organic gardening

Made for Small Spaces: Organic Container Gardening

If you want fresh organic veggies and flowers but donít have a garden space, youíre in luck. Organic container gardening fits just about anywhere, and itís even easier than having an organic garden plot.

Containers

Anything that you can put soil in can be a garden container. Some organic gardeners prefer to use natural containers, such as those made from wood or clay, but you can use anything. You can put a plant in an old toilet, a worn-out shoe, a milk carton or any other container that will hold dirt and wonít fall apart when it gets wet.

Make sure the container will drain; few plants like too much water. If necessary, you can drill a few drainage holes in the bottom of almost anything. Add about an inch of gravel or broken clay pots to the bottom of the pot. If you want to, you can put a layer of torn up newspaper or leaf mold on top of the gravel. The gravel helps ensure good drainage, and the leaf mold helps retain the water so the soil stays slightly moist.

Soil

Organic container gardening relies on organic, living soil. With a regular garden, you start with the soil you have and add organic material to it. With organic container gardening, you have to start out with organic soil.

Because you donít have any subsoil, you need organic soil that will hold water without letting the plantís roots get too wet. The best way to do that is to add peat moss to your organic soil. Compost and composted manure, mixed with peat moss, make great soil for organic container gardening. You can also use straight peat moss.

Plants

You can plant the same things in organic container gardening that you would in regular organic gardening. You can plant beans, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, herbs, eggplant - anything you want to Ė just that they will be in containers. Make sure you have room for the plant, and that you use a container of the appropriate size. Zucchini takes up the same amount of room on your patio that it does in the garden - and it needs a pot big enough to contain the plant.

Technically, you should use organic seed and/or plants for organic container gardening. Unless youíre planning to sell organic produce, however, the choice is yours.

Organic Practices

Organic container gardening is well suited for organic gardening practices, especially where pest control is concerned. Itís much easier to pick tomato hookworms off of a container tomato than it is in a large garden. You can easily wash each leaf and stem of a plant with aphids when itís in a pot on your patio. You will rarely have problems with cutworms in organic container gardening. Slugs will still go for your plants and diatomaceous earth will still deter them; just sprinkle it on the surface of the soil in the pot.

You can even use insect control with organic container gardening. Instead of buying a package of ladybugs or a praying mantis egg sac, just catch a few and put them on the plants that have insect infestations. Ladybugs will stay wherever there are aphids, and they will make short work of the aphids.

Organic container gardening will allow you to have plenty of healthy organic produce to feed your family. If you have a sheltered area and can provide enough light, you can have vegetables from organic container gardening all year round.


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Gardening Tip #6

Overwatering kills most houseplants. Looks can be deceptive, so to see if your soil is dry enough to water, try the finger test. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If the soil is damp, don't water it.