One of my goals for this spring and summer are to grow my own veggies, flowers, and herbs…hopefully without killing them.
So obviously if I am going to do that, I will first have to find the perfect pot to pea in, right?!
When shopping for containers to grow your plants in, there are several factors to consider…so let’s do our homework before heading out to the local nursery and just grabbing the first planter that you see.
Black pots absorb heat when they are sitting in the sun…so light-colored containers will keep the soil cooler than dark containers.
Containers are available in a variety of materials, including…
Cast concrete…long-lasting…available in a range of sizes and styles…can be left outside in all weather
Clay or terracotta…these are attractive, but breakable and easily damaged by weather changes…making them not suitable for hardy perennials or shrubs that will be kept outdoors year-round
Concrete mixed with vermiculite or perlite, or concrete and fiberglass blends…much lighter than typical concrete containers
Metal…strong…usually not a good choice though because they expose roots to rapid temperature fluctuations…can also be very heavy
Molded wood-fiber…sturdy and inexpensive
Plain concrete…very heavy…difficult to move…not suitable for decks or balconies
Plastic and fiberglass…lightweight…relatively inexpensive…available in many sizes and shapes…retain moisture better than clay pots
Polyurethane foam…weigh up to 90% less than terracotta or concrete containers, but look very similar…resist chipping and cracking…insulate roots against both hot and cold temperatures…good choice for plants that will stay outside year-round
Wood…natural-looking…protect roots from rapid temperature swings….choose naturally rot-resistant wood—such as cedar, locust, or pine treated with a preservative
Four things to consider when choosing which size container to buy are…
—how much room you have
—what will support it
—whether or not you plan to move it
—how much weight your balcony or deck will safely hold
Large plants need lots of space because they have lots of roots that must have lots of room to grow.
Plants in large containers are easier to grow than plants in smaller containers…because larger containers hold more soil, stay moist longer, and resist rapid temperature fluctuations.
Finally, remember to choose a large enough container to allow for enough root space for all the plants whenever you are doing a mixed planting.
Small containers usually can’t store enough water…especially during the hot summers we have here in Texas.
Small hanging baskets tend to dry out quickly, especially during hot summer months, requiring you to water them about twice a day in order to keep your plants alive.
Elevated raised bed… elevated raised beds give you a planting surface several feet off the ground…making it easy to water, weed and harvest without bending over
Grow Bags:…best for those plants which take up a bun of space, but aren’t especially great to look at—such as tomatoes, peppers and potatoes…available in several sizes…porous fabric aerates roots, prevents heat build-up and allows excess water to drain away.
Multi-Tiered Pots…multi-tiered pots allow you to grow lots of different things all at once…which is especially great a lot of square footage
Standing Garden:… such as this waist-high planter…ideal for mid-sized vegetables—such as purple bush beans, artichokes and peppers
Trellises,…trellises are great for food plants—such as pole beans, climbing peas, and cherry tomatoes—as well as flowers—such as nasturtiums, morning glory, and other climbers.
Troughs...I have seen countless pictures of the “gutter gardens”—gutters attached to the side ofyourhouse to grow greens in…great for keeping out neighbourhood squirrels, rabbits, or other small animals.
Vertical Planters…ideal for a wide variety of herbs and vegetables…allow you to make the best use of your space
Wall Planters...wall planters are idea whenever you’ve run out of space everywhere else…especially for growing herbs—such as basil, oregano, mint, or dill…check out these 100% recycled plastic wall bag planters.
Window Boxes…window boxes…which can not only obviously be hung from your windowsill, but also on balconies and patio railings…are great for adding fragrance and color close at hand and quick in view…these are especially great flowers—such as impatiens, calendula, marigolds, begonias, and pansies
Here are a few recommendations as far as which containers to get for several different types of vegetables that you might be considering…
Broccoli…5 gallon pot for one plant…15 gallon tub for five