Container gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby that is enjoyed by millions of people all over the world. Not only is it relaxing and enjoyable, but you get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re growing your own plants and you know where they came from! With more and more stories on the news about various outbreaks of food poisoning from things like lettuce and green onions, many people are finding it important to start growing as much of their own produce as possible.
Many people are afraid to deal with container gardening. They think it is too difficult or too expensive. On the contrary, it is actually very easy and can be quite inexpensive! Here we explore the ease of setting up your first container garden, as well as the expenses involved.
We’re going to walk you through the process of setting up your first container garden. In this example, we will be growing some basil.
Step One: Purchase your container gardening supplies. You will need the following items for this example. Three plastic pots with drainage holes in the bottom, preferably with trays underneath to catch soil and water drainage, about 5-6 inches in diameter, and 5-6 inches deep, one packet of basil seeds, one small bag of organic compost, one small bag of peat moss, one small garden trowel, one small watering can or clean spray bottle, and one very sunny windowsill (or a florescent or halogen grow light if no sunny window is available.) The total cost for these materials will be somewhere around $20 or less if you have a sunny windowsill. If you need a grow light, that will cost an additional $15-$20.
Step Two: Prepare the soil. Mix together 1 part peat moss with 5 parts compost. (For every one trowel full of peat moss, put in 5 trowels full of compost.) Fill the three pots up to about ½ inch from the top with this mixture.
Step Three: Plant the seeds. Simply make a hole about 1 inch deep in the center of each pot with your finger. Put about three seeds into each hole. Then cover the seeds with soil. Water lightly and place in the windowsill or under a grow light. Once the seeds sprout and reach about 2 inches in height, remove any extra sprouts so that you only have one plant in each pot.
Step Four: In order to care for your plants, all you need to do is water them regularly and keep them maintained. Check the soil daily for moisture. Whenever the soil feels dry, water lightly. To maintain the bushy growth, pinch off the tops of each stem every couple of weeks and remove any flower stalks as soon as you see them growing.
Remember that many things can be containers if you are on a limited budget and most towns have compost sites and what I use in my container for my soil – so when you are out shopping at your favorite flea markets or rummage sales – keep your eyes open for little jewels like the cup and saucer above planted with hens and chicks/