Rejoice! Today is officially the first day of spring! To celebrate, I’ve hooked up with some of my fellow authors for a Spring Bling Blog Hop! What better way to celebrate? After reading my container gardening tips, make sure to HOP over to each of their blogs of other fun spring-y stuff, including yummy recipes!
Although I love flowers, the thing I look most forward to after a long, cold winter is planting vegetables. I love to garden; I’ve been organic gardening since our daughter was tottling around. When we first moved to Flagstaff, I didn’t have a garden of my own, so luckily I found a community garden in town. I bought up two plots and had a great time socializing with other gardeners.
There’s something about growing your own food that can’t be matched. It makes you aware of how the Sun and Mother Earth support and nourish us. It’s empowering to feel a small part of that process. Gardening is hard work, but it’s always worth it! There’s nothing like a homegrown tomato. One of those is worth all the hours of pulling weeds in my book!
Even though I have a large garden now, people everywhere are discovering the joys of gardening. It’s amazing how much veg you can get from a small area. Container gardening became popular a few years ago and has continued to gain popularity as people realize how life-affirming gardening is–even on a small scale.
It’s become so popular in fact that seed companies are now developing varieties of plants that are container-friendly. Take our friend the cucumber. If you’ve never grown cucs, you might not know that they are a vining plant. The go everywhere and can wrap themselves around other plants until the strangle them. But now, urban gardeners can purchase cucumber seeds that will produce plants that grow up, not out, so they can be grown on balconies and windowsills everywhere.
If you’ve never gardened, I encourage you to give it a go this year. It’s almost time for many places in the country to begin planting their early crop–spinach, lettuce and peas are common early spring vegetables. All you need are a couple of planters, some good soil and seeds and you too can go outside to pick your evening salad! It tastes so much better too! To get you started, here are a few basic container gardening tips. It’s easy, inexpensive and extremely rewarding…not to mention delicious!
Container Gardening Tips
- Use larger pots for plants that will grow tall, spread or bear a lot of fruit (like tomatoes). Also, you’ll want larger pots for plants that take longer to mature (like squash) or ones that will continuously produce, like kale, will need a larger pot.
- Even though you can plant closer together when container gardening, you don’t want to cram too many plants into one pot. Giving the plant plenty of space will produce more fruit for you. For example, including only one tomato plant in a larger pot will yield more tasty tomatoes than if you put 4 plants in a pot.
- Purchase light-weight, nutrient-rich soil to plant in. Most stores carry the appropriate plant soil during the spring. You can also add compost to the soil throughout the summer. Compost cuts down on your trash by using things like fruit cord, vegetable peeling and egg shells that will decompose. Adding this into the soil gives it additional nutrients to grow your plants bigger and healthier. You can easily compost in any kitchen by using one of these indoor compost bins.
- Beans, broccoli and blueberries love lots of acid in their soil! They will grow more fruit for you if you keep extra acid in their containers. One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is to add used coffee grounds to the soil. Now, I drink a lot of coffee, but not that much. Luckily, coffee shops, such as Starbucks, re-bag their used coffee grounds and set them out for gardeners to take home, free of charge.
- You will need to water your plants every single day. Plants dry out much faster in a pot than they do in the ground.
- If you are using something other than a flower pot to plant your veggies in, make sure it has drainage holes in the bottom of it. I’ve seen people use old children’s wagons and buckets that cat liter came in to grow their plants. That’s great, as long as they have had holes drilled in them. If not, the roots of your plants will rot, leading the whole plant to die.
- Whether you keep your plants inside on a windowsill or outside on a balcony or porch, they will need a lot of sun! That is one thing that doesn’t change when you container garden. Most plants need full sun, so keep that in mind as you are planning.
- To make the best use of your space, stagger the planting. Some plants, such as lettuce and spinach, are early plants–they can tolerate the cooler weather, and in fact, do much better in lower temperatures than when the summer is in full swing. These plants also take only a short time to come to maturity. So you can reseed your soil around every 3 weeks to keep yourself in fresh salad long into the fall.
I’d love to hear any container gardening tips you have to add to this list. In fact, I’d like to know how you celebrate spring. Add your ideas to the comments below. Then follow the list of links to my author friends’ blogs to get more Spring time tips and information.
Let’s Celebrate Spring!
Allyson Charles: https://www.allysoncharles.com/blog
Conniue di Marco http://www.conniedimarco.com/blog/
K.B. Owen: http://kbowenmysteries.com/blog
Layla Reyne: https://laylareyne.tumblr.com
Kirsten Weiss: https://kirstenweiss.com/blog
Mona Karel: https://mona-karel.com/blog/
Misterio Press: https://misteriopress.com
Shannon Esposito: http://murderinparadise.com/blog-2/
Victoria De La O: http://www.victoriadelao.com/