Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Tools That You Need For Gardening

While you really don’t need many tools for container gardening, there are some things that come in really handy. They range from free (I use a lot of large yogurt containers to scoop soil) to pretty pricey, but I put together this list from things I’ve discovered that are worth the money.

There are tons of tools out there that are frankly ridiculous, unnecessary and even environmentally irresponsible.

About six years ago I bought a roll of plastic window screening to re-do some sliding screen doors. I used some of it for its intended purpose and then had yards left over. It has become one of my favorite tools for container gardening. The main thing I use it for is to cover large drainage holes in the bottom of pots. It works really well, letting the water out and keeping the soil in. I have also used it to line baskets, hanging planters  and containers where the holes in the sides are so big that they need to be covered.

The stuff lasts forever and a little goes a long way. Just make sure you buy plastic, not metal screening.

I have a fleet of little red wagons that I’ve collected from yard sales and a few that I even held on to since my kids were little. I use these for all kinds of hauling, including my annual plant drag, where I harden off seedlings and acclimate houseplants by dragging them in and out of my garage. You can buy them new, but I prefer those that have been shown love and are a bit worn and “distressed.”

That said, I do love a fancier version (a real garden cart) that I was given as a gift. It has big wheels that make it stable and easy to pull, however, the best part of it is that the sides fold down, making it easy to transport large containers and odd shaped items.

I’m not sure if this is the exact one I got (my friend delivered it already assembled–how awesome is that!), but it looks similar:

I am ridiculously fond of my Nutscene twine.  Being a totally distractible, and somewhat absent minded (my family is in hysterics at the modifier, ‘somewhat’), I find that any tool I can nail down is a good thing because it is then harder to lose (notice I didn’t say impossible because my powers to misplace are pretty formidable). I actually nail the can to the wall.

This twine is green, so it blends in, tough and long lasting.

I use it for almost everything you can think of–tying plants, fixing tools and containers–you name it.

Easy For Growing Container Gardens in the Shade Tips

unduhan-40First let’s agree that not all shade is the same. You can have no direct sun at all (think a closet), or you can have mixed sun and shade, dappled shade (think sun streaming through leaves, or you can have bright shade, which has light but no direct sun. Whatever your situation, you can grow beautiful container gardens. Here are some tips to help you get started.

One of the most important parts of successful shade container gardening is to accurately figure out how much sun your pot will get. While you may think a certain spot in your yard, or on your deck or patio is in shade, it pays to take a close look at what kind of shade or sun an area gets. There are several different kinds of shade and determining the exposure of an area can make the difference in whether your containers thrive.

To determine the light levels in a certain area, you can use a sunlight meter or calculatoror you can keep track, throughout the day, of how much light is hitting your spot. As the seasons change and even in the course of a growing season, as the sun moves across the sky, those light levels can change so keep an eye on sun exposure, over time.

This is perhaps the most important step in determining if your plants will thrive in your shady spot. You will want to choose plants that love shade and there are lots to choose from. There are great foliage plants as well as many flowering plants to choose. If you don’t know what you want when you go to buy plants, either ask a knowledgeable salesperson for suggestions, or make sure to read the plant tags.

Some nurseries will even have whole sections devoted to plants that thrive in shade. Also make sure your plants have the same water requirements if you are planning to combine them in a pot. That said, don’t be afraid of just using one type of plant in a container–some of the most beautiful pots have one plant.

Do You Know That Gardens make Great

It is amazing, given that my children have been going to school for over a decade, that I still forget teachers’ gifts until the very last minute. I have discovered though, that even at the very last minute you can put together a meaningful, beautiful and inexpensive teacher gift by making a container garden.

Kids love to help craft them, which makes the gift more meaningful to both teacher and student.

Also, if you want to get fancy, you can add a pair of gardening gloves, a small tool or watering can to the gift.

This is my favorite container garden of all. It is unique, inexpensive and everyone loves them. These succulents are also really hard to kill, even if you leave them out all year in a cold climate.

If you don’t live in an area where you can find free shells on the beach, you can buy them at craft stores and stores like Target.

You will need a drill to put drainage holes in the shell.  I find that hens and chicks work really well because they are tiny and easy to plant.

I save Clementine orange boxes all year. They are great for lots of things, but my favorite is to turn them into spring container gardens that are perfect for teacher gifts. I particularly like filling them with pansies and violas, but any small plants will work. If you can, make them a week before you give the gift so they can settle down and grow in a little. To make it super easy, you can even keep the plants in their pots and fill in around them with moss.

However, if you are like me, you will make them at the very last minute and that’s ok.

If you are looking for a great looking easy and inexpensive gift, make a garden in a reusable grocery bag. This bag is from Trader Joe’s and is a lager size, but for a smaller garden, I love lunch sized reusable grocery bags. I buy mine at Whole Foods and they cost less than a dollar. Plants love them and they make a great teacher gift. Make sure to use a bag that is plastic as the cloth bags won’t last a whole season before they completely fall apart.

Fill them with lettuce, herbs or flowering plants.

Repurposed Container Gardens Tips

In the last few years, the popularity of container gardening has soared, and for good reason. Containers are easy to maintain (almost no weeding!) and because you are controlling the quality of the soil, water and food for your plants, it is easier to create a great growing environment. Container gardening has become an art as well a hobby and by thinking outside the pot, you can have great fun, save money and create gardens that will attract attention and be custom made to fit your style and even your color scheme.

When choosing an unusual container, look for something that will weather well and last for at least your growing season and longer if you have a plant that you want to bring inside at the end of the season. Old wooden boxes are inexpensive and easy to find. Metal buckets, decorative tins and baskets also work well, and can even be enhanced by a patina of wear. Plastic reusable grocery bags are inexpensive and come in fun patterns and many sizes–they will only last for a season but plants seem to love them.

Start in your house. It may surprise you how many things you already own that can easily be made into great containers. On old colander, oatmeal tin or Clementine orange boxall make wonderful choices. Buckets, little red wagons, old kids toys or even a chipped soup bowl or a beat up basket all can be easily transformed into a pretty pot. Once you’ve checked your house, move on to yard sales and second hand stores.

Look at things with an eye for interest, durability and scale. Also, the kitchen departments of discount and Dollar stores can turn up some interesting and inexpensive finds.

Your container can be as big as a boat, or as small as a teacup, juice box or even a tiny mint tin, but the smaller the container, the less soil it will hold, which means that there is less water retention and nutrients available for your plants. This also means that there is less margin for error on the gardeners part—small containers can dry out completely very quickly. For some drought resistant and hard to kill plants–most succulents fit that description–that isn’t a problem, but for plants that need a consistent moisture level, a bigger pot may be a better choice.