Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Container Gardening

A Gerber daisy in a kettle.

I love planning out the flowers, herbs, and vegetables that will go in planters and containers. I put container gardens (each container is its own mini garden) on my wrap around porch and scatter containers around the yard.  Anything sitting around for too long is fair game to plant in from old cement mixers to enamel pots, and chicken feeders.  Antique stores sometimes sell tubs, bucket, barrels, etc. that are rotted on the bottom at discounted prices.  I love finding a deal to bring home to plant in. Make sure to nail a couple holes in the bottom of your containers if there is not a way for water to drain.

I like variegated leaf color. Remember these were just planted so they will fill in a lot.

I reuse my potting mix for 2 or 4 years.  If you are looking for a good potting mix I recommend Black Gold.  I use potting mix without time release fertilizers.  To the mix I add a couple handfuls of bone meal.  That's all the fertilizer they seem to need.  Fish emulsion can be used if a container seems to be struggling.

Dump mix from last years pots in a bucket, add bone meal and mix up loosening any compacted soil.

Before planting in containers used the previous year you need to loosen up the compacted soil.  I dump containers one at a time in a bucket, add the bone meal, and mix everything up.  Replace the mix in your pots,  soak it good with water, and plant your plants.

A broken water can, chicken feeder, and hanging baskets lined up to be replanted in.

I love going to the nursery and choosing plant combinations.  I like at least one plant in the pot that will creep or hang over the side.  A few good choices are:  sweet potato vine, marjoram, verbena, nettle, loblia, and wave petunias. (This list is by no means complete) 

My favorite geranium in a water bath canner.

Herbs and certain vegetables can be attractive in containers.  Kales including both ornamental and the edible varieties, chard, lettuces,  ornamental peppers, mints (chocolate mint is a must) and my favorite pineapple sage.

Mix a handful into your potting mix.

Be aware of how much sun each container will receive.  Certain containers because of color or the material will heat up more than others. Try to plant in the same container plants with similar sun requirements. There are beautiful options for shade tolerant plants. 

My own starts.  Many herbs and annuals are easy to grow from seed.  You decide if its worth the effort or easier to purchase them.

Watering is important in container plants.  I use our rain barrel water which makes for very happy plants.

This is one of my favorite containers- an old wast tub.  It's on stand. Wash tubs also make great fire pits. 

Everyone should try chocolate mint. The leaves smell like mint truffles and smelling chocolate adds no pounds on your waist. Mints are best grown in pots because they are so aggressive. This is an old enamel water bath canner which warped.  I used a nail to add drainage holes and it is an ideal pot for container gardening.

 We have one wooden rain barrel.  They are beautiful but more expensive.  The wood swells as it fills with water to make it water tight.  Most of our barrels are old pickle barrels with a spigot on them.  Not as charming but more functional and affordable. 

All of the containers pictured were planted today. I've included a link to last years container gardens to give ideas for containers and plant combinations and show you what they look they at a more mature stage.  I would love to hear your ideas for containers and favorite plant combinations!  Gardening is an art and a creative endeavor so enjoy!
Antiques are great for yard decor.  This old spring bed is now a flower bed.  Sweet peas are starting to grow up it.
I'm tempted to plant in the bed of this army truck.  It's been sitting around for quit some time...... 


  1. I seriously would love to see the Army truck filled with flowers. What a beautiful dedication it would be!

  2. I'm trying to convince my husband and sons of that. They want to fix it up "someday."

  3. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.

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