gardening in australia, gardening in new zealand, gardening in canada, gardening in britian, gardening in south africa
written by joseph cash
Most plants sold in containers in the spring are annuals. You can buy them already planted or you can be creative and make your own. Flowers in containers are usually planted much closer together than in the garden to give the container a lusher, fuller look.
Containers can come in any shape or size. From plastic, ceramic, terra cotta (clay), metal or even half whiskey barrels. And some are made with hangers in order to dangle in the breeze.
Containers have some limitations. The roots have less room to grow, especially in smaller pots, and the limited amount of planting mix can hold less moisture and so dries out much more quickly. Hanging plants are particularly prone to drying out from sun and wind.
Almost all containers come with drain holes. Some also come with saucers to catch the excess water. The holes help prevent over watering which is often the cause of plants turning yellow and dying.
Not just any soil will work in pots. Specially made potting mixes are available in various size bags at garden centers. The mixes may have little or no natural soil but contain peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and sand. These materials hold some water but also allow excess water to drain easily. The mixes are lighter than soil and won't pack into a muddy mess like garden soil would do. Plant roots easily grow through potting mixes.
Repotting a Plant Video (England)
Make Your Own Organic Potting Mix
BASIC POTTING SOIL
(All items are generally available at a garden center.)
2 buckets good, fine compost, any large materials removed
one half bucket fine peat moss to hold moisture
one half bucket coarse sand for drainage
one half bucket perlite or vermiculite to lighten mix and hold moisture
For every 5 gallons of mix add 1 cup of bone meal or slow release fertilizer.
Using a wheel barrow, tub or garbage can, mix the ingredients well and store any unused portion in plastic bags or covered buckets. If you are using the mix for transplants or grown plants, do not allow it to dry out. The beneficial organisms in the compost need moisture to survive. If your mix is getting dry, spray with a little water to keep the beneficial bacteria alive.
To sterilize for starting seeds, place five pounds of moist mix in a clear plastic bag. Seal the bag and place in the full day sun for a couple of days. Turn the bag a few times to make sure all of it is sterilized by the sun's heat. This should kill all insects and most weed seeds and plant disease organisms.
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