Apartment Vegetable Gardening

It is not necessary to have a garden if you want vine-ripened tomatoes - or any kind of fresh produce for that matter.

Statistically, there are more renters on this Earth than there are homeowners. This article focuses on how renters can still have a garden even though they do not have a yard.

It is not necessary to have large, sprawling piece of land or any land, for that matter, to enjoy gardening. Container gardening is appropriate in nearly all cases including apartment gardening, balcony gardening, poor garden soil conditions on current properties, easy mobility during weather changes or when attempting to achieve an artistic statement. Whatever the reason, container gardening can be done anywhere.

Before getting started, it is necessary to first learn about the plant you are interested in growing and what conditions must be met. Remember, you can grow anything from a small succulent to a large tree if you have a handle on the various steps. Like anything else, there is an element of trial and error that can be worked through with patience and time.

As long as drainage holes are cut in the bottom, it is possible to grow a plant in just about any type of container. Some suggestions for containers include, but are not limited to small waste baskets, dish basins, fish tanks, the bottom half of plastic bottles, urns and hanging baskets. Other, more common containers are plastic pots, ceramic containers, window boxes, terra cotta pots and dish gardens. Should you choose to grow in a terra cotta pot, beware of over-drying. (Terra cotta is a very porous material.) Window boxes constructed from wood also need special care to prevent rotting from watering. A suggestion would be to line it with plastic or use several smaller containers inside.

When choosing a container, consider the plant's needs and the plant's size. It is important for the container's size to be proportionate to the plant. If it is unbalanced, it will have a negative impact on the plant's growing conditions. For example, a plant that is too big for the container could become root bound or topple over too easily. Transplant regularly dependant how quickly the plant grows, only to containers slightly larger than the one you removing it from.

Because these plants are not growing in the ground and, in many cases, indoors, fertilization should occur more often as should watering. A good method to practice is to add a liquid fertilizer to your watering can during every other watering. It is also necessary to control pests (though less common indoors), be weary of disease and practice self-pollination because there are no bees indoors.

There are several self-watering containers available in today's market ranging in price from $12.99 to $39.99 depending on size and quality. These are a favorite among those who love to container garden, but don't have the time to keep up with the rituals involved. They are also common for those who grow in terra cotta in an effort to keep the hydration in balance.

It is not recommended to use containers with narrow openings because you are unlikely to have a successful transplanting process. It is also not recommended that garden soil be used in container gardens because it is too heavy and difficult to aerate. Instead, a favorite potting soil or "soil-less" potting mix. Either choice is a good one and is reported as having successful growing results.

A couple of tips to remember is to use a lighter container in warmer climates and keep plants in direct sunlight for five or more hours per day. A lighter container will keep the sun's heat balanced around the plant and help to prevent over-drying. Keeping the plant in direct sunlight for this length of time or longer, if possible, helps the plant stay healthy and flourish.

When growing fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers or carrots, use containers starting from fifteen quart capacities and work your way up. Leave room between the top of the pot and the top of the soil for future mulching. If you are unsure how many plants to place in each container, it is advised to refer to the back of the seed packet or a popular gardening guide for the proper plant to pot ratios.

Indoor gardens are increasingly popular as it can be done year round. Everything from windowsill herb gardens to foyer container groupings can be successfully established if you do not neglect the plant's needs and stay aware of the environmental changes. Do not be surprised if you are constantly moving your gardens from room to room or placing them in front of different windows throughout the day to receive the best possible sunlight.

Feng Shui is also incorporated with container gardening on many levels. The art and practice of Feng Shui utilizes plant groups within specific areas, or troubles zones, of the living or working habit. This is not only common place for interior designers and decorators, but also for those looking to achieve peace, harmony and balanced relationships on their own.

Helpful Guides and Resources:

* Potted Gardens: A Fresh Approach to Container Gardening, Rebecca Cole

* The Practical Guide to Container Gardening, Berry and Bradley

* The Container Garden, Tarling

* Container Gardening Through the Year, Hillier

* The Book of Container Gardening, Malcom Hillier,Matthew Ward (Photographer)

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