Is your porch or patio looking uninspiring? Do you want to involve the family in gardening activities? Container gardening is a fun and easy way to add plant life to your home without spending a fortune.
In order to get started on your own container garden, there are just a few steps you need to take. First, choose the plant(s) you would like to use. You may choose to grow vegetables, herbs, or flowers (some flowers are edible, too). Many people like to theme their container gardens. For example, salsa gardens can have a tomato plant, a few peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro all growing in the same container. Putting companion plants in the same container may improve the overall quality of your container garden; it’s been said that planting borage in with your strawberries will improve the taste and nutritional value of the berries.
Second, choose your pot. This is the time to be creative! If you have any containers lying idly around the house, use them as a starting point for your container garden. As long as a container has drainage holes in the bottom and can hold enough soil to sustain the plants you are growing, it will work well. People have made successful container gardens out of old boots, barrels, woven laundry baskets, mason jars, and watering cans, in addition to regular old pots.
Third, choose your soil. When gardening, it is always important to pay attention to the type of soil you are using. Garden soil can sometimes be very dense and not well aerated, but potting soil is a great alternative. Filling large pots with potting soil can sometimes get expensive, so placing some non-biodegradable items like plastic jugs in the bottom of a deep pot can help save on potting soil. When you fill up the container, be sure to leave about an inch at the top, so there is room for water. And remember, most edible plants require a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day.
Container gardening gives children an opportunity to get creative. They can experiment with container decorating and choose the types of plants they want to grow. There are hundreds of ideas online that include paint and paper mache container decoration; fragrant plants are also a favorite for children.
Then, all that’s left to do is water the plants and wait for them to grow. If you are growing lettuce, tear off a few leaves to add to a salad. Use an herb container to add fresh oregano or basil to spaghetti. Your child can take pride in their creation, see how these plants are grown, how they are used in healthy meals, and all in the family can improve their eating habits!