Practical Container Plants

Onions replaced the spikes in
my whiskey barrel
If you've known me for any amount of time, you would know that I just love to have containers of flowers everywhere you look.   Flowers attract beneficial insects to the garden needed for pollination, I view them as an essential part of any garden.  You can also eat many of the flowers or use them for craft projects or medicines

In the past I have used spikes, sweet potato vine, and other items as accent pieces in my flower pots.  The foliage is striking and interesting and it gives a nice contrast to the flowers.  It can be rather expensive to buy these though.  6 packs are much more reasonably priced, but they don't seem to sell these accent plants in 6 packs. Over the last couple of years I have replaced those items with other, more useful items.

Over the last several years I have used many items such as mint, rosemary, onions, fennel, basil, and parsley, but this year I am expanding my repetoire into more new and different things such as cucumbers, mustard and collard greens, and kale.

Shed planter
 My husband built these great boxes for me that sit in front of our shed.  In the past they have been filled with 3 rows of different kinds of flowers.  Last year the back row was made of curly leaf parsley, but I had more parsley than I knew what to do with so this year I am doing something different.  This box shows an alernated back row of both basil and parsley.  The middle row of flowers has been replaces with flowering kale of varying colors.  I asked at the garden store since I have never raised kale before and she told me that this would be a great idea and should last all summer as long as I kept them well watered.
Hanging baskets

My hanging baskets have held strawberries in the past.  Since they have been taken and planted in our berry patch, I will be trying come cucumbers in them.  Of course I will still have the ones out front as well, but they will hold a wildly varied bunch of plants.  Next year I will plant more varieties of basil such as red ruffles because of the interesting looking foliage.  When you limit yourself to what the garden centers grow and have available it makes the selections a bit boring.  One can never have too much basil.

You may recall my hanging tomato planters that I have had in years past.  I have done it with a plant in the top and the bottom.  This won't change, but those bags are rather cheaply made and are falling apart and getting filled with holes.  This year I will be making my own out of 5 gallon buckets.  More on that in a future post.
Ground planter

Planters also abound on the ground around here.  I have grown spinach, lettuce, and herbs in these.  It actually worked really well for me to put the cool season crops into planters last year because when the sun got too hot for them it was easy to move them to a shadier location.

My stevia and patchouli plants did well in containers all summer last year, until they came inside for the winter and my cats mutilated them...  Most of the time you can overwinter tender plants indoors to ensure they come back again next year.  If they are tropicals they would need a warm location, but I think next winter I may try my luck at sheltering them in my garage instead.

This year more tomatoes and peppers followed me home than I have room for in the veggie gardens out back, so some of those will also find homes in those giant pots that you buy trees in from the nursery.

A word of caution about container plants:  They do dry out faster than plants would in they were in the ground because of the added air circulation around the soil, so check them regularly.  That is one reason I won't buy the hanging baskets from the nurseries, they use inferior soils with no water retaining ingredients mixed in.  I like to make my own potting mix and top it off with mulch so the plants stay evenly moist.  This is especially true for the hanging baskets because air circulates all around them.

There, now you can combine both beauty AND utility all around your garden.  Don't be afraid to experiment, just because you've never heard of anyone else trying it out doesn't mean it won't work!

Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. Please leave me a message, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Cindy

1 comment:

tina said...

You've been busy Cindy! Glad to see you are doing well. Making the hanging planters out of 5 gallon buckets sounds interesting.