Container Gardening 101

Gardening In Containers – A Quick Course

Gardening in containers isn’t very complex or complicated. Just remember that all container plants need more attention than plants in the ground, as they rely solely on the gardener for all their needs. Confined to a limited space, they will quickly become stressed if essential water or fertilizer isn’t available regularly. It’s not hard to provide a good growing environment; just remember the essentials:

  • Properly drained soil mix
  • Adequate and regular supplemental fertilizer
  • Enough but not too much water
  • The right amount of light
  • Some protection from temperature extremes

Easy to Grow Container Kitchen Garden Collection for beginner gardeners

Use a properly drained soil mix – don’t use garden soil for containers! A good commercial potting mix will give consistent drainage, is free of weeds and pests, and it won’t compact to a rock-hard mass that water can’t penetrate by mid summer. I always replenish the soil mix for containers at the beginning of each season to restore the tilth of the soil in my pots and ensure the best conditions for young plants.

Water and Fertilize

Water and remove spent blooms on container plants regularly and make it a part of your everyday routine. In the heat of summer, containers may need water every day. I put my forefinger in the soil and if it is dry beyond the first joint, I water immediately. Feed your container plants throughout the season with strength liquid fertilizer solution, applying it to the soil about every 3 weeks. (Being an organic gardener, I use a mix of equal parts of diluted liquid fish emulsion and kelp and recommend it.) I also adjust for the blast of summer heat by keeping my containers on casters so I can move them around. You should be able to find these little wooden or plastic platforms to set your plants on – square or round and fitted with wheeled casters – at a local nursery. Another advantage is that the platforms keep containers from staining the patio (or deck). And, if I go away for the weekend, the containers can easily be wheeled and grouped in a cooler, shadier space so they won’t dry out while I’m away.

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garden tips


Allow new plantings a few days to settle in, then begin using at the rate of two teaspoons per gallon of water every other time you water. You can also use Grow Big® as a foliar feeding, applying to both sides of leaves, preferably early in the morning. At the first sign of flowering, switch to Big Bloom® Liquid Plant Food. 

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