When it comes to container gardening and rules I usually say, “rules schmoolz! You do what you want.” Well, that is not entirely true. Just as in life there are rules, guidelines if you will. Always use your directional when making a turn, look both ways when you cross the street, do not eat yellow snow. Blah, blah, blah… So as in life, here are a couple rules to follow to keep you on the straight and narrow:
Choose the right plant for the right sun condition. I will never let you choose a plant that needs shade for you to put it in the sun so that it can fry and turn crispy. Same goes for a plant that loves the sun and you want to plant it in the shade. That poor little baby will go limp and never flower for you.
Choose plants that compliment each other. Those plants that are drought tolerant and can go days without water like a camel should not be planted with someone who likes a cool drink everyday.
Adhere to the rule of height. Do not plant someone that only gets 8 inches behind someone that gets 18inches. You’ll never see it!
That’s it! As far as color goes- YOU DO FOR YOU! You aren’t planting to make your daughter or your neighbor or your mommy happy. At the end of the day it is you that has to come home to your planters. When you pull up into your driveway and see your window boxes, containers or flower beds you want to smile, not feel deflated. If you want to put pink and red together- GO AHEAD! If you want to plant all foliage, if you want to put red and yellow together- GO AHEAD. At the end of the day, its all about YOU!
Ok so here is where I get overwhelmed. If you are like me you will have your garden spaces all marked out, soil prepped, and fertilized. BUT there are sooo many veggies and herbs I want to plant, how will they all fit? What kinds of tomatoes do I want (cherry, beefsteak, heirloom…), how many kinds of hot peppers do I REALLY want and will I eat them all? Here are a few suggestions to help you decide:
What to pick? Select what you and your family love to eat, but be open to branching out to different varieties than what you see in on the supermarket shelves. Talk to fellow gardeners or your local nursery about how many plants per person should be grown. This gives you an idea of spacing and if your gardens can handle all the plants you want to grow. For example; it is recommended to grow 4-6 tomato plants for a family of 4. Four to six broccoli plants for a family of 4 (you get the point). And lastly, what do you really cook with on the regular, then pick one or two new vegetables to test out each year.
Growing your own vegetables can be the most gratifying hobby you do and also the most flavorful. Believe it or not it is also relatively easy as long as you start correctly from the ground up. There are three basic ways to grow edibles: containers, raised beds or the ground. Choosing a spot has to be right for youfirst and foremost. Once gardening becomes a chore- it isn’t fun anymore. If you start out with a 50ft bed and no time to manage it, you leave the garden behind, left to collect weeds, never to be tended to again and you decide you hate gardening and it is too hard. That’s not fair to you or your garden. So, you need a site in your yard that has the most sun. Veggies require 6+ hours of sun. Then you can choose the way you will grow your veggies.
Pros- They’re perfect for small spaces. Just make sure they’re deep enough for roots to grow and wide enough so the plant doesn’t blow over in the wind. They are also easy to move and place elsewhere if they are not getting enough sun.
Cons- When it is hot and sunny they need frequent watering; almost daily.
Pros- You can customize size, soil and correct problems easily. *use untreated wood to prevent chemicals from leaching into the soil.
Cons- Since you need to fill the beds with soil, initial costs could be higher than growing in the ground. You may also need to water and feed more frequently because they drain so effectively.
Pros- This method is most economical and requires less work in the beginning. You can water less.
Cons- You have to work with what Mother Nature has provided, which could include poor soil or lots of inconveniently placed tree roots or rocks. Therefor adding to the cost.
Wondering what to do with your window boxes, urns and planters now that the fall has passed? Look around your yard. Fresh cut greens and branches can easily transform your planters. Juniper, Holly, Cedar even Rhododendron branches can be used. Berries, grasses, white birch twigs, red twig Dogwood branches and seed pods too. If you are lacking in the plant department you can always buy fresh cut greens at your local garden center or farm stand. Think about adding Larger Christmas balls and bows to your containers too for a little extra flair and to fill those larger spaces.
What is trending in your back yard and the rest of the country taken right from the 2015 Garden Trends Report, Garden Media Group:
New Consumers– The Millennial generation (aged 18-35) is the nation’s fastest growing gardening segment. In particular, young men spend $100 more per year on garden supplies than the average consumer.
Clean & Safe– Consumers want to make the world a better place, and they want brands to help them do it. Products that are environmentally friendly and safe for pats and children reign supreme.Continue reading “2015 Garden Trends”