Love to garden, but not sure how much room you’ll need? You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need a lot of space to grow and enjoy bright flowers, or fresh vegetables and herbs. Whether you have a small or large backyard, a terrace, balcony or windowsill, with good soil, a little sun, water and some luck, by following these tips you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labour sooner than you ever – and in some cases, all year long.
Choosing Your Plants
There are so many to choose from, that’s the appeal of container gardening. Once you’ve picked your containers and where you want to put them, now comes the fun part. Decide on perennials or annual first – keeping in mind your perennials must be in a container that can withstand the winter weather. Annuals offer lots of colour all summer long, and it doesn’t take much to create a beautiful arrangement. Talk to your garden expert for advice on the best plants for you. Get a head start with these top plants for container gardening.
A significant factor in the success of a small garden is crop selection. Some fruits & vegetables take up much more space than others. For example, trying to grow cantaloupes in a window box would be doomed from the start but herbs can thrive in such environments. Do your research and know the typical size of what you’re planting to avoid surprises.
Container gardens are when crops are planted in containers or pots instead of directly into the ground, and are perfect for spaces big and small. When considering the material of your container, consider the pros and cons of each to determine the best fit for your plants.
Clay Pots are easily portable and attractive, but fragile. While certain types can be left out, it’s not recommended to leave them outside. Clay pots are best used for windowsill growing.
Plastic/Fibreglass– Comparatively inexpensive, plastic and fibreglass pots are versatile and lightweight. Choosing wisely is key, as some, particularly thin ones, are vulnerable to brittleness with age.
Concrete– Heavy duty, and durable, concrete pots can withstand most weather that’s thrown at them. However, they tend to be quite hefty, and as a result, are not recommended for balconies, decks, or for people who like to move their containers regularly.
Wood – Looking for a weekend DIY? Try building a wood planter. Completely adaptable to your taste and surroundings. Here are some simple plans to building a wood planter in a day.
The Sky’s The Limit!
If you’re limited in backyard space, there are a variety vining crops – including tomatoes, peas, cucumbers and beans – that, with the addition of trellises, cages, stakes or arbours, often thrive within a limited footprint. Before you start your creation it’s important to note what side of your yard the sun would rise from and set up your vertical garden accordingly.
No Sun? No Problem!
You may think you don’t have sunny space in your backyard for the garden you’ve always wanted, but shaded areas can actually make for a good garden spot. Plants like Ferns, Foxgloves and Heucheras are a good choice as they have become adapted for the shade. This could easily become your cool garden retreat on hot sunny days. Believe it or not, some vegetables and herbs prefer some shade as well, and can allow for longer growing periods.
Urban gardening has become a great family activity. So embrace your space, get to know your plants, and you’ll soon have a thriving garden fur of delectable delights in the space you have!