Texas Living

Container Gardening Made Simple

By Abi Grise Morgan 1.8.24

Are you itching to get your hands in the dirt, but the weather just won’t cooperate? Or perhaps you’re an urban dweller with a green thumb yet lacking a garden space? Container gardens are a saving grace for gardeners with small spaces or when your yard is still shaking off winter’s frosty grip.

What Is Container Gardening?

As the name suggests, container gardening is the art of growing plants in containers, as opposed to the ground. Urban dwellers can set up container gardens on balconies or small patios, and containers can be moved indoors when needed to protect sensitive plants from freezing temperatures. Sometimes, gardeners will use container gardens to start spring gardening early, giving young plants protection from frost before plunking them into the ground later.

Container gardens are also novice friendly. You can move plants around to find the best spot, and they’re less likely to contract diseases and pests that spread through the soil. Plus, the containers’ elevation makes it easier on your back when weeding your garden.

Choosing the Right Containers

Just about any container can be used for gardening, provided it has good drainage. Traditional pots, quirky recycled items, window boxes, and hanging baskets all make excellent homes for your plants. Remember that as your plants grow, they’ll need to be transferred to a bigger pot.

Selecting Plants

The sky’s the limit when choosing container plants. Some gardeners use containers to grow fresh herbs — like basil, rosemary, or thyme — to later use in the kitchen. You can also grow vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, squash, carrots, or leafy greens, or try creating a mushroom garden. Another option is to designate your potted garden as a pollinator pit stop with aromatic flowers like lavender, cosmos, or zinnias.

Soil and Fertilization

While you can use garden soil in containers, you’re better off with potting soil, which is well-draining and light. Keep in mind: Container gardens require more frequent watering and fertilization than their in-ground counterparts, as they have limited access to natural nutrients. Set a watering schedule or use an automated drip system so you don’t forget.

Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor

Container gardening is a fantastic way to bring nature into your life, regardless of space limitations or weather constraints. With a bit of creativity and care, you can enjoy the beauty of a flourishing garden. So, grab some pots and let your gardening journey begin!

Take the guesswork out of figuring out when to start your garden with this annual garden calendar!

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