Container gardening is a great option when you have limited outdoor space and time. If you have poor soil and limited yard space, you can still enjoy fresh herbs, vegetables, and flowers! Today, one can see grow container gardens popping up in urban areas on windowsills, porches, rooftops, and even parking lots.
Grow container gardens not only supply food and flowers, they can also be used to create privacy, add color, block objectionable views, and provide focal points. Container gardening is a great way to maximize limited space. This practice is referred to as intensive gardening. It also helps conserve water and soil.
Job S. Ebenezer, Ph.D. and President of Technology for the Poor, wrote “Urban Agriculture,” where he discusses the history of container gardening and some very interesting uses for wading pools and tires. It is a worthwhile read. http://www.technologyforthepoor.com/UrbanAgriculture/Garden.htm
Because my container garden is in a parking lot, I prefer to use a lighter colored grow container that has a grid to hold the soil above the bottom of the container. This keeps the soil and the root zone from getting too hot from the conducted heat of the pavement and from the sun. You may decide to use a self-watering container such as an “Earthbox,” where there is a reservoir under the soil that roots draw from, or you may choose to top water your container either by hand or with a drip system.
No two potting soils are the same so choose wisely! I prefer a high quality potting soil that has been fortified, such as Ocean Forest from Foxfarm or Roots Organic from Aurora. I’ll plant my starts straight into the soil, usually in a small grow container, and then harden them off. When they are ready for full sun and weather, I will transplant them into my final container. For my tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant and so forth, I add an organic time-release fertilizer. My favorite is Aptus Pellets, which is a bit pricy but very easy to use. I also like Foxfarm’s Steamed Bone meal mixed with Foxfarm’s Marine Cuisine. My flowers and herbs do well with the potting soil and an all purpose fertilizer.
I use a garden hose water filter by Hydro Logic that has a flow restrictor, which allows ideal contact time with filtration media to maximize the reduction of chlorine, tastes and odors, sediment, volatile organic compounds, chemicals, and rust and iron particles. In other words, my filtered water allows for all the healthy biology in the soil to help keep my plants happy, creating an ideal growing environment for beautiful flowers and delicious veggies.