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Small Garden, Big Rewards

May 11th, 2020 

For anyone who is interested in gardening but unsure of where to start  – the new trend in container gardens will help dip your toes in the soil. Container gardens are perfect for those with green thumbs and limited space who want to start out small.

Growing a successful container garden is easy, as these little gardens can be built with few supplies and produce a wide array of herbs and vegetables. The first step towards building a successful container garden is making sure it’s placed in the right location. Most herbs and vegetables require six to eight hours of sunlight each day to facilitate optimum growth. While a number of soils can be used to help stimulate the growth of your garden, commercial soilless mixes are preferable as they retain water and oxygen more efficiently than garden soil. These simple gardens can grow indoors and outside, whether in a window box or on a balcony, and can be placed on any level surface.

In order to select the right container you first need to decide what it is that you will be growing. Vegetables that can be harvested in container gardens include tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, beans, lettuce, squash, and beets. Pots, food-grade buckets, milk jugs, plastic totes, as well as any item that originally held a food product are suitable for holding the plant and can be made of clay, resin, metal, plastic, or wood. Once a container is selected, remember to puncture holes at the bottom for water drainage. 

While container gardens are easy to build, they do require maintenance. Small potted gardens tend to dry out faster than in-ground gardens, and most will need to be watered at least once a week. Shallow rooted crops like lettuce, hot peppers, and herbs require a container eight to nine inches deep. Crops like carrots and potatoes need larger containers – typically twice as deep as the length they will reach at harvest.  Carrot seeds also require moist soil and tend to mature quickly.  Planting small gardens in containers is relaxing and has the added benefit of harvesting your own vegetables without the outsized space or cost associated with maintaining a traditional outdoor garden. 

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