Contain Yourself!

By National Gardening Association Editors

No ground to garden in? No problem! Even if you have little space, poor soil, or are surrounded by cement and blacktop, you can still have a garden -- in containers. As long as you have some sun and access to water, gardening in containers lets you grow vegetables, herbs, flowers, even fruit trees. A container garden can be as simple as some colorful flowers in a hanging planter or as extensive as a series of raised planters producing an edible harvest all season long.

Just in time for spring, our shop is offering 10% off your next order--just use coupon code CONTAINER10 at checkout. 100% of proceeds from our shop support youth garden grants. Please note that offer expires 5/31/2015 nd excludes greenhouses and sheds.

Containers for gardening can come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, but no matter what you're growing in, it's vital that the container provide adequate drainage. Containers made from plastic, clay, ceramic, and the like should have drainage holes at the bottom, while fabric ones should allow for drainage through the material.

If you'd like to grow a variety of vegetables, a raised planting bed like the Link-a-Bord Raised Planter is a good choice. This maintenance-free, 20 inch deep raised planter provides plenty of space for growing large, deep-rootedplants and is ideal for everything from tomatoes to carrots to colorful flowers. Plus its height makes it easy for students to use. Made from recycled plastic, the 42 inch by 18 inch planter is double-skinned for strength and insulation.

As we mentioned, the plants in containers are in general more dependent on a gardener's regular care than the same plants growing in the ground.Because they are growing in a limited volume of soil, container grown plants need watering more frequently than plants in garden beds. Depending on the size of the container and the weather, plants may need daily watering when temperatures are high.

Self-watering containers can help make watering chores easier. They have a water reservoir plus a mechanism that wicks the water up into the potting soil as needed, providing plants with a sustained supply of moisture and doing away with the need for daily watering. Our innovative Self-Watering Planter lets space-challenged gardeners create a tower of flowers, herbs, or veggies. It comes with three tiers of tri-lobed stacking pots and self-watering grids that make maintaining plants a breeze.

Vertical gardening is a great way to get the most from least amount of space. You can take advantage of vertical space by mounting containers like the Blue Mini Woolly Pocket on a wall or fence. Each breathable felt pocket holds 0.10 cubic feet of soil and can be hung almost anywhere, inside or out, as its moisture barrier ensures that walls behind stay dry. It's perfect for growing a trailing plant like nasturtium with its blossoms that are both colorful and edible.

The Bird House Wall Planter combines a wall planter and birdhouse to create an eye-catching addition to your garden space. Double-walled and removable for easy cleaning, the birdhouse serves as a welcoming home for feathered friends as well as a space-efficient planting spot.

For even more from your vertical space, try the Vertical Tower Planter. Constructed of high-quality, UV-resistant plastic, this functional and durable planter can be conveniently rolled wherever you need it, indoors or out. Taking up only four square feet of floor space, it holds five containers aloft (three small and two large), enough space to grow greens and herbs for a wealth of summer salads or a colorful cascade of butterfly-attracting flowers.

Containers are also great for beginning gardeners who want to start small with just a plant or two. The Organic Plant Container is the perfect size for an herb plant or an individual flower. Handmade in the USA from 100% organic jute burlap, the eco-friendly, aesthetically pleasing container allows for water drainage and biodegrades naturally after one season. If you've started seeds early indoors this spring and find yourself with extra plants, pot some up in these containers for great Mother's or Father's Day gifts. What a wonderful way to share the joy of gardening!

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