Last summer, I made my first effort at container gardening. It was a lot of fun and I was really surprised by the yield we received from just a few large pots, planted with tomatoes, bell peppers and herbs.I can't wait to get started again on this year's "garden in pots"! There are a few things I learned last year, and I will be more prepared. If you want to try container gardening, here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Get a soil mixture that will stay fairly loose. I like the ones that have the little water absorbing granules that release the moisture between waterings.
- If your pots will be sitting on a concrete or brick patio, raise them a few inches off the hot surface to keep them cooler in summer temperatures.
- Don't underestimate the eventual growth and yield of tomatoes. Put tall, strong stakes into the pots early so you can tie up the stalks as soon as they start producing their heavy fruit
- Be prepared for pests before they arrive. A metal pie pan tied with string, allowed to blow in the breeze will frighten birds and other critters that would eat your lovely produce. Be on the lookout for the hideous creature shown in the photo below, the tomato hornworm. I had many visits by these yucky critters last summer and they look so much like the foliage of a tomato plant, they are hard to spot. They will eat up the plant, leaves and all, within just a day or two. You can handpick them off (eww, my hubby did it!), but use gloves, they will try to BITE! There are also insecticides to use for them, but I try not to use chemicals on my garden.