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Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

Everything You Need To Know About Easy Container Gardening

It doesn’t matter where you live when it comes to starting a garden. Gardening is one of the best ways to eat healthy, brighten your patio, and enjoy the fruits of your own labor (sometimes literally). But growing flowers, fruits, and vegetables doesn’t need scads of space or heaps of soil. To grow plants successfully, one just needs a container, the ability to give a little attention, and roughly six hours of sunlight.

Many people want to grow a garden; much like they want to stop cursing or start flossing. But, unlike those impossible tasks, starting a garden is simple and fun! If you have a patio or window, then you’re already halfway there. The rest of the equation just comes down to knowing what your options are, and what to stay away from.

Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

Timely Planting a Good Garden Makes

Before you put your green thumb to the test, it’s important to know what you want to grow and when. Plants are sensitive to the weather around them and will thrive when planted during the right season. Similar to the difficulties of waking up on a cold winter morning, seeds will fight to stay in their cozy shells.

Plants want to wake up and grow once the dangers of cold temperatures have subsided, and that depends on your region. Northern regions have a limited time frame and can really only grow during the summer months.

Anyone living in the middle belt of the US has more time to begin as springtime ushers in consistent warmth. If you are wondering if where you live is in the middle, just ask, “Do I have 4 distinct seasons?” If yes, then planting in springtime is for you.

Southern regions, like Florida, are blessed with the ability to grow almost entirely year-round, but it comes at the cost of true seasons. They may be able to wear bathing suits all year, but each season is just summer dressed in different clothes.

Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

Containers: A Plant’s Residence

Plants are people too! And just like people, they want a comfortable place to grow and live their lives. The good news is they don’t require much attention; just an area big enough for them to stretch their tendrils, drain away any unneeded water, and a prime sunlit view. Thanks to their minimal requirements, you have a variety of options.

Modular raised garden beds are a wonderful option for any patio. On the ground, twenty stories up, and everywhere in between, modular raised beds are a plant’s American Dream house. These beds can be connected or further raised to match your gardening passion. They are built with materials such as metal, plastic, or an aesthetically-pleasing wood, but it’s up to you to match it with your porch style.

Wall planters have become a huge rage for those who simply cannot give up ground space or want to spruce up their wall. These are especially good for herbs and plants that have shallower root systems. These containers are the urban living for plants; trendy and unique with innovative, yet tight, spacing.

Windowsill containers are town homes for the plants who want their own space, but don’t need much of it. They can sit inside or some will attach to the exterior of the window to simulate that perfect green addition to the apartment’s conformed exterior. Windowsill containers are great for people who really don’t have an outside area to call their own– but they are still effective.

Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

Food is Fuel

We do our best not to eat food when we don’t know where it’s been. Food provides the nutrients our bodies crave to grow in strength and health, meaning what we choose to ingest is extremely important. Plants thrive in the same fashion; if you want a plant you can brag about, it will need rich, fertile soil.

NEVER use strange soil! Grabbing some from the ground outside of your residence, a park, or someone else’s planter will put your plants in danger. Toxins and weeds may be present in that dirt and can choke the life out of your plant (and possibly turn you off to any further endeavor).

Instead, go to your local home and garden store, and find the bags of soil labeled “Potting Mix” or “Potting Soil”. It consists of the finest composted bark, peat moss, and minerals a plant could want. Don’t bother with trying to compost; it takes time, effort, and SPACE. The whole point of this endeavor is to create your own garden on a small patio, not to grow a field!

Photo: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jessy Scarpone

Water and Sun

You have all of the information you need except for how to water and how long your plant should worship the sun.

Do NOT spray your leaves with water during sunny days. The water becomes a magnifying glass which intensifies the sun’s power resulting in a very sad, yellow leaf.

Do NOT overwater. Gluttony is a sin, so don’t force your plant to partake in it. When you wake up, grab your coffee and shuffle over to your plant. Using the strongest gardening tool you possess – your hand – lightly press your finger into the soil to check for moisture. You want your soil to be moist about an inch deep, and that’s all there is to it. If it’s less, gently water the soil a bit. If it’s more, take the day off.

The sun is a powerful source of energy. Through its warm glow, your plant will find the strength to break free from seed and soil to produce… whatever it is supposed to produce. For leafy plants, allow them 4-6 hours of sunlight. For any plants that bear a fruit or vegetable, they need a little more; around 6-8 hours.

You’re the Parent

Finally, gardening may get technical the deeper you go down the rabbit hole of information and possibilities. Keep it simple, and trust yourself! Like a cake, you can follow the instructions, but it’s your personal touch that makes it one-of-a-kind. Observe and get to know your plant so that you can best provide for it. Some may be a little thirstier, and some may want that Miami bronze – so give it to them! Now you know what to consider, so get to it.

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