Container Gardening: Make Your Place Blossom

By Eva Millwood

Whether your home is an apartment, condo or other city dwelling, spatial limitations can make gardening seem impossible. Not so! With a tiny patio, balcony, windowsills and even outdoor stairways; fresh flowers, herbs and vegetables are never more than a few steps away. Here are a few simple guidelines for successful container gardening:

Assess your space.

If you have space to set a pot down, you have room to grow something. An overhanging roof or awning is an ideal, and probably underused, space for a hanging pot (or two, or three) of ferns, spider plants or vining tomatoes. An outside wall that gets lots of sun is just right for a trellis over a big pot of morning glories or vivid purple hyacinth beans. An herb collection of parsley, rosemary, thyme, basil and sage fits perfectly in a sunny window box.

Decide on what you want to grow.

Some plants do better than others in pots. Annual flowers like geraniums, begonias, zinnias, periwinkles and snapdragons shine in arrangements in half-barrels or other large containers. Pansies, marigolds and nasturtiums do double-duty as color accents and additions to a kitchen garden; they can all be tossed into a garden salad for an exciting change of pace. Any wide, flat container can be home to a fast-growing mesclun mix, and peppers, dwarf-type eggplants or bush beans are perfectly happy in containers larger than a gallon or so.

Use a good soil.

Many porch gardeners have found that a soilless potting mix works best for container gardening. The mix is lightweight, pathogen-free and available at any home and garden store. A multipurpose fertilizer once a month, along with regular watering, keeps plants lush and green. Using pots with drainage holes is best for container gardening, and setting them on bricks, blocks or trivets allows soil to drain so roots don?t die of oxygen deprivation.

Speak through your plants and what they?re planted in. Let your garden reflect who you are. Glazed ceramic pots are ideal containers, but anything that can hold dirt can hold a happy, healthy plant. That old enamel bowl from your grandma you just can?t bear to part with? Throw some seeds in it. Old boots (no joke) support little flowers just fine. And as for what you plant: why not make it a theme garden? Try planting only red flowers, or grow a collection of colorful peppers if you like things on the spicy side. The point is that you?re gardening for fun!

Dig in!

This article was reprinted with permissions from, the free website community dedicated to connecting, empowering and informing women.

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