No matter what part of the country you live in, drought has become a common seasonal occurrence. Even without imposed water restrictions, it just makes good sense to develop ways to decrease the amount of water we use on our plants. Container gardens are naturally water thrifty, but for successful garden plantings, especially in a dry year, there are a few guidelines to follow:
1. Proper Placement: Decide where to locate your container garden. Full sun areas will require the hardiest plants, and containers placed near walls or on concrete or stone patios will heat up more due to light reflections and heat conditions. Not all plants will appreciate such harsh conditions, and all will need more frequent watering.
2. Choose the right plants: Look for those that are naturally drought tolerant. Plants suited to arid regions such as the Southwest and Mediterranean areas are perfect choices. In addition, ones that are native to your area are usually good choices, since they already are acclimated.
3. Bigger really is better: The larger the container, the more resources will be available to the plants. Most important among these is water. A larger pot holds a larger volume of soil, which in turn can store more moisture than a pot half the size. Obviously, the more water a container holds, the less frequently you will need to water it.
4. Use proper soil and irrigation: Using the proper soil mix in your pots is very important. Avoid using real soil from your garden beds. It compacts in garden pots. A container garden will use less water than similar plantings in the ground but you will need to water them more frequently.
Depending on the size of the pot, it's placement and the plants you use may need to water as often as once a day. Low water use plants in large containers getting afternoon shade may need water only every other day.
5. Mulch & Maintenance: Like plants in a flower bed, container plants benefit from a layer of mulch. It slows evaporation of the water on the surface and insulates the soil. Even though you have fertilized with potting soil, many container gardens can use additional feeding throughout their growing season.
Every garden is an oasis, and even a modest water feature can add a sense of coolness and calm. Fortunately, there's no elaborate hardscaping required to try out a water garden in your yard. You can easily make a pool into a pot out of a glazed high fired planter!
Select a large glazed high fired container at least 30" in diameter without a drain hole preferably.
However, many pots are only available with drains so plug them with silicone. This large of a pot is heavy and once it's filled with water you will not be able to move it so place it in its permanent location first. For plant materials, choose a single dwarf water lily, or plants such as canna, Lobelia, and soft rush.
Arrange the plants in the container, placing the largest in the center or at the back. To raise plants in smaller pots, set their pots atop overturned empty pots as pictured. Check that the main container is level, then fill it with water. Most aquatic plants do best with 1" or more water over their crowns.
For mosquito control, add mosquito fish or goldfish. a 30" container can accommodate size fish. Acclimate the fish by placing them, still in the plastic bags, in the tub garden for about 20 minutes. Or add a mosquito control ring, available at most nurseries. Now how hard was that!
At the most basic level, all containers allow us to plant where there is no earth.
Terraces, patio's, buildings or balconies. But container's also add decorative accents to gardens. Used like sculptures, they can give focus to a setting. They also bring the beauty of plants closer, making it more accessible to the city dweller or the elderly.
Terracotta is one of the best materials for containers because it is porous, letting roots breathe. It's drawback is the breakability It's looks improve with age, gaining a greenish mossy tint. High fired clay pottery is fairly durable.
Italian pottery is low fired but very compact with a nice warm color tone. Mexican clay is rough with a thick texture and heavy weight. Water will seep into it's pores, causing it to break down rapidly. We do not carry much Mexican because of this reason.
Since pots always seem to shrink in the space between the stores shelf and the outdoor site - it is best to go a size larger than you think you need. A well chosenpot will enhance your entry, patio or grotto for years. Try to consider the architecture of your home, especially the details.
These are the clues that link the home to the garden. Whether your garden is a formal planting of ivy and evergreens, or an electric mix of plant materials, the right container will enhance your style.
Subtle or eye catching containers will give you dimension and personality. Make it your own patch of Eden!
You don't need a lot of room for a strawberry patch when you use a terracotta clay strawberry jar to plant your patch in!
So very simple: just purchase a few strawberry plants and add some earth, air and water. Put all in a clay pot and viola, you will have edible garden pleasure for your patio or deck in less than 60 minutes. Try Ozark Beauty or Tribute for steady yields of large, plum berries.
Purchase a pocket pot or strawberry pot. We sell them in terracotta clay with different number of pockets. 6, 9, 12 pockets all work fine but of course the 12 pocket will yield the most space and the most berries. Start by filling the bottom of the pot with gravel, pot filler, or broken potshards.
This separates the soil from the gravel and creates a better drainage system. Add potting soil and fill the jar with potting soil to eliminate trapped air spaces.
Starting with the lowest pocket, make a small hole in the soil and thread a single strawberry plant down into the pocket so it's roots spread toward the interior of the terracotta jar.
Add more soil turning it with your fingers until you have reached the next pocket level. Repeat planting process until all pockets are filled. Leave space at the top for more plants.
Container gardens dry out quickly, so water often, with plant food added. Moist soil and vitamins will keep your garden thriving. No extra maintenance is required except an occasional manicure. Pinch off dead leaves and overripe fruit to keep plants healthy and fresh looking.
Rotate thejars one quarter turn every few days to give plants and berries enough sunlight! Try a plant caddie, we got em and they really are handy!
Have you ever wondered what it must be like to grown you own Mesclun mix of salad greens from seeds in your own garden containers?
We know that today you can find pre-bagged mixes in every grocery store, but nothing compares to the delicious taste, textures and colors of tender baby salads, simply dressed and enjoyed just minutes after they are harvested from your own garden containers. Not only is mesclun fancy and luscious, it's one of the most beautiful and easiest plants to grow!
Depending on your region and time of year, you may find a range of ingredients in a mesclun mix. Lettuces are always featured and other components are included like herbs, edible flowers and savory, tender greens. Start by preparing the soil.
Make sure it's finely worked and has no clumps. Fill a large 18" container with potting soil and make sure it's moist before planting seeds. Pour the seeds into your palm and slowly shake around the top of the container. Try to space evenly about 1" apart if possible. Top the seeds with 1/4" soil or potting mix. Gently water till moist not soggy.
Your crop of mixed salad leaves will grow rapidly and be sweet and luscious if you keep the pot well watered. If you have started from seed, they will come up thickly. If there are bare spots don't worry because the seedlings will grow to fill them in.
Harvest the crop in 35 to 40 days. Your baby potted lettuces should reach 4 to 5 inches tall and be ready to enjoy. If you harvest them by the 'cut and come again" method, they will regrow for several cuttings.
To do this, simply take sharp scissors and shear off a patch of leaves 1 to 2 inches above soil level. After cutting, water the pot well and feed lightly, the cut crowns will regrow fro another harvest.
In the kitchen, gently wash and dry immediately. Chill leaves in the refrigerator, either rolled up in a kitchen towel or in a plastic veggie bag. Enjoy the bounty of your harvest soon after gathering. Dress with a light and simple dressing like a vinaigrette and add fresh chopped herbs just before serving.
August is the month, every year, that finds so many of us out working in our yards and garden areas. Some of that work is fun and some is pain, but all of it can be enjoyed! The garden is one of the few places left where no matter how hard you work or how much you don't it always pays off with beautiful flowers, vegetables and more.
Now is the time to enjoy cut flowers. An abundance of flowers is one of the joys of summer. If you don't have a cutting garden, visit your local farmers market for bargain blooms. Top picks of the season will include celosias, cosmos, and gomphrenas. All are great for quick, beautiful bouquets.
Make them last longer with conditioning: remove the leaves that fall below the water level in the container you choose, re-cut stems at an angle, and add a floral preservative to feed the flowers. Don't forget to change the water daily. Now for the fun part, choose a lovely glass vase, terracotta clay planter or odd shaped glazed pot to display the lovely flowers in. They all work great!
Water & Containers:
Your pots can dry out quickly with the August heat. Water them regularly; daily watering may even be necessary. Hand-watering is efficient, allowing you to give plants just the right amount of water without waste - saving you money.
Pots and plants both love and NEED water, so be vigilant! Make this process even more fun by using a brightly colored watering can or one of the new flexible hoses. Take a few deep breaths and enjoy the process. It's only a chore if you make it one!
Gather Potted Veggies:
Keep a watchful eye on your potted vegetables, by checking it daily. Harvest regularly to ensure a steady supply of tender veggies through the summer. Pick squash, zucchini, okra, and eggplant when they are small and tender.
Use sharp clippers or a small knife to harvest to avoid tearing stems. Harvest peppers or potted tomatoes on the day you plan to use them. Bring a small pail to carry your harvest. Share extra with family, friends, and neighbors.
There are lots of flowers that hummingbirds love. Salvias such as 'Black and Blue' anise scented sage, pineapple sage and 'Lady in Red' sage are favorites. Pot them up in beautiful garden containers and you will attract more hummers than ever! Use bright red planters to aid in the attraction.
There are so many wonderful plants materials to consider when trying to decide what to plant in your garden pottery. We love a plant that is not only beautiful but FRAGRANT! Here are a few suggestions.
Bouvardia longiflora 'Albatross'
Excellent in bouquests, it grows outdoors in all kinds of garden containers and should be able to move into a protected spot in winter months. An exception to this rule is if planted in a mild climate like Southern California or Arizona. To play up it's blossoms, plant in a dark green or chocolate brown glazed pot. The contrast will be stunning!
White, silky petaled blossoms have an unforgettable fragrance. To scent a patio, plant a compact form such as 'Veitchii', "Radicans', or 'White Gem' in a decorative and oversized container. In mild climates, plant several in a sunny bed to form a low hedge. If you have never smelled this fragrance you are truly missing out!
Look for varieties such as 'Hawaiian Yellow' at local garden nurseries. Everywhere except Hawaii, plant singly in large, light-weight containers to display on a sunny patio or garden area. Light afternoon shade in hottest inland areas is best. Move indoors for winter. Not only delicate and lovely but the fragrance is completely memorable.
Creamy white blossoms are strung into leis in Hawaii. Following a long season of heat, flower stems rise above grass like foliage. Nurseries sell blooming plants in gallon containers all summer, so you should be able to find them locally where ever you are. Mass several in a large container. Use plain terracotta for a traditional, classic look or go with a hot color in poly resin and make a bold statement.
Give one of these bold, fragrant blooms a try and tell us how you liked them!