Xanthe White’s guide to growing cornIn the first in our series of extracts from Xanthe White's Organic Vegetable Gardening, ...
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So, the first thing is to decide where to put your containers and ensure you choose plants that suit that location just as you would with any other type of gardening. If you are a bit unsure go down to your nearest garden centre – they’ll be happy to advise you. Make sure you tell them things like whether the spot is damp or sunny – or that every cat in the neighbourhood likes to sleep there.
It is worth spending a bit extra on good quality potting soil in order to get your container plants settled and underway. Resist the urge to just dig some dirt out of your garden –it doesn’t matter what your husband says, Great Aunt Myrtle is right: plants in pots have specific needs in terms of fibre, nutrients or minerals due the nature of the contained space.
Drainage is vital – so check the container has sufficient. Plastic pots often have several drainage holes while ceramic ones may only have one hole in the middle of the base. If that is the case it can be helpful if pop some broken pots or tones at the bottom of the pot for added drainage and to stop the hole getting blocked.
Fill your pot to about half way with potting mix. Carefully ease your plant out of the current container – watering it before you get started will make this step easier. Just a little though – if you turn everything to mud your plant will struggle.
Fill the rest of the pot to the level of the original pot, leaving a couple of centimetres clear at the top for ease of watering.
If you want, you can decorate the top of the soil with pebbles – they can look pretty in the right container and with the right plants and will help with water retention.
For your outdoor container garden use a soft spray nozzle on your hose for watering.
When you see water coming out of the bottom of the pot it’s time to stop – and in summer you may need to water quite frequenty depending on the plant and the placement.
Regular feeding is a must with container gardens.
If you choose liquid fertiliser, remember to water the plant first to stop the fertiliser just running off.
Dry fertiliser can be mixed into the soil prior to planting or applied as a top dressing. In either case, read the instructions or talk to your garden centre.
Hanging baskets can be a pretty addition to a house or a fence but they dry out very quickly so you will need either a long watering wand or be able to reach them easily. A tall husband can be helpful too.
GOOD CONTAINER PLANTS:
Choose Daphne, Dianthus, Heliotrope, Alyssum, Geraniums, Chamomile, Rosemary because they smell nice.
Choose, Cyclamen, Ferns, Fuchsias, Ivy, Hostas, Mimulas, Pansy because they like the shade.
Choose cacti, succulents, lavender because they like things hot and dry.