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message 1: by Annie (last edited Jun 13, 2009 08:51AM) (new)

Annie | 7 comments Hi, I'm Annie, I live in Salt Lake City.

Well, I'm not sure if I'm an "obsessed" gardener--at least not yet. I've been interested in gardening for years (decades even) but never had a yard to experiment in. I've been playing around with container gardening on my apartment patio for a few years, but I must confess I don't know what I'm doing. One of my biggest problems was the apartment I was living in. Didn't get any real sunlight, even on the patio. But I've moved since last summer. The new apartment is a second story and gets lots of wonderful morning sun. (my apartment faces directly east.)

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has experience with container gardening and wouldn't mind leading me by the hand a little? OK, I'm not quite THAT clueless, but a little advice would be very welcome.

I'm going out today to get a few plants (I know! Its June already!). I thought I'd start with a basket meant to hang over my patio railing with the standard flowers--I'm thinking pansies, petunias, african daisies; and then maybe a few herbs in a strawberry pot. I grew some a few years ago and harvested mounds! I'm running out of basil and oregano though, so I think it may be time to do another pot this summer.

Do you have any favorite books on container gardening to recommend?

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Welcome Annie! I've been strictly container gardening for the last 3 1/2 years now since we moved here (where the landscapers are just pure evil!) and I've been container gardening along with in-ground gardening since I started around 2001.

I'll have to look through my books & see if I have any on containers. (I'm more of a garden diary type than the how to it's but I think I've got one around some place!)

Just in case: One word of caution, watch the Pansy's - they're not fond of really hot sun during the warmest months! Morning sun should be ok but it depends on how hot & strong it is.

I'm here to help any time I can!

message 3: by Katie (new)

Katie (katieisallbooked) | 28 comments Welcome Annie!

I'm by no means a pro, but I've found that petunias are one of the easiest flowers to grow, especially in containers. I recommend dead-heading them regularly so they really fill in.

In my containers this year I have a dahlia, a gerbera daisy and some herbs. My basil is growing incredibly well. The oregano and parsley are hanging in there.

message 4: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Hi Annie--

My favorite containers are a mix of geraniums, annual phlox, verbena, wave petunias and some kind of trailing vine. This year I used a hot pink, purple and rosy red mixture with a little white thrown in for contrast. I planted greens in pots this year because I ran out of room in my veg garden and they seem to be doing okay. I got a late start, but I should be able to have my first salad next week. I think the big thing is to use high quality potting soil and after a couple of months start using a liquid fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro about every 2 weeks until the end of the season. Deadheading is a big deal too and I also cut back a few branchs of wave petunias to keep them nice and bushy. When the weather gets stinking hot I find I have to water the pots twice a day to keep them looking good. Kind of a pain for a couple of weeks, but so worth it to have healthy looking pots way into the fall. Whatever you do have fun with it.

message 5: by Annie (last edited Jun 16, 2009 07:21PM) (new)

Annie | 7 comments Thanks, all, for your advice! I have a feeling July is going to be touchy around here; that's when we usually start hitting 100 degree weather. I'll remember to water often and deadhead. I ended up with one of those pots that fit over your deck rail, with a japanese flag in the back, cascading petunias on one side and african daisies and dianthus on the other, with golden creeping jenny in front. I'm really pleased with it; we'll see how it gets through the summer. I did get some pansies for it, but didn't like them with the others. I put them in very small strawberry pot I have (about 5-6 inches tall) with lobelia hanging out of the side openings. So far it looks good.

Thanks again!

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) I have anything & everything in containers! I've got Knockout Roses, Petunia's, Autumn Joy Sedum, Butterfly Bush, Salvia, Tomato's, Marigolds, Lemon Balm, Dianthus, Zucchini, Wax Begonia's, Vinca, Raspberries, Pumpkin, Tomatillo, Sunflowers, Cosmo's, Flax, Morning Glories, Verbena... And MANY more, lol!

message 7: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne (adriennemarietheresa) Hello All! I love gardening. I can't help it.

What vegetables specifically work well in containers? I got my daughter a cherry tomato of her own to look after and put it in a pot, but couldn't think of a veg for my son that he likes *and* would grow in a pot. What about pumpkin or cucumber? Anyone tried those???

Jo, do you give all your containers fresh soil each year?

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Kalanna, I don't refresh the soil every yr but I do top them off with fresh soil when it gets below an inch from the top. (Unless you've had some nasty critters or disease problems, then dump it all out into a garbage bag, wash the pot inside & out with equal parts hot water & bleach & let the container dry completely before putting fresh soil in it). Except for my raspberries & scallions, I rotate my veggies into different pots each season, like a farmer would his crops. (This way the soil quality remains even- the veggies give & take from the soil).

Any kind of tomato's work great in containers as do zuchini & pumpkins (just don't plant all the seeds in the packet, lol!) and raspberries, as well as ornamental peppers. Strawberries are good to but make sure to read the soil requirements - regardless I can't keep mine alive! (And I had my raspberries for 5 years before the produced fruit - this is only the 2nd year they they flowered & now have fruit growing on them).

message 9: by Annie (new)

Annie | 7 comments I never would have thought of putting raspberries in containers! How do you get your roses through the winter? I love roses--but I'm afraid they won't last the winter in a pot. I do have a store room off the balcony of my apartment, do you think they'd make it if I put the pot in there over the winter? Something else I'd really like is a lilac bush. Do you think it would survive a pot?

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Annie wrote: "I never would have thought of putting raspberries in containers! How do you get your roses through the winter? I love roses--but I'm afraid they won't last the winter in a pot. I do have a store..."

My raspberries were originally in ground but when we moved, I put them (and everything else) in a large container(s) for the move and there they've stayed & done well compared to before.

The only thing I do to my roses for winter is cover their soil with leaf mulch. Once they've finished blooming (mine bloomed thru this past Thanksgiving), you can cut them down to just about an inch or 2 above the soil. I did so on one and forgot on the other. (Seems to keep it from getting too large if you don't). Both are doing fine.

Lilac bush I never considered and don't have a guess, but if you put it in a fairly large container, give it a try and see what happens!

message 11: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Conner (eileenconnersbcglobalnet) I have had great success with cucumbers in containers, I get one of the small trellis and use a long container.I really like lemon cucumber (it is a heirloom variety). I have grown the little ornamental pumpkins as well (Jack be Little, Baby Boo). This year I am trying green beans, pole type using a tomato cage for them to climb up. I have grown all types of herbs. I bring the tender herbs in and overwinter. I live in Texas so the biggest issue is to water frequently.

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Eileen I've had great success w/beans! (Green & wax) And thank you for mentioning them because I forgot to plant any this yr! Now I can- I should still have some time.

message 13: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments I wonder if it's too late to plant some ornamental pumpkins in a container. I'd love to have some for fall decorating.

message 14: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Conner (eileenconnersbcglobalnet) Cheryl S. wrote: "I wonder if it's too late to plant some ornamental pumpkins in a container. I'd love to have some for fall decorating."
I usually plant my pumpkins in early July, then they are ready to harvest in October. I do have the advantage of usual first freeze in November.

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Lightning bugs! All over the place in our back yard! Yay!

message 16: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Thanks Eileen--I'm going to give them a try.

message 17: by Harvey (new)

Harvey | 252 comments Hi everyone... no option other than container gardening in my Kuwait flat (using my balcony and window sills). One Kuwaiti friend gave me a pumpkin seed to plant and from a few days germinating underground it suddenly burst out and is reaching for the stars! I think it has a spring inside! First time to grow a pumpkin in a container or anything else for that matter. Not being American I am unfamiliar with pumpkin... yes I know they are used at Halloween, the question is how best to cook it after harvest. Another question someone may be able to answer is what does pumpkin taste like? What to eat it with? Any ideas?

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Pumpkin is wonderful in breads, pies, soups and stews; to describe the taste I'm not so sure how to do so! It's one of my favorite things about Autumn and not just the carving them up for Halloween part. Have you ever had sweet potato pie by any chance? The taste is very similar to pumpkin pie.

Here are a couple of books that might help you:
The Perfect Pumpkin: Growing/Cooking/Carving
Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash

message 19: by Harvey (new)

Harvey | 252 comments Thanks for the tips... describing a taste is not easy! I have not had sweet potato pie. In Dubai I ate either pumpkin or sweet potato, roasted... don't know what it was! All I know is that in the roasted veggies were some reddish and some yellow orange bits! Was fine though!

message 20: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Date and nut pumpkin bread is one of my favortie fall treats.

message 21: by Harvey (new)

Harvey | 252 comments mmmmm dates are easy here in Kuwait!!!!

message 22: by Harvey (new)

Harvey | 252 comments just for the record, of course there are dates and dates, two years ago when I was in UAE, one guy from Abu Dhabi bought a bunch of dates for telephone numbers worth of dirhams... there was a big festival and auction in Abu Dhabi Emirate at the time. Very interesting plant is the date. One day if I have some serious farm land in Egypt...

message 23: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Dreams are good!

message 24: by Harvey (last edited Sep 25, 2010 12:21AM) (new)

Harvey | 252 comments Essential! Meanwhile, on my balcony, out of the heirlooms I was kindly given only the Brandywine yellow is taking its time to poke its head into the world. Paul Robeson, cherokee purple, Anna russian, chocolate stripes and the Italian cherry are all waving hello. Sowed Matina yesterday. Ring-o-fire is coming up for the peppers. Next month some more heirlooms are coming from Blighty... its all looking good so far...

message 25: by Harvey (last edited Sep 27, 2010 06:38AM) (new)

Harvey | 252 comments Something new on my windowsill container.... ginger. Saw that two pieces of ginger had grown quite green and well developed horns, obviously due to the high humidity in the last couple of days. Saw a blog on the net that basil loves ginger as a companion. I was not looking to grow extra basil, but hey! Can one have too much basil? This would not be my biggest problem, I'll just make more pesto!

...just to update on the yellow brandywine. That had said hello to the world so we seem to be heading for a full set.

Re: containers, found some spray paint that bonds well with plastic. Now I can recycle empty ice cream buckets and bulk DVD covers without them looking too awful. Also saves a fraction of the planet at the same time.

Happy gardening!

message 26: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments You can never have too much basil.

message 27: by Harvey (new)

Harvey | 252 comments Just woke up and looked out to see my ginger, the basil has germinated!

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