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Container gardens

Container Gardens for Fresh Eating No Matter Your Space Here on the Suncoast

| Angela Naff |

Many Suncoast live full or part-time in apartments, condos, and other small spaces. Due to this, fresh gardening vegetables, herbs, flowers, and such is not as feasible as it might have been during the summer months in a single-family dwelling might be limited. Container gardens are an amazing opportunity to grow a host of vegetables, herbs, and such here on the Suncoast without a lot of real estate for a full garden. It might be the perfect time to consider a container garden with continuing supply issues with some groceries growing and inflation driving prices up.

Small Space Varieties

Dwarf varieties have been designed to grow smaller but still, produce pounds of fruit. As you can see on the list above, your choices are not limited. You can grow pumpkins, lettuce, kale, cucumber, tomato, and eggplant. You can grow almost any herb, including basil, mint, or oregano.

Fruit trees are also an option to grow in containers. The big benefit of growing long-lived trees in containers is mobility. You can move them to a better location when you know that it will get cold or be too hot for the plant to enjoy life.

No Fancy Containers Needed

Let your imagination guide you. Anything that will hold soil can be a plant container – as long as it will allow water drainage. When purchasing pots or window boxes, ensure they have adequate drainage holes. Buckets, barrels, and other containers can be adapted by drilling holes or low on the side.

  • Wood protects roots from extreme temperatures. It also looks natural. Choose a wood
    container that is resistant to rotting, or you may treat wood with a non-toxic
  • Terra-cotta and clay are extremely beautiful containers; however, they are breakable.
  • Fiberglass and plastic are lightweight, available in many shapes and sizes, and
    inexpensive. Choose the sturdy and flexible ones that are not stiff and thin because they
    will get brittle over time.
  • Cast concrete is super durable and also available in many styles and sizes. It is an all-weather container so that it can remain outdoors. It is, however, heavy and difficult to move around. If you want the look of concrete, you can go for the lighter hypertufa.
  • Polyurethane foam containers are very much lighter than concrete and terra-cotta containers but look as heavy. These containers insulate roots against cold and hot temperatures. They are resistant to cracking and chipping, too.
Irrigation On Suncoast

Irrigation is the Key

When watering your container gardens, the best time is in the morning. Watering in the morning allows your leaves and soil to dry out, preventing diseases and viruses. You should water your plant accordingly. You should check to see if your plants need watering before adding more. Overwatering is the most common reason for container plants dying. If you push your finger into the soil, this should give you how moist or dry the soil is. Do not water a plant if the soil is already moist.

Drainage Considerations

While this may sound like an odd first tip, it can be life and death for your plants. When there isn’t a big enough hole or holes for water to get out of your pot, your soil becomes too wet, and the roots of your plants can rot, which causes the plant to die.

The bad news is that many sold garden pots don’t have enough drainage. You can often increase drainage by drilling, punching, or carving bigger holes. However, sometimes it’s just easier to buy a pot with enough drainage. The minimum size for a drainage hole is 1/2 inch in diameter for small or ​medium-sized pots. For larger-sized containers, look for at least an inch in diameter.

What options are you thinking of growing this summer in your container garden? Lettuces of a variety of flavors, cucumbers, or herbs? No matter how small a space you might have, with the food shortages continuing, growing some of your favorite foods yourself can make your grocery bills much more manageable. Happy growing, and let’s see how creative you can get with Suncoast’s container gardens.

Feature photo courtesy of Deposit Photos

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