2020 brought with it many changes in most people's living environments. Some worked from home for the first time in their careers and some found their passion in an at-home business. With all this extra time at home, society saw a massive uptick in gardening and growing food in backyards.
While some yards at Ash Street Cooperative are large enough to have an expansive garden, some are a bit more meager and may require container gardening. Whether they have the space or not, some of our members simply love the convenience, look and functionality of a well-planned container garden. So, we've grabbed a handful of tips on how to most effectively garden above ground in vessels and laid them out for you here. Enjoy!
Where to Begin Container Gardening
While the idea of container gardening might sound like an quick, weekend project, preparing for it should take some time. One needs weeks to decide which vegetables and/or fruits they'd like to plant based on personal preference and purchase the required supplies. Supplies include seeds (check out rareseeds.com for heirloom quality seeds in a huge variety of species), dirt, compost, containers, rocks, possibly a drill and a watering can.
Containers of All Types
The wonderful thing about this type of gardening is that containers can be a wide variety of sorts. Have an empty coffee can? Just drill a few holes in the bottom, fill with dirt and watch your strawberries blossom early summer! Have an empty storage tote you were going to trash? Repurpose it as a container for potatoes. So many containers can be recycled from the trash and made into perfect vessels to hold your summer plants. Be creative. Explore your recycling bin and see what you can find before you go out and buy pots.
Prep Your Container
Its a good idea to drill holes into the bottom of all vessels if there aren't already some holes. This allows for drainage, preventing root rot and disease. After the holes have been drilled, position your pots where they will stay for the duration of the growing season. Make sure the pots are positioned to get at least 6 hours of sunshine to ensure they get the light they need to thrive.
Then, lay a handful of medium sized rocks at the bottom. This assists with proper drainage and weighs the pot down to ensure they do not blow over with the wind. Then, combine 3 parts soil with 1 part compost and fill the container to about 1 inch below the top. Place as many seeds as is recommended for the space based on the seed package instructions. Press the seed to just below the surface, cover lightly with dirt and water very well.
If you prefer live plants, dig a hole equal to the root base of the plant, set into dirt, evenly distribute dirt around the top of the root base and press firmly to establish the root foundation. Water well. This first watering is essential to ensure to water will flow freely throughout the entire pot every watering after the first. Don't skimp!
Care For Your Container Garden
Just as you would water, weed and talk nicely :) to your in-ground garden, do the same for your above-ground garden. If it rains, don't water. If it's dry, water. If the plants look wilted or are slow growing, feed them a natural fertilizer. If weeds pop up, pull them quickly as you don't want them to compete with your desired plants for nutrients.
That's it! Now even the smallest of spaces can enjoy the benefits of a backyard garden. If you're ready for the freedom of an outdoor space with the benefits of having most maintenance done for you, give Ash Street Housing Cooperative in Park Forest, Illinois a call today. Ash Street Co-op - better than a single family home, cheaper than renting, and conveniently located in the Chicago South Suburbs. See you soon!