Are you tired of the grass always being greener on the other side? Well then it’s time to unleash those green thumbs. Don’t feel feel thwarted by a small space when it comes to creating your own little patch of paradise. Times may be tougher and this often means down-scaling when it comes to our homes. But with a little imagination, anyone can reap the benefits of gardening no matter the space. So here are some helpful handy tips to get you growing in containers of all shapes and sizes.
Adequate drainage is key.
Without the proper drainage, your container plants are doomed to fail you as soon as their roots begin to rot. Don’t be fooled into thinking gravel at the bottom of a pot is the solution to your problem. Also avoid over watering by sticking your finger a centimetre into the soil. If the soil is moist, leave watering for another day.
Reuse, recycle, repurpose
Before you go out and spend a fortune on pots, have a good look around the home. Old tins and chipped teacups can make for a funky display of little succulents once given holes for drainage.
Time to grow up. Like literally
The best way to combat limited floor space is to think vertically. All you need is a wall warmed by the sun and a trellis. Think vine-ripened tomatoes for the kitchen, or the heavenly scent of jasmine as the sun sets on yet another day.
While container fruit trees may not bear as much fruit as those planted in a garden, a dwarf kaffir lime tree provides the perfect excuse to try your hand at Asian cooking. Not only is the fruit essential to a punchy Thai curry but the leaves as well. Just remember to fertilize in a formula high in nitrogen and trace minerals.
You don’t need to break the bank to create a hanging garden. String some gutters one beneath the other or repurpose an old hanging shoe organizer and have fun filling them with salad greens fresh for the table.
Put those matchmaking skills to the test
Remember that not all plants potted together want the same things. So do a little bit of research and match the specific needs of your particular plants. For instance, green leafy herbs such as parsley and basil make for good bedfellows, while woodier herbs like thyme and rosemary will pair up nicely.
Don’t forget to feed ’em
Just as we need nutrients to build up strong immune systems resistant to the big bad world of bugs out there, so too do your plants. While a slow releasing fertiliser will do the job when potting a plant, container soil is easily depleted of nutrients. As such, an organic liquid fertiliser (such as a seaweed blend) is recommended regularly for strong and healthy plants.
In the end, though, you win some, you lose some. Despite all your efforts, there is no perfect science when it comes to gardening. If a plant is looking on the sickly side, you can cut it back and hope for the best. But sometimes it’s time to say goodbye and begin again. Hope springs eternal.
Date Published: 25 July 2016