People who have limited gardening space but an expansive gardening urge can find solace in container gardening. Supplies needed are really very few, yet the results can be magnificent if planned properly.
There are a number of plants that do very well when grown in containers. Many people living in apartments or attached condos will find that they have little privacy when using their deck or patio space, which are generally all located in the back of the residences. Adding plants along the perimeters of these areas on each side using plants that climb or achieve heights of 4 to 5 feet will give a sense of privacy as well as adding beauty and fragrance. Growing plants in containers is also a popular means of having tropical plants in northern states; cold winter temperatures often prohibit these from being included in the landscape but can be enjoyed outdoors in pots and then carried safely inside during harsh weather.
To get started in container gardening, supplies that will be needed are containers, soil, fertilizer and, of course, plants or seeds. For the gardener, it may be helpful to have a durable pair of gardening gloves to protect the hands and nails. When selecting the containers to use, an important consideration to keep in mind is the mature size of the plant that will be grown; it is wise not to confine the plant in too small of a container. Choose plants according to the conditions of the area that they will occupy; if the patio or deck is in the shade most of the time, be sure that the plants you choose are able to handle the cooler and shadier conditions. If the instructions for growing indicate “part sun, be sure that they are in a location that will receive at least four hours of sun, while a plant that needs “full sun” will need to have 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day for optimal performance.
A number of excellent commercial potting soil mixes are available for purchase, some of which already contain fertilizer. For plants grown in containers, however, keep in mind that many of the vital nutrients are washed away over time. A good plan is to add fertilizer to the plants every few weeks to keep them flourishing and looking beautiful.
Container gardening supplies are not prohibitively expensive and the pots themselves can be used year after year. The small investment for the supplies will be well worth the enjoyment the beauty and privacy of your patio or deck will provide.
Benefits of a Container Herb Garden
It is often the subtle seasonings within a food dish that give it a “wow” factor, and anyone has the ability to deliver this delicious surprise anytime when they have their own container herb garden. Forget the salt and pepper, and focus instead on combinations of fresh rosemary, chervil, cilantro, basil and more to bring more flavorful goodness to your home cooked meals.
Herbs are the very essence of flavor. Aromatic and distinctive, they have been used to enhance meats, vegetables and even desserts for many centuries, as well as being put to use in a medicinal purpose in the case of some. They can be used in either fresh or dried form, but as with any food, they begin to lose their flavors and nutritional value when stored over a period of time. Culinary chefs prefer to use only the freshest of snipped herbs in their signature dishes in order to provide the ultimate flavor to the palates of their clientele. Different herbs are used to flavor different types of food, so having a variety of fresh herbs on hand when you need them can be difficult unless you grow your own.
To begin your own container herb garden, decide which herbs you would like to grow. Beginners often choose the most common of herbs, such as basil, chives and oregano; mainly chosen because they know how to cook with them. All that will be needed to start will be a planting container that will fit in your windowsill or on a stand near a sunny window or patio door, a good potting soil mix and seeds. If you prefer, starter plants are also offered at many garden shops that will provide faster results. Once the seeds are sown as directed on the packages, the enjoyment of watching your selected herbs grow begins.
In addition to being flavorful food additives, herbs have health benefits to offer as well. Parsley is a great breath freshener, while rosemary is helpful when used for tummy upsets. Chervil, a popular herb in French cooking, is also good for digestive issues but is also very high in minerals and vitamins. Fennel is an herb that is used in many pork dishes and offers the addition benefit of helping to reduce bloating.
EarthBox RB-EB-TRC-PBB Garden Kit, Terra CottaThis is an interesting Terra Cotta EarthBox listed on Amazon that would make a great container herb garden.
Growing your own container herb garden will bring pleasure in many ways, and is easy enough for any novice cook. Delicious and healthy, fresh herbs can help anyone to cook flavorful and gourmet quality meals.