The popularity of container gardening comes and goes

The popularity of container gardening comes and goes

  • Apr. 22, 2020 7:10 p.m.

The popularity of container gardening comes and goes. It allows people to add plants where it otherwise would not be practical; poor soil, under evergreen trees, decks, and balconies. They can be used within a garden to add height to a bed bringing the eye upward. Hanging baskets most the eye upward often increasing people’s awareness of the building. With the exception of hanging plants, the larger the pot, the easier it is to garden. A larger pot holds more soil in which to store moisture and nutrients. Pots under (14 inches 35 cm) are prone to drying out quickly and on hot days need to be watered more than once a day. The number of plants to place in a pot varies with the varieties of plants used. The aim is to have enough plants that the pot looks full and attractive from the first of the season until the end. If the pot starts to become crowded, remove a plant or two allowing the others more nutrients, moisture and room to expand. The container can be anything as long as it has drainage holes to allow excess moisture to escape and blends into the landscape.

Container gardens are very dependent on the person supplying the water and nutrients. Unlike garden plants they cannot tap into a hidden reservoir. During the hottest months, it requires either daily watering or an irrigation system. Container gardening can be labour intensive.

Containers should not be limited to flowers. Vegetables also thrive in containers when they are given enough room, nutrients and sunlight.. Keep in mind the root mass of the vegetable when using containers. Larger plants have a deeper root mass than shorter ones with the exception of root vegetables. .

Perennials, trees and shrubs can be overwintered in containers if the plants are allowed to go dormant then moved to a cool to cold environment. Plants rarely survive if the soil and roots freeze solid.

Gone are the days of the vegetable gardens being separate entities. Vegetables are attractive have been replaced annuals in some towns public landscaping. When the vegetables mature the public are encouraged to harvest the produce. For those that want to keep flowers, adding a few vegetables with attractive greens to add interest. in select spots

For the most part, vegetable gardens are placed in full sunlight but there are some crops that do well in partial shade including: cabbage, broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts and lettuce.

Vegetable gardens may be dug into the dirt or raised to any height.

In ground gardens requires a spot that contains a soil rich in decaying matter and mineral soil. It should be free of perennials weeds, big rocks and tree roots.

A raised garden can be built at any height. The depth of the garden should be at least 8 to 18 inches (20-45 cm) depending on what is being grown. Like the ground gardens soil is very important. The soil mixture has to contain organic matter, mineral soil as well as vermiculite or perlite insuring it will hold moisture but not become saturated.

The average raised garden is no wider that 5 ft (1.5 m) allowing people to reach across without stepping on the soil.

Before purchasing vegetable seeds, or bedding-out-plants make sure that there are enough frost free days for the plant to mature. Slow maturing plants are best set out as small plants as opposed to being seeded into the garden.

Only plant what will be eaten. It is easy to get carried away and plant enough vegetables to feed the whole neighborhood.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at


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