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Tips for container gardens

An old toy truck can be used as a container
An old toy truck can be used as a container

Even if you don’t have room for a full-fledged garden, you’ve likely got room for a container or two of annuals, vegetables or herbs. Here are a few tips I’ve compiled from various sources over my years as a container gardener.

Use unique “containers” – a toy truck, an old pair of shoes, a wooden crate, an old metal can – all can be used as containers for plants. The most important thing about whatever you use as a container: make sure it has adequate drainage – even if you have to poke (or drill) a couple holes in the bottom of it.

Use plants with similar light requirements – petunias require sun, impatiens shade – while the colors may look good together in the beginning, they make for lackluster combinations in the end.

Use quality potting soil – even if you have to mix your own, or combine a couple of different soils to get the effect you want – and don’t use top soil or garden soil: container plantings require different elements.

Thrillers, fillers and spillers – when creating combinations – “recipes” – for your containers, try combining a tall plant (“thriller”), a trailing plant (“spiller”) and a plant to fill in the gaps (“filler”).

Keep them moist – container gardens need more attention than bed gardens – test the soil with your finger to see if it’s dry.

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