CONTAINER GARDENING

Are you one of those people who have an interest in farming or gardening but feel that you cannot practice because you are limited by where you live or that you do not have sufficient space?

Container gardening is the perfect solution. Now you have no reason to procrastinate or give excuses…….

If you are a beginner, stick to the basics. Look around for what is available, for what you can do. Do not overwhelm yourself with big things. If you dwell too much on planning, your garden is highly likely to remain a pipe dream.

So let’s look at the main supplies for your first container garden.

Containers: These will range from the smallest yoghurt can to the largest water bottle. You can literally improvise everything so long us they have enough space for soil that is sufficient for your plant. The size of your container will be dependent not only on the space you have available but on what you want to grow in it. The other option is to purchase planting pots from the supermarkets or roadside nurseries. The containers should allow for holes to let out excess water. You don’t want plants backfiring because of clogged soils.

Grow bags are a good alternative if you want to ‘grow a lot on the spot’

The upside is that you can place containers anywhere. Just look for the most convenient for you and plant.

Vegetables planted in a kitchen garden

Growing Area:  Try to observe which is the most suitable area for our container. You need to consider sun exposure of the growing area. Look for spots that will get between 3 to 6 hours of sun per day. The amount of sunlight required may vary with different plants. For example, herbs may not need 6 hours, but less. Make sure you are gathered enough information about the plant(s) you intend to grow.

Try to place the containers at a convenient and visible place, where you can monitor. Try to position them where watering them will not be an uphill task for you. Remember, you can be decorative with your container garden.

Soil: The soil you choose for your container garden is important. In a container garden, the soil needs to light and fluffy. It should not be too dense or tightly packed as roots need access to oxygen and appropriate water retention as well as drainage. You may purchase soil from the roadside nursery if you do not have any other option. Consider preparing a potting soil mix.

Trowel: This will come in handy when planting your plants and removing any dead plants from the containers. A jembe is not needed; at least not after soil is settled well into the containers.

Pruning tool: Hand pruner will be required to trim off dead or dying leaves and light pruning.

Gloves: This is optional. Gloves are useful if you want to cut down on time spent cleaning off dirt from hands and nails after gardening. If you go for this option, look for comfortable, easy to slip in and out and strong enough to protect from moisture and thorns (if this is a likely problem). The choice is yours.

Watering Can: With a container garden, you’ll need a way to gently and easily water your plants. You may go for a watering can or a water hose – all depends on practicality. Whether you use a can or hose pipe, make sure that there is a nozzle attached at the end to allow for shower-like flow to the plants. You don’t want to damage your container plants with too much force.

Plants: The most important. When you are just starting out, just grow what you want to grow. You can buy seedlings from nurseries or go for seeds from the local stores (or agrovets). It is good to enquire from neighbors that may already be practicing gardening and so would be best placed to share about the best varieties or types. You could also search online for most convenient place to make a purchase.

Growbag photos courtesy of Barefoot Soulutions

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