by Avis Licht – When I gave a talk recently on edible landscaping, many people had questions about container planting. For gardeners with decks, small gardens, or special climate conditions, containers are a simple and easy solution. However, there are a few tips for helping you grow your plants more successfully. People don’t realize how fast pots dry out and how hard it is to get them moist again. Once soil has dried out, if you water the pot with a hose, it just runs on through.
Keeping your soil moist is a trick that requires some practice. Using drip irrigation in your pots, for 3 or 4 minutes 2 or 3 times a day often works. If you don’t have your pots on an irrigation system try these self watering planters. They really work!
1. Make sure there’s enough room in the container for root growth of your plants.
Here are some suggestions for what plants to grow in different size pots.
- 6″ depth is the minimum – chives, lettuce, radishes, other salad greens, basil, coriander, Asian greens, mint, thyme
- 12″ for larger veggies – pole beans, carrots, chard, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, leeks, peppers, spinach, parsley, rosemary,beets, broccoli, okra, potatoes, sweet corn, summer squash, dill, lemongrass, bush beans, garlic, kohlrabi, onions, peas,
- 18″ -24″ for miniature trees like lemons or limes.
2. Use the right soil mix. For self watering planters I suggest you use the mix from Gardener’s Supply formulated just for that. You’ll need to add nutrition in the form of compost, aged manure, blood meal and other organic fertilizers. The plants rely on you 100% for their nutrition. Be sure to feed them. Read up on what your plants need and add it to the potting soil. Using foliar feeding or a liquid fertilizer like seaweed solution works well.Don’t just put soil from the garden into your pots. It will be too heavy and dry out easily.
3. Place the planters where they will get the best light and be protected from wind or blasting hot sun. Gardener’s Supply even has self watering planters that have castors on them so you can move them around to catch the changing light and heat conditions.