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CONTAINER GARDENING, OR WHY WE LOVETO GROW IN SMALL SPACES

By Trish Percy, Master Gardener


Do you have trouble committing? Feel just a bit of anxiety when you dig a hole to plant something permanently in your yard? Not to worry - let’s bring out the containers!

By far the best reason to grow in containers is location, location, location. Containers give us the flexibility to put plants where they grow the best, rather than where there happens to be a flower bed that might not have optimal conditions. Different pots can add interest as well as the plants, with height, color, and design to draw the eye. Have a bed that’s too shady near the ground? Add a taller pot and plant some color!

Often, we have a location we’d like to spruce up, but no room for in-ground plantings. Think of a corner of a deck or patio, the alcove by your front door, or even steps leading to your deck or pool. Containers offer us flexibility without commitment. We can try it out and move it if we decide it either isn’t thriving or just doesn’t feed our soul there.

Do you like culinary herbs? We can grow them year-round in north Texas, but it’s nice to be able to shuffle them based on the time of year. Maybe in the winter they love the warmth of a sunlit wall behind them, but in the summer, they want shade and more shade. Or we can move them indoors to a sunny window during a freeze!

We have clay soil that can be difficult to work when wet; growing tomatoes in 5-gallon containers lets us grow them anywhere with access to sun and water. Weeds are much easier to control as well, and things don’t creep like that pot of peppermint that you promised yourself you would trim every couple of weeks so it didn’t get out of control.

Think about what Texas gardeners complain about, and containers fix it. Bermuda grass? Doesn’t reach it. Blazing sun? Move it. Too much shade? Slide it over to the edge of the tree line. Superspreader? Well, it has nowhere to go when it’s pot bound. We love that pots give us so much versatility - POTS WITHOUT LIMITS is our motto.

Vegetables are no exception to the container rule – my carrots never get very big in my clay soil. When I grow them in a deep pot, though, they are long and gorgeous, and I can grow them on a sunny balcony! Every culinary herb or vegetable we grow ourselves increases our food security here in North Texas. Not to mention the loveliness of fresh picked herbs in your dinner, brimming with nutrition because they’ve only traveled from your balcony to your plate!

Don’t be afraid to try something new in a pot. The only limitation is your imagination!


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