow food that you can harvest every single day of the year, no matter where you live. This method is easily adapted to container gardening for apartment dwellers or for those who wish to utilize every inch of available space to grow their own fresh, organic vegetables. Every vegetable you can produce yourself is one less vegetable you buy at inflated prices at your local grocery store. And you can feel confident in the quality of your own home-grown organic foods, instead of being dependent on foreign imports, food recalls and tainted products.

Jonathan White, Environmental Scientist and Horticulturalist and creator of Food4Wealth™ has produced a method for growing food that is near fool-proof and produces an abundance of food from small spaces. Moreover, once your garden is started, it requires very little on-going labor to grow and continue to benefit from year-‘round.

FOOD4WEALTH™ is detailed in book format and short video tutorials – over 60 minutes of hands-on, step by step instructions – showing you every step of the way, so that you can see exactly what you should be doing to get amazing results for yourself.

PJ Devitt is the author of many articles on unique ways to pay for college, drive for a living, break into broadcasting, live more frugally and survive in a down economy. You can follow PJ here: Visit 50plusprepper

Container Gardening Secrets of the soil

You will probably hear gardeners talking about sandy soil or clay soil when deciding what sort of soil your plants will do best in. Have you ever wondered why there are so many different soils and what is the difference? Although it can sound quite complicated, it is rather simple and once you understand the basics, you can make and alter the soil for your containers to suit the plants you are growing. It is just like following the recipe for a cake mix but easier, you do not have to cook it!

All soil is made up of broken up rocks and decaying animal and vegetable matter, called humus or compost. Over millions of years the surface rock of the planet has crumbled and become worn down due to the actions of wind, water, heat and cold. Most of this hard rock has worn down to form sand.

Sand

The sea beds under our seas and seashores around our coasts are great masses of pure sand. If our soil was just sand it would be very unproductive, just think of the large deserts where hardly anything grows. It is thanks to the millions of life forms both big and very small that die and decay over the years, that the soil becomes rich in food that enable plants to grow and flourish.

So, when we speak of sandy soil, we are talking more of the sand as a sort of filler, mixed with the humus or compost of decaying matter which often includes animal waste as well. This is why gardeners prize well rotted horse manure so much and dig it in to their soil, to enrich it. The sand helps to stop the soil become compacted and allows air and water to flow through the soil, which is needed by the plants and the myriad of small insects and micro-organisms that call it home.

Silt

These are small particles of worn down quartz and feldspar rocks that are bigger than sand but heavier than clay in water. Think of rock dust.

 

Limestone

Another type of worn down stone, is found in lime soil. This soil is formed from worn down particles of limestone, which in turn is made up of the skeletons, shells and houses, like those of snails and crabs, that have lived and died over millions of years. These creatures picked lime particles from the water they lived in to form their shells as protection from larger creatures. You can still see this happening in coral reefs. When they die, their hard skeletons remain in layers on the river and sea beds and then over time these great masses of shells have been crushed and pressed by geological events to give us limestone.

Some of the old shells can still be seen in the limestone. Marble is another crystalline form of this special sort of rock, as is chalk. A way to test if a rock is limestone is to drop on it a little acid, such as household vinegar. This will react with the lime and cause it to bubble. This is why it can be used to balance soil that is to acidic

Clay

Now when a rock is worn by the elements, this is called “mechanical” action but there is another type of soil called clay. This is formed when a heated rock is attacked by a natural gas called carbonic acid, a form of carbon dioxide that all living things breathe out. This is not a mechanical action or wearing away of the rock but a chemical action where the rock is eaten away. Sand and silt are just a large rocks worn down into smaller pieces, like breaking up a sugar cube. It remains the same stuff it started out as but has just becomes smaller. Clay is the result of a chemical change, you start off with one sort of rock, but end up with something different. Clay soils are sometimes also refereed to as mud soils because of the water they contain. Compacted clay becomes waterproof and was used to line village ponds.

 

Peat

Peat is not rock based but is a form of compost or humus. It forms in marshy areas where the rotting plant material is slowed down from rotting fully by the acidic conditions. Have you ever seen the contents of a compost bin that gets to wet? When you have to add paper or straw to balance it? The peat bogs grow very slowly at the rate of about a millimetre per year. Some of the peat that is sold in garden centre has taken 9000 years, from the last Ice age, to form. This is why many people are campaigning for the peat bogs preservation and asking gardeners and farmers to use peat substitutes. This tends to be acidic and is added to the mix for those acid loving plants or to neutralise soil that has to much limestone.

Loam

Lastly and most importantly we have Loam. Loamy soil is a mixture of the other soils that is regarded as the best sort of soil for growing in. It is roughly in the proportion of 2 of sand to 2 of silt to 1 of clay, with lots of natural humus. Loams feel gritty, moist, and retain water easily and allow air circulation when not compacted. This is the holy grail of gardening and if this occurs naturally in your garden you are blessed. Within reason, the more organic matter you can add to it the better it will be.

The search for excellence

Fortunately, now that you know the basic secrets of the soil you can alter and mix these different components to make the right balance for you containers and planters to suit the needs of your plants. By mixing sand/silt with clay and adding compost from your compost bin or from your wormery and then balancing it with limestone or using peat (or peat substitute) to make it slightly acid. This is why I said it is just like mixing a cake recipe, and many gardeners do in fact have their favourite recipes for making “soil”.

The old cottage gardeners would judge the finished mixed soil or loam, by its wetness and its rich dark colour. When you squeeze a handful of loam, the soil will tend to stick together but not be strongly bonded. When you open your hand you will see that it is slightly stained. Then you know you have the perfect growing medium for your containers.

To find out more about the secrets of container gardening and “recipes for mixing your own container soil visit “Container Garden Secrets” and download your free ebook. Davey Greenjack is an Artist and Gardener living in South West England.

Container Flower Garden

Flower gardens are not just for outdoor planting. One could very well plant a flower garden in pots that can be kept indoors, on a terrace or balcony, or perhaps a front porch or screened patio. Oftentimes, flower gardens will flourish in a more healthy fashion because watering and pest control issues are diminished.

Because container flower gardens are grown in a controlled environment, they benefit greatly and show their appreciation of receiving protection from extreme heat and dehydration by putting on a spectacular show of flowers.

The great thing about nurturing a flower garden in containers are all the wonderful and eye catching flower pots one can grow them in. Flower gardens grown in the right flower pot not only enhance the beauty of the flowers themselves but oftentimes, become the focal point in the room.

Container flower gardens can be placed in ones favorite locations around the home. Because an indoor flower garden is not affected by nightfall, it can be enjoyed not just all day long but all evening as well.

A few Tips To Remember

1. When purchasing flowers to add to your flower garden, do not overlook the small plants that are just starting out. The smaller the flower the cheaper it will cost one to purchase. With the right nurturing, these little beauties will grow to be large beauties in no time at all.
2. Know the ideal growing environment for plants purchased. If a plant is shade loving (such as most ferns) that does not mean it does not need sun in order to grow. All plants and flowers need sun in order to grow. Place these types of plants in an area that receives indirect sunlight.
3. On the other hand, if plants call for a sunny location, do not place them in an area where the sun beams down hard all day long. This will cause the water to evaporate rapidly, not allowing the root system to remain moist enough to enjoy all the nutrients given it. Instead, place the plant in a location that receives full sun for no more than four hours a day or be prepared to water more than once daily if needed.
4. Feed the flower garden organic nutrients once a week. Compose tea is my favorite, however, Miracle Gro manufacture some outstanding products to aid in the healthy growth of flowers and plants.
5.    DO NOT OVER DO IT! Flower gardens benefit from additional nutrients but, one can over feed them so please follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to how much and/or how often to use their product.
6.    REMEMBER TO WATER! The fastest way to kill a flower garden is to consistently forget to water it. Flower gardens are a lot like people in so much as they cannot go an extended period of time without water. If that should happen, you will find yourself back at the garden center purchasing replacement garden plants.
7.    ENJOY! Take full advantage of the opportunity to “sit back and smell the roses!” What is the point of nurturing a flower garden if one fails to find time to relax and take it all in?

I hope I have inspired and encouraged you to plant a container flower garden. It is my belief that we all deserve to have a little sunshine in our lives and a well maintained container flower garden offers just the right amount.

Shirley Kelly is the owner of Lanterns4Less.com where she sells candle lanterns great for wedding and special occasions. Shirley has been in the interior design business for more than 10 years. Her passions are interior design and gardening. She enjoys sharing home and garden ideas with others on her blog. To read more of her ideas or to share your own home and garden tips, please visit her Home and Garden Ideas Blog She would love to hear from you.

Uses of Organic Vegetable Container Gardening

Container vegetable gardening is an entertaining and involving past time–one that you must know certain things about before starting an organic version.

When starting your organic gardening by obtaining seeds to plant, do not use genetically modified seeds; use organic seeds instead.

The right kinds of seeds for your gardening can be found in good plant books.

It is preferable to let your plants receive at least about five hours of sunlight each day than keep your garden indoors.

Use organic fertilizers to make sure your plants are kept in good condition throughout the year.

It is also not a good idea to not give have a peat or vermiculite mix for your plants.

Make sure as well that potted plants get watered more than the plants in the ground, particularly when they are growing fast.

You can grow all kinds of plants, in all different kinds of situations, with organic container gardening.

It is more tedious to garden with containers, but it is also less difficult to manage.

It is inexpensive to use your old containers and baskets to do organic container vegetable gardening. You can grow radishes, tomatoes, brinjal, cucumbers, and more!

For some vegetables such as potatoes and corn, opting to grow the dwarf varieties may make more sense with container gardening.

Grow your plants properly by making sure to use good fertilizer for a real organic garden.

Organic gardening is eco-friendly, inexpensive, and abundant in its rewards.

Organic gardening is a very enjoyable hobby that you can enjoy for years to come.

Learn more about vegetable container gardening. Visit www.vegetablegardenplantingtips.com/ where you can find out all about Vegetable Garden planning .

Guide to Container Gardening with Tomatoes

Suffering from the limited gardening space? If you are into the hobby of home gardening and would like to grow tomatoes, then fear not! Because as long as you have sunlight, tomatoes can be grown anywhere. Growing tomatoes in containers is a practice not only constrained to people with limited gardening space. Plenty of home gardeners grow their vegetables in containers, even when there are free space in the backyard. There are many reasons for container gardening, but we grow tomatoes in containers mostly for convenience, control, and flexibility.
Growing tomatoes in containers is not too different from growing tomatoes in the outdoor soil. Like planting in the ground, it’s best to raise young tomato plants carefully indoors until they’re  strong enough for transplant. Transplanting is similar for containers as for ground- bury as much of the plant stem as possible. Doing so will promote root formation along the portion of the stem that is buried, giving the plant excellent base foundations, a good thing regardless of where the tomato is grown.
With vegetables grown in containers, it’s possible to control the exact state of your growing medium. Once you’ve found the secret recipe to all your prior garden success, you can reuse it over and over again for future success. You can choose to go completely soiless, or completely organic, or a mixture of some of both. Growing tomatoes in containers give this important benefit. The most basic recipe for a good container soil mixture to grow vegetables is 40% compost, 40% peat moss, and 20% perlite.
Although tomatoes grown in containers frees you from messing with garden dirt, container vegetables do require more maintenance in terms of watering and fertilizing.  Unlike traditional garden tomatoes, tomato plants in containers have limited root coverage, and their growth is limited by the amount of water and nutrients in the container. Container vegetable plants may need to be watered daily in the heat of the summer, and sometimes even twice a day to prevent the plants from wilting up. Of course, this depends on how big your growing container is (bigger is always better), and whether you mulch or not. Tomatoes are especially water thirsty plants, so the better you can satisfy their watering needs, the better results you will be rewarded with come harvest.
Of course, you can mitigate all the disadvantages of container growing by simply installing automated drip irrigators for your containers. Though it sounds complicated, the setup is not expensive and actually quite easy to install. An automated drip irrigation system set up for a price range anywhere between $50-100, and you will save yourself a lot of hassles later. Depending on how many containers you have, this could be a worthy investment with great payoffs in the long run.
Applying mulching to containers may sound like an unnecessary chore associated with traditional gardening, but it’s a great way to reduce water evaporation and keep weeds down (if you’re using compost or garden soil). Pine bark mulch will work great, as will black plastic mulching. Mulching has the added benefit of keeping your tomato plants looking neat and organized.
When the first blossoms have set in on your plants, don’t be afraid to use more fertilizers. Twice the amount of normal usage will work. Increasing fertilization during first blossom formation will kickstart fruit production and result in bigger yields. But whatever fertilization rate you use, try to keep it constant.
And don’t forget to pick your tomato fruits as soon as they’re ripe. It’s not a good idea to leave tomatoes on the vines for too long, and for every tomato you pick off, you’ll encourage the production of a new fruit.
Growing tomatoes in containers is indeed a very flexible and productive gardening practice. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your container gardens, as tomatoes are generally hardy plants.

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Container Gardening for Tomatoes

If you’re not a big fan of getting dirty in the outside garden, then fear not. Most of the vegetables grown at home can be grown equally well in containers. By finding the right container and filling it with the right potting mixture, you will be able to grow anything you want in it, even tomatoes.

First you need to find the right size container for your plants. If you want the little cherry tomatoes (which are excellent in salads) then you can use the regular size hanging baskets, but if you prefer the larger tomatoes you’d do best to purchase five gallon buckets, because your plants need plenty of room to grow, you don’t want them to be cramped. Next you need to go to a nursery and purchase your tomato plants. You don’t want to get too large of a plant, you can buy a determinate tomato plant, that stops growing after they reach a certain size, or indeterminate that will continue to grow and produce larger tomato plants. Two very popular indeterminate tomato plants are Big Beef and Better Boy, which are also very resistant to plant disease and will give you tomatoes for a longer period of time.

Now you’re ready to begin planting, make sure you put some holes in the bottom of your container for proper drainage. You don’t want your plant to become overwhelmed with excess water. Carefully remove the bottom few sets of leaves and place the plant in the container. Make sure you don’t use a flimsy, light weight container, because when your tomatoes are in bloom they may be top heavy and could cause the plant to topple. Tomatoes should be staked as early as possible, to prevent root disturbances caused by setting in the stake. Use a well mixed potting soil supplemented with plenty of organic matter to enrich the taste of your tomatoes. Ask at your neighborhood nursery for help in picking out the proper soil and fertilizer for in home planting.

Plants need plenty of sunlight, at least 6 to 8 hours a day. A grow light can be very beneficial in growing young plants, especially on cloudy days with limited sunlight. Be sure to water them daily, forgetting to water them for a couple of days and then starting to water them again, and then you once again forgetting; this rigorous process could delay the growth of your tomato plants. So please, be consistent with your care for them.

Articles and resources on growing tomatoes. Read more articles Home Gardening

Container Gardening Indoors and Outdoors

For years people have been gardening in containers, mostly because they lacked space. For some it was because they lived in climates that wouldn’t allow them to grow year round. Container gardens afford you the option of planting outside until the cold forces the container inside, next to a sunny window.

Most container gardens were planted by people that lived in apartments but still wanted the addition of color and the feeling of accomplishment when seeing their plants grow. Big, beautiful showy flowers have a tranquil effect that soothes you at the end of a long day. Container gardening need not be limited to apartment gardening, everyone should have their own. Most certainly you don’t have to stick to flowers in containers. You can grow vegetables and herbs in pots.

By adding garden pots it allows you to put spots of color around green shrubs or trees to brighten any corner of your yard. Placing containers filled with your favorite flower adds loads of appeal to a walkway or paved patio. The fun part of that is you can rotate the pots to different locations adding a new looks or colors with every move. Putting autumnal colored Mums in pots or spring tulips in a container allows you to landscape by season keeping your garden bright and interesting.
Your container can become a mini garden. For example when we lived in Pennsylvania our front yard screened us from the road with 10 feet tall evergreens. Although it was good for privacy, it made it very hard for guests to find our house. To fix this problem I purchased a half of a whisky barrel painted our name and street number on it and placed on the lawn at the end of the driveway. Then I filled it with some organic matter, planted bright red geraniums in the center and placed trailing ivy along the outer edges. Not only did it help our friends find us but the whole neighborhood used it when giving directions to their friends and family. Everyone would come up to us and say, “Never move that pot of flowers, it’s our favorite landmark.”

Don’t limit yourself to a barrel, anything can be used, a watering can, an urn or big boldly colored ceramic pots, even a wheelbarrow. Use your imagination when it comes to the containers you will plant. A friend of mine would go to the Italian restaurants around town and ask them for their used large olive oil cans. She’d take them home and plant a bunch of mini gardens. This created an interesting and colorful spot unlike any in the neighborhood. She would plant herbs in some of them so this little garden had two uses.

For container gardening use a fast draining potting soil mixed with a little coarse sand. I always use pots with holes in the bottom to ensure good drainage. You may know exactly how much to water the plant but if you have a rainy spell it could be the demise of the mini garden that has no drainage system. Fertilize well and often, nutrients in a container can leech out.

Repotting will be necessary as the plants will become root bound as they thrive. Just go to the next size container and plant a new flower or herb in the original pot.
Go to your garden nursery center and look thru the selections. Choose plants that will harmonize and colors that go well together. Container Gardening is fun and easy and a great way to show off your handiwork.

Mary Hanna is an aspiring herbalist who lives in Central Florida. Contact her at mhanna@gardeninglandscapingtips.com or visit her websites at http://www.gardeninglandscapingtips.com, http://www.gardeningoutside.com, or http://www.gardeningherb.com.