The Joys of Container Gardening

Just as some women can’t resist spending hours and entire paychecks at the shopping mall, my weaknesses are seeds and plants. I’ll buy whatever sounds interesting that year, usually a collection of vegetable, herb, flower and tree seeds. It’s enough seeds to fill an entire farm with crops for years.

There’s only one problem: I have no yard.

Well, to be fair, I do technically have a yard. It’s just so unsuitable for gardening that I can’t use it. Hard, clay soil that bakes in the sun does not make a good garden bed. On top of that, my house is surrounded by trees, and they cast long shadows over the entire property.

So what’s a plant lover like me to do? Grow everything in containers, that’s what!

Over the years, I’ve developed a pretty good system that allows me to grow a wide selection of plants. I put all my containers in the driveway, the only part of my home that gets enough sun at any given time. I use high-quality potting soil to overcome the limitation of clay soil in the backyard. As the sun’s position moves over time, I can move my containers so they always get the most light.

My container garden is filled with blossoming flowers, culinary herbs, and vegetables such as tomatoes, peas, radishes, and even broccoli. I always have a few ambitious projects going. Right now, for instance, I’ve got orange tree, dragon tree and jojoba seedlings growing slowly in their pots. I don’t know where I’ll put those plants once they start to reach several feet in height, but for now, I’m just enjoying watching them grow.

I find gardening, even in small containers, very rewarding and relaxing. It’s an excellent way to relieve stress while learning more about nature and how our food grows. It gives me a reason to spend long hours outside, enjoying the breeze and the warmth of the springtime sun.

Container gardening is a great choice for people who can only grow plants on their porch or balcony. I used to live in an apartment with only a balcony, and I managed to grow dozens of flowers and tropical plants in containers or hanging baskets. So it’s definitely possible even for those with very little space.

Don’t let anyone tell you that gardening is an expensive hobby. It can be, but only if you buy starter plants from nurseries and shell out for hand-glazed ceramic planters or the latest gadgets. I start virtually all my plants from seed, packets of which usually cost no more than $2.00. For containers, I use buckets from the dollar store with holes drilled through the bottom for drainage. I also use old cardboard boxes lined with trash bags. They work very well; right now, I have enough carrots and radishes growing in boxes to last me for months.

The most expensive part of container gardening is the potting soil. It’s worth it, though, to invest in quality soil that contains a slow-release fertilizer. Organic potting soil is also available if you prefer. Other than that, all you need is a cheap pair of garden gloves and maybe a hose for easy watering.

If you’re looking for an emotionally satisfying outdoor activity, why not give container gardening a try? You’ll get to see tiny seedlings pop up through the soil and grow into beautiful mature plants, some of which will produce healthy food for you and your family. Once you try it, I guarantee you’ll be hooked for life.

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