Container Gardening

Whats your yard like? Do you have the perfect spot for a garden? My yard is a hill, and is home to many different types of trees. There is this one spot though that would be perfect for a garden. the only problem is the powerline, Verizon lines, and some other lines runs right down the middle of this 8×8 area. Which means there’s no digging allowed. And that ment no garden for me.

Until a few years back I came across a book about growing plants in different types of containers, the one that interested me the most was the 5 gallon buckets. After weighing the pros and cons of the containers, I decided that the 5 gallon buckets were the best fit for me and my yard. I was so happy that I could actually garden I didn’t want to make any mistakes so I followed the books advice to the letter. I bought 5 gallon buckets, ground ready tomato and pepper plants, and of course potting soil, lots of potting soil. They grew great for a while but soon there after everything  stopped growing and blooming. Since then I have learned some very useful tips and tricks to keep in mind when you are container gardening.

1. Tomatoes like to be planted deep-     When you are using a deep container like the 5 gallon bucket you can plant you tomato plant at the bottom of the bucket and slowly cover the stem with soil as the plant grows taller. As you do this the stem will grow roots off it which will make the plant and fruits healthier because they will be able to take in more nutrients from the soil.

2. The soil-                                                              The type of soil you use can make or break your garden. The way I think of it is the soil contains food for the plant. I have tried bagged potting soil, bagged garden soil and even soil from my yard (which didn’t even make it to the buckets because it’s mostly clay).  The potting soil and the garden soil would work well with the plants for a while. Here in Virginia from about March to the beginning of June it seems like it rains everyday.  With all the rain the potting soil and the garden soil would become compacted in the buckets and the roots can’t grow, which can cause a lot of problems. Over the last couple years I have tried to build my own soil, this year I think I might have made the best soil so far.                                                  I used :                                                              •one bag of potting soil( use which ever brand you like I went with the cheapest one they had at lowes)                                       •one bag of manure/ compost mix ( again whatever brand you want I went with the cheapest)    • one bag of peat moss ( one more time whichever one you want. Peat moss can be more costly the one I got was about 7-8 dollars)

I then slowly mixed the three together starting with the manure and the peat moss. The manure has all the nutrition in it, and is very heavy. When you add the peat moss, it makes it more airy and helps with the drainage. After mixing all the manure and about half the bag of peat moss you can start  to add the potting soil and the rest of the peat moss. When your done you will have a lighter, better draining, nutritious soil. You can then put the soil in your container and grow.

3. Feeding your Plants-                                          When it comes to container gardening of any kind: 5 gallon buckets, raised beds , tubs, bags etc.  you have to feed your plants. Since the plants are in containers as it rains the nutrients get wash out of the soil .When you first plant your soil will already have food in it most likely. If you look on the back of the bag it should have the N•P•K . The NPK tells you how much nitrogen (N) phosphorus (P) potassium (K) there is in the soil. The nitrogen is for the leaves and the color of the leaves. Phosphorus is for the roots and the blooms/fruit.  Potassium is for the overall health of the plant.  I recommend using a fertilizer that is 10-10-10.

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