With thousands of miles of gorgeous beaches and innumerable world-class attractions to explore, who wants to mow grass, trim weeds or blow off driveways? Many new Florida homeowners discover that lawn chores aren’t something they want to prioritize, so big yards get reduced or eliminated completely. Giving up a yard doesn’t mean giving up your green thumb, however. If you enjoy growing your own herbs or geraniums, here’s how to enjoy container gardening.
Space Doesn’t Matter with Container Gardening
You may not have a half-acre out back, but you don’t need it. A patio, pool deck, courtyard or outdoor living room all offer enough periphery space to support a healthy container garden. You can make your garden part of the decorative landscaping in those areas. Just make sure your pots are positioned to take advantage of the Florida sunshine.
Container Gardens Are Versatile
You can grown vegetables, flowers, foliage and herbs in containers…even roses and small palms! Perennial favorites such as peppers, basil, zucchini and all sorts of flowering annuals and perennials adapt beautifully to life in a pot. Try mixing flowers with vegetables. Marigolds and cherry tomatoes make bright partners.
Think Big, As In Pots
You’ll get the most visual impact — and produce yield — with minimum 14-inch containers. A tiny tomato plant grows into a sprawling bush. Pepper and squash plants also grow nicely. Any variety of runner bean (think green beans) will scale a gutter downspout if you don’t contain and support it with a strong trellis. In contrast, you can pack herbs, lettuce and other greens seedlings tighter together, which potentially means several large salads from the same container! For flowers, three or four different varieties and colors all massed in a singular large pot give you weeks and often months of explosive beauty.
Almost Any Container Will Work
You want a workhorse material that thrives outdoors. A third-grader’s class project is safest holding violets on a back porch. The same goes for gift pots. Classic terracotta, ceramic and concrete are staples, but today’s composite and recycled plastic pots are fun alternatives. Just be sure your containers have a hole in the bottom for drainage.
How to Plant Your Containers
It’s similar, yet different than tending an in-ground garden. First, use potting soil, which isn’t as heavy as real soil and usually comes packaged with crucial nutrients and fertilizer. It sounds simplistic, but plant plants, not seeds, when you plant a container garden. Seeds need time to germinate. Seedlings are ready to go, so you don’t have to look at pots full of bare potting soil.
Container Gardening Realities
You must water by hand; sometimes every day unless you have a small yard and your container garden is positioned within range of the sprinkler system. That’s why each container should have a hole in the bottom, to ensure drainage of excess water, which can drown plants and foster unattractive blights like powdery mildew (roses are magnets for it). And, only use water-soluble fertilizer. Anything else can burn your plants. Also be prepared to supplement the original dose of fertilizer in the potting soil at least once each week. It’ll all be worth it when you pick fresh ingredients for homemade pesto right outside your back door.
Hankering for a new setting for your container garden? ICI Homes is waiting. opens in a new windowTalk to us here.