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Team Containers or Team Ground?

By Trish
February 5, 2012

This week the topic is container gardening. Team Containers love to utilize containers, and Team Ground would rather just use the ground. Share your experiences with us!

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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Feb 5, 2012 10:05 AM CST
I am passionate about container gardening ... especially for my herbs, peppers, leeks, tomatoes, leafy greens, succulents, and several other things.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
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Joannabanana
Feb 5, 2012 10:54 AM CST
I too love containers. Window boxes under all my windows on the house and garage, hanging baskets and planters.
Tips:
Buy a hanging basket (10 or 12 inch) and repot it into a deeper and wider basket. When hanging baskets are available in stores, they a big, beautiful and often maxed out for root space to continue growing. Boughten planters are often deep enough, but slip it out and have a look at the root situation. Healthy roots mean healthy plants. You will never buy all those plants cheaper, separately. + the plants chosen by the grower are chosen with similar growth habits and the basket stays uniform. With short seasons, starting big is a bonus

Use new potting soil and add slow release fertilizer. With the additional root space, your baskets will be easier to maintain for moisture levels. I like Premier Pro-MixBX soil mix and SmartKote fertilizer

Line all fibre/wire baskets with a heavy plastic and punch some drain holes. The wind dries out terra cotta pots and fibre lined baskets very quickly in dry climates.
Our tap water is frigid and also high pH (about 8.3 mid summer). Most plants will have problems with uptake of nutrients with cold water/soil and high pH. Rain water is best, but if I use tap water, I water with warm water even though it is treated drinking water.

Drain holes are important. Try to keep the soil evenly moist, not saturated or parched. I also use water soluble fertilizer every few weeks in addition to the slow release mid to end of season. Containers deplete of nutrients very quickly. I use an Ultra-Bloom water soluble late July to September

Choose the plants for one basket that fit the location: all Sun loving or all dappled shade etc.

Have a few mono-planted pots/baskets. Too many mixed coloured baskets will look a bit too busy. Like your flower beds, clumps of colours creates flow and also ties the entire garden together.

I find tomatoes do better in-ground than in a container.

I grow many things in containers. Peppers, Herbs, Roses and all kinds annuals, including vines. It's fun to change the colour scheme each year. Here's a couple before & after. I water my baskets twice a week or each day when the temperatures are above 24ºC/75ºF and the baskets are located in full sun

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And in this photo (last summer) there is a heart shape which was a nice surprise

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And here is a photo taken Sept 17. Containers & hanging baskets can last for the entire season

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[Last edited by Joannabanana - Feb 5, 2012 11:26 AM (+)]
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Name: Renée
Northern KY
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KyWoods
Feb 5, 2012 11:27 AM CST
Beautiful gardens, Joanne, and great tips, too, thanks! We use mainly containers here because if you dig more than a couple inches here in the woods, you'll hit roots and rocks. We do have a couple of small raised beds, though.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Feb 5, 2012 11:30 AM CST
I am on the fence on this one.... I love having many things in the ground but also like the look of a patio with containers around it, so - I have both! My containers mostly have succulents because I am lazy with watering... Hilarious!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 5, 2012 11:47 AM CST
I am in team container, because I have such limited space and for me it makes it easier if I have to relocate a plant with the changing seasons. My plants are mostly cacti, succulents and drought tolerant, cold hardy plants.
Somehow I like starting small, then eventually seeing them grow nicely without being too invasive.

Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Feb 5, 2012 1:17 PM CST
I have a few things in the ground, a handful of roses, a few daylilies and a couple of peonies, but the rest is containers. Dig down a foot in my garden and you hit water, so the vast majority of my plants are annuals in containers.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Feb 5, 2012 4:03 PM CST
woffie it sounds like you could start a great bog garden with the conditions you describe, I've read that they can be very attractive.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Feb 5, 2012 7:31 PM CST
Team container, here also. Our soil is so poor, and I have so little usable ground space (tree roots, etc). that I do mostly container gardening. I grow my veggies in Earthboxes, my potatoes, leeks, onions and carrots in Smartpots, and my herbs in stacking containers. I also do several containers with annuals just for some color when the perennials are not in bloom. I use drip irrigation to water my containers so that helps cut down on the work, while keeping the water levels steady.


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[Last edited by mom2goldens - Feb 5, 2012 7:32 PM (+)]
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Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Feb 5, 2012 7:57 PM CST
Linda, you have an entire dinner in that last photo.
How beautiful.
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Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
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mcash70
Feb 5, 2012 8:56 PM CST
Very nice.
Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
Charter ATP Member Clematis I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Daylilies Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader
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tabby
Feb 6, 2012 10:40 AM CST
I waffled on this one because I have the vast majority of my plants in the ground, but if I was strictly a ground person, then I wouldn't be so enamored with my potted plants. I have an acre to garden so I don't need container gardens, but I love the look of them. I have several whiskey barrel water gardens, several flower and tomato whiskey barrel gardens, some large pots with basil and geraniums in them and a whole bunch of hypertufa pots with sedum and sempervivum in them. This year I'll be making even more hypertufa pots. I just love the look of them and how I can move them around the yard.


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Name: Renée
Northern KY
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Kentucky Sempervivums Cat Lover Dog Lover
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KyWoods
Feb 6, 2012 11:24 AM CST
Beautiful! What are the pink blooms, Tabby?
Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
Charter ATP Member Clematis I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Daylilies Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader
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tabby
Feb 6, 2012 12:08 PM CST
It's just a geranium that I've had for many many years. It's blooming inside right now.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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Dutchlady1
Feb 6, 2012 1:01 PM CST
I am envious of your water garden in that last picture. I have two beautiful dishes that a friend gave me, and I have attempted to make water gardens in them but nothing thrives Sad
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Feb 6, 2012 1:03 PM CST
Tabby, how do you manage to keep a water garden going in your zone? Confused
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
Charter ATP Member Clematis I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Daylilies Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Colorado Ponds Roses Sempervivums
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tabby
Feb 6, 2012 1:53 PM CST
Woofie, the whiskey barrel water gardens don't have fish in them, just a hardy water lily along with either Cyperus longus or Iris versicolor.
The water gardens in ground have pond heaters and air pumps to keep a hole in the ice for the fish.

Iris versicolor:

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Name: Renée
Northern KY
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Kentucky Sempervivums Cat Lover Dog Lover
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
KyWoods
Feb 6, 2012 5:33 PM CST
Ah, okay, I see the geranium leaf now, thanks! The iris look so graceful.

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