If you are thinking about starting to grow things in pots, you need to consider what things to use for container gardening.
Many different plants will grow OK in many different types of container. However, you need to choose the right plant for the right container.
Size of Your Container is Important
Choosing the right container for your plants is a vital decision that you will need to make. It is one of those decisions that is crucial to ensuring that your container gardening is successful. Just like how choosing the location of your container garden is of paramount importance, so too is deciding on the size of the container.
If you choose a container that is too small, it will stunt the growth of the plant.
What Material is Best For Your Container?
Besides the size of the container, you should also be aware of the materials that were used to make the container. Not all containers are made equal. They come in different shapes, sizes and materials. Some containers work better than others in certain situations. You will need to know which container to choose for which plant.
Wooden containers are excellent if you’re growing perennial plants such as herb bushes. They look great in a garden too because the wood is a natural look for an outdoor setting and blends well with the garden. Wooden containers are great for plants that grow for several seasons.
Since the wood is easy on the eye, if you’re using large containers, wood will be a good choice because despite its visibility, it blends well and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. The wooden containers are highly durable and look fantastic. The only downside is that they can be a little costly… but they are worth every penny.
When purchasing wooden containers, do check and ensure that the external part of the wood has been treated to withstand the elements. Check with the manufacturer if the container will last when exposed to the elements. Make sure that the inside of the container has not been treated. Only the outside matters.
If the inside of the container has been treated, the chemicals that were used during the treatment could leech into the soil and be hazardous to the plants. Worse still, if the chemicals seep into the vegetables and you become sick from consuming them.
The most popular and commonly used type of containers are plastic pots. The reason for this is that most people are practical and plastic containers are the cheapest type of containers on the market. You should bear in mind that you always get what you pay for and cheaper doesn’t necessarily equate with better all the time.
If you are just trying out container gardening for fun and not planning to take it seriously or making it go on for more than a year, buying a plastic container would be a good idea.
However, if you’re planning on setting up a nice container garden near your house that not only looks good but bears vegetables and herbs, you should invest in the more expensive containers. They will be more durable, look better and will be a better long term investment.
When choosing plastic pots, you will notice that some pots are thicker than others. The common assumption is that the thicker the plastic is, the more durable the pot is. This is a fallacy because any plastic pot is susceptible to the same issues such as warping and cracking when left out in the sun for too long. If your pots start to crack and bend when left in the sun for too long, it’s not going to be fun.
Another less popular choice that is also economical are terracotta pots. The downside to these pots is that they do not survive the cold well and may crack and fall apart during winter. These pots are also very delicate and most people inadvertently break these fragile pots due to carelessness.
Ceramic pots are another type of container that is quite durable. While it is delicate, it can handle the elements. Just like wooden pots, they are glazed on the outside so that they are beautiful in the garden. The inside of the pot is left untreated for the same reason as mentioned earlier.
Budget Friendly Containers
If you’re a beginner and just giving container gardening a try, you can always use objects you find lying around at home to use. This is especially so if you’re on a tight budget.
Cut a plastic bottle in half, cut out a few small drainage holes at the bottom, fill it up with some potting mix and you’re good to go. Even bags of potting mix can be used as containers. Just by cutting a hole in the side of the bag and planting your seeds there, you can still do container gardening.
One of the best things I have seen recently, is an old filing cabinet. I am now regretting all the filing cabinets I am sure I’ve thrown out in my life. And wondering where I can find some now!
The rules are not set in stone. Explore and see what fits your budget and what works for you. Have fun and learn as you go along.