Gardening: Container gardening permits for an extended rising season

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Potted herbs and vegetables are the ideal choice for the container garden. When choosing plants for outdoor pots, look for words like patio, compact, or bush in the label description.

Author of the article:

Grant Wood, Saskatoon StarPhoenix Red, orange, yellow and black tomatoes grow in the container. Red, orange, yellow and black tomatoes grow in the container. Photo by Vaivirga /Getty Images / iStockphoto

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Container gardening is not a new gardening method, but it has been very popular in recent years. Plants, annuals, perennials, and vegetables can be grown in a variety of containers, including nursery pots, decorative pots, semi-barrels, garden planters, and even raised beds.

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Take into account the purpose of your garden. Do you want a soup and salad garden where fresh vegetables are harvested without long-term storage or processing? Or do you want a food garden that produces as much food as possible to feed your family through the winter? Food gardens are usually large and most often involve the storage and processing of vegetables. The third option is a combination that includes both types of gardening. Your choice will determine whether containerized gardening is appropriate and how many containers to use.

Container gardening offers many benefits, but there are also challenges.

Services:

  • With containers, you can start gardening on a small, manageable scale.
  • Convenience; Vegetables and herbs near the kitchen are more likely to be used.
  • Depending on the design, containers can make gardening more physically accessible.
  • Superior growth environment; If containers are portable, move them to an area of ​​the yard that gets more light and warmth. Also fill them with potting soil that is of a higher quality than garden soil.
  • Container media can be watered and fertilized more evenly, producing better quality vegetables.
  • If there is a risk of frost, you can bring plants into the house and thus extend the growing season.
  • Containers use areas of the yard, including the deck, patio, driveway, balcony, walkway, and roof, for food production.
  • Prevent aggressive herbs like mint from spreading in your garden.
  • Weeding is often less of an issue in containers than in gardens.
  • Isolate and lightly remove any diseased plants before contaminating nearby plants.

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Challenges:

  • The entire root system is above the ground and is limited to the size of the container, so plants need more frequent watering, often daily, as the plants grow large.
  • Containers are hotter than when plants are growing in the ground; cool seasons prefer a cool root system and may need double potting

If space permits, try growing vegetables in raised wooden beds.  These containers will last for many years and are easier to weed than a traditional garden. If space permits, try growing vegetables in raised wooden beds. These containers will last for many years and are easier to weed than a traditional garden. Photo by Grant Wood /Grant wood

Almost any container will work, but should meet the following requirements:

  • Water drainage is important; Plants need moisture, but they also need air around their root systems. Excess water should drain through a hole in the bottom of the container.
  • The material of the container affects the moisture loss and the temperature; Clay pots dry quickly and require more frequent watering.
  • Light containers are easier to move; In the case of balconies, roofs and terraces, the load must be taken into account.
  • Tank longevity; Fiber pots have a lifespan of two or three years, while wooden containers can last for many years.
  • Look at the aesthetics; Even if the container is free or cheap, does it fit into the landscaping?
  • Adjust the plant size to the container size; larger plants need a larger container than smaller plants like spinach and lettuce.
  • Selected varieties recommended for container cultivation; These plants are often referred to as “patio”, “compact” or “bush”.
  • Remember to do crop rotation to control disease and insects; Do not plant the same variety of vegetables in the same container more than every four years, and remove the media when plants become diseased.

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Container gardening can be very rewarding, so give it a try!

Grant Wood is a retired faculty member of the Faculty of Plant Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan.

This column is courtesy of the Saskatchewan Perennial Society ([email protected]). Visit our website (saskperennial.ca) or Facebook page (facebook.com/saskperennial). With the hopefully approaching end of the pandemic, we have reserved the hall at the Forsthof for our autumn plant exchange on September 12th.

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