March 21, 2011
Tips on Container Gardening from Ellen Zachos
Container gardening isn't any more difficult than traditional, in-ground gardening...it's just a little different. All those differences make sense when you stop to consider the reduced volume of soil in which you're asking your plants to grow. Think about it: in the ground roots have almost unlimited space to reach out for water and nutrition, not to mention plenty of insulation from extremes of heat and cold. In containers the volume of soil is greatly reduced. It's the gardener's responsibility to make up for that shortfall by increasing attention paid to watering, fertilization, and climate extremes.
Some plants grow better than others in containers, and while limiting their root size may inhibit top growth, that's not always a bad thing. For example, you can have a perfectly happy crabapple tree in a container. It may never get to be 20 feet tall, but a crabapple in a 30" square container can easily grow to 10 feet with excellent flower and fruit production. Don't let the lack of a big yard hold you back. You can pack a lot of punch into a container garden.