Container Gardening

Don’t have room for a garden in your back yard? Don’t have a sunny spot in a good location?

Try container gardening. I started experimenting with this as a method of gardening this  year and am still learning what works and doesn‘t work.

I was skeptical that anything would grow in containers. However, this past summer we picked more tomatoes than we could eat, container gardening was a success.

Here’s how I made the container garden:

We  purchased 5 gallon all-purpose plastic buckets from Home Depot. (Any hardware store such as Lowes, Home Depot will carry the supplies.)  The buckets were the most inexpensive ones I could find; they are heavy duty ones . I also purchased river rocks, a bag of sand (used in children’s sand boxes and found in the masonry section of the store) and potting soil mix.

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We drilled 4 holes at the bottom of the sides around the bucket for drainage. We did not put any holes in the bottom of the bucket.

For this we used a Craftsman electric drill, fitted with a drill bit made to drill holes. The serrated edge of the drill bit routs out the holes. These bits come in many sizes, we used a 1″ bit.

Next, we added river rock to cover about 1/4 of the bucket and a layer of sand.

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We filled the pots with Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix. This mix is  much more porous than garden soil and has fertilizer already added. Although expensive, It is working much better than regular potting soil that we initially used..

planting - bucket - Miracle-gro, sand, rocks 009

Next,we  watered the pots well, added the plants and elevated each bucket on 2 bricks to lift off the ground, and placed in a sunny place in the garden. Why elevate the buckets? Ants–at least to slow down their progress.  The buckets make a wonderful ant hill, as I found out the hard way. Also elevating the buckets helps with drainage after rains and watering.

cilantro - 2 - 9-25-13 - 100_6492

Now, it’s watch to see what grows  It’s tempting to plant too many plants in each pot. We only planted one plant per pot; they plants quickly grow filling up the space.  After 2 weeks you can see how much the cilantro (left in above photo) has grown.

cilantro - 10-10-2013- 001

Gardening Notes:

  • This type of gardening is not inexpensive. I guesstimate that the cost of the materials is greater than purchasing the produce in a store. However, it’s rewarding to see something you planted grow, and convenient to go out your door to pick some herbs for a recipe.
  • The porous potting soil dries out quickly. This type of gardening will be much more successful if the buckets are placed close to your house and a faucet where you have no excuses not to step outside and water regularity. I have an inexpensive sprinkler on a hose always connected to the faucet set up to easily turn on and water. During the hot summer months here, the buckets needed daily watering.

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