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Container Gardening For Small Spaces
By Mary Hanna
For people that don't have a lot of land, like apartment dwellers, there is a way that you can still have a garden. The solution is container gardening. Everyone would like to have a little color in their homes and this is the way to achieve it.
Container gardening is more than just adding color and fresh oxygen to your rooms; it is convenient, portable and not very expensive. Use different size containers to add interest, just make sure they are roomy enough for the plants roots to grow. Container gardening is versatile. You can grow small plants in dish like containers or have a huge container for a tree by your entrance. Before you start planting you must come up with a plan. You need to do research on the plants you want to use in your container garden. To be successful you need to know the watering, light, and soil requirements of each plant. You must also consider the amount of room you have for your plants.
Another benefit of container gardening is that you can group the containers together with plants that have diverse needs. Like the moist loving herbs next to a cactus plant. In an outside in-ground garden this would be disastrous.
When starting your container garden, proportion is the key to your success. You wouldn't want to put a small plant in a large container. Although is could live nicely there it would look sad and forlorn. The container must have plenty of room for the roots, with proper PH soil, very good drainage so the plants won't get "wet feet", air circulation and plenty of light. Differentiate between plants that need strong, direct light and those that prefer indirect light. If a plant that needs strong direct light does not get it, the plant will wither and die. On the flip side, if a plant does not like strong direct light and you situate it in that way its foliage will burn.
The backbone of your container garden is the soil that you use for planting. It is never a good idea to bring soil in from the yard. If it is clay it will be to dense in a container and if it is sandy it will drain much too quickly. For your small and medium containers, purchase potting soil from your nursery center. For very large containers you may consider mixing your own soil mix. Talk this over with your nursery center or investigate it on-line and make sure it is a mix each particular plant will thrive with in.
Watering a container garden is a little trickier than your gardens outside. If you tend to be a little


neglectful in the watering department many plants can survive this. What plants cannot survive is over-watering. If you keep the plants too wet their roots will rot. If you are a novice at container gardening, invest in an inexpensive device called a water meter. It is a tool that measures moisture in the soil and is very useful for beginners.
Be diligent about checking for pests. Try not to use pesticides that can be harmful to pets and small children. If you find an infected container plant, isolate it immediately and treat it right away. Do not put it back into the grouping until you are sure it is pest free. Here is a very good natural recipe to keep pests at bay:
In a jar, combine 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid and 1 cup vegetable oil. Shake vigorously. In an empty spray bottle, combine 2 teaspoons of this mixture and 1 cup water. Use at ten-day intervals (or more often if needed) to rid plants of whiteflies, mites, aphids, scales, and other pests.
Container gardening is fun and can be as easy or complicated as you choose. Just be sure that you know the needs of your individual plants and then you will have years of enjoyment.
Happy Gardening!
Copyright Mary Hanna, All Rights Reserved.

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This page was updated on Nov 2009 and is Copyright © 2003 by Global Com Consulting Inc.

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