Container Gardens

Simple and Easy

Container gardens are really popular these days!

"They are easy to get started and it’s fun to watch the plants grow," notes nationally recognized landscape architect Olivia Munoz Mickalonis. "It is an activity that can be done by an individual, a family, or a whole classroom. Growing a plant creates a sense of pride be it a flower, a fruit, a vegetable, or a tree!"

As every parent knows, kids like playing in the dirt!

So, placing and nurturing a living plant in soil can literally be called “child’s play!”

This activity can teach children responsibility, as they have to remember to water their pet plant on a regular basis.

Recording growth and lighting requirements adds a scientific technique.

Watching how a plant produces a stem, leaves, and buds is equally instructional.

Then, when flowers appear, the children can draw them and/or pick them. If their greenery produces a fruit or vegetable, children can correlate what they have produced with the important role farmers play in feeding America.

In school, everyone learns that plants require sunshine, water, and some fresh air, in the right proportions, in order to grow.

So, what things must be considered prior to starting a container garden?

First, a decision has to be made as to what to grow: a flower, a fruit or vegetable, or a tree?

Next, do you begin with a seed or a young plant? Does the plant like full sun all day, or maybe just part of the day? How much water does it need to thrive? Will it be grown indoors or outside? Should it be planted in the fall or spring?

Now it’s time to pick out a suitable container.

Here are some simple suggestions: an aluminum can, a small water bottle, a milk jug, or a kitty litter container. These items, which probably would have been thrown in the trash, can be recycled for good use as plant containers. Rinse them out and put holes in the bottom for drainage, and they are ready for their residents.

The containers can be filled with fertile soil or potting soil from a bag. Gravel can be put in the bottom third of a large container to add weight and extra drainage.

For seniors, who may have a problem with bending and stooping, a galvanized 30 gallon garbage can, with holes on the bottom, and on bricks or concrete blocks will help with that problem.

Water and light requirements usually are printed on a label which accompanies a plant purchased at a garden center. The label also states the botanical and common name and describes its growth habit. Seed packets also contain similar info.

Fertilizer, or plant food, in a water soluble form, is good for plants. However, too much fertilizer can kill them. Read the label on the fertilizer container, or ask a professional, if there are any questions on amounts to use.

The beauty of container gardening is that it can take place anywhere. The pots can be put on a windowsill, a patio, porch, deck or balcony, or in a classroom.

Whether it is for food, flowers, or fun, container gardening is easy and simple.

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