Don’t just plan it, Plant it!
New Year resolutions are made every year and with those resolutions come excitement and motivation. January starts out with a bang and off we go running to change our old ways and start new ones. Exercise and diet seem to always top the most popular New Year’s resolutions. If changing your lifestyle by eating better is on your list, why not try and grow your own organic food. It is that simple! Most of the population has had some exposure to gardening with either growing up gardening or getting some education in school programs. Finding the resources to start a garden can be a challenge. Not everyone has access to land or for that matter space. Container gardening is always an option when there is no place to dig. If planning a new garden is on your list of resolutions, here are five things to consider with container gardening that will not just get you thinking about it but get you planting it:
• Selecting a container Selecting a larger container to plant will eliminate the constant need for watering. Smaller planters will dry out faster especially if wind is a factor where you live. Self-watering planters are a great way to start a new garden because it takes the guesswork out of the too much, too little fear of over or under watering. Having a complete understanding of the amount of time and money you want to put into gardening will also help you with the first phase of starting a garden. Choosing a container that will last the duration of garden seasons will help you grow and learn with your garden.
• Choosing a spot Choosing a spot to put your container garden can be overwhelming. Decks and patios are built to entertain in the sun so putting your container garden in any of these locations is a good idea. You want to make sure that your garden is getting at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. Protection from wind is also crucial if you are using trellises to grow tomatoes or tall vegetation. Access to your garden can also be a factor as well. Having it close to your home means less animal invasion and pest issues.
• Materials needed to put it all together Purchasing your soil is vital to the garden. It is the main ingredient to a successful garden. Researching soil options from organic to premium garden soils will help determine what soil suits your needs. With container gardening, it is best to use a soil that will not compact easily. Using soil from a ground garden or bagged top soil is not recommended. Even some potting mixes can be too lightweight for vegetable plants. Going with a premium or organic garden soil that is exclusive for vegetable gardening is your best choice. The added nutrients and compost material in these soils will last the first couple of months of growth. Adding compost and nutrients later as your plants grow will only aid in the development of your vegetables. Nutrients in the form of fertilizer are vital to container gardening. Nutrients can be washed away every time you water. Planting several different vegetable plants, with some being heavy feeders, can deplete the soil very quickly of its nutrients. Adding those back in will increase the stability and production of your plant.
• Watering Water is the next vital resource for your garden. Soil is the heartbeat and water is the lifeline, without it nothing lives. Water conservation should be taken into consideration for anyone starting a garden. Vegetation takes a lot of water with the bulk of our vegetables containing high percentages of water such as lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. Self-watering gardens are a good choice for conserving water. The Eco Garden System is one system that not only cuts down on your water usage but also recycles the nutrients lost by reusing the water in the reservoir below. No need to maintain a watering routine if your schedule is busy. Just fill the chamber once every two weeks and let Mother Nature do the rest.
• Choose your plants There are so many varieties of vegetables to grow in containers. Some fare better than others, but if you have your mind set on a vegetable that made you rethink gardening than go for it and try it in a container! It is worth a try. If having a list of best vegetables to grow then here are some choices: lettuce, spinach, carrots, tomatoes (bush varieties and dwarf varieties work well) potatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and beans. Bush and dwarf varieties take up smaller space, so they are excellent and produce just as much as the other types. Gathering different seed catalogs will also help you understand the different varieties available to you.
There is so much to learn with gardening! Mistakes will be made but that makes you more of a garden warrior. The fight is on and you will succeed! If it helps you change your eating habits which in turn motivates you to exercise more, than move on new year because next year has some new resolutions coming!