Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Most Common Containers for Gardening

Most people who have any type of garden have containers. They may not realize it or use the term container gardening, but they almost always have some type of container in their garden, yard, or home that is used for planting. When you use the term, however, many people struggle to understand exactly what container gardening is and how they begin one.

Container gardening simply means that instead of planting seeds or bulbs into the ground, you will be planting them in a container. Then you will be taking care of individual plants, or in some cases a small row of plants, but you will not be working to take care of an entire garden of plants. Some people choose to plant in containers because they do not have enough space. Others love tulips and want some in the living room, so they opt for a small barrel of tulips for the inside. Still others use everything they can to plant because they love the smells and sights of gardening.

You can use almost any type of container for gardening as long as you clean it out thoroughly before you begin. Let us cover some of the most common containers, however, so that you can get an idea of your options. Terra cotta window boxes are probably the most common type of container. You also will see single plant terra cotta plant holders. Terra cotta is the orange clay-like substance used to make the most basic of planting containers. The benefit of these containers is that they are versatile and are made for plants. You can find them painted or paint them yourself. The downside of using terra cotta window boxes is that some of them do not hold up well in very cold temperatures, which means that you really should stick to using them inside.

Wooden window boxes also are an interesting container that you can buy ready-made for planting. The plus of these containers is that they permit you to paint or otherwise decorate them. Because their look is basic, they work with almost any scheme you have for planting. The disadvantage is that the pieces may splinter and need to be repaired or replaced.

For people with a little more in their container gardening budget, a stone trough will work. These troughs look like the terra cotta window boxes, but they hold up in the outside much better. In fact, they are made to be outdoors and often are used as decorative borders. These troughs are very expensive, though, and are heavy, so once you get them in place, you probably will want to leave them.

Some people are more creative with their containers and use baskets that they already have. These baskets can work really well with the right kind of plants. You will need to line the basket, probably with some type of moss, so that you can create a more solid bottom. You also will have to keep the plants in individual pots and remove them when you want to water them. You cannot water plants in the basket because the basket will rot. If you like the baskets, though, you will enjoy being able to move them when need be as they are very light and easy to change around.

Many gardeners love the fiber window boxes that are gaining in popularity. They are a little odd but look best with colorful annuals. These boxes look almost as if they belong in the ground instead of on top of it. They are dirt-colored and look from afar as if they are covered in dirt. The very plain design and color is why you need to use them with colorful flowers instead of non-flowering plants. You will need to replace them frequently as they do not last long.

Finally you can try galvanized tin, such as that in foot tubs and washtubs. You will need to drill holes in the bottom, which can be a pain, but otherwise you should be able to create a cool looking plant garden in one of these containers. While they once were seen only as utilitarian, now these tin troughs and tubs can serve a creative purpose as well.

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