Thursday, May 14, 2009

Container Gardening: Part 1

I wanted to plant some herbs and tomatoes this year so I can enjoy them all summer long. Unfortunately my backyard is haven to local rabbits so I needed to find an alternative to planting them in the ground. If you want to grow herbs, tomatoes and flowers with no fuss all you need is a few pots and a sunny spot.

Potted Herb Garden
Various herbs can share the same pot but you have to make sure that they are compatible by reading the care tags. Water-loving basil and curly parsley can co-exist, whereas sage and oregano all prefer a slightly drier environment. Classic terra-cotta pots are an excellent choice for container plantings since their porosity allows air and water to move through the walls. Regular harvesting will keep the plants productive and don't forget to water almost daily in the summer heat.

I chose cilantro and sweet basil starter plants from the Farmers Market. I popped them into terra-cotta planters I had lying in the garage and made simple tags for each. I then placed them on top of the table that used to be on the patio (reuse, people!) so they are out of reach from any furry friends and are sure to get full sun for at least six hours a day in this south-facing spot. I may paint the pots to give them some color but right now I'm digging the natural terra-cotta.

(Notice that I need to harvest my basil!)

Potted Salad Garden

Maximize your growing space by planting varieties that are bred to be compact. You'll need relatively large containers for veggies like tomatoes, which require at least five gallons of soil to develop a root system large enough to support a productive plant. Galvanized metal tubs and buckets make terrific planters - just drill holes in the bottom for drainage! Stake and tie tall growers rights way and adjust the stakes as the plants gain height. Never let the soil dry out more than an inch below the surface and harvest regularly.

I chose two tomato plants - roma and beefmaster (which the guy said get large and juicy!). I figured Home Depot would have galvanized tubs but all I could find were galvanized garbage cans and I wanted something a little lower to the ground. My local trusty TJ Maxx had this gorgeous metal tub for roughly $30 that I bought instead since it goes with my outdoor color scheme better and it was the perfect size. I drilled plenty of holes in the bottom for drainage, filled the tub with organic compost and then popped in my tomato plants, stakes and tags.

Here is my small container garden next to the garage.

They got a little water-logged from the rain last night but they'll perk back up in no time. I'm getting some mulch this weekend to lay in the space to keep weeds to a minimum and to dress it up a bit. Stay tuned for my flower container gardens.


  1. Good work. I just posted about my backyard. I'm not at industrious as you. Looking forward to seeing everything in bloom.


Thanks for stopping by!