Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Growing What I Eat - Container Gardening vs. Traditional

Behind the house.

The "main" garden space as of May 7th, 2009.

I live on the south end of a major urban area. I decided last summer to make the transition from indoor gardener to enhancing my hard scape and growing outdoors.

I actually have a decent-sized backyard, with plenty of space for all types of gardening. So, why did I choose to garden in containers? It made sense for a variety of reasons:

  • Gardening tasks are easier because I'm working in a small space. Preparing my planting area was a matter of filling containers with pre-mixed soil. I can use hand tools (such as a trowel), as opposed to a spade or rototiller (which I didn't have the money to rent, or the muscle to use). Checking for signs of insect or other pest damage is easier, because the plants are right at hand. Also, preventative measures are easier to undertake because of the smaller number of plants.
  • One exception to easier gardening tasks is watering. With a traditional garden, you can just set up a sprinkler system. On the other hand, going back and forth with a watering can may end up being a pain in the ass. Containers do dry out faster than gardening beds. My solution: I located my main set of containers right next to an outdoor tap. It advantageously happened to be the sunniest area on the property.
  • Containers are mobile. They can be moved around, grouped and regrouped to suit your personal tastes, offer convenience and be moved with changing growing conditions as the seasons evolve.
  • I will most likely not have to deal with soil-borne illnesses. Such things can persist in soil for years and be almost impossible to eradicate.
  • Container gardens hardly ever have weeds.

Container gardening is a great option for the many city dwellers whose gardening space may consist of a porch, deck or patio. Even for those with an existing garden space, placing containers near the kitchen or around the outdoor grill may add versatility and convenience.


Anonymous said...

A vegetarians dream come true . . . do you have any special recipes you use with your produce ? Please share, if so.

Alexandria Sewell said...

I will share my recipes! Great idea, hanahula!

AR said...

The only problem I've had w/containers is keeping them watered, since the soil dries out a lot faster and the roots have limited options. I've considered trying out one of the self-watering systems, but I get enough from the main garden that I'm in no rush.

Patrick said...

I'm currently building 7 huge planter boxes as a border for my backyard deck. It's going to be awesome!

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