Preparing Your Container

Container Gardening

Container gardening is popular because it's something anybody can do regardless of the amount of space available and the relative ease of getting started.

Necessary Materials

The first step in preparing to start a container garden is an obvious one: select a container.

Plants can be grown in virtually any size or shape of container. It doesn't need to be a container designed specifically for growing plants, though there is a huge variety of decorative containers available. Some people choose to reuse a variety of different items to grow plants in; repurposing an old container is more environmentally-friendly, and allows for greater individuality and creativity in the garden space.

Repurposed garden containers can be anything: old food or drink cartons, old shoes, watering cans, wood boxes.... your creativity is the only limit on what can be used. Choosing a more unusual container can make an otherwise ordinary garden into something unique.

Holes are Important!

If you're using a pot or other type of container designed for plants, it will probably come with holes pre-drilled in the bottom; if you're repurposing a different kind of container, it will need a few holes drilled into the bottom. This allows excess water to drain out the bottom of the container; too much moisture in the soil can be harmful to the plant's roots.

If your container is going to be on a patio, deck, or other hard surface, it's a good idea to place a pan or something similar underneath to catch this water runoff to prevent damage to hard surfaces and to keep the area dry and clean. If your container is sitting directly on a natural surface, the excess water can drain directly into the ground.

Add Gravel

Once you've got holes in the bottom of the container, it's ready to add soil. But first, it's important to put a layer of gravel (small stones) in the container. This will keep the soil from draining out the bottom of the container with excess water. This is important for the plant's health, as well as for keeping the area around the container cleaner.

Add Soil

Now, it's time to add the most important part of any container garden (besides the actual plants); healthy soil. Most plants will be fine with a high-quality potting soil available at any hardware store or outdoor garden center. Choose an all-natural, organic soil that doesn't contain any artificial fertilizers or other additives. Some plants may require specific soil needs not available in an all-purpose potting soil; in these cases, follow the directions that come with the plant to prepare the soil.

And that's it! With these few simple steps, your container is ready for planting.

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