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Wedel's Nursery, Florist and Garden Center

Container Gardening

Container Gardening Containers of plants on decks, balconies, patios, front/back steps, window boxes, and gardens look beautiful and are easy to take care of. The beauty and/or healthy food they add to your life make the little time needed to care for them pay off richly!   There are a few things to consider when deciding where to place container gardens.
  • Sun; most plants will perform better with about 8 hours
  • Water should be readily available
  • If your area is windy, provide protection
  • Proximity to cooking area. If it is close, you will be more likely to use the fresh produce!
  • Soil; use soil made for containers. Garden or top soil will not drain properly. The ideal formulation for vegetable containers is Dairy Doo Pro Vegetable Soil. The ideal formulation for flower container gardens is Dairy Doo Premium Flower Soil. Both of these soils have at least 16 all-natural ingredients to produce more blooming and fruiting.
    Here are some important things to check on before planting. To help you decide when to plant, remember to look at plant tags and seed packets to see the number of days to maturity. Remember, we are in Michigan, so the season has about 120-150 growing days. We are in Zone 5, which has a later frost-free date in the spring and earlier frost date in fall. Another thing to consider is the possibility of getting a second crop. Some things, such as lettuce, kale, peas and spinach, will give you a crop in early summer and another in early fall.   There is a vast selection of containers to choose from. Here are a few considerations:
  • ALL need drainage at bottom
  • What will be under the container?
  • Shallow – 5-6 inches deep for
    • Lettuces, Herbs, Greens, Onions
  • Medium – 9-12 inches deep for
    • Eggplant, Peppers, Zucchini, Green Beans
  • Large/deep – 20 + inches for
    • Tomatoes, Potatoes and Berry Bushes
  Plants in containers will need to be fertilized more often. Container gardens have limited soil resources and the regular watering washes nutrients away.
  • When planting, the all-natural fertilizers in the Dairy Doo soils will give the plants a good start. Put Osmocote Smart-release fertilizer on top of soil to continually feed for up to 6 months.
  • Fertilize w/liquid when watering (organic or synthetic) every 10-14 days
  • For tomatoes, use Espoma Tomato Tone fertilizer, they need the Calcium to prevent disease.
Here are some plant care tips for some of the most popular edibles to grow in containers:
  • Must stake tomatoes & pole beans
  • Remove yellow, brown leaves
  • Pinch back herbs, such as basil when flowers appear
  • Cut kale, lettuces & Swiss chard so that plants will keep on producing
  • In late August, cut off new shoots on tomato plants
  • Late August is a good time to plant the next round of lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.
  • After harvest, store containers with or without soil for next season. If the plants were diseased, toss soil so that you can start fresh next year.
    One of the most rewarding things to grow on decks in containers is berries. There is a new series of shrubs that thrive in containers called Bushel & Berry. These compact shrubs produce raspberries and blueberries that can go from plant to cereal bowl in less than a minute! They are perennial, and  can be stored overwinter in your garage or shed. Here are some tips to help guarantee fruit success:
  • Roots need room, 30-36” wide and deep containers
  • Need 8 hours of sun
  • Need regular watering
  • Use netting to protect berries
  Strawberries are perfect for container growing too. Try using a strawberry pot or hanging baskets for an interesting look – just be sure it has sufficient drainage. they can also be overwintered in the garage or shed, but could be tossed out since they are inexpensive to replace the next spring. You will want to plant ever-bearing varieties so that they will produce fruit for you throughout the season. Avoid June-bearing varieties as they will only produce one crop per year.   Another sure-to-win variety of plants to grow in containers is Herbs. Herbs are easy to grow in containers because most of them have shallow root systems and are a little more tolerant of neglect. Try combining several herbs into one pot to add beauty to your deck as well as providing fresh herbs for healthy cooking. Another bonus with herb pots is that many of them can easily be transferred indoors for winter use.   Terrie Schwartz Wedel’s Nursery, Florist & Garden Center
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