Container gardening is one of the easiest ways to deal with gardening in urban spaces. You can find appropriate plants and containers for any space and you can use virtually anything to make containers. Some innovative urban gardeners have used old tires, children’s wading pools, plastic soda bottles, old whiskey barrels, etc. You can also invest in high quality planters including window boxes and raised beds made of fine woods such as cedar. These containers will add an impressive aesthetic touch to your urban landscape.
A definite advantage of gardening in containers is that you can grow a variety of plants outdoors, and then move the more sensitive plants indoors during the winter. As seasons change, you can also move your plants around to sunnier or shadier spots so that they always get the proper amount of sunlight. Moreover, containers are a great way to take advantage of vertical space as you can build multiple-level shelves to put your plants on or hang several pots on ropes or chains.
Containers also allow you to grow plants that would ordinarily be invasive such as some ornamental grasses and herbs. Additionally, you can simplify pest control by isolating plants that have been affected by pests or disease.
Raised beds aren’t technically containers, but they are another option to consider when you have a small space outdoors to grow, but poor soil. They have the advantage of being adaptable to different heights to create interesting visual effects or to reduce back strain.
You can also add a large amount of soil and customize soil depth to grow plants that require shallow or deep rooting depth. Additionally, you can quickly and easily change out plants and soil as well if you want to change the look of your garden. This raised bed gardening guide from the University of Missouri and the Raised Bed Gardening Tips site have lots of useful tips.
For an excellent site on container gardening with more information, see here.
Want to Learn More About Container Gardening?
Here are some other great sites with more in depth information about gardening in containers, if you’re looking for more detail on the subject.
The Denver County Extension Agency created a series of pages about container gardening that cover everything from growing tomato plants indoors in the winter to roses in containers to options on what to do if you’re a renter and interested in gardening.
North Carolina State University has a page that tells you the requirements if you want to grow vegetables in containers.
The University of Illinois Extension has a comprehensive site about almost every aspect of container gardening. Watering, fertilizing, topiary, disease and insects, and much more.
Life on the Balcony is our favorite blog on the subject. It’s run by Fern R, who gardens on her balcony in Southern California. There’s hardly an aspect of container gardening that she hasn’t covered.