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January 2009

Great Gardening Links

by Fern on January 30, 2009

in Journal

  • How To: A Recipe To Clean Mineral Deposits From Terra Cotta Pots -While it’s still too cold outside for most gardening activities in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere, you can get your pots ready for Spring. Amy has a great, natural recipe to clean those white mineral deposits off your pots.
  • Pomegranates Suitable for Growing in Containers – Territorial Seed Company has a dwarf pomegranate variety that will only grow to three feet tall. Great news for those of us short on space, or who would need to bring the pomegranate indoors during the winter.
  • Succulent Container Inspiration – Sharon of Fresh Dirt, one of Sunset Magazine’s blogs, posted some amazing photos of succulent containers. Proof that succulents can be classy and sophisticated while still being low maintenance.
  • How to Prune Raspberries – Gen provides an easy to follow guide to pruning both summer and autumn fruiting bushes.
  • Bird by Bird – If you’re looking for something a bit more intellectual and contemplative, check out Alexa’s post about a quote from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird about the garden as a metaphor for life.

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Selecting the Perfect Pots for Your Container Garden

by Fern on January 29, 2009

in Uncategorized

If you’re still busy planning your balcony garden for next year, here are a few things to think about when it comes to the containers themselves.

Different Kinds of Pot Materials:


Photo by *Susie*

  • Terracotta is good for people who tend to over water, as the porous clay wicks the excess water out of the soil quickly. It’s also a good choice for gardeners with extremely hot summers as it can help shield roots from the heat. The downsides of terracotta are that it dries out quickly and can crack in the winter.
  • Plastic is the obvious choice for gardeners on a serious budget. They’re also good if you live on the top floor of a building with no elevator, or have weight restriction on your balcony.
  • Fiberglass and resin are great if you like the molded or carved look of ancient pottery but don’t want to lug a heavy pot out onto your balcony. They can also be more reasonably priced than their stone or clay counterparts.
  • Wood can lend a specific “feel” to a garden, be it asian, natural, or rustic, depending on the design. Hardwoods are sturdy and will last, but don’t let them sit directly on the ground or in sitting water, as that will just speed up the rotting process.
  • Metal can look really modern, and it won’t crack in the winter. But beware in the summer. Metal pots can get very hot, and if you don’t water your plants, they will cook the roots!

Color Considerations:


Photo by jurek d.

  • Do you want all your pots to match? A bunch of terracotta pots in different shapes and sizes would look classy without being too stuffy or boring. There are some really neat terracotta pots with quilted patterns or scalloped edges. You could do the same thing with other colors. All white could look very modern.
  • If you’re going to mix up your colors, either do it carefully or go totally crazy, don’t go halfway. For example, I noticed in Mexico that tiles and containers are a whole mix of bright colors. If you’re going for a Latin look, choose blue, yellow, orange and red glazed pots. But if you want a more sedate look, go with one or two colors.

Matching Plants to Pots (Or Pots to Plants):


Photo by brewbooks

  • A tall narrow pot will probably look best with a plant that is also tall and bushy. A small, rounded plant will likely look silly in such a pot, like a scoop of ice cream on a cone. Other small plants are likely to look out of proportion to the pot. It’s also not good for a plant’s health to grow it in a pot that is too big for it.
  • A squat pot (say that ten times fast!) will probably look good with a similarly sized plant. It might also look good with a plant that has a vertical habit, as the pot will help the plant look grounded, but be careful, a plant that is radically out of proportion to its pot often doesn’t looks good.
  • The easiest and safest bet is to chose a pot that has a similar visual “weight” as the plant. Medium sized plants with medium sized pots, plants with a wide horizontal spread in wider pots, and so on.

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I Don’t Know About You, But I Don’t Monitor the Humidity Levels on My Patio

January 28, 2009

I was reading through this list of seven tips for “amazing plants, flowers and edibles” grown in containers and I came across a peculiar bit of advice: Humidity The humidity required depends on the nature of the plant. Jungle plants need about 90% humidity, sub-tropical about 50%, temperate zone plants (such as North America and […]

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Plant Combination Ideas for Container Gardens

January 28, 2009

We all know that–for most people–it’s less stressful if you plan your container garden in advance. But what if you’re drawing a blank when it comes to plants that might look good together? Below I’ve tried to put together a bunch of ideas to help get your creative gardening juices flowing. Red Hot Hummingbird Magnet: […]

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Make Your Own Aerogarden for $5

January 27, 2009

Always wanted one of those fancy shmancy AeroGarden to grow herbs indoors? That is, until you found out that they cost $80 and each seed pod module will set you back another $15. Yikes! You’d have to grow a lot of herbs to beat the grocery store price! But if you’re a crafty type, there’s […]

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How to Approach Planning Your Container Garden

January 26, 2009

At the moment, everyone in the gardening world seems to be talking about planning your garden for Spring. But sometimes gardening can be overwhelming. It’s great that there are so many choices out there, but that also means that it requires more work to pick a pots, plants, dirt, fertilizer, etc. Below I’ve tried to […]

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Tips for Growing Plants from Seeds

January 22, 2009

Last year I experimented a lot with starting seeds indoors and learned a few things in the process. I thought I’d share a bit of what I learned through trial and error so that you can skip my mistakes. Photo by abreathoffrenchair LIGHT The hardest thing to provide seeds started indoors is light. It’s almost […]

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Well Waddaya Know…

January 21, 2009

The average age of container gardeners is 55. That kind of stinks for me, because the average age of a blog reader is probably somewhere around 37.6 (that’s the average age of a blog writer, but many blog readers are also blog writers, so I’m making the jump). I wonder how I can bridge that […]

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Direct Sowing vs. Starting Seeds Indoors

January 20, 2009

If you’re a container gardener, is it better to sow seeds directly in your pots or planters, or is it better to start the seeds in starter pots indoors? To be honest, there isn’t one right answer. Different strokes for different folks and all that good stuff. Even the same gardener may decide that different […]

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My Favorites From Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

January 15, 2009

Most of the time I don’t participate in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, not because I think it’s a bad meme, but because I always forget to take photos of my garden near the middle of the month. Since I forgot again this month, I thought I would highlight a few of my favorites from the […]

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