Container gardening has become an American hobby, for some a passion. Even if you have space for full sized gardening, containers can be used in various spaces to add color, control weeds and they can reduce the amount of time needed to keep up a larger garden.
You might want to start with something simple and useful. An herb garden is ideal. Sometimes called, ‘kitchen gardens’, a good explanation of them is that they are things you bring into the kitchen–herbs, vegetables, fruits and berries, and even the cutting flowers for your table.
Start with herbs such as basil, chives, cilantro, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme. You can often find these plants in the produce section of your local food store. They are usually ready to harvest when you buy them. Re-pot them in containers, cut off leaves as you need them, but never cut more than a third of the foliage at any one time. Many herbs are perennials and can be overwintered by moving the container into your kitchen, garage or basement.
For a salad, choose, arugula, endive, leaf lettuce, and mustard. How neat is it to be able to go outside or on your deck or balcony and have your salad greens for your dinner. Fresh and fragrant.
Plant a tomato, a cucumber and some parsley or chives all in a large (24-30″) container. They grow well together and have the same water and sun requirements. You’ll be harvesting them into the fall.
Flowering plants that grow well in containers are, petunias, geraniums and impatiens. Pansies make excellent spring container gardening projects. Combine colors from the opposite ends of the color wheel spectrum for maximum impact:
For fresh fruits, try strawberries. They are easily grown in containers. Plant them in barrels, tubs, hanging baskets or strawberry jars. Plant in early spring and place them where they will get at least 6 hours of sun each day. When the season is over, don’t toss them out. They can be overwintered by covering with straw or move the container into your garage or basement. The following year’s plants will be bigger and better.