Organizing a milestone event like a wedding is truly nerve-wracking. Every detail must be perfect! A wedding is, after all, a once in a lifetime experience for most couples. It’s a special gathering for all people involved, including friends and loved ones. A wedding is also the perfect opportunity to highlight the importance of utilizing eco-friendly practices.
Using disposable plates like EcoGardener disposable wood plates, for instance, is a terrific way to save money and time while also caring for the environment. Is it strange using disposable dinnerware for parties? Not at all! Contemporary disposable wedding plates come in elegant designs, some look just like real fancy dinnerware! Still not convinced? Here are the top reasons why we think using disposable wedding plates should be a part of your wedding party:
Gone are the days when disposable plates only came in tacky designs. These days, disposable dinner plates come in beautiful designs to choose from. And yes, there are designs that suit formal events and extravagant parties. EcoGardener disposable wood plates feature a sleek design, which is perfect for people who appreciate the understated style of minimalism and clean lines.
Since these wooden plates are in neutral shades, they are versatile. You can use these plates for any social gathering other than weddings such as family reunions, cocktail parties, and so on.
The elegant design and neutral colorway of the EcoGardener disposable wood plates also mean they will suit any theme, color scheme, and table setting. Whatever color scheme or wedding theme you have, these plates will look perfectly coordinated with the rest of the decors.
As far as performance goes, disposable plates used to pale in comparison with standard dinnerware. Most are made with thin, flimsy material so the disposable plates have the tendency to break up while in use. Not anymore. Contemporary disposable plates like EcoGardener disposable wood plates are surprisingly durable. These plates are made for large parties like weddings, large parties, and special occasions.
The material is thick and robust so it is strong enough to handle indoor and outdoor events. Each plate can hold a lot without breaking down thanks to a special non-toxic wax coating that’s bleach-free, pesticide-free, chlorine, and dye-free. The materials are pressed densely so the plates will not crack under pressure. These plates are, hands down, the better alternative, especially when compared to Styrofoam plates!
Did you know that renting formal dinnerware costs about $4 per person? This might seem like a small price to pay but if you have more than 200 wedding guests, the cost will add up. You could be paying almost $1,000 on plates that you cannot even take home! So why spend a thousand grand on rental dinnerware when you can maximize your budget with EcoGardener disposable wood plates?
These plates are not only elegant and eco-friendly; they are also affordable. You can buy as many packs as you like and not worry about overspending! The best part? You get to impress your guests with unique dinner plates that are conscientiously made to protect the environment and encourage everyone in your party to do the same at their next event.
#4 Easy Cleanup
Organizing a wedding is hard enough, think about the massive cleanup later. With piles of dirty dishes on the sink, it will take forever to tidy up. You won’t deal with the same problem if you use disposable plates.
EcoGardener disposable wood plates allow you to enjoy your special day without worrying about the cleanup later. As soon as the wedding guests are done eating, they can simply discard the plates in the trash. Clean up is that easy. Since the plates are biodegradable, they will not end up in landfills. The plates will simply break down into the ground within 4 to 6 weeks.
Cleaning up piles of dirty dishes after an event requires a lot of water and elbow grease. Using Styrofoam or plastic plates may be a great option if you are trying to avoid the massive cleanup after the wedding but these products will only contribute to the worsening waste problem. Using biodegradable plates and cutlery is not only eco-friendly; it’s guilt-free too. These products are made from renewable materials so these won’t make a negative impact on the environment.
Using disposable plates on special events may be unusual for some but the practice is fast becoming more popular, especially among millennial couples. Discover the beauty of being eco-friendly, use disposable plates for your next event and wow your guests. Check out our selection of wooden disposable paper plates here.
As temperature drops, all activities in the garden seize, turning the land a dull gray. The plants are starting to prepare themselves for dormancy and not a lot is going on in your garden once the soil freezes. The transition from fall to winter season leads to unpredictable rains that could damage your plants. That’s why it’s important to prepare your garden before the winter season. So how do you protect your plants from the frigid cold? Consider these gardening tips:
Winter Prep for Perennial Plants
Perennial plants grow back each year, even in the bitterest winter season. As the weather transitions to winter, perennials will hibernate, turning dormant at a constant temperature until the warm weather comes around again. It’s a good thing that perennial plants are much easier to prep for winter than annual plants. Although perennial plants have different growing habits, they just need a little cutting back and mulching before the winter season.
In places that get warm-winters, the fall season is the best time to plant perennial plants. But since perennials grow slowly during the cold, wet season, the plants are vulnerable to diseases and rot. Always check the plants for signs of disease and pests.
Perennials have to be cut back to keep the plants neat as well as to remove diseased leaves or pest eggs. You can use the plant cuttings as hot compost materials (the active piles will kill pathogens and weed seeds). When cutting back the perennials, avoid cutting the stems with attractive seed heads.
The fall season is the best time to enrich the soil using compost. You want to add a 4 to 6-inch layer of organic compost around the beds. As the organic compost breaks down, the nutrients are released to the soil, improving the soil’s structure and nutrient profile. The slow release of nutrients prevents burns while also ensuring that the soil is nutrient-rich all winter long.
Mulching is a terrific way to prepare perennials for the bitter cold. This method protects the plants' root systems and the soil from the freezing temps. You can use shrub beds with chopped leaves, grass clippings, or pine needles for mulching. Mulching may attract nibbling rodents so to keep unwanted critters at bay, we recommend waiting until the ground freezes before adding a 6-inch layer of organic winter mulch.
For warm climate perennials, continue checking for pests and diseases during the winter season. Clean up the plant beds and borders then maintain or build new beds so you have room for new plants. For cool-climate perennials, mulch over the bare soil after the ground freezes. After the frost, clean the plant beds and borders then remove dead plants and weeds. You should also use cold frames to protect your hardy perennials from the chilly air.
Winter Prep for Annual Plants
Annuals need more TLC during the winter season because they cannot survive the cold. You should dig up your summer plants and use them for composting. For both warm and cool climate annuals, you should cover your plants with poly-spun garden fabric if there is a warning for a light frost. We also recommend collecting the seeds of your favorite plants that breed true to type.
Mulch your cool-climate annual plant beds with a 3 to 4 inches layer of chopped leaves, grass cuttings, and other compost materials. For self-sown seeds that will germinate in the spring, keep the mulch layer at 2 inches only. Then, label your annuals for next spring. Replace decomposed organic mulch. Finally, watch out for pests then continue removing the weeds and watering the plants.
Winter Prep for Bulbs
You want to dig up and clean the bulbs before the winter season sets in. Mulch your bulb beds with evergreen or in the case of shallowly planted bulbs; heave them to the surface of the soil. Store your bulbs in a breathable container to prevent rot. Use a cardboard box layered with newspaper. Make sure the bulbs are not touching one another then stow them away in a cool, dry place.
Winter Prep for Trees and Shrubs
For cool climate trees and shrubs, make sure to water them regularly and deeply before the ground freezes. This goes especially for evergreens. Young trees and shrubs need all the nutrients they can get so work the fertilizer to the ground. You may have to transfer young trees and shrubs to another location during the early fall.
Older trees and shrubs do not need the added fertilizer especially if they are mulched. Still, you want to shelter your shrubs with a burlap screen and other sturdy barriers to protect them from the elements. Once the ground freezes, add a 6-inch layer of organic mulch to your trees and shrubs.
Warm climate trees and shrubs become dormant as the winter season nears so stop feeding them to give them time to harden off during this period. Some types of warm climate trees are prone to fruit splitting such as citrus fruits and avocados. You can prevent this by watering the trees deeply especially if rain is sparse.
Some flowering shrubs, like camellias, could turn a dull brown as the cold season hits so disbud and water your flowering plants. Non-tropical trees and shrubs may require transplanting to other parts of the property. Prune your trees and shrubs regularly to keep your garden neat as the weather cools down.
More Gardening Tips for the Winter Season
Make a point to nourish the soil beginning October to November. If your lawn is still growing, continue cutting to lower the blades. This will help inhibit mold growth that could spread all over your garden during the winter months.
Want to lighten your gardening tasks for spring? Always keep your perennial beds neat and clean. Prune your plants, remove the dead leaves, and get rid of any unwanted garden debris, etc. You could also apply fresh mulch at this period.
Some plants need more coddling as the weather cools, such as roses. You need to trim the roses, getting rid of the tallest stems during the autumn season. For climbing roses, no need to trim these plants. Just remove the climbing stems off the trellis, lay them on the ground and then cover with mulch. After the ground freezes, you can cover the roses with a layer of mulch. Some low maintenance rose varieties need a warm base to keep them healthy during the winter season so use mulch or compost. For delicate rose varieties, you’ll need some covering – such as cloches or plant cones – for shelter.
Sometimes the last weeks of fall are extraordinarily dry, leaving shrubs and perennial plants thirsty. You need to water these plant varieties deeply or they will die over the winter. High winds and salt build-up could also cause damage to the plants. Use burlap screens to protect your plants from the elements.
Got newly planted evergreens, shrubs, trees, and perennials? You need to mulch them after the ground freezes as mulching protects delicate plant roots from frost and freezing weather.
Make a habit out of adding compost to your vegetable garden and keeping the plots neat and tidy before the winter season. This ensures excellent bounty come springtime. If your garden is decorated with potted plants and garden statues, you need to bring them indoors during the winter season.
Improving Soil Condition during the Winter Season
When the temperature drops below 45°F, most biological activities in the garden slow down. Everything from the plants to critters buried into the ground prepares to hibernate through the winter. Although the soil structure will not change for the better during the cold season, you can do something about it to ensure the survival of your plants even in the bitterest of cold.
Digging and Turning the Garden Beds
It's normal for the soil to become loose and crumbly at the end of the season. You can restore the texture of the soil by digging and turning the beds. This is best done if you are planning to prepare the beds for an early spring vegetable garden. During the fall season, you can mulch over vacant beds without cultivating them first. We also recommend digging out perennial weeds to retain your garden soil’s structure.
Always Use Winter Mulch
Fall and winter mulches work as an insulating barrier between the dry, frigid air and the soil. Winter mulch is perfect for protecting the delicate plant roots from the changing soil temperature. Soil temperature will fluctuate as the weather transitions to the winter months. When this happens, the plants could heave out of the soil, exposing their upper root systems, which cannot tolerate the cold. Winter mulches protect the plants’ root systems from soil erosion and compaction from heavy rains.
Grow Cool-Climate Plants
As the season changes and temperature drops, soil erosion becomes a serious threat to your garden. To prevent soil from eroding, consider growing cool-climate hardy plants. From carrots to cabbages, Brussels sprouts to winter peas, cool-climate hardy plants protect from soil erosion by growing massive root systems. These root systems will hold onto the soil while also increasing the ground’s organic matter content.
Cover Your Compost
Got several garden beds that are vacant until spring season? Make good use of these vacant plots by loading them with compost without cultivating them first. Then, cover the compost with an old blanket or a low row cover tunnel. The cover helps reduce soil compaction caused by heavy rains while also retaining the compost’s moisture level.
Refreshing Your Garden Setup for the Winter Months
Now that your garden is winter-proof, let’s talk about the many ways you can dress up your garden setup during the dreary winter months.
Give your garden a pop of color to offset the starkness of winter by adding plants with a soothing palette of bright green, white or burgundy. You can also plant miniature deep green conifers after the holidays to give your garden setup some color.
Make your outdoor setting appear warm and inviting by dressing up the patio with colorful cushions, pillows, and throws. You can also stick to neutrals and whites if you want to highlight your garden’s frosty foliage.
The winter season can make your surroundings appear stark or dull during the night and you can create an inviting garden set up by improving the lighting. Set the mood with string lights, wrap the string lights on tree trunks and branches to create a soft glow at night. You can also use portable patio lights, or hang icicle lights to create a shimmering backdrop. Light up your pathways or define walkways with portable ground lights or LED ground driveway lights.
Give your garden a full look of lushness by combining different types of potted plants. You can define the in-ground plant beds by setting a row of potted plants along its borders. You can also use plants that yield white blooms – like white cyclamen – to enhance your raised border’s low brick wall and accentuate this area. You can also highlight the front entry by grouping more potted plants together. You can also use potted, winter-friendly plants to dress up the patio or deck.
It is possible to grow a container garden to enhance the look of your yard during the winter season as long as you are using cool climate plants. When creating a container garden, always pay close attention to the kind of plants that you are using as well as the condition of the soil. Do note that plants grow slowly during the winter season so use light, well-drained soil or a soilless mix. As for the best cool-season plants to plant, there are so many to choose from. Some of the best plants to get for a winter container garden include red-twig dogwood, Rheingold arborvitae, blue rug juniper, and blue star juniper.
Banish lifelessness during the winter season by attracting birds and friendly critters to your garden. Start by planting native flowering plants, shrubs, and trees, to give birds shelter during winter. You can set up bird feeders and bird baths so your feathered friends have a safe place to eat and rest! You can also leave bowls of water all over the property so shy birds could come in for a drink.
Winter season is just around the corner so it pays to prepare your garden weeks, even months before the weather changes. Keep these useful gardening tips in mind when you are winter-proofing your garden. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to enjoy our freshest gardening resources + amazing deals on our bestselling products!
Thinking about building your own indoor garden? Soil-less gardening is not a new concept, the idea has been around since the 7th century BC. However, it was only in the 1950s when soil-less gardening became popular. Building a hydroponic garden is easier than you think! But before we get into that, let's talk about the finer details of hydroponics and how you can incorporate this concept into your garden!
What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a form of gardening method that does not use soil at all. Instead, the plants are grown using a mix of mineral nutrient solutions and water. This method involves circulating the water and providing an aerated environment to grow the plants. The nutrient levels of the solutions must be closely monitored to ensure the survival of the plants.
While hydroponics garden comes in a variety of systems, all these are rooted in the same method, which is using solutions in place of soil for growing plants or crops. When it comes to delivering nutrients to the plants, the solution is applied to the roots using different methods. All the essential elements that play a critical role in plant growth and photosynthesis must be provided to the plants. These elements include the proper amount of light, temperature, and so on.
Apart from using a mix of mineral nutrient solutions and water to grow plants, this gardening technique also utilizes a variety of mediums such as expanded clay, rock wool, perlite, vermiculite, sand, and gravel. These mediums are popular for hydroponic growing because of their ability to hold more moisture for longer periods. That said, there are hydroponic gardens that do not utilize any growing medium at all.
Since hydroponics isn't your ordinary, run-of-the-mill garden, it's best suited for veteran gardeners. This gardening method requires a certain level of expertise and commitment; it’s not something that you can simply walk away from.
What is Hydroponics Used For?
Traditionally, hydroponics is used for growing crops when traditional farming is no longer an option. This technique is often used in large cities with limited to zero access to agriculturally viable lands. In addition, hydroponics can also be used to increase the local food supply. It can replace commercial farming, providing fresh produce on a large scale or feed a small household too.
Hydroponic farming is commonly paired with vertical farming in urban areas. Usually, farmers would buy and convert unused buildings, empty warehouses, and old shipping containers into hydroponic farms. That said, even small rooms can be used for hydroponic farming.
Hydroponic gardening is also gaining in popularity among experienced gardeners.
With this technique, a gardener can grow a variety of indoor plants despite the limited space. Small-scale hydroponic gardening is not as messy as traditional soil gardening and it suits small spaces common in urban areas. Growing plants indoors can also reduce plant diseases and pests. This technique can also rid the indoor air of pathogens, toxins, and allergens that cause sickness.
Factors to Consider Before Building a Hydroponic Garden
The Plants You Want to Grow
As we mentioned earlier in this guide, hydroponic gardening can be done using different systems. The system you will choose depends on the varieties of plants you want to grow. By matching the right types of plants to the proper hydroponic system, you will save more time and money. The perfect pairing of plant varieties and proper hydroponic system means there is no need to upgrade your system for a long time.
The Cost and Additional Expenses
This gardening method is more complex than soil gardening. You have to buy certain equipment and systems to build a hydroponic garden. The best thing to do is to plan your expenses well and then choose the right hydroponic system that suits your budget. You have to factor in the additional expenses to the overall cost of building a hydroponic garden. Thankfully, there are affordable hydroponic system options out there; it's just a matter of knowing the right places to look for these deals.
The amount of space you can spare for a hydroponic garden is also an important factor that you have to consider. Yes, this gardening method doesn't necessitate a sizable space but you'll use different tools and equipment to complete the setup. Hence, the system should suit your space requirements. Don't forget about sparing space for maintenance. Water changes, draining the reservoir, refilling the reservoir and maintaining the entire system are other factors that will come into play when determining the amount of space needed for the hydroponic garden.
How much time do you have for gardening? Again, a hydroponic garden is no ordinary garden; it will take a while to establish the system. Sure, soil-less gardening does not require much weeding but apart from setting up the system, you have to monitor your hydroponic garden's pH, temperature, etc. This means you should have ample time to maintain the garden. If you are busy and you cannot spend at least a couple of hours maintaining a garden, building a hydroponic garden might not be the best idea for you.
Pros and Cons of Hydroponic Gardening
Growing plants without using soil may sound like an odd concept but it’s really a great way to grow a variety of plants and put more food on the table. Below are just a few of the many benefits and some drawbacks to building a hydroponic garden:
The Advantages of Hydroponic Gardening
Faster Plant Growth
Plants in hydroponic gardens grow 20% faster compared to plants grown in the ground. Since the plants in a hydroponic garden absorb nutrients directly from the mineral-rich solutions, they grow rapidly. Building a hydroponic garden minimizes the wait time in between crop harvesting, allowing you to enjoy your crops quickly.
Double the Yield
Crops that are grown indoors are not subjected to growing seasons. You can plant a variety of crops year round and enjoy more yields with less waiting time! In fact, growing crops in a hydroponic garden lead to double the production yield of soil-based farming. Since the growth cycle is constantly restarting, you can harvest more crops and maintain the quality of the crops at the same time. Research shows that growing crops indoors increase yields by at least 20%.
A hydroponic garden is perfect for people who live in urban areas where limited space is always a problem. You do not need a large space to set up an indoor garden. As long as your hydroponic system is all set up, space won’t be an issue at all. No need to make room for clunky planters and plant stands. Since a hydroponic garden does not require soil for growing plants, you can pack more plants in a small space.
Save More Water
Gardening is inherently eco-friendly but you can make your gardening activity even friendlier to the environment if you conserve water. Water conservation is easy with hydroponic gardening; you can save 90% of your water with this setup. A typical hydroponic garden setup requires the installation of water reservoirs. The reservoirs are kept sealed to prevent evaporation. The water released is just enough to grow the plants, no spills or wasted water to worry about. All the water that remains in the reservoirs can be re-used too.
Lighter Gardening Tasks
If you want to lighten your gardening load then consider setting up a hydroponic garden. Yes, the setup will require time to complete but once the garden has been established, your gardening load becomes much lighter. For one thing, weeds will not grow in a hydroponic garden. Plants grown indoors are not vulnerable to soil-borne diseases and pests. No need to drag heavy loads all over the garden, an indoor garden allows you to grow plants in the easiest way possible, less bending needed!
The Drawbacks of Hydroponic Gardening
The pros of hydroponic gardening outweigh the cons but there are certain drawbacks that you should keep in mind before building an indoor garden:
The initial cost of setting up a hydroponic garden is steep, especially when compared to soil-based gardening. The cost is much higher if you are setting up a large-scale hydroponic garden. The setup will also require a variety of specialized equipment and a deep understanding on how to utilize these tools. This is the reason why a hydroponic garden is best suited for experienced gardeners as opposed to newbie gardeners.
Again, if you don’t have a lot of time to spare maintaining a hydroponic garden, this is not the best setup for you. Maintaining a hydroponic garden requires constant monitoring and supervision. You have to keep a close watch at the nutrient solution; the oxygen and temperature level as well as the lighting to ensure the health of the plants. Power outages are also a problem if you are maintaining a hydroponic garden; you will need backup power so you won’t lose your crops.
Because hydroponic gardening requires a variety of electric equipment, expect your electricity bill to go up. This goes especially for large-scale hydroponic farms that depend on artificial lighting at certain seasons. To save more money on electricity, try exploring eco-friendly solutions.
4 Methods of Hydroponic Gardening
There are 4 different types of hydroponic grow systems that are popular on the market. These systems can be applied to large-scale hydroponic farms or a small hydroponic garden. Some of these systems can be made on your own using basic materials; others will require specialized tools and materials:
Ebb and Flow Systems
Also known as flood and drain systems, these systems are comprised of a flood root system and nutrient-dense solution that drain away. These systems feature a grow bed or a tray and a water reservoir beneath it. A drain prevents the water from overflowing, ensuring that the water gets only to a few inches below the top of the growing medium. A pump is also installed to control the flow of the water while a timer is used to time the water draining.
The water is either drained away as waste or drained back into the water reservoir to be reused. Most gardeners prefer to recycle the nutrient solution several times before being replaced with fresh water and nutrients. The trays are flooded with nutrient solution two to three times per day for a few minutes, depending on the plants’ stage of growth. Ebb and Flow systems utilize a variety of growing mediums for the plants. The most popular are netted pots, which can be filled with hardened expanded clay (HEC) or clay pebbles. Of all hydroponics systems, the ebb and flow systems are the easiest to use.
Top-Feed Drip or Spray-Emitter Systems
Top-Feed drip systems are some of the most common hydroponic systems for indoor gardening and indoor farming. These systems are popular among growers because of the added control over the exact amounts of nutrient solutions fed to individual plant sites.
The drip systems are versatile; they are suitable for indoor and outdoor applications. The setups could vary depending on the builder but generally, a reservoir holds the nutrient solution, which runs through the main water line. Smaller lines lead the nutrient solution to the base of the plant sites. Drip systems feature timed operation, allowing growers to feed the plants at specific times of the day. Water can be reused several times or run to waste.
On the other hand, the spray-emitter systems are typically used with either Rockwool or soilless mixtures placed inside trays to collect the runoff. The Rockwool medium is available in different formats including long slabs, large cubes, etc. Soil-less mixtures are often stored in container pots or bags.
Spray-emitter systems utilize small lines to carry the nutrient solution to the plant sites. The nutrient solution is dispensed using fine spray nozzles staked in the medium. The solution is distributed at a specific schedule to keep the plant roots moist all the time. Because the nutrient solution is released as a fine mist, these systems will require higher water pressure, resilient lines, and powerful pumps. The systems’ spray nozzles are prone to clogging so regular maintenance is needed to keep the systems in tip-top shape.
Deep Water Culture Systems
Also known as DWC systems or Bucket systems, Deep Water Culture systems are built using a system of buckets that are hooked to the main reservoir using hoses. The plants may be rooted in peat plugs or Rockwool as seedlings and then transplanted into netted pots that are suspended in a hole cut in the lid of the bucket. Air stones are added to ensure proper root oxygenation.
The main reservoir holds the majority of the nutrient solution. The nutrient solution circulates into each attached bucket and into the plants. The reservoir floods the buckets while a submersible pump works to fill the buckets with water and nutrients at different intervals. When the pump stops, the nutrient solution drains back into the main reservoir to be used in the next feeding.
Nutrient Film Technique Systems
Also known as NFT systems, these user-friendly hydroponic systems are best used for indoor horticulture. NFT systems feature a long grow chamber – usually a channel or PVC pipe – with holes that contain either collars or baskets where the plants are held. The plant roots hang down into the hole so the root tips are in contact with a shallow stream of water.
A pump is installed in the main reservoir to move the water around the plant sites. The goal of the growers is to provide oxygenated water to the plant roots. Most growers conduct several feeding cycles per day, some lasting half an hour at a time. Constant monitoring is needed to ensure that the plant roots stay bright white, not brown, which could be a sign of oxygen deprivation.
Building a hydroponic garden has a lot of benefits. However, this is the kind of project that requires a lot of time and effort so arm yourself with information first. Just keep all the tips we’ve outlined above in mind before building a hydroponic garden. For more gardening tips and useful resources, sign up for our newsletter!
We've said it time and again, there is absolutely no need for a large yard to build a garden. Growing different types of vegetables will only require a small space. If you’d like to start your own vegetable garden but you are unsure what vegetables to grow, you cannot go wrong with spinach. Spinach is loaded with essential nutrients and antioxidants. This is the perfect crop to grow if you’d like to try growing your own food. This vegetable is high in vitamin A and C, which minimizes the risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. What's more, spinach is a versatile vegetable; it can be prepared in many ways.
When it comes to growing spinach, this crop is easy to sow and fast to mature. You don’t have to wait too long before harvesting spinach. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor within a few short weeks! Best of all, spinach does not grow too big. It will thrive in a pot, which is perfect if you are short on garden space. Below is a step by step guide on how to plant spinach in pots:
Growing Spinach from Seeds
There are two ways to grow spinach, you can sow the seeds or regrow the crop from roots. If you are growing the spinach from seeds, you can either plant the seeds directly into the pot or use a seed tray first. Choose a wide-mouthed pot that is about 6 to 8 inches deep. You can also use a garden box, wooden box, even a crate as a planter for the spinach.
Sow the seeds in ½-inch deep soil. After planting the seeds, they should germinate within 5 to 14 days. However, the time it takes to germinate the spinach seeds will depend on the growing conditions and the variety of the crop.
If you are using a seed tray, you have to wait until 2 to 3 days until the crop’s true leaves grow. Once the true leaves have grown, the spinach is ready for transplanting. Spinach loves bright light although it will do well in partial shade too. To avoid burning, protect the spinach from the afternoon sun.
We recommend growing spinach from seeds early in the summer season because it is a fast-growing plant. This way, you can simply re-plant the spinach seedlings with the rest of your heat-loving hardy crops. Spinach will grow in different types of soil but it prefers moist, well-draining loamy soil that’s enriched with organic compost.
Spinach in Pots: Caring and Growing Tips
Spacing the crops is important because you want to give the spinach enough room to grow. Since the spinach has larger leaves, you want to give each plant about 3 to 5 inches of space in between. Of course, you can leave a smaller space if you prefer to harvest the spinach at a young age. If you are planning on an early harvest, you can go ahead and plant the spinach along with other vegetables in a single planter. Spinach will not require much room to grow.
If you planted spinach in the autumn season, you want to set the plant in a sunny spot. In mild climates, the days are shorter and the sunlight is less intense so the bright light won’t burn the spinach. On the other hand, if you planted the spinach in the spring or summer season, you want to set the plant in a partially shady spot.
Since the spinach is planted in a pot, you can move the vegetable around easily. You can also set the potted spinach in a sunny spot in the mornings and then set it in a shady spot during the afternoons. In a subtropical or tropical climate, place the potted spinach in a semi-shady spot.
Enriching the soil with organic compost is equally important when growing spinach. The texture of the soil should remain loamy and crumbly. Spinach hates dense soil that is waterlogged so use well-draining soil for optimal growth. Keep the soil moist, never wet. To maintain the soil’s moistness and protect the spinach from excessive heat, add mulching. This goes even for spinach that’s grown in pots. Use organic matter for the mulch.
When it comes to watering potted spinach, do not wet the leaves. Water only the soil because wetting the foliage could cause rot or fungal disease to set in. Make sure the planters you are using drain water well because spinach hates standing water. Water the spinach regularly using the light shower setting. This goes especially for newly planted seedlings or seeds, a strong setting could wash the planted seeds away.
Generally, spinach seeds germinate in temperatures below 40 Fahrenheit or 4 degrees Celsius. This vegetable will also germinate in high temperatures but excessive heat could lead to burning. The ideal soil temperature to germinate spinach seeds is between 50 to 80 Fahrenheit or 10 to 27 Celsius.
Spinach is surprisingly resilient, it can withstand frost. Mature spinach leaves will not freeze until the temperature drops to 20 Fahrenheit. If the temperature reaches beyond 80 Fahrenheit, spinach will need protection from the heat. You can also add mulch to bring the soil temperature down during the summer season.
Ideal Soil pH
The pH of the soil should be neutral or from 6 to 7. If the soil pH is below 6, the spinach leaves will wilt and turn yellow. A soil pH that’s above 7.5 may lead to slow growth.
Growing spinach loves nitrogen so enrich your soil with this nutrient before sowing the seeds. Just mix organic compost or well-rotted manure with the potting soil. You can also use time-based fertilizer or liquid fertilizer; just make sure the nutrient is released slowly into the soil. In the middle of the spinach’s growth, enrich your soil with fish emulsion, cottonseed meal, organic compost, or manure tea.
If you’re using time-based or liquid fertilizer, add the fertilizer at regular intervals to ensure steady growth. Spread the fertilizer around the base of the spinach then work the fertilizer gently into the soil. Do this carefully because spinach has shallow roots. Disturbing the soil may cause damage to the delicate root system that could lead to die-offs.
Harvesting Spinach in Pots
37 to 50 days after germination, the spinach is ready for harvest. Generally, as long as the spinach has grown at least 4 inches in height and have at least 6 healthy leaves, you can start harvesting. You can harvest the leaves using a pair of scissors. Cut the outer leaves first and leave the new inner leaves alone to grow some more. You can also cut the whole plant from the base. The plant will re-grow again.
You want to start harvesting the spinach leaves before the plant starts growing flowers or the leaves will become too bitter to be eaten. Flowers are likely to sprout when the weather is hot and humid. The spinach plant will develop an erect stem that sprouts yellow or green flowers. As the spinach grows flowers, the leaves will thicken and it will develop a bitter taste. This is called bolting.
As you can see, growing spinach in pots is surprisingly easy. But to enjoy a bountiful yield, keep all the gardening tips we’ve outlined above in mind. For more gardening tips and resources, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter!
Think all planters are created equally? While all planters work the same way, any eco-gardener knows that some planters are better than others. The most common planters are those made with plastic material. Plastic planters may be durable and weatherproof, but they’re not exactly eco-friendly. Manufacturing plastic planters contribute to soil and air pollution. A better, more environmentally sound alternative to plastic planters are fabric pots. What are fabric pots or fabric grow bags and why should you make the switch? Continue reading our guide to find out:
Fabric pots are planters made from a type of BPA-free, breathable material, usually double-layer polypropylene. These products have a soft, felt-like texture. They are quite similar to landscaping fabric. Fabric pots are available in two types: one for growing seedlings or young plants called fabric grow bags and fabric planters, which are used as containers for fully-grown plants.
Although lightweight, fabric pots and fabric grow bags are ideal for growing a variety of plants. The material works as a physical barrier that protects fragile root systems from diseases, pests, and harsh weather conditions.
Just like regular planters, fabric grow bags and fabric planters are easy to use and washable. These products are also reusable, which adds to the eco-friendliness of fabric planters. Fabric grow bags and fabric planters are best used for growing most types of vegetables and they come in different sizes too. We recommend these products for growing tomatoes, cucumbers, hot or sweet chili peppers, and green beans!
Fabric Grow Bags vs. Plastic Planters
Plastic planters are a standard in gardening simply because these products are more widely available. But the fact is, growing plants in plastic bags or plastic planters can be quite tricky especially when it comes to watering the plants. If the planters have too-large drainage holes, the soil is washed away along with the excess water as you water your plants, causing a mess. As the soil drains away, so do the precious nutrients that your plants need to grow.
Exposure to standing water could also stunt plant growth. Standing water could cause rot to set in because plant roots are quite sensitive to excess moisture. Excess moisture could also cause the soil to warm up uncontrollably.
You won’t come across the same problems with fabric grow bags or fabric planters.
Fabric grow bags allow the excess water to pass through the material without washing away the soil. This feature minimizes soil erosion that could affect plant growth while also protecting the plants’ delicate root systems from rot.
Since the material is made from a breathable fabric, standing water is eliminated, ensuring the ideal soil temperature needed to grow healthy plants. Fabric pots have minuscule holes that promote proper air circulation too.
Benefits of Using Fabric Grow Bags
Fabric pots are not just some trendy gardening tools. They are beneficial to your garden and the environment. Below are just a few of the many benefits of switching to fabric pots and fabric grow bags:
Air pruning occurs naturally when fragile root systems are exposed to air in the absence of high humidity. The constant exposure to air naturally burns off the roots, which causes the plants to produce new and healthy branching roots. As the plant continues to grow new branching roots, its overall root structure and mass improves too. With its new feeder roots, the plant is able to absorb more nutrients and water from the soil, accelerating plant growth.
If the plant container is inhibiting air pruning, however, the roots do not gain much feeder roots. What’s more, the few roots that grow will start circling into themselves, causing the root system to turn into a tangled mess. This inhibits the absorption of nutrients and cuts off root circulation that leads to stunted growth and sometimes, die-offs.
If you’ve been trying your hand at indoor gardening, you'll find fabric planters quite handy especially if you are utilizing the ebb-and-flow systems. Fabric planters can be used as a filter, which allows the oxygenation of plant roots. Used in hydro systems, fabric planters minimize the occurrence of clogging of the tubes and other components, which could compromise the entire system.
Soil and Root Oxygenation
Air circulation is important when growing delicate roots. Oxygen helps contribute to the ideal rhizosphere of the root zone. Aerating the soil keeps the temperature low, which enhances the breathability of the root system’s living environment. In addition, proper air circulation allows beneficial microbes to thrive in the soil, which helps the root systems grow stronger and more resilient to harsh climates.
Fabric planter bags are made from a permeable material that promotes proper air circulation. The lightweight material allows the plant roots to absorb more nutrients and oxygen from the soil that leads to bigger yields!
Proper drainage is key to growing healthy plants, especially vegetables. If the plant roots are exposed to standing water, rot could set in. Excessive watering and poor drainage could cause plants to drown and die. These factors could also lead to mold growth, diseases, or pest infestations. Unfortunately, clay and plastic planters are prone to poor drainage. Even plastic or clay pots with drain holes at the bottom aren’t impervious to moisture buildup so plant watering should be done carefully to avoid standing water.
It’s nearly impossible to overwater plants using fabric planter bags. Planter bags are made from lightweight materials that drain excess water at the bottom of the pot while preventing soil from being washed away. The fabric wicks moisture from the sides and bottom of the pot, keeping the soil perfectly moist, never wet.
Think fabric planters aren’t as long-lasting as regular planters? Think again. Just like plastic and clay planters, high-quality fabric planter bags are sturdy, portable, and reusable. You can easily move the planters around the yard when needed. These planters can be folded up and then stored when not in use. Fabric planter pots are resilient, they can withstand and adapt to climate changes and unlike clay pots, they don’t crack under extreme heat.
Some fabric planter bags are UV-protected so they don’t break apart during extended exposure to the sun. They may be more expensive than regular fabric planter bags but you’ll get a lot of use out of these fabric planter bags. When shopping around for fabric planter bags, always choose those made with food-grade materials.
Reduced Heat Stress
Just like human beings, plants need to regulate heat, otherwise, the plant roots become vulnerable to heat stress. Heat stress occurs when the plant root systems are exposed to heat buildup and poor drainage. During the hot summer months when the unforgiving heat is beating down on the plants, the soil temperature rises. As the soil temperature rises, the plant roots heat up. If the plants are potted and the planter material is not allowing heat to escape, the plant roots will literally “cook” from the inside and out.
Heat stress is much less of a problem when you are using fabric planter bags. Since the material allows excess water to drain off and the air to circulate, heat won’t build up in the soil. These planters retain the ideal root zone so delicate roots will not cook at extreme levels, which is a common occurrence in greeneries planted in plastic pots. Fabric planter pots keep the soil moist and cool, which allow roots to become healthy and resilient.
What are the important factors that you should consider when buying fabric planters or fabric grow bags? Keep these tips in mind:
The material of fabric bags will vary greatly. Some are made from recycled materials, others are biodegradable. The raw material of fabric planters made from recycled materials could be textile, cotton fabric, even bottled water. Fabric planters made from biodegradable materials can be planted directly into the ground so these cannot be re-used.
Some fabric bags come with extra components – like zippers, handles, Velcro straps, etc. – others are designed simply to hold plants. If you prefer fabric bags with all the bells and whistles, you are spoiled with options. But just make sure you’re using the right products because certain components could affect the performance of the fabric bags. For instance, Velcro straps may cause soil clogging.
Our advice is to stick to fabric bags with simple designs. A quality fabric bag with handles is a great choice if you frequently move plants around the yard. Opt for fabric bags made with enduring materials to get the most out of your money.
Some fabric pots are chemically treated, others are not. Treated fabric pots may be more resistant to the elements but they can affect the quality of the soil. If you are concerned about chemicals and dyes finding their way into the soil, avoid chemically treated fabric pots. These products contain traces of chemicals that could leach into the soil or kill beneficial critters. Choose fabric pots that are 100% BPA-free.
Fabric grow bags are often used to grow plants with shallow root systems. These grow bags are also perfect for balcony or urban gardens because they do not take a lot of space. Using a fabric grow bag is easy, here’s a step by step guide how:
When choosing the right fabric grow bags for your garden, always keep the size of the bags and the scale of your garden in mind. Make sure your garden has enough room for the number of fabric grow bags that you'll use. If you are using a type of potting mix that is quite dense, it will need proper drainage so line the fabric grow bag with a layer of pebbles or chunky perlite.
Add a layer of compost or gardening soil to fill the bag almost all the way. Leave about 2 inches of space at the top of the bag. Give the fabric grow bag a good shake and knead the soil a bit so the soil is nice and level. Puncture the bottom of the bag with scissors for extra drainage.
At this point, you are ready to use the fabric grow bags to plant different crops. To make room for the plant, just scoop the soil out with a trowel until the hole is big enough to fit the entire root of the plant. Place the root ball into the soil then cover the root ball with soil. Make sure the root ball is not exposed in any way. Small fabric pots are best for small veggies, such as eggplants, zucchinis, and herbs. Larger grow bags are best for fruit-bearing trees and sizable greeneries.
After planting your choice of crops or greeneries into the grow bags, you can start with the regular watering. You can either water the plants directly on a daily basis or install a self-watering system - such as a drip system - to make plant watering even easier. Whichever way you’d like to water your plants, make sure the excess water is drained away to avoid standing water.
After growing and harvesting your crops, you can reuse the fabric planters and the soil for 2 to 3 growing seasons. If say, you’d like to store the grow bags until the next growing season, just remove the potting soil, give the grow bags a good wash and then leave them to dry completely. Fold and stow away in the shed until you are ready to grow more plants!
Fabric grow bags are widely available in stores that sell gardening supplies online and offline. We offer two types of premium quality grow bags, round and square. Our grow bags are made from black felt-like material that promotes proper drainage and air pruning. These fabric grow bags are guaranteed easy to install and relocate! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest gardening resources straight to your inbox. By subscribing to our newsletter, you will also enjoy amazing deals on our bestselling products!
Most of our Pennsylvania summers lately have been so wet that plants which require well-drained conditions are doomed from the start. About the only way to keep their “feet” out of the water is to place them in containers, so I was happy to be discover that the porous fabric sides of grow bags offer excellent drainage.
Having garnered some unusual flower seeds from an online seed trade last year, I especially wanted to get the blue-eyed African daisy (Arctotis venusta) and Namaqualand daisy (Dimorphotheca sinuata) off the ground. I knew from past experience that those plants were liable to turn to mush if I set them in our soggy clay soil. Granted, I could avoid such issues by only growing species native to my area instead of to an entirely different continent, but where’s the fun in that?
So I filled a grow bag with a light potting mix and placed the seedlings in that instead. Namaqualand daisy, which generally blooms during winter in Africa, seemed to prefer the cooler temperatures of early summer and performed enthusiastically for a while before beginning to fade out after the weather heated up. Its flowers only opened on sunny mornings, which were rarer than a day in June this summer!
Fortunately, the silvery and scalloped foliage of the blue-eyed daisy eventually shot up to a height of about 36 inches, even taller than the size the plant reportedly achieves in the sandier soils of Africa. I’m guessing, though, that it may have had to reach for the light here more than it does there.
Although foliage that tall did appear gangly in the bag, the flowers are an exquisite mix of blue, mauve, yellow, and white. They also close up shop early, often folding in late afternoon even on sunny days or only partially opening on cloudy ones, but their hues are divine enough to make up for that deficiency.
Since heliotropes hail from the mountains of South America, they too prefer gritty conditions. Although the ones I’d tried previously usually survived in the ground, they didn’t attain much size. However, planted in grow bags, this years’ specimens quickly rose to the occasion, with the tallest having reached 33 inches already—and the season isn’t over yet.
That caused them to tower over the also fragrant petunia and pinks I planted in the bag with the heliotropes. (Perhaps I should have gone with a dwarf heliotrope instead of the original arborescens.) However, the purchased Supertunia ‘Latte’ has spread enough to appear more than the solo plant that it is. And the annual dianthus ‘Black and White Minstrels’ managed to raise its ruffles in the middle.
In yet another grow bag, I placed the Mexican Cuphea ignea and Portulaca umbraticola ‘Toucan Scarlet,’ (probably also originating in Central or South America). Both produced orange-red flowers, though of very different form—separated by the contrasting green and white of the purchased Petunia Ray ‘Pistachio Cream.’ Although the petunia is beginning to get crowded out by the other plants, it was a beautiful friendship while it lasted.
Due to my success with those plants, I definitely have more items that I want to try in the grow bags next summer. Salpiglossis, also a South American native, seldom does well here except in dry summers, and Icelandic poppies—actually native to the tundra of sub polar regions other than Iceland—tend to rot in the ground.
So I’m hoping that the grow bags will make as big a difference for them as they did for the daisies. After all, it seems we Pennsylvania gardeners are going to have to deal with a loves-us-not weather pattern for at least a while longer!
1. Make notes about this year’s successes and failures.
2. Turn extra tomatoes from your garden into tomato paste.
3. Take and root cuttings from container annuals that you want to keep for next year.
4. Divide spring-blooming perennials.
5. Build a compost bin.
Stock up on notebooks and pens at back to school sales so you can make notes about what worked in your garden this year and what didn’t. For example, perhaps you allowed wild evening primroses to remain in your vegetable garden just because you liked their flowers. A fortuitous choice, since those evening primroses proved to be a natural Japanese beetle magnet and lured the bugs away from your other plants. Write that down now, or next year you may be scratching your head over which weed it was that kept those beetles occupied.
You may also want to take notes about how to preserve your extra tomatoes as paste. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to can them, you easily can freeze them instead. Naturally, paste tomatoes generally work best for this, but you can use others . They just will require longer cooking to boil them down.
After washing your tomatoes, pare out their stems and any rotten spots, and cut them into pieces. Drop those pieces into a blender and run it on high for long enough to liquefy the tomatoes. Pour them through a strainer into a saucepan, as the mesh of the strainer will catch and remove the seeds and skins.
After bringing the strained paste to a boil, simmer it on low, uncovered, stirring it occasionally, until it boils down to the consistency that you prefer. You then can simply pour however much you generally use in recipes into individual freezer bags. Or, if you prefer, you can freeze the paste in ice cube trays first, to convert it into convenient size blocks, before inserting those blocks into freezer bags.
Speaking of preserving, if you have especially choice container annuals that you would like to keep over the winter, it’s a good idea to take cuttings from them now. The types most likely to survive on windowsills indoors are those which can flourish in low light—such as coleus, wax begonias, and fuchsias—and those which can tolerate dry conditions—such as pelargoniums.
Most of those plants will root easily in water. For instructions on that, see Rooting Cuttings in Water on Your Windowsill. If you prefer the traditional method for cuttings, see How to Root a Tree with Root Hormone. You need only change the amount of rooting hormone—based on whether your cuttings are softwood, semi-hardwood, or hardwood—to make the article applicable to plants instead of trees.
In reference to other plants, autumn is a good time to divide spring-blooming perennials, since they flourish during cooler weather. That would include primroses, creeping phlox, brunnera, etc., as well as the more problematic peonies. Because they don’t like having their roots disturbed, peonies shouldn’t be moved unless it is absolutely necessary, since they often will stop blooming for a year or two to allow themselves time to recoup. But, if you must relocate them, autumn is the time to do it.
Early autumn also is a good time to build yourself a compost bin, for all those leaves which will be plummeting from the trees shortly. Although such bins can be expensive to purchase and ship, you may be able to construct your own from materials you already have on hand.
Keep in mind that the bin’s floor should be the ground, preferably level ground, and its walls should be constructed of permeable materials (which will admit air). Those might include wooden pallets, woven wire fencing or screening, lattice panels, straw bales, landscape timbers, cement blocks, etc. With a little imagination, you may be able to use recycled junk as an enclosure in which to recycle your leaves and leavings!
Portland, Oregon is renowned as a gardener’s paradise because of the vast number of plant varieties that thrive in the region. Oregon’s temperature is mild most of the year although the region is prone to cold spells that last for weeks. Apart from the hardiness of the region, the soil types, irrigation, available nutrients, and care given are other factors that could affect plant growth in the region.
Location is an extremely important factor that you need to consider as you plan your gardening activities during fall and winter season in Oregon. Different types of plants have different types of growth habits. If you want to increase your vegetable plants’ survival, they should be able to withstand the local climate and microclimate.
Learning about Portland Oregon’s Climate and Microclimate
To determine your region’s climate zone and hardiness zone, just check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. The map categorizes the kinds of plants that will thrive in different parts of the country. It also provides important information related to a state’s average minimum temperatures, which is important when growing greeneries.
Inner Portland falls into USDA hardiness zone 8b (the state has an average low temperature of 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit) or 9a (the region experience average lows from 20 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit). Portland including the Willamette Valley is in zone 6.
In Zone 6, gardeners enjoy a long growing season that starts from mid-March to mid-November. Cold snaps, long winters, and seasonal storms are possible as the weather cools down. Generally, Portland summers are hot and dry while the winters are cold and bitter.
Portland, Oregon’s Microclimate
The region’s local microhabitat is also a great indicator of what plant varieties to grow. Usually, the valley floor conditions make it difficult to plant the same plant varieties that thrive at elevated locations, like the top of the Council Crest. Your yard’s microclimate affects the plants’ growing rate differently because sun exposure, humidity levels, etc., differ from areas to areas. For most Portland gardeners, plant species that are not suitable for the microclimate are either treated as an annual in following seasons or skipped altogether.
The region has different microclimate but generally, the hardiness map is the best way to check what types of plants are best suited for planting in Portland. Also, if you are an experienced gardener then you probably know of several plants that will survive Oregon’s fall and winter season.
The Best Fall and Winter Season Vegetable to Plant in Portland, Oregon
Gardening during the cooler months is challenging because the crops should be harvested before the winter frost sets in. And Oregon’s winter is quite bitter so few plants survive the extreme cold. The winter frosts in Oregon begin around November 15. Here is a list of the best plants to grow during the fall and winter season:
• Brussels Sprouts
• Snow Peas
Some vegetables have to be sown indoors before being transplanted into the garden but this depends on the climate. To ensure the survival of your crops, you have to determine the time each plant variety needs between planting and harvesting. If you are planting from seeds, check the “Days to Harvest.”
Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, for instance, need 100 days to harvest so these should be planted in the ground during the first week of August. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, and spinach can be direct seeded into the garden starting September. However, if the climate is too hot, you can grow these indoors starting July then transplant the seedlings by the last week of August.
It is possible to plant hot weather crops such as beans, cowpeas, corn, squashes, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, gourds and sunflowers during the fall season. However, these must be planted directly into the ground at the beginning of August. Garlic and snow peas can be grown at the start of the fall season. Garlic, in particular, is quite hardy and it grows around the country. However, the ideal soil temperature is important when growing these crops so use a soil thermometer before planting fall season vegetables.
Practical Gardening Tips
When it comes to planting your vegetables, you have to consider the time of the day. You want to make sure that the soil condition is perfect to ensure your plants’ chances of survival. We recommend planting in the morning or in the evening when the soil is nice and moist. You need to water your plants lightly every day during the summer season.
Oregon summers are quite scorching and if the heat is too much for your plants to handle, you should use a plant cover to protect them from burns. Use a non-woven polyester landscape fabric as cover for the plants because the material allows light and water to pass through. You can simply cover carrots, beets, and other direct seeded crops with plant covers but bigger vegetable plants like peppers and broccoli needs a cold frame or a structure of sorts for propping the cover.
Use the top couple of inches of soil for germinating seeds and planting seedlings with delicate root systems. This way, the new seedlings will get all the nutrients they need to grow healthily. Also, it helps to add about ¼ inch of compost and some organic fertilizer to the soil to make the nutrients more available and easily absorbed by the plants.
Creating a garden calendar is also a great way to plant the right plants according to the season as well as to monitor the growth of your crops. A garden calendar is also handy when the local climate changes every so often. It is important to check the timing of your plantings because this is the only way to ensure that the produce grows at a harvestable size through the winter season. If you plant too early, the young plants might mature too soon or wilt and die. Here’s a simple guide on how to make your own garden calendar.
To make the most out of your garden space, why not split the garden for hot and cold season crops? You can designate half of your garden space for summer crops such as beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc., and then the other half of your garden for cold season crops like carrots, beets, kale, and scallion.
Oregon winters are notorious for being harsh and bitter. Monitor the forecast for a hard freeze. Even if a crop has germinated or a seedling is growing at a much faster rate, it is still vulnerable to late frost. If the weather is too cold, you have to shelter your plants.
It is possible to harvest crops during the winter season around the west of the Cascades. In fact, even some fall season plants could be grown during the winter season and they should be ready for harvest early in the spring season. Cold weather crops such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, carrots, leeks, beets, turnips, scallions, parsley, cilantro, etc., are quite hardy, some could withstand some frost and others could survive below freezing temperature. It’s worth noting that cool season crops and native plants have better chances of surviving Oregon’s fickle weather.
Preparing for Frost and Rain
In Oregon, the arrival of frost signals the intensified efforts to protect tender crops from damage. Certain crops may have already produced ripe fruits at this point, such as tomatoes, summer squash, melons, eggplants, cucumbers, and peppers. These plants cannot tolerate frost so the fruits must be picked immediately. Store the vegetables until needed. If there is a warning for mild frost, protect and insulate tender plants with immature fruits using burlap, baskets, blankets, or canvas sacks.
Oregon gets a lot of heavy and prolonged rainstorms, which could leave leafy plants vulnerable to rot, pests, and diseases. Heavy rains tend to saturate the soil, which leads to the growth of slugs or the spread of leaf disease. To protect your winter garden from the rain, you should use a cloche, cold frame, row cover, and plastic mulch. You can also convert a cold frame into a hotbed to insulate your plants during the winter season.
Cloches, which are bell-shaped glass jars, are best used for delicate plants. These barriers protect the delicate plant roots from the elements, particularly dry winds, rain, and cold air. You can set the cloches over individual plants or create a tunnel to protect a whole row of plants. Cloches are lightweight so be sure to secure them in place so the cloches do not topple over.
Cold frames, on the other hand, are structures made from either wood or plastic material. You can also use cinder blocks to make cold frames. Cold frames are used to protect cool weather crops. These structures depend on sunlight to insulate the plants.
Gardening in Portland, Oregon is challenging because of the changing weather. Wind, fog, and cool temperatures can slow down plant growth. Sunny days could prove scorching for delicate plants. Garden pests are aplenty all year round. However, as long as you are able to match the weather with the right types of plants, you can expect an excellent yield during the cool season.
Oregon’s mild weather is perfect for gardening but it’s important to keep up with the changing weather to ensure a bountiful yield! Just keep all these gardening tips in mind. Subscribe to our newsletter today to get the latest gardening resources + amazing savings on our bestselling products.
What garden trends should you keep an eye out for 2018? If you've always wanted to build a garden or you simply want to redesign your current setting, checking the latest gardening trends is the best way to develop the best garden design for your outdoor space. This year is all about enjoying the most out of your outdoor space and keeping your garden setting simple, natural, and comforting. Without further ado, here are popular garden trends to watch out for this year:
Creating Intimate Spaces
Injecting coziness into your garden arrangement will be big this year. This goes no matter how big or small your outdoor space is! There are so many ways of adding coziness in an outdoor setting. Highlight intimate spaces by framing a seating area with an assortment of greeneries. Try surrounding your seating area with potted plants or installing a trellis near or over the seating area to create a romantic canopy.
If you are working with a large, open area, break the space into different sections and then decorate these areas one at a time. You can add a fire pit near your patio set up; add vines and arbors to create a forest-like garden arrangement or use hedges, raised beds, even large planters to highlight the sense of intimacy between spaces.
Got zero floor space for a garden? Go vertical to add color and life to your indoor or outdoor space. This hot trend works so well in rentals and urban homes. A vertical garden is not only the perfect solution for space-strapped homeowners, tending to the plants is much easier too. You can grow an herb garden by using hanging planters or make a living artwork using succulents.
If your rental has a balcony, you can use this space to build your vertical garden. You can use a pallet planter to showcase your plants, install railing planters for your flowering plants, or hanging planters for your trailing plants.
Install Water Features
Fire pits were HUGE last year but this year it’s all about the water feature. A water feature helps create an even more relaxing garden arrangement. The soothing sound of flowing water instantly puts the mind at ease. Water features could also attract a number of garden-friendly wildlife!
If you’ve always wanted to install a pond or a grotto in the garden but it’s way off your budget, then a couple of water features could work as the focal point of your outdoor space. Water features are more affordable and easier to maintain than an actual pond.
Water features come in different sizes and most are perfectly sized for small spaces. If you are working with a large outdoor space, we recommend installing more than two water features in different areas of the garden.
Love the farm-to-table concept? Farm to table is a movement that encourages people to acquire food from local sources as opposed to importing the produce from afar. You can join the farm to table movement by growing your own edible garden. Edible gardening is so hot this year. In fact, more and more urban dwellers are building their own edible garden (herb garden, vegetable patch, rooftop garden, backyard orchard, etc.) to grow their food.
You do not need a large expanse of space to join the farm-to-table movement. Most vegetables do not grow too big so a small space should be enough to get your edible garden started. Fruit-bearing trees are best for larger spaces but there are dwarf varieties that do not grow too big so they should do well when grown in small spaces too.
Begin your garden-to-table gardening by growing vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuces, shallots, potatoes, beetroot, broccoli, rainbow chard, etc. Add a couple of potted fruit trees to the veggies as well as herbs. Ideally, you want to get a raised bed for the veggies so you can control the quality of the soil and keep pests at bay. Don’t collect too many plants in such a short period if you’re new to gardening. Start small then work your way to more plant varieties. If you are one of the lucky few with a large yard, take your garden-to-table gardening up a notch by adding some chickens for fresh eggs.
Container gardening is the practice of growing a garden in pots or containers rather than planting them in-ground. This concept is best suited in small spaces and it includes planting edible and non-edible plants alike.
Since the plants are not planted directly into the ground, you can change the arrangement of your garden whenever. In addition, growing plants in containers do not require heavy equipment at all. This gardening concept also reduces the risk of infestation because the plants are contained in pots, tubs, dishes, barrels, and hanging baskets. Your gardening activities aren’t so exhausting either because maintaining potted plants is so much easier.
Al Fresco Dining and Outdoor Entertainment
2018 is all about enjoying your outdoor space to the fullest and taking advantage of what nature has to offer. This is the reason why al fresco dining and outdoor entertainment are such a hit this year. Al fresco dining is a great way to enjoy your outdoor space, entertain friends and family, or bond with the kids.
You can perfect your outdoor setup by maximizing shady spots in your yard, balcony garden, or rooftop garden. Create a seating area where you and your guests could converse, lounge, or enjoy good food. Set the mood with the perfect lighting. Surround your seating area with greeneries to create an intimate space. If you have room for it, add dedicated spaces for cooking.
Rose gold obsession was so 2017. This year, it’s all about copper accents! Used as a material or an accent color, copper will make a huge impact in your garden design this year. You can incorporate this trendy shade by adding hard landscaping to warm up your outdoor spaces. Copper makes a fabulous contrast color to gravel, stone, and wood so go ahead and decorate your garden with copper decors.
More and more people are getting into gardening, even folks who live in rentals and small apartments. Thankfully, even the tiniest slice of space is enough to grow an urban garden. An empty balcony offers plenty of room for growing a variety of edible and non-edible plants!
The concept of urban gardening is to enhance available spaces regardless of the size. Building a balcony garden is a terrific way of expressing your own creativity and good taste. To build your own balcony garden, use planters or pots, vertical structures, and hanging planters to grow a variety of flowers and foliage. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Play with different colors, textures, heights, and plant varieties to add life to your rental.
Eco-landscaping is the concept of designing, creating, and maintaining a sustainable landscape to save time, money, and energy. The idea is designed to reduce air, soil, and water pollution while also creating healthy, beautiful recreational spaces that you can enjoy with your loved ones. The concept involves planting plants that grow locally. Native plants require less watering and minimal fertilizer or pesticides. By planting native plants, you are providing a healthy habitat for the local wildlife.
Eco-landscaping also involves making your own composting systems. Composting allows you to recycle anything that can be reused in your household, including kitchen scraps. By composting your kitchen scraps, you are reducing your household waste, which minimizes your carbon footprint.
If you love the idea of building a forest-like garden, you’ll love this trending gardening concept. Woodland-style planting involves growing low-level woodland plants such as shrubs, ferns, mosses, anemones and mixing them up with tufted grasses to create a dreamy, forest-like effect. This concept is perfect for shaded spaces. The idea here is to add architectural plants to give the outdoor space structure and accent.
2018 puts a strong focus on maintaining a healthy well-being hence; mindfulness is proving to be one of the biggest trends of the year. Mindfulness is based on the ancient practice of living in the moment. This year's trendy garden designs put a strong emphasis on creating a relaxing ambiance.
To encourage mindfulness, fill your garden with a mix of elements that stimulate the senses. Use calming colors – like blues, greens, yellows, and lavender – to soothe the mind, body, and soul. Growing flowering plants that fill the air with soft fragrances also helps delight the senses.
Why use raised garden beds? Are raised beds an essential part of the garden? What are the benefits of using raised garden beds anyway? If you are new to gardening, then you probably came across such a product and is beset with questions about its purpose and practicality. After all, raised garden beds aren’t cheap! If you want to know the important facts about raised garden beds, this guide is for you.
Also known as garden boxes, raised garden beds are used for growing small plots of vegetable or flowering plants. Since the plants are set in a confined space, weeds do not spread as quickly. This makes weeding a less taxing chore. The raised beds create a physical barrier against pests. They also work to prevent soil compaction and improve the soil's structure.
The 6 Benefits of Raised Garden Beds
Why use raised garden beds, you ask? Garden beds serve many purposes. These products make life infinitely easier for avid gardeners, particularly those who grow their own food in their backyard.
Healthier, More Resilient Plants
Contrary to popular notion, raised beds are not the same as standard planters. Planters have bottoms that prevent the soil from draining away. The bottoms act as barriers that keep plant roots from spreading further into the ground. Planters need some type of permeable cloth or are often layered with gravel to ensure proper drainage.
Raised garden beds, on the other hand, do not have bottoms. These products are set openly to the ground, allowing plants to spread their roots further into the soil. Since the plant roots can go further into the ground without competing with pathway weeds, the soil nutrients are absorbed much more efficiently. This is the reason why plants set in raised garden beds are healthier and more resilient to the elements.
Retain or Improve Soil Quality
The soil’s structure affects the health of the plants. Soil erosion, especially during heavy downpours, could expose plant roots and wash away nutrients that plants need to grow. In addition, poor soil conditions could lead to nutrient deficiencies, stunted growth, fewer yields, and reduced blooms. Using raised garden beds protect the soil from erosion.
If you want to plant your vegetables early in the season because the soil temperature is perfect, raised garden beds will boost the survival of your crops. Since the soil is resistant to erosion, you have better control over the quality of the soil. You can enrich your plot with organic fertilizer and make amendments as you see fit without worrying about heavy rains. You can turn the soil and prevent compaction during the cooler months. The soil is always well drained because it sits higher than ground level. Raised beds help aerate the soil, extend the growing season, and provide relief from root run from trees.
More Space for Growing Plants
Not all gardeners are blessed with a massive outdoor space for a garden. If space is an issue, you can maximize what little room you have in the garden with raised garden beds. Using raised garden beds, you can set your plants in neat sections. This allows you to make room for more plants and enjoy an impressive yield despite the limited space. If you love variety, you can combine different crops in a single raised garden bed. You can also use the sides of the garden boxes to grow more plants!
Although gardening is a relaxing hobby, some activities are quite taxing because they are hard on the back. Bending down to maintain your garden plot, removing unwanted garden debris, daily weeding, these are just a few of the many chores that come with gardening. Thankfully, using raised garden beds could ease some of the strains of gardening. Since the plants are planted in a confined space, removing garden debris and weeding becomes much easier.
Raising the plants above the ground is also better for gardeners with limited mobility. Depending on the quality of the raised beds, you can also sit on the edge of the garden boxes to clear the plots, which reduces back strain.
Raised beds give you better control over the soil quality. The beds help divide a large yard into manageable areas for you to work on. You can enrich the soil with ease and support more plants. Because the plants are grown closer to the ground without the leaves touching the soil, the plants are able to absorb all the nutrients from the soil effectively while also preventing rot from setting in.
Effective Pest and Infestation Deterrent
Raised garden beds provide an elevated plot for plants, something that will be useful when repelling pests. Because the plants are raised several inches from the ground, burrowing pests will have a hard time penetrating the barrier.
Garden pests tend to spread easily if the plants are much closer to the ground. Planting your vegetables in raised garden beds and attaching solid frames to surround the beds is an effective strategy to deter pests. You can also use raised garden beds in conjunction with plastic liners to protect your plants from burrowing parasites. Wire netting could also keep small rodents from feasting on your vegetable garden. The added height keeps pets and kids from trampling the plants.
Spotting infestation and removing pests are also much easier when the plants are set in raised garden beds. All you have to do is to walk in between the beds and inspect the plants regularly to prevent an infestation. With raised garden beds, you can spot infestation much easier, allowing you to contain the problem before it worsens.
Who Needs Raised Garden Beds?
Most gardeners do not regard raised beds as an essential part of gardening but there are some who needs these products. Since raised garden beds aren’t exactly cheap, you have to make good use of the raised beds to justify the cost. You should get raised garden beds if:
The Soil is not Suitable for Planting
Raised garden beds are a godsend for gardens with poor soil structure. If your soil structure is stony, compacted, contaminated, or prone to erosion, you will benefit from using raised garden beds. Raised garden beds can be set directly on compacted surfaces, allowing you to use better soil for the plants. If your soil drains poorly, you can use raised garden beds to promote proper drainage. You can also improve the quality of the soil by filling your raised garden beds with a mix of potting soil and organic compost.
Give Seedlings an Early Start
The soil temperature is a critical part of growing healthy seedlings. If you are planning on planting early in the season, raised beds will come in handy. Raised beds give seedlings an early start. The beds provide enough protection from the changing weather, keeping the seedlings’ fragile root systems nice and warm early in the season.
You need to raise the Height of your Garden
Gardening is hard on the back and if you are dealing with back issues then you need to raise the height of your garden. With raised garden beds, you don’t have to bend down all the time to complete your gardening tasks, which puts less strain on your back. Raised beds will benefit any gardener with limited mobility. In some cases, the garden has to be raised to protect the plants from pets. Raising the garden is also beneficial for delicate plants that are set in high traffic areas like pathways and walkways.
Amending the Existing Soil
Different types of plants thrive in different soil pH. Vegetables prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil pH of 5.5 to 7.5. A pH of 6.5 is best for most home gardens. Some crops, like blueberries and tomatoes, love acidic soil while broccoli and asparagus prefer slightly sweeter soil.
Whatever your plants’ pH needs are, amending the soil is much easier when the soil is contained in a raised garden. Amending the ground to bring the pH level up or down has to be done several times but your hard work might go to waste once the rains come. By using raised beds, you can amend the soil without fear of your hard work being washed away by rainwater. In addition, you can fill raised beds with different types of soil to grow a variety of plants.
Factors to Consider When Setting the Raised Beds
Say you finally took the plunge and bought several raised beds for your garden, how do you set these up properly? What factors should you consider when preparing the raised beds for the garden? Consider these gardening tips:
Getting the Right Size
Raised beds come in different sizes, some are three to four feet wide, others measure six to eight feet long. The height of the raised beds will vary too. When shopping around for raised beds, always consider the size of your garden; make sure you get the right fit. The raised bed should be deep enough for plants to root and not too shallow that the roots are in contact with the compacted soil. We recommend raised beds that are about 10 to 12 inches deep for home gardens.
Picking the Perfect Spot
The best spot for the raised garden beds will depend on the plants that you want to grow. You can set the raised beds in a sunny spot, on the front yard, near the driveway, or in the backyard. Again, just make sure your garden has enough space to accommodate the length of the raised beds. For sloped areas or uneven ground, you might have to make slight modifications to set the raised beds properly.
If you are planning to set the raised beds on a grassy spot, you have to remove the weeds first. The easiest way to do this is to outline the space you need and then cover this spot with a layer of cardboard. Then, cover the cardboard layer with potting soil. Since the sunlight is blocked, the weeds die. The cardboard material will break down as well, allowing plants to grow deeper roots.
Should you install irrigation? This depends on you but if you want to, you can set up a drip irrigation system in raised beds. Just make sure to set up the system before the raised beds are filled with soil.
Using the Best Soil Type
What kind of soil should you use to fill the raised garden beds? Use the best soil quality that you can afford. We recommend top dressing triple mix soil with organic compost for best results. To know how much soil you’ll need to fill a single raised bed, you can use soil calculators like this one.
Raised beds could shift over time and to prevent this, you can install stakes to set the raised beds in place. Ideally, you want to install thick stakes that are more than a foot deep so the raised beds will not move. Here is a great step by step guide on how to install stakes on raised beds.
Should You Build a Raised Bed or Get a Store-Bought Raised Bed?
This is a matter of personal preference but if you are quite the handyman and you have a lot of unused wooden planks gathering dust in your shed, go ahead and make the raised beds yourself to save more money. On the other hand, if you want to make your life easier, you can simply buy a raised bed. The beauty of store-bought raised beds is that the assembly is a cinch. This is a great option if you have a million other things to take care of and you have zero time to make your own raised beds.
We offer a great range of high-quality raised beds in case you’re in the mood to shop! Our raised beds are made from premium yet eco-friendly materials. Stocks are limited so shop while these beautiful raised beds are still available.
Why use raised garden beds? For some gardeners, they can live without raised beds but for others, raised beds are an essential part of their garden. If your garden soil is not the best or if your plants have to be raised for whatever reason, raised garden beds will make your gardening activities infinitely better. Using a raised bed is also one way to ensure that your crops have the best chances of survival.
Although gardening is inherently eco-friendly, there are so many ways to make gardening tasks even more beneficial to the environment. Something as simple as using organic fertilizer as opposed to chemically treating plants is a positive step towards building an eco-friendly garden. If you are committed to environment preservation and you’d like to step up your gardening game at the same time, try these eco-friendly gardening tricks:
Reuse and Recycle
Brand new gardening tools are great to have but if you want to reduce your carbon footprint and minimize your household waste, try recycling unused or unwanted home items. Turning old things into something new is a great way to save money on gardening too!
You can use old plastic containers as planters, makeshift watering cans, etc. You can turn rusty gardening tools into unique decors. Instead of stocking up an arsenal of gardening tools, you can turn everyday home items into gardening tools too. Need seed starting pots for the next season? You can use discarded toilet paper rolls, fruit rinds, even pots made from newspaper as seed starting pots! You can also make planters out of vitamin pill bottles, juice bottles, tins, etc. As long as you are open to new ideas, you can make unwanted or forgotten items new again.
Spices as Natural Fungicide
Fungal infection can spread easily to the garden, all it takes is for one plant to be infected. Thankfully, there is no need to use a chemical fungicide to keep the infestation contained. Just use spices. Certain types of spices – cinnamon, turmeric, clove, mustard, etc. – have potent antifungal properties. Even better, spices are loaded with antioxidants that will boost your plants’ resistance to environmental stress.
Try mixing the spices with the potting soil before putting it in a planter to keep destructive fungus at bay. You can also sprinkle the spices a few inches from your plants then reapply periodically after watering to keep your garden fungus-free!
Kitchen Staples as Natural Fungicide
Apart from using spices to control fungal growth, you can also use a variety of common household staples to create an effective anti-fungal mix. You can use tea to protect your seedlings from fungus. Just like spices, tea is loaded with antifungal properties and antioxidants. We recommend using chamomile tea. Steep 3 bags of chamomile tea in a cup of boiling water for at least 4 hours to create a strong brew. Pour the solution in a spray bottle and spritz on plant seedlings to thwart fungal growth.
Garlic is also an excellent fungicide. Just mince or puree a clove of garlic then combine with a quart of water. Let sit overnight. In the morning, strain the garlic pulp and pour the liquid into a spray bottle. Spritz on plant seedlings to thwart fungal growth.
Hydrogen peroxide, which is used to disinfect cuts and scrapes, can be used to repel fungi. Just mix a tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a quart of water. Pour the solution in a spray bottle and then spritz about an inch of the solution on plant seedlings until the soil is lightly dampened.
DIY Plant Markers
Adding labels to your plants is a great way to track the many plant varieties you have in your garden. These markers are particularly useful for vegetables planted in rows. But why buy plastic plant markers when you can make your own using common household tools?
You can create plant markers using twigs. Just paint one end with your choice of color and let the paint dry completely. On the painted end, write the name of the plant and then stick the unpainted end of the stick to your plant bed. Repeat until all your plants are labeled. Use different shades to give your garden a punch of color.
You can also use discarded wine corks as eco-friendly plant markers. Just insert a bamboo skewer on the bottom of the wine cork. With a fine tip marker, write the plant name and then stick the bamboo skewer near your plants. Again, you can give the wine corks a coat of paint to give your garden pops of color.
Even flat rocks could be used as plant markers. Choose several flat rocks or smooth stones and give them a good scrub. Once dry, paint the plant names on the rocks using craft paint then seal with a weatherproofing sealer. Place the rocks on the corresponding plant and you’re done.
DIY Water Container Garden
Decorate your deck with a beautiful water container garden! This easy project won’t cost you much. All you need is a large bucket or a wine barrel planter, potting soil, mosquito dunks, and water lily and lotus varieties. You can check out the step by step guide here. Making a mini water container garden as opposed to installing a full-sized pond is not only cheaper, it’s also more eco-friendly. This goes especially if you are reusing the container for the water garden.
Build Your Own Compost Bin
You can reduce your household waste and turn kitchen scraps into something useful by composting at home. To do that, you need to make your own compost bin. No need to dig around the yard or craft a compost bin out of pallets, you can convert your old trash bin into a compost bin.
This DIY compost bin is perfect for avid gardeners and you only need 3 things: a trash can, a drill and a paddle drill bit. Clean the trash bin well and leave it to dry. Then, drill holes on the sides of the trash can and you are ready to build your compost pile.
Compost is a nutrient-rich blend of organic materials such as wood clippings, dry leaves, and of course, kitchen scraps. You can choose between hot or cold compost. The best composting materials are eggshells, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings, finely chopped wood, dry leaves, sawdust from untreated wood, and shredded paper.
Do-It-Yourself Wicking Bed
Want to add a self-contained raised bed with a built-in water reservoir for your garden? Try using a wicking bed. A wicking bed is a self-watering raised garden bed that creates a moist environment for plants to grow. This garden bed is often used in gardens with poor soil infiltration or in places where the weather is hot and arid.
Generally, the garden bed is made of a watertight container with a built-in mechanism to disperse the water. Thankfully, you don’t have to buy a wicking bed, which can be quite expensive. You can make one yourself using a regular raised bed. Here’s a guide how. When making wicking beds, always use high-quality landscaping fabric between the rock and soil layers. In addition, you want to add worm castings, compost, etc. to enrich the soil.
DIY Hummingbird Feeder
Hummingbirds are not just a delight to watch, these colorful tiny birds could pollinate flowers too. Hummingbirds have long, skinny beaks that constantly reach out to sweet nectar. As the bird feeds, flowers with long tubes are pollinated too! These birds flap their wings 70 times per second and their heart rate reaches 1,260 beats per minute so hummingbirds need constant sustenance, which is sugar water.
You can attract hummingbirds in your garden while boosting pollination at the same time by making a hummingbird feeder. Make this project eco-friendly by reusing discarded wine bottles. Here’s a step by step guide how.
Baby Diaper as Planter Liner
Planters have holes at the bottom to help drain excess water. But most times, the holes are so big that the wet soil is always washed away and this leads to a muddy mess every time you water your potted plants. You can prevent the soil from dropping down the planter holes while also straining the excess water by using a baby diaper as a planter liner. Just place the diaper at the bottom of the planter with the absorbent side up. Fill the planter with potting soil and plant your desired plants. That's all there is to it!
DIY Organic Insecticide
Dealing with garden pests can be frustrating but don’t turn to chemical repellants just yet. So many organic insecticide recipes do a better job of ridding the garden of harmful critters without poisoning the soil. For starters, try this garlic mint organic insecticide made from kitchen staples. If you have a serious slug infestation, mix 3 tablespoons of organic castile soap with an ounce of orange essential oil in a spray bottle. Apply liberally to keep pesky slugs away!
To deal with aphids, fungus gnats, and mealy bugs, use orange rind. Just steep the orange peels in a pot of boiling water for 24 hours. Strain the liquid then transfer the infusion into a spray bottle. Add a few drops of peppermint-scented castile soap in the infusion, give it a good mix and then spray the solution liberally on the affected plants to ward off harmful insects.
Anyone can be an eco-gardener. Maintaining an eco-friendly garden takes a lot of effort but as long as you are committed to being a friend to the environment, the extra effort is always worth it. Tune in for more gardening tips by signing up for our newsletter. Sign up today and enjoy great discounts on our bestselling products!
Looking for gardening tips for your container garden? Container gardening is a method of growing plants in containers as opposed to planting them directly into the ground. This gardening practice is a great way to add pops of color to a variety of outdoor spaces like the patio, balcony, yard, etc. If say, you are working with a small space for a garden, this gardening technique allows you to grow a broad range of garden plants even if you have little room to spare. Container gardening is quite versatile; it is suitable for small spaces and sizable yards alike.
Factors to Consider Before Building a Container Garden
Speaking of plants, not all plant varieties thrive in containers. To grow your garden successfully, you have to select the right plants.
Choosing the right plants for your container garden is just the beginning. To make this project a success, you have to prioritize good drainage. Exposure to excessive moisture is worse than under-watering your plants. Always check your planters, make sure that they have drain holes at the bottom so the plants won’t drown.
If you are unsure about a certain plant’s growing habits, etc., do not be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your local nursery employees and seek expert advice from experienced gardeners. Do your research to know what types of plants thrive in your local climate and micro-climate. Check if your garden is receiving direct sunlight and plan the plants to get accordingly.
Apart from giving providing helpful gardening tips, we will also outline our top picks for your container garden:
Top 10 Plants for Your Container Garden
This striking perennial plant is known for its broad palette of foliage colors. The leaves have a unique look to them and the colors range from dainty peach to deep burgundy. Coral bells are suitable for a container garden because they do better in pots as opposed to being planted into the ground. This plant is so easy to grow so it's a great starter plant for people who are new to gardening.
Just a couple of gardening tips: Coral bells thrive in sunny or shady spots although the leaves will burn from too much sun. This plant hates standing water so always check the soil for moisture before watering.
Begonia is an easy to grow, low maintenance annual plant that's perfectly suited for container gardening. It will not take over your garden; rather, the begonia plant will enhance the look of your outdoor space thanks to its beautiful blooms and fabulous foliage. Begonia blooms come in a full spectrum of colors, ranging from pink, red, yellow to pristine white! Just like Coral bells, begonias hate standing water so water this plant with care and use well-drained soil. This plant performs best in warm environments and semi-shady spots.
Also known as Summer Snapdragon, Angelonia will add color and life to any container garden! Angelonia is also known for its unique blooms. Each flower is shaped like the open mouth of a dragon, hence its name. Its delicate blooms come in vibrant shades of blue, purple, even white and red! The best part? This plant produces flowers all summer long. Angelonia will keep blooming with no deadheading required.
Angelonia loves spots with good airflow so do not crowd the plants. If set in a shady spot, Angelonia won't produce a lot of blooms. This hardy perennial loves dry environments but it can handle humidity with relative ease.
Euphorbia is an easy-to-grow annual plant with pretty, frothy blooms. This drought-resistant plant can withstand intense heat and severe weather conditions. Best of all, Euphorbia has the uncanny ability to ward off a variety of critters including rabbits. Euphorbia is best displayed in an arrangement because its baby's breath-like effect will enhance the look of other potted plants!
Do note that Euphorbia secretes a milky sap that can irritate the skin. This is the reason why Euphorbia is able to ward off nibbling animals. This plant requires moderate moisture and regular pruning. Euphorbia thrives in a semi-shady spot but it can handle the full sun with ease. This plant is not fussy about soil conditions either; it can tolerate long periods of drought.
Nemesia is the perfect addition to any cool-season container garden. It's an annual plant although it's best grown in milder climates. This is a great plant to grow if you want to add a dash of color to your garden. Its colorful and fragrant blooms last all season long! The blooms come in an array of colors to choose from, including shades of cranberry, yellow, orange, pink and purple!
This plant is quite sensitive to moisture so plant it in a well-drained soil. Use light potting mix if you're adding Nemesia to your container garden. This plant needs more water during the summer. For maximum bloom production, set the Nemesia in a spot that gets the full sun.
This flowering shrub can flourish in a container garden too! Hydrangea is known for its clusters of pink, blue, and white blooms. Depending on the Hydrangea variety, this plant does not grow too large at all so it's a great plant to get for a small container garden.
Hydrangeas are a little tricky to care for but the effort is well worth it once they start blooming! You’ll love the explosion of colors.
Some varieties love the full sun, others prefer semi-shady spots. The Mopheads variety is quite sensitive to soil pH while the panicle isn't affected by soil pH at all. This is the kind of plant that requires more maintenance so do not be shy, ask your local nursery employee for gardening tips.
Roses are available in different varieties and each variety has different growing habits and needs. This is a no-brainer but choose the variety that suits your climate. Some rose varieties thrive in warm, humid climates, other prefer the milder weather. Some are more disease resistant, others have to be coddled and coaxed to bloom. But when well taken care of, roses will reward you with colorful and fragrant blooms!
Generally, roses hate the full shade but there are rose varieties that thrive in partial shade. This plant requires regular watering, about an inch of water every week during the growing season.
Roses are available in different varieties and each variety has different growing habits and needs. This is a no-brainer but choose the variety that suits your climate. Some rose varieties thrive in warm, humid climates, other prefer the milder weather. Some are more disease resistant, others have to be coddled and coaxed to bloom. But when well taken care of, roses will reward you with colorful and fragrant blooms!
Generally, roses hate the full shade but there are rose varieties that thrive in partial shade. This plant requires regular watering, about an inch of water every week during the growing season.
Cosmos is a beautiful annual plant that yields daisy-like blooms all season long! This plant variety is a great addition to your container garden because it's easy to grow, it doesn't need a lot of room to spread, and it's best mixed with other plants!
Caring for the cosmos plant is simple; avoid adding too much fertilizer so the foliage won't spread all over. This is the kind of plant that can tolerate drought and moderate heat. If your container garden is compact, we highly suggest getting the dwarf varieties such as Cosmos sulphureus or Cosmos bipinnatus.
Rounding up our list of the best container plants for your garden is the classic garden favorite, geranium. Geraniums make the best plants for borders, flower beds, and container gardens because of their striking foliage and delicate blooms. Geraniums are often grown as annuals but they are perennial plants in some zones. Most geraniums varieties love warm and dry conditions and they will hold up nicely during the summer season.
Traditional geraniums are easy to grow but the regal types are fussier so here are some gardening tips. Geraniums are prone to water retention, the leaves hold more water than they can handle. So water the plant only when the soil is dry and water regularly when the weather's hot. Regal geraniums cannot tolerate the hot climate and prefer the milder weather.
Gardening Tips for Your Container Garden
Plant According to Your Zone
Before going on a shopping spree at the local nursery, choose the right combination of plants that thrive in similar conditions. For instance, if your zone gets a lot of sun, choose plants that thrive in warmer weather. This way, your garden will always appear lush and blooming despite the punishing heat.
Points of Interest
Looking for the perfect spot for your container garden? We highly suggest a spot that’s in dire need of color, texture, and character. Plants add color, texture, and character to any space, particularly bland, naked outdoor spaces that are crying for a makeover.
When it comes to choosing planters for your container garden, you are spoiled with options. You can buy traditional planters from your local nursery or make your own using recycled wood, half barrels, unused tubs, etc. One thing to keep in mind, however, is the size of the planter. A petite planter won’t work for a spreading plant. The planter should provide ample room for the plant to grow.
Plant Care Requirements
Always read and keep the plant tags so you can collect different plants with similar care requirements. If you are unsure about a certain plant’s growing habits, consult an expert gardener or ask a nursery employee for help.
Watering with Care
Did you know that overwatering plants is worse than not watering them at all? Some plants hate excessive moisture and other plants, like geraniums, hold more water than they can handle so water your plants with care. Always check if your planters have drain holes in the bottom. If they do not have drainage holes, use a drill and drill the holes at the bottom of your planters to avoid standing water.
Don’t get plants randomly just to fill a space. You have to think the plant pairings carefully to perfect the look of your container garden. For instance, geranium works well with asparagus fern, pineapple sage, and Cosmos. Always choose plants that add contrasts, texture, and shape to your outdoor space. You want to thrill onlookers with the scent, color, and texture of your garden so never be afraid to layer plants in different heights.
Keep Your Tools Organized
Put all your gardening tools in one place. This will help reduce clutter while also making your container garden even more space efficient. By designating one area for your gardening tools, you will spend less time looking for things you misplaced and more time upgrading the look of your garden.
Nutrients for Your Plants
You have to enrich your potting soil with nutrients if you want to maintain the lushness of your garden. To do that, you have to add fertilizer to the soil. To add fertilizer to your potting soil, mix a slow release fertilizer into your potting mix in a bucket. You can also add the appropriate amount of fertilizer straight to the pot and mix with the potting soil.
You can use chemical fertilizer although we recommend using organic fertilizer because it’s more eco-friendly. It’s cheaper too, you can use kitchen waste as composting material for your organic fertilizer.
Dealing with Dying Plants
Even the most experienced gardeners deal with dying plants. The more plants you grow, the more plants you will kill, it’s inevitable. But don’t give up! If a plant is starting to look unhealthy, you can cut the yellowing or browning leaves, give it enough water, and then monitor it until it becomes healthy again. If the plant is showing signs of a serious disease, remove it from the garden and quarantine it to contain the disease. Throw the plant if it’s beyond saving. If the plant didn’t pull through, replace the dead plant with another plant in its place.
A container garden is the perfect gardening style for small spaces. The method requires the same level of work and dedication as tending a large garden. As long as you keep these gardening tips in mind, you can build a beautiful garden that you’d be proud to show off! Keep it here for more gardening tips and helpful resources. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the best eco-friendly resources straight to your inbox.